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Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. II Timothy 2:15 KJV 

I almost titled this “War Of The Words”.  If you are here for some homiletic inspiration, you will be disappointed.  This is a class room, today.

A long time ago, I worked for an engineer who is from Cambridge, England.  We discovered that it was not the Atlantic that divided us, it was our common language.  Tom lacked a fully developed comprehension of North Louisiana colloquialisms.  Sometimes, the results of us both using the same exact words in the same exact sentences led to completely opposite results.

I also had a friend, at that time, who was from North Beirut.  He was working very hard to understand Louisianian.  In those parts of Louisiana, if you wanted someone to roll down a car window, you would say, “Hey, crack the window.”  Both Tom and my friend from Lebanon had a bit of turmoil when I would say, “Crack the window”.   My Lebanese friend would ask, “Why cracking the window?  It is perfectly good!”  And he would stare at me as if I had lost my mind.  So, I would use common English and say, OK, ROLL down the window.”  Again, he would stare at me as if I had just grown an extra head.  He would say, frantically with frustration, “Window is GLASS, Dawid, one cannot roll glass like it is a sheet!”   My Lebanese buddy was a near genius, he had a 4.o in college, had earned SEVERAL undergraduate engineering degrees and a couple of Masters degrees in the same amount of time I attempted to make it through ANY type of degree.

Either way, Tom or Lebanese friend, I would go through the illustrative mechanics of rolling down a window, while I highlight the virtue of the Louisiana brevity and colloquial meaning.

After about a year, Tom and I were finally on the same page.  My Lebanese buddy was continuously surprised by words that sound exactly like Lebanese, but were English, and the meanings were vastly different.

Did you know that in India, cow has around 50 + definitions?  It all boils down to how you say it, your inflection, where it lay in the sentence, and the verbs, adverbs and other modifiers that surround it.  You may think you are calling a woman beautiful there, but actually be insulting her in ways that would cost you your life.

Why all this palaver over words?  Because, unless you actually read Koine Greek, and Hebrew, you can get lost over what something means.   The good news is, with all our modern study tools, books, and the internet, you can become aware of what each and every word in the entire Bible means.

I talk to Athiests, Christians, Hebrew, Arabic speaking peoples, people from the Philippines, and parts of Europe.  I have to be very careful that when I say something, I know, in their vernacular, what it is I am actually saying.

One big issue I run in to constantly is a lack of understanding of the word “perfect”.

A good example is ” Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matthiew 5:48

By commonly accepted definition, we typically understand that perfect means that it has no flaws, whatsoever.  We also know that NOTHING on this planet, created or constructed is exactly perfect.  Not even the Pyramids, which are off by a very tiny margin of error.  No computer can create anything completely perfect, either.  It can come incredibly close, but at some point, on some level, a flaw can be found.  Genuine perfect means utterly and completely flawless. That is how we understand the word “perfect”.

So, is Jesus telling us to do something that is impossible?  NO.  What is impossible is our understanding of the words that were used to translate the scriptures into something you can actually read.  Unfortunately, translations, transliterations and interpretive bibles are flawed, and inaccurate.  Some can come incredibly close, but still, most languages lack the precision of being able to show mood, intent, flavor, idea and place in a simple word or description.

So, when most translations say Perfect, we think of an unattainable idea and give up.  A friend wrote me and told me that we cannot be perfect, that only God is perfect.  So WE try OUR best.

That simple statement is so inaccurate I can write a book on it.  We cannot do ANYTHING to make our life perfect before God.  Only the Spirit of God working in a submitted heart can work Anything in us.

Because I will be writing on the topics centered around the Lordship of Christ, and how that actually defines what a real Christian actually is, I will have to define terms, on occasion.  This is one of them.

Below is every use of the concept ‘perfect” used in the New Testament.  Read it carefully.  There are scripture references attached to each definition.

One thing I will add:  Any of the qualities of Christ, that we are told to have, always begin when you are saved.  That is the point at which the Spirit of God comes to you to BEGIN something in you.  After that, your growth TOWARD that thing is determined by how well you submit to the will of God.  The reason you weren’t raptured when you were saved is so the rest of this planet can watch you grow in Christ.  That is so that some others may be saved.  You will be the only gospel some people ever see and hear.  We are called to walk like Christ and be just like Jesus.  We also sin.  So, the world will be watching to see how you handle your sin.  Will you repent and grow, or will you try to justify it, or will you try to rationalize your sin to God and others, or will you lie, further betraying your relationship with Jesus.  You cannot do any of this on your own power or will.  Only God can do this in you as you submit to Him.  The third thing that the Character of Christ is, it’s complete before God.  When He sees you, he sees you are covered in the blood of Christ, and he declares you are complete, perfect, and whole.   So, even though, in this world, and on this earth, you are still growing into the character of Christ to the day you die, God already sees you as perfect.  You must keep growing so that your life becomes a living testimony to others about why you are a Christian.

Part of growing up is being able to read the bible for all it is worth.  You have to know what it says, why it says it, and what was really meant when it said it.  The Holy Spirit can lead you to the Bible, but He cannot make you drink deep of it.

Please look at these definitions of “perfect”.  Look up the reference verses.  You will see that your understanding of the word is vastly incomplete when you compare it to what it really means.  And this is only ONE of the many character traits of Christ we are to grow into.  Just remember, you cannot do this on your own power or will.  Only a heart submitted to the Holy Spirit can make these changes in you.

A-1

Adjective

Strong’s Number: g5046

Greek: teleios

Perfect (Adjective and Verb), Perfectly:

signifies “having reached its end” (telos), “finished, complete, perfect.” It is used

(I) of persons,

(a) primarily of physical development, then, with ethical import, “fully grown, mature,” 1Cr 2:6; 14:20 (“men;” marg., “of full age”); Eph 4:13;Phl 3:15; Col 1:28; 4:12; in Hbr 5:14, RV, “fullgrown” (marg., “perfect”), AV, “of full age” (marg., “perfect”);

(b) “complete,” conveying the idea of goodness without necessary reference to maturity or what is expressed under (a), Mat 5:48; 19:21; Jam 1:4 (2nd part); 3:2. It is used thus of God in Mat 5:48;

(II) of “things, complete, perfect,” Rom 12:2; 1Cr 13:10 (referring to the complete revelation of God’s will and ways, whether in the completed Scriptures or in the hereafter); Jam 1:4 (of the work of patience); Jam 1:25;1Jo 4:18.

A-2

Adjective

Strong’s Number: g5046

Greek: teleioteros

Perfect (Adjective and Verb), Perfectly:

the comparative degree of No. 1, is used in Hbr 9:11, of the very presence of God.

A-3

Adjective

Strong’s Number: g739

Greek: artios

Perfect (Adjective and Verb), Perfectly:

is translated “perfect” in 2Ti 3:17: see COMPLETE, B.

B-1

Verb

Strong’s Number: g5048

Greek: teleioo

Perfect (Adjective and Verb), Perfectly:

“to bring to an end by completing or perfecting,” is used

(I) of “accomplishing” (see FINISH, FULFILL);

(II) of “bringing to completeness,”

(a) of persons: of Christ’s assured completion of His earthly course, in the accomplishment of the Father’s will, the successive stages culminating in His death, Luk 13:32; Hbr 2:10, to make Him “perfect,” legally and officially, for all that He would be to His people on the ground of His sacrifice; cp. 5:9; 7:28, RV, “perfected” (AV, “consecrated”); of His saints,Jhn 17:23, RV, “perfected” (AV, “made perfect”); Phl 3:12; Hbr 10:14;11:40 (of resurrection glory); 12:23 (of the departed saints); 1Jo 4:18; of former priests (negatively), Hbr 9:9; similarly of Israelites under the Aaronic priesthood, Hbr 10:1;

(b) of things, Hbr 7:19 (of the ineffectiveness of the Law); Jam 2:22 (of faith made “perfect” by works); 1Jo 2:5, of the love of God operating through him who keeps His word; 1Jo 4:12, of the love of God in the case of those who love one another; 1Jo 4:17, of the love of God as “made perfect with” (RV) those who abide in God, giving them to be possessed of the very character of God, by reason of which “as He is, even so are they in this world.”

B-2

Verb

Strong’s Number: g2005

Greek: epiteleo

Perfect (Adjective and Verb), Perfectly:

“to bring through to the end” (epi, intensive, in the sense of “fully,” and teleo, “to complete”), is used in the Middle Voice in Gal 3:3, “are ye (now) perfected,” continuous present tense, indicating a process, lit., “are ye now perfecting yourselves;” in 2Cr 7:1, “perfecting (holiness);” in Phl 1:6, RV, “will perfect (it),” AV, “will perform.”
See ACCOMPLISH, No. 4.

B-3

Verb

Strong’s Number: g2675

Greek: katartizo

Perfect (Adjective and Verb), Perfectly:

“to render fit, complete” (artios), “is used of mending nets, Mat 4:21;Mar 1:19, and is translated ‘restore’ in Gal 6:1. It does not necessarily imply, however, that that to which it is applied has been damaged, though it may do so, as in these passages; it signifies, rather, right ordering and arrangement,Hbr 11:3, ‘framed;” it points out the path of progress, as in Mat 21:16;Luk 6:40; cp. 2Cr 13:9; Eph 4:12, where corresponding nouns occur. It indicates the close relationship between character and destiny, Rom 9:22, ‘fitted.’ It expresses the pastor’s desire for the flock, in prayer, Hbr 13:21, and in exhortation, 1Cr 1:10, RV, ‘perfected’ (AV, ‘perfectly joined’); 2Cr 13:11, as well as his conviction of God’s purpose for them, 1Pe 5:10. It is used of the Incarnation of the Word in Hbr 10:5, ‘prepare,’ quoted from Psa 40:6 (Sept.), where it is apparently intended to describe the unique creative act involved in the Virgin Birth, Luk 1:35. In 1Th 3:10 it means to supply what is necessary, as the succeeding words show.”*
[* From Notes on Thessalonians by Hogg and Vine, p. 101.]
See FIT, B, No. 3.

Note: Cp. exartizo, rendered “furnished completely,” in 2Ti 3:17, RV; seeACCOMPLISH, No. 1.

C-1

Adverb

Strong’s Number: g199

Greek: akribos

Perfect (Adjective and Verb), Perfectly:

accurately, is translated “perfectly” in 1Th 5:2, where it suggests that Paul and his companions were careful ministers of the Word.
See ACCURATELY, and see Note (2) below.

C-2

Adverb

Strong’s Number: g197

Greek: akribesteron

Perfect (Adjective and Verb), Perfectly:

the comparative degree of No. 1, Act 18:26; 23:15: see CAREFULLY, EXACTLY.

C-3

Adverb

Strong’s Number: g5046

Greek: teleios

Perfect (Adjective and Verb), Perfectly:

“perfectly,” is so translated in 1Pe 1:13, RV (AV, “to the end”), of setting one’s hope on coming grace.
See END.

Notes:

(1) In Rev 3:2, AV, pleroo, “to fulfill,” is translated “perfect” (RV, “fulfilled”).

(2) For the adverb akribos in Luk 1:3, AV, see ACCURATELY; in Act 24:22, AV, see EXACT.

(3) For the noun akribeia in Act 22:3, see MANNER.

Vine, W. E. “Perfect (Adjective and Verb), Perfectly”, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words. Blue Letter Bible. 1940. 24 June, 1996 12 Jul 2013.
<http://www.blueletterbible.org/search/Dictionary/viewTopic.cfm?
type=GetTopic&Topic=Perfect+(Adjective+and+Verb),+Perfectly&
DictList=9#Vine’s>

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