As I have progressed in my relationship with Jesus, I have found my study habits changing. I suppose such a thing ought to be obvious but I noticed the change and have wondered at it. For example, I no longer do those “Read the Bible in a Year” plans. I do not say there is anything wrong with them. I have enjoyed making my way through different plans-sometimes historical, sometimes chronological, and seeing different patterns emerge. And yet, there were times when I would read a particular scripture and it would spark something in me. I would think about taking time to study it but I could not as I had my plan to adhere to. I would promise myself to come back to it but another year meant another plan and I didn’t have a great deal of time to devote to one scripture.
I don’t do that anymore. Now, if I see something I sink down into that passage until the Holy Spirit directs my attention to another. This happened during my study of John 3:5. I wrote in a previous post how scripture references and commentaries in my different Bible translations and study materials drew my attention to Ezekiel 36: 25-27. I commenced a word study on those verses and such vistas opened it was difficult not to travel down some of these new paths and to stay focused on what I was attempting to learn about John 3:5. While I do not think I am finished with John 3:5 either, I’m ready to take a look at some of these trails I’ve never been down and see what I find.
I was curious about the Hebrew word used for “give” as in “I will give you a new heart”. The word translated “put” in some of my translations (like the NKJV) as in “I will put a new spirit within you” is the same Hebrew word translated “give” only a few words before. I wondered if it might not contain the idea of birthing but it does not. The word is nathan: number 5414 in my copy of The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. There is a rather long entry for nathan and it’s worth reading through. In sum, translating nathan as “give” is an accurate translation.
Now, I find my Strong’s an invaluable resource but there are times merely looking up the Greek and Hebrew and getting a definition is a bit of a let down. I have other dictionaries and commentaries which can be helpful and I have a Hebrew lexicon coded with Strong’s numbers and arranged so the word and its root are listed together along with every scripture the word is found. Reading the word in other passages and seeing how it’s used is helpful but I can’t help wondering whether that is all I can learn.
Fortunately, I have a book called The Inner Meaning of the Hebrew Letters by Robert M. Haralick and I have Google. With these two resources, I am introduced to a world where the Hebrew letters themselves have forms and final forms and meanings that help to show me who God is.
Take nathan: it is written nun, tav, and nun in its final form. Before I make it passed the Table of Contents in Mr. Haralick’s book, I see that Nun means Emergence and Tav means True Law. I find that fascinating. Ezekiel 36:27 says “I will put (nathan) my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” In looking at the first two letters of nathan I see God at work. Emergence = He puts or gives and True Law = we walk in his statutes, keep His judgments, and do them. It’s with a sense of excitement and anticipation that I read the entries for these letters.
Mr. Haralick begins his entry for nun by stating “The fourteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is nun spelled nun-vav-nun.” (I’ve used English spelling-Mr. Haralick uses the Hebrew letters) He goes on to say that in Aramaic, the word nun means fish while in Hebrew the word is the root to sprout, spread, propagate, or shine. I am not unfamiliar with the word nun as I’ve read many times “Joshua, the son of Nun” and Mr. Haralick goes on to say, “Every instance of the word nun (spelled nun-vav-nun) in the Pentateuch is in the phrase “son of Nun”. He includes the scripture references in his footnotes but reviews Deuteronomy 31:23, 1:38, and 34:9 concluding, “That which is in emergence does not immediately accomplish what is to be accomplished for what is to be accomplished takes place later in time. It is the son of Nun, Joshua, the offspring of Nun, who goes into the land and causes us to inherit it. The father, Nun, emergence, does not go into the Promised Land. Therefore, when we are engaging in emergence we are charged to be strong and of good courage for it will take time for our emergence to produce something seeable. And in emerging, we shall be full of the spirit of wisdom.”
There are pages more information on nun, its cognates, how its meaning affects other words it is part of, and what its numerical value means. I also found an online resource (lightedway.org) which has a study on nun so, once again, I find looking into the meaning of anything, even a letter, is no small undertaking.
For now though, I have to pause and reflect on the bit I’ve shared. I see a picture of Jesus in Mr. Haralick’s words. Our inheritance, our Promised Land if you will, is in Him. He is the one that brings us to the Father and restores the relationship. He is Yeshua, He who saves; the one who brings us into the Holy of Holies through Himself. He is the one who puts in His life in us yet we do not immediately experience His fullness but rather, are transformed into His image from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). We can be strong and of good courage because we know that He who began a good work in us will complete it in the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).
To Him be the glory unto the Age of the Ages. Amen.
I drew my last paragraph from the following scriptures: Hebrews 10:20, Colossians 1:27, John 14:6, Ephesians 1:11-17, Romans 6:23, 2 Corinthians 5:19, and James 1:17
Quotes taken from:
Haralick, Robert M., The Inner Meaning of Hebrew Letters, Jason Aronson Inc. Northvale, New Jersey, 1995, pages 207-208