The World: An Inductive Exegesis and an Exposition -- By: William H. Bates

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 068:269 (Jan 1911)
Article: The World: An Inductive Exegesis and an Exposition
Author: William H. Bates


The World: An Inductive Exegesis and an Exposition

William H. Bates, D.D.

Every Bible student, and indeed every reader of the Bible, has been perplexed by the word World, used as it is in Scripture, now with one meaning, now with another; on the one hand what it intends being approved, permitted, on the other hand disapproved, prohibited. Where is the line to be drawn that distinguishes between the good and the bad, between the allowed and the disallowed? All, doubtless, have felt that if such discrimination could be clearly set forth, a real contribution would be made to enlightenment in Christian thought and helpfulness in Christian life.

A satisfactory answer to the question, What is the World? Can be found only in a study of all the passages in the Bible where the word occurs; and the answer, to be satisfactory, must include all the contents of the term and an explicit exposition of them. In all the range of religious literature, so far as the writer is aware, such study has not been made. It is here attempted.

The one English word “World” translates five different Hebrew words in the Old Testament, and five different Greek words in the New Testament. These may be presented, it is hoped, so that not only those instructed in the original languages of the Scripture, but the uninstructed, can understand them.

The Old Testament Terms

The first word in the Old Testament is ארץ erets. It occurs 2454 times. In the Authorized Version it is translated 1512 times land; 695 times earth, as in Gen. 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth”; 139 times country; 99 times ground; 3 times way; nation, Held, common, and wilderness, once each; and 4 times world, as in Ps. 22:27, “All the ends of the world shall remember,” etc. (see also Isa. 23:17; 62:11; Jer. 25:26). This is the world, or earth, simply in its physical aspect. In Gen. 1:10, God pronounces it “good.”

The second is חדל chedel. It occurs but once, Isa. 38:11, “I shall behold man no more with the inhabitants of the world.” Gesenius defines it, “place of rest, region of the dead, hades.” Young’s Concordance gives it the meaning of cessation. While the Revision translates ...

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