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  1. Big Al

    Big Al New Member

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    Grammar bait and switch

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Big Al, May 26, 2017.

    Hello, I have a different kind of question. What I need help with is understanding the difference of these two sentences, beyond the obvious.

    "Your throne, O God, is forever..."

    "God is your throne forever..."

    If the first sentences accurate, what exactly, is the second sentence doing to the first, as far as the English language goes
     
  2. Spencer1990

    Spencer1990 Contributor Contributor

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    The biggest difference is your placement of the to be verb "is." When you place it before "your" it becomes a question. "God is your throne forever?"

    If you moved that to "God your throne is forever," the only difference to me is the emphasis of the speaker. When you use the interrupter "O God" it tells me the speaker is emphatically making the statement. It also feels antiquated and biblical.

    I'm sure there are other people who know more about this than I do, but those are my thoughts.
     
  3. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    First is a statement.
    Second is a question.
     
  4. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Two very different things are being said here. Assuming these examples are exact as regards wording and punctuation....

    This sentence speaks about the everlasting reign of God as the almighty. It only speaks about God, not one's relationship with God.

    This sentence is different. It addresses one's relationship with God and gives a second meaning to the word throne. In the first sentence, throne refers to God's position as the almighty. In this second sentence it becomes more figurative. It might mean that one must regard God as the almighty, or it might also mean that with God's grace as the almighty, what one will receive from him are the glories bestowable by an almighty. It would depend on the contextual information that comes after this, but regardless, the shift has moved from God to the person in God's presence. If there were a comma after the word "God" in this sentence (known as a vocative comma), then it would be a question, but without the comma, and adhering to strict rules of punctuation, it's not a question.
     
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  5. Big Al

    Big Al New Member

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    The exact quotes are:
    1) But of the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.

    2) But of the Son he says, "God is your throne forever and ever.
     
  6. joe sixpak

    joe sixpak Banned

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    =====

    They are two totally different sentences with different subjects.

    In the first , the throne belonging to God is forever, and God is being told that factoid.
    In the second it says God is your throne, and He lasts forever. And you are being told that factoid.
     
  7. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Are these by chance the same sentence from two different versions/translations of the gospel? Be that the case, it does go to show how a small alteration in translation can create a wholly different meaning. I work as a professional translator and I would most certainly not consider the versions in question to be interchangeable - assuming I am correct and these are different versions from different translations. One of the more infamous mistranslations in the modern gospel is the lord's prayer. In the original, the word for father is aba, which is not correct to translate as father. Aba is a child's word, an endearment. It would be more like daddy or papa, which clearly lends a completely different tone to that section of the text.
     
  8. Arktaurous34

    Arktaurous34 Active Member

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    Beyond the obvious? I'm not sure what you are going for. The ellipsis (...) at the end of each suggests I am not even looking at two sentences. A capitalized "G" on God means a proper noun. All too obvious though. How about this:

    The first sentence is a excerpt from Hebrews chapter one verse eight in several translations of the bible (KJV, NKJV, NIV and possibly the ASV). The second sentence is a excerpt from the same verse in the New World Translation of the bible. All translations claim to be derived from the original Greek manuscripts and are apparently the subject of a long standing debate between some Christians and Jehovah's Witnesses regarding the Trinity and the deity of Jesus. As far as your question goes, the second sentence (as it is displayed above) sounds like a question while the other seems more like a statement.

    For whatever its worth, I think it would be more constructive for you to consider the complete context of a piece of literature (as the author intended) instead of just a controversial Greek to English sentence fragment.

    P.S. none of this was meant to be offensive so hopefully no one was injured :brb:

    Best wishes @Big Al
     
  9. joe sixpak

    joe sixpak Banned

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    How did we get from parsing English grammar to biblical theology?

    @Big Al
    Was your question about grammar or translating ancient mss used to create versions of the Bible?

    As Arktaurous34 notes there are many translations that do not agree.

    Consensus is that the NIV is the most accurate and they note where there are issues or controversy or problems because multiple ancient mss disagreed whether due to copying errors or people making 'corrections'. It also notes when we don't know what an ancient word meant. And notes places where there are references to other mss that no longer exist.
     
  10. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    The two sentences have completely different meanings. The fact that they both refer to God and a throne is essentially coincidental.
     
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  11. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Touche. Well, mostly.

    The writer of the Letter to the Hebrews is quoting Psalm 45, verse 6, and in the NIV it goes:

    Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever;
    a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.
    The psalm begins as an ode on the wedding of a king, but it soon becomes obvious that the royal figure being addressed is no mere human. In fact, he is addressed as "God." Which is why Psalm 45 was always considered to be a prophecy of the coming Messiah. The writer of Hebrews quotes the psalm and other OT texts to prove that this Messiah, whom he identifies with Jesus of Nazareth, is higher and more worthy of honor than any angel (apparently the writer's audience had an unhealthy predilection towards angel worship and needed their heads screwed on straight. Or maybe they were making out that Jesus really was an angel in disguise and not God in human flesh. The context will support either or both).

    But given that background, @Big Al, I'm not sure what you mean by asking what the second sentence does to the first. They would never appear in the same context. The first translation addresses the (Messiah-)king as God and asserts that his throne (that is, his rulership) will last forever; the second implies a merely human king and metaphorically states that God will always be the basis of his kingly power. At the most, it would be saying that a particular human king has a special relationship to God that other human rulers don't share.

    At least, that's what I think the latter would be. It's nothing I've ever run across in the Scriptures. "God is my hope," "God is my fortress and deliverer," "God is my strength and my song," yes. "God is my/your throne," no. (I'm open to correction from a standard translation, btw.)

    That said, maybe I do see what you're asking for. What the second rendering does to the first is strip it of its power. If the correct translation of the original Hebrew of Psalm 45:6 and the Septuagint Greek quoted in Hebrews 1:8 is "God is your throne forever," it guts the writer's argument that Jesus the Messiah is superior to the angels. If all it's doing is to remind an earthly king of the source of his authority, it would be pointless for him to quote it.

    I'm curious, though: How did this question arise? Yes, it proves that words and word order matter, but why these words in particular?
     

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