Understanding the Generic Use of a Word As Compared to the Specific
Contextual Analysis is the science of studying Biblical words according to the context in which they exist within God’s Word, as opposed to our current usage of them.
A good example can be found in the Biblical word repentance which when we hear it spoken of in our current vernacular we only see it concerning salvation, where we translate it as a word concerning a person that stops sinning and starts following Christ; however the word repentance simply means to change one’s mind to the extent that they also change their behavior.
It is whenever we use the word repentance solely as we believe it affects salvation, that we miss the fact that repentance has to do with any subject where there is a change in one’s thinking which affects their behavior is concerd.
One such example of this is seen in the Old Testament where the Bible speaks of God having repented of having created man (Genesis 6:6), or God repented of the evil that He once thought to do against His own people for their sin and rebellion (Exodus 32:14). First, we know that because God is perfect he cannot change because we only change from either perfection to imperfection; or from imperfection do perfection, besides the fact that God repeatedly tells us that he does not change. If God changed it would display inconsistency which is against the very personhood of divinity.
Besides the fact that God knows the future so how can he change his mind if he already knows that he would change his mind, try to wrap your head around that one. But what we see displayed here is that the word repentance has nothing to do with salvation it’s only being used in his normal form which means to change one’s mind. Yet we know that it is stronger than merely changing one’s mind because the change is so severe that it will change behaviors. This is why Jesus said concerning the Pharisees look for fruits of their repentance meaning, watch for their behavior to change to show that they are really changing their mind about something.
We also see this in the case of Judas having repented of betraying our Lord (Matthew 27:3), or when Paul speaks about the gifts and calling of God are without repentance (Romans 11:29), or 2 Corinthians 7:8 and 7:9; or Jesus’ parable as recorded in Matthew 21: 28-31, which states:
“But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.”
We should always Seek to clarify the difference between the generic and the specific especially regarding this word when examining passages in God’s Word, because when we limit words to such a narrow definition that we may lose what the passage is actually saying.
In fact, getting this wrong can even affect how somebody looks at the subject of what is referred to it as “Eternal Security” because they do not understand what the context is. There are two passages in the book of Hebrews which are great examples of this wherein people hinge a belief system which is actually not taught in the Bible. Such as Hebrews 6:6, which states:
“If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.”
Do you notice what this passage doesn’t say, it does not say to renew them again to salvation.
You see what it speaking about is those that have changed their mind concerning living as Christians with in a Jewish community that had ostracized them and had condemned them as anathema, wherein they could not become involved in the Temple trades gilds to make money ,or even to shop in the kosher markets.
The author of Hebrews was not talking about people losing their salvation, but of changing their mind concerning their stance for Jesus because it was costing dearly, being Jewish Christians living in a Hebrew society which segregated them for their open announcement that they were followers of Jesus.
The subject was not salvation, it was them refusing to lay claim to Jesus even to the extent that they were not meeting with other Christians which is spoke about addressed a few lines later (Hebrews 10:25) in this letter written to Hebrew Christians living among the Jews.
The passage goes on to state, how could they change their mind about who the Messiah was, and if it was worth it to openly admit they were followers of Jesus, understanding it would be like again crucifying Jesus for their sins, could they again change their mind.
There is too much within Hebrews 6:4-6 to consider at this time, so please see our article entitled: “Hebrews 6:4-6 Does Not Teach That a Believer Can Lose His Salvation” LINK.
It is when we take the time to look through God’s Word and note the singular uses of a specific word that we come to understand it more fully.
It is in understanding that meanings change according to diverse spellings which effect the inflections of verbs and nouns and other tools of grammar.
Therefore, it is in recognizing specific spellings that one must take note in determining the definition of any given word.
One of the unfortunate casualties of the way that we humans process information is our habitual tendency of encapsulating ideas and principles into standards and beliefs which are incapable of change. Now
This is commonly referred to as “our perspective,” and is merely the way that we develop to look at certain things, which makes it easy for us to understand the world around us.
This is a survival tool that God has built within this, yet it is our ability to step out of our own perspectives that we have an opportunity to grow spiritually concerning God, and eternally concerning the subject of faith.
I say all this, to say:
“I think we need to get outside of our own way of looking at things, and attempt to look at things from God’s point of view in order to understand what is truth concerning us and the world around us.”
One example of the diversity between our perception and God’s perception can be seen in the term that is used concerning the bread that God provided for the Israelites as they were crossing the desert, which they referred to is “manna.”
However, God refers to the substance as: “heavens bread” (Exodus 16:4; Nehemiah 9:15).
“Manna” is a derogatory (insult to God) term in the Hebrew. Because the Israelites got sick of eating the same thing, they referred to it as “manna,” which is in the Hebrew is insulting and disrespectful (Derogatory: “displaying disdain by demeaning something), term literally meaning: “what is it?” (Exodus 16:15). This is not a question according to the phraseology, but is a disparaging title.
Another example of the difference between perceptions can be seen in the dream that was given to King Nebuchadnezzar – an earthly man.
God used an idiom that Nebuchadnezzar could understand according to his human mentality; that of a human being made up of different metals; gold, silver, bronze, iron (Daniel 2:31-36).
Yet, later when you see how God presents it to Daniel – a Godly man, these same kingdoms are made up of ferocious beast, which displays how God looks at these kingdoms of man (Daniel 7:2-7).
The Subject – Murmuring
The reason that the subject of human perception, compared to God’s perception become so important is never seen better in the consideration of murmuring.
Murmuring easily appears as such a small sin, as compared to adultery, murder, or even blasphemy – which is slander (Meaning to deliberately lie against another person).
It was the murmuring of the Israelites against God and Moses that brought them the snakes in many other afflictions while in the desert (Numbers 21:5-6)
Murmuring is an outward expression of a lack of faith from within, yet beyond this display of a lack of trust is a behavior that becomes repetitious when practiced openly by others as a lack of faith breeds a lack of faith when dire situations are encountered.
The worst thing a believer can ever do is to maintain a murmuring heart which produces an outward manifestation of murmuring among believers.
The Following Scriptures below address murmuring, and if you research the context of each passage, you will gain a better insight into how bad it is to God – please take the time to read the below passages in order to understand how to better safeguard yourself against this most heinous of sins against God (by not following bad examples), that of accusing Him of being unfaithful, not meeting His promises to take care of His children.
There is no worse sin than calling a parent incapable at the least or unreliable at the worst concerning his ability and desire to take care of his children.
This is why faith is so important to our Father, without it we have no foundation to stand before Him as it is the worst sin which we can commit against Him.
Faith is the only human expression that pleases God, there is no other expression that He speaks about in this manner, and it is the worst of violations against faith – to murmur against God – Hebrews 11:6 says:
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
There is nothing else in existence that pleases God. I’m aware this sounds outrageous because truly it must please God when we do certain things. However, give me one verse in the older new Testaments that states this fact using this word. This word is only use concerning faith and the only person that God ever states in particular that does this is his son Jesus Christ. See the Endnote #1 below to understand how important it is that we understand the only thing that pleases God, is faith.
Therefore, murmuring is the out word expression of not exercising faith. It’s like cancer because it grows from one person to the other. It is because of this that the Israelites that were over 20 years old when they were tested in the desert failed to be able to enter the land because they did not please God because they not only did not have faith in their hearts, they did not have faith in their mouth and went the opposite and sewed disbelief among each other.
So if murmuring is the outward expression of no faith, and is the opposite of what pleases God, the logical question is what does this mystical word please mean. It is a one and only rarely used word in both the Greek Septuagint and the Greek New Testament, with equivalent Hebrew words of the same meaning.
Simply this. It is to bring the most pleasure that you can to God. It is the most gratifying thing that you can do as a human being for God. There is nothing that is more pleasurable to him.
It is not partial, it is complete.
Very simply what this means, this is the best thing that you can never do for and to God.
But the opposite is also true. It is the worst thing that you can do to and for God, yet even more is when you verbalize it and display it as an outward behavior because it affects others and it brings death.
Please see Endnote #2 for Greek dictionary references for the word “pleased.”
Old Testament Scriptures About Murmuring
(Exodus 15:24) And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?
(Exodus 16:2) And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness:
(Exodus 16:7) And in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the LORD; for that he heareth your murmurings against the LORD: and what are we, that ye murmur against us?
(Exodus 16:8) And Moses said, This shall be, when the LORD shall give you in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full; for that the LORD heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him: and what are we? your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD.
(Exodus 16:9) And Moses spake unto Aaron, Say unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, Come near before the LORD: for he hath heard your murmurings.
(Exodus 16:12) I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God.
(Exodus 17:3) And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?
(Numbers 14:2) And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!
(Numbers 14:27) How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me.
(Numbers 14:29) Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me,
(Numbers 14:36) And the men, which Moses sent to search the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up a slander upon the land
(Numbers 16:11) For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the LORD: and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him?
(Numbers 16:41) But on the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the LORD.
(Numbers 17:5) And it shall come to pass, that the man’s rod, whom I shall choose, shall blossom: and I will make to cease from me the murmurings of the children of Israel, whereby they murmur against you.
(Numbers 17:10) And the LORD said unto Moses, Bring Aaron’s rod again before the testimony, to be kept for a token against the rebels; and thou shalt quite take away their murmurings from me, that they die not.
(Deuteronomy 1:27) And ye murmured in your tents, and said, Because the LORD hated us, he hath brought us forth out of the land of Egypt, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us.
(Joshua 9:18) And the children of Israel smote them not, because the princes of the congregation had sworn unto them by the LORD God of Israel. And all the congregation murmured against the princes.
(Psalms 106:25) But murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the LORD.
(Isaiah 29:24) They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.
New Testament Scriptures About Murmuring
(Matthew 20:11) And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house,
(Mark 14:5) For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.
(Luke 5:30) But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?
(Luke 15:2) And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.
(Luke 19:7) And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.
(John 6:41) The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.
(John 6:43) Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves.
(John 6:61) When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?
(John 7:12) And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people.
(John 7:32) The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning him; and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take him.
(Acts 6:1) And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.
(1 Corinthians 10:10) Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
(Philippians 2:14) Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
(Jude 1:16) These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.
1. Understanding how the ONLY way to please God is by FAITH
“But without faith it is impossible to please” Heb. 11:6
“So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God” Rom. 8:8
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” ~ Heb. 11:6
Rewarder. A person must believe not only that the true God exists, but also that He will reward people’s faith in Him with forgiveness and righteousness, because He has promised to do so (cf. Heb. 10:35; Gen. 15:1; Deu. 4:29; 1 Chron. 28:9; Psa. 58:11; Isa. 40:10).
“Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth [H7521]; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.” Isa 42:1
This is a Greek translation of the Hebrew prophecy of Isa_42:1-4 regarding the Messiah as pleasing God.
“Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.” ~ Matt. 12:18
Jesus comments concerning himself always pleasing the Father.
“And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.” ~ John 8:29
3 times God spoke from heaven regarding Jesus
When Jesus was baptized (Mark 1:11 & Luke 3:22) – God the Father speaking from heaven stating that Jesus always pleased Him.
“And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” ~ Matt. 3:17
The Mount of Transfiguration (Mark 9:7 & Luke 9:35 & 2 Pet. 1:17) – God the Father speaking from heaven stating that Jesus always pleased Him.
“While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” ~ Matt. 17:5
During the Triumphal Entry of Christ (John 12:28) – God the Father speaking from heaven stating God the father had glorified his name, and will glorify his name again by the resurrection
“Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.”
2 Pet. 1:17
From G2101; to gratify entirely: – please (well).
Total KJV occurrences: 3 (Strong’s – basic dictionary)
euarestéō; contracted euarestṓ, fut. euarestḗsō, from euárestos (G2101), well pleasing. To gratify entirely, to please. With the dat. (Heb_11:5-6; Sept.: Gen_5:22, Gen_5:24). In the mid., to take pleasure in, to be pleased with, with the dat. (Heb_13:16). (Greek Word Study Dictionary)
From G2101; to gratify entirely: – please (well). (Strong’s Greek Tense, Verb, Mood; Greek Grammar Guide – not the generic dictionary)