Lenski's Commentary

Here are some excerpts I pulled out from the new Libronix electronic edition of R. C. H. Lenski's commentaries. I thought our readers might find them as interesting as I did.

Interpretation of John 1:13 -
"The subject of v. 13 is the Logos, who constitutes the beginning, middle, and end of the entire prolog and thus needs no formal mention as John proceeds to describe his human birth. This birth was οὑκ ἐξ αἱμάτων “not due to bloods,” i.e., the mixture of blood from two human parents as in cases of ordinary human procreation. “Blood” is the material substance from which the human organism is formed. The plural “bloods” is the more necessary in the Greek, since the singular might be misunderstand. For the human organism of the Logos actually began with a bit of blood in the womb of the Virgin Mary; it was thus that she “conceived in the womb,” Luke 1:31. The explanation of the plural from the analogy of other Greek expressions must be dropped. Blood that is shed in drops or in streams, animals that are sacrificed, wounds and the slain in battle, murderous acts and the like, justify the use of the plural in the Greek but are no analogy for the generation of a human being. Where a real analogy occurs, as in the reading of some texts in Acts 17:26, the singular is used in the Greek, “hath made of one blood.” When the Logos became man, this was not due to, did not start with (ἐκ), the blood from two parents.

"From the act of procreation in which the blood of man and woman join so that the blood of both flows in the child’s veins, John advances to the impulse of nature which lies back of this sexual union, “nor of the will of the flesh.” The term “flesh” denotes our bodily nature as God made it, male and female, adding the blessing, “Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth.” “The will of the flesh” is thus the natural urge and volition implanted in our bodily nature to beget and to rear offspring. Like “bloods” this “will of the flesh” includes both man and woman. It is true that our blood as well as our flesh and the will of our flesh are now corrupt because of sin and death, yet this corruption is not stressed. The human birth of the Logos is not due to our nature either as it now is or as it once was. The will to beget children, implanted in man by God, had nothing to do with the incarnation. A far higher, an entirely different will, brought that about.

"Yet the decisive will in the act of procreation is that of the man not that of the woman, hence John adds, “nor of the will of man,” using ἀνήρ in distinction from γυνή and thus not to be identified with ἄνθρωπος, the generic term for man as a human being including both male and female. The three phrases used by John in stating how the birth of the Logos as man was not brought about are not coordinate, merely placed side by side; nor should we subordinate the second two phrases and regard them as merely defining more closely the first phrase. These phrases are like a pyramid, one placed on top of the other. They are like three circles, the second being narrower than the first, the third narrower than the second. Thus the first phrase includes the other two, and the second includes the third. Beyond the final, most precise specification John cannot go and need not go in his negations. The Logos was born entirely without a human father. In his conception no male parent was active. The detailed history of this conception and birth John’s readers know from the records of Matthew and of Luke, which John also takes for granted. Neither v. 13 nor v. 14 can be properly understood without the other two Gospels. What John here does is to restate with exact precision the vital facts contained in the full historical records of the other Gospels."

Lenski, R. C. H. (1961). The interpretation of St. John's gospel (67). Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House.

Ephesians 6:1, "For Children and Fathers" -
"1) Paul takes it for granted that the Christian home contains children. Nowhere has he cause to treat the modern crimes of abortion and so-called birth control which defeat the divine purpose of marriage as instituted by God (Gen. 1:27, 28) and its chief blessing (Ps. 127:3–5). Children, keep obeying your parents in the Lord, for this is righteous."

Lenski, R. C. H. (1937). The interpretation of St. Paul's Epistles to the Galatians, to the Ephesians and to the Philippians (646). Columbus, O.: Lutheran Book Concern.

Revelation 20:7 - After listing several misinterpretations of
"Gog and Magog", Lenski favorably quotes Graebner, saying:
"Here is sanity: 'Whatever is in league today against the Christian Church—anti-Christian scientific speculation, higher criticism, the New Theology, New Thought, Mormonism, Eddyism, materialism, sensualism, secretism, birth-control, all the forces of Sin and Carnality which seek to corrupt the Church and to slay her inner life, are the ‘Gog and Magog’ of Ezekiel and John. But the great day of the Lord is even now approaching, which will witness their irrevocable doom.' Graebner."

Lenski, R. C. H. (1935). The interpretation of St. John's Revelation (596). Columbus, O.: Lutheran Book Concern.

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