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  • Writer's pictureJacob Mamachan

Context In Crisis! Redeeming The Context Of Scriptures - PART 3


This post will highlight the grammatical context although in Part 1 of this series I explained the Agape-Phileo usage in the scriptures, we will look at Acts. 20:32.

“And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”

Paul’s conclusion of His third missionary journey is recorded in Acts 20. He was heading to Jerusalem, planning to arrive before the Feast of Pentecost and on the way he encouraged the believers at Troas after which they had a tearful farewell with the elders of the church in Ephesus. This verse is nestled in his exhortation to the elders in Ephesus.

A basic reading of the English text would lead one to interpret that the grace of God would build and give an inheritance. All the focus would be given to the word “grace.” Many “Grace Churches” to paint with a broad brush, have adopted this reading to promote their version of grace. As I would usually put it, the English translations polish the rough edges in many places. This is not to comment on the translators or their work (and I am in no position to do that, and their work is regarded with high esteem) but it does not enable the layman to observe these intricacies underlying the translations. The modern church is not an answer too!

Firstly, the phrase “which is able” (τῷ δυναμένῳ (ton dunameno) has a nearer antecedent to “the word” τῷ λόγῳ (to logo). This means the enablement is done by The Word and interpreting grace to be the enablement would be inappropriate. The enabler is the Word.

Secondly, the phrase “to God and to the word of His grace” τῷ θεῷ καὶ τῷ λόγῳ τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ (pr : to theo kai to logo charitos auto) could be a hendiadys (Collins English Dictionary defines it as a rhetorical device by which two nouns joined by a conjunction, usually and are used instead of a noun and a modifier, as in to run with fear and haste instead of to run with fearful haste). In this case this would not have a grammatical reference and would read – God who is active in the word of Grace. The focus again would be God (τῷ θεῷ, to theo) and not grace (τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ, tes charitos auto).

Thirdly, the word of His grace is the whole Gospel that Paul was ordained to preach to the Jews and the Greeks, of repentance and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts. 20:21). Paul says in Acts 20:24 that the “account” λόγου (logo) of his life is to finish the course and his ministry to testify of the grace of God. Therefore, we must consider the whole gospel as being Paul's “word of grace” and not read into the text our own version of grace that would be foreign to the first century saints.

Here is my conclusion: let us be faithful interpreters of the Eternal Word of God. What is needed is a meek and humble spirit. I pray that God would open your eyes to understand all of His will. Fast-food type resources should be avoided and we must invest a lot of time into the study of scriptures. This is where I commend those who have dedicated their lives to sincere study of the text and have made immense contributions to Christendom. Our study should reflect our lives and not to rebut or make an impression. We have a great burden to build the body of Christ. This is our mission and one of the greatest responsibilities on earth. As we read in the prophets, the burden of the Lord was upon them to build the house of Israel. Similar burden must be borne by all who claim they have been adopted into the family of God.

“Now unto the King Eternal, Immortal, Invisible, the only Wise God be honor and glory forever, Amen”


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