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Words with different meanings:Example 2

Arthur PinkThe Greek word diatheke occurs thirty-three times; its common meaning— like the Hebrew berith being “covenant.” In the Authorized Version it is so rendered twenty times, and “testament” thirteen. Now a covenant is, strictly speaking, a contract between two parties, the one promising to do certain things upon the fulfillment of certain conditions by the other; whereas a testament or will is where one bequeaths certain things as gifts. There seems to be nothing in common between the two concepts, in fact that which is quite contrary. Nevertheless we believe our translators rightly rendered the term both ways, though not always happily so: most certainly it should be “covenant” in 2 Corinthians 3:6; Revelation 11:19. It is rightly rendered “covenant” in Hebrews 8:6, and “testament” in 9:15, for a statement is there made to illustrate a certain correspondency between the preparatory and the ultimate in God’s dispensations. A will does not become valid while the perso making it is alive: it can only take effect after his decease. Hebrews 9:15-17, treats of a disposition showing the manner in which men obtain an inheritance through the riches of Divine grace. Thus, instead of using syntheke, which more exactly expressed a covenant, the Holy Spirit designedly employed diatheke, which was capable of a double application.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

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