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Topics Semitic Origins of the NT

Textual Evidence of a Hebrew Origin for the New Testament

By Jeff A. Benner

Throughout the Old Testament, the writers would frequently make "word puns." Here is a simple example of a word pun in the Book of Genesis.

And Yahweh Elohiym formed the human (adam) of dust from the ground (adamah)... (Genesis 2:7)

The Hebrew behind the word “ground” is אדמה (adamah, Strong's #127) and is related to the Hebrew word אדם (adam, Strong's #120). Here is another example.

And he said, what did you do? The voice of the blood (dam) of your brother is crying out to me from the ground (adamah).(Genesis 4:10)

In this verse the word דם (dam, Strong's #1818) is related to the word אדמה (adamah, Strong's #127).

These word puns can be found throughout the Hebrew text of the Old Testament. They can also be found in the New Testament, but only if the Greek is translated back into Hebrew. One of these many word puns can be found in Matthew 3:9.

God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

The Greek word for stones in this passage is λίθων (lithon, Strong's #3037) and the word for children is τέκνα (tekna, Strong's #5043). However, when these two words are translated into Hebrew, we have אבנים (ebemiym, Strong's #68) for stones and בנים (beniym, Strong's #1121) for sons.

God is able of these stones (ebeniym) to raise up children (beniym) unto Abraham.

These word puns pop up everywhere when the Greek New Testament is translated into Hebrew. In addition, Martin Luther, the Protestant Reformer from the 16th Century had this to say about Hebrew and the New Testament.

"The Hebrew language is the best language of all... If I were younger I would want to learn this language, because no one can really understand the Scriptures without it. For although the New Testament is written in Greek, it is full of Hebraisms and Hebrew expressions. It has therefore been aptly said that the Hebrews drink from the spring, the Greeks from the stream that flows from it, and the Latins from a downstream pool."

(Martin Luther, Table Talk, quoted in Pinchas E. Lapide, Hebrew in the Church, trans. Erroll F. Rhodes - Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1984).

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Related Pages by Jeff A. Benner

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