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Monday, April 30, 2007

epichorēgeō Your Faith

2Peter 1:3-7 gives us another Biblical example of the partnership involved in the Christian walk. [Also see Phil.2:12-13] After being informed of what God has supplied, the believer is then exhorted to "add to/furnish" his faith. The verb translated "add to/furnish" is epichoregeo. This fine old Greek word introduces the metaphor of the Choregos of Classical Athens.

The ancient world was totally alien from our modern view of culture, religion and politics. That sounds almost simplistic, but it's amazing how we tend to forget this when reading our Bibles! Civic, cultural and religious life were inextricably linked. There was no separation of church and state. There was no sense of "individualism" or "self determination". Membership in a particular city-state was the key component of their lives. Greek drama was presented as a part of the religious celebrations during various festivals. Wealthy patrons would be the ones to finance these endeavors. Such acts of generosity were viewed as an important factor in being a citizen of a particular polis. The Choregos was the patron who donated the money to finance the chorus. [The purpose of the chorus was to explain things to the audience and interact with various characters. They were a vital element in a Greek play.] In recognition of such magnanimous behavior, the Choregos was often honored with a monument, bearing appropriate inscriptions. This is a picture of such a monument in Athens. It's located just below the Acropolis, on the sides of which were the two primary theaters of Classical Athens.

The word eventually came to mean "generous and costly co-operation". Peter uses it to exhort the believer to engage in a cooperative effort with God that will result in a Christian life that glorifies Him. Do we view OUR Christian walk in this manner? Are we "generous" and making a "costly cooperative effort" to display a Christian walk that glorifies God? I think understanding the meaning and history of this one verb adds an important element to our understanding of Scripture!


master of none said...

I have a great idea. Why don't you publish your notes and outline (analytical chart) on this site for those of us that had to drop out of Peter. Like, more of this!

BethsMomToo said...

I don't think it would be possible to post Analytical Charts. This format doesn't let you indent! I have been emailing attachments after each class, though. Are you still getting those?

I could post some "nuggets" here as we go through 2 Peter. That's a good idea. [OR "That's I-good-dea" as Tim used to say when he was little...awwww.... ;) He can't WAIT until the grandsons start saying cute things and supplant my memories of HIS cute sayings! It's tough being the youngest...]

Of course, the disadvantage of not being IN the class is that you won't get to see my brilliant imitation of how a Greek chorus functioned. It's pretty funny! ;)

BethsMomToo said...

I should mention that the verb, epichorēgeō, is used AGAIN in 2Pet.1:11 "For in this way there will be richly PROVIDED/FURNISHED for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

The idea is that the believer "furnishes" his faith with godly characteristics, which glorifies God, [and he does so by means of the power God provides him (1:3-4)]- and that, by being a demonstration of true saving faith, will result in God "furnishing" the believer with a future entrance into the kingdom!

This mention of "entrance into", may in fact be a Metaphor of the way a polis would provide "entrance into" the city by victorious athletes returning to their city after being successful in the "Games" at Olympia, Corinth, etc. Instead of the Victor entering via the gate...the populace would break down part of their wall and provide him with a special entrance, as an honor to him! Pretty memorable, huh?