FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
“8For by grace (Gr., charis) you have been saved, through the faith5 —and this not of yourselves, it is the gift (Gr., doron) of God— 9 not by works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8, 9, Wilbur Pickering’s New Testament)-.
This aricle includes excerpts from Grace, a Free Ride to Heaven? GRACE IS A GIFT Chapter 9
We have established that “grace” alone does not meet the test of proximity for it to be the antecedent for the “gift” in Ephesians 2:8. Also, it does not meet the test of being in the correct “gender.” “A Greek pronoun like in English must agree with its antecedent in number and gender”.i Although “the faith” meets the test of proximity, it does not meet the criterion of gender either.
THE “OFFERING” GIFT FROM GOD
Ephesians 2:8 #4
The Source of our Possessions
Jacob grew wealthy with sheep by doing what God directed him to do. In Genesis 31:9, Jacob confessed to his wives that contrary to his father-in-law’s intent to defraud him, “Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me.”
Reciprocity of gifts.
Every good and perfect gift comes from God (James 1:17). Even the fruit of labor is a gift of God (Ecclesiastes 3:13; 5:19). So how can a man offer acceptably to God a lamb from his flock which God has given him? Yet, God from the beginning has authorized and approved of man returning a portion of His gifts including livestock in worship to Him. “And Abel gave an offering of the young lambs of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord was pleased with Abel's offering” (Genesis 4:4, BBE). Under the Law of Moses, “Who needeth not daily, as those high priests (of the Law of Moses), to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's” (Hebrews 7:27a)
God gave to Abraham a ram which God in turn accepted for worship by Abraham. God’s giving and receiving is emphasized in the story of the sacrifice of Isaac.
Isaac asked, “Where is the sheep – the one for a whole offering?” (Genesis 22:7bABPen).
“And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering” (Genesis 22:8a, KJV).
“Behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering” (Genesis 22:13b).
Words In Greek For Gifts
It is interesting to me how that the versions of the Bible economize in translating different words in the original Greek with a same English word. For example, the translators of the KJV use the single word “gift” to represent several different words in the Greekii. For example, in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”, the word for “gift” is not the same as in Ephesians 2:8. The word is charisma; that is, “grace.” It could be translated as “the grace of God is eternal life.”
On the other hand, the word “gift” in Ephesians 2:8 is Greek’s “doronG1435” which is consistently translated as “gift” with one important exception in Luke 21:4. There it is translated as “offerings”:
“For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offeringsG1435 of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had” (Luke 21, verse 4). Verse 1 says they were “casting their giftsG1435.”
Why was it not translated “gifts” in Luke 21:4? Or, perhaps, if it can mean “offerings”, a more important question is, “Why were not all passages translated as ‘offerings.’” That would make Ephesians 2:8 say “By grace are you saved through the Faith; ..it is the offering from God.”
So, which is it? Is it a sacred “offering” or just a “gift”?
IN THE OT
I checked the LXX Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible (OT) that was used worldwide in the first centuryiii, especially by the Gentile Christians, and the word doronG1435 is used in around 159 verses. Studying all passages, I concluded that the word “gift” (doronG1435) can be categorized into two actions for favor:
1 ...an offering to deity whether it be in money or in animals in order to seek His favor [Abel offered “doron” gift (Genesis 4:4), etc.].
2 ...an offering to honor a greater one in order to obtain favor from a king (Psalm 72:10) or a prospective bride’s parents (Genesis 24:53). It is also translated as a “bribe”, which was a sin (Amos 5:6).
At the first of the Bible in Genesis Abel offers an animal sacrifice to God. It’s a giftG1435 (Genesis 4:4, ABP+ & LXX). Toward the close of the Bible, it again says that Abel offered giftsG1435 to God (Hebrews 11:4; same word). The priests of the OT offered giftsG1435 to God according to the Law (Hebrews 8:4, same word).
IN THE NT
Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, the word doronG1435 in the NT refers to gifts in the same way as in the OT: (1) as presented as an expression of honor towards [an example, is worship to the baby Jesus (Matt. 2:11)-GW], (2) as support for the temple and the poor, (3) as offered to God, (4) of salvation by grace (Eph. 2:8), and (5) the celebration in Revelation 11:10.
Notice that the only verse in Vine’s list that was not an offering for deity’s grace was the Revelation verse which without doubt like the remainder of the book is figurative. In other words, the doron gift is consistently rendered in the NT as an offering to deity.
I conclude from this study that this word “gift” (doron) is used primarily for soliciting favor or approval from a lesser to a greater. It is specifically the “altar” gift of “sacrifice” or offering. In fact, Strong’s Dictionary of Greek defines it so: “a present; specifically a sacrifice.”
i Cain did not offer an acceptable sacrifice. “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door” (Genesis 4:7a).
ii G. West. In Search For The Gift Of The Holy Spirit, p. 71.
iii After the first century, possibly the church had so multiplied that their use of the LXX (Old Greek: Septuagint) version caused a backlash in the Jewish communities who refused to convert. The synagogues reverted back to the Hebrew version of the OT. “Eventually, early Christians adopted the OG (Old Greek) as their preferred version of the Hebrew Bible. Most Jews in Greek-speaking lands returned to using the Hebrew version that would later become the MT (Masoretic Text).” http://bibleodyssey.org/en/tools/bible-basics/what-are-the-earliest-versions-and-translations-of-the-bible.aspx.