Faith of A Mustard Seed

Barbara Woods Washington

Barbara Woods-Washington

“Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews are entrusted with the Oracles of God. What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God?” (Romans 3:3). Three occurrences of ‘Faith’ in Paul’s Letter, To The Romans. What is new is the deepest truth of what was old. Paul now turns to the old: “the logion of God.”

‘Logion/oracles’ are ‘sayings’; ‘pronouncements’; ‘utterances’; but of specific nature— ‘directly from the deity’. The ‘logion/oracles’ is ‘The Word of God’ in it’s most strictest sense which IS the Testament of ‘Old’. First delivered to Moses on Mt. Sinai, the initial formula for ‘logion/oracle’ is” Thou shall, You shall…;Thou shall not, You shall not…”. It is ‘Commandment’, with direct correlation to divine protection. As this ‘salvation history’ moves across the generations of this people to whom these sayings, these utterances, the ‘Words of God’ are entrusted— comes the ebb and tide of faithfulness and faithlessness. ‘Logion/oracles’ moves from ‘Commandment’ to ‘Covenant’; from ‘Law’ to ‘Prophet’ with this new formula: “Hear the Word of Lord…”

Kittel calls attention to ‘two lines’ of usage of the ‘logion/oracles’ in New Testament. First, consistent with the Old Testament, these utterances, the ‘Words of God’ as ‘Commandment and Covenant’ entrusted to this people is known by each and every New Testament writer. The second line moves from the ‘logion/oracles’ of old to the events fulfilled as salvation given in the ‘logion/oracles’— namely the Jesus Christ Event; which these ‘New’ witnesses now proclaim.

For as complex and widespread the usage of the ‘lego/to hear’ and ‘logos/word’ word group is in Greek language, the form ‘logion/oracles’ is rare and is reserved, again, strictly as ‘God Word’— with only 4 uses in New Testament; and Paul’s single-use.

I consider how far we have come in what ‘The Word of God’ means to us in our times. Commandment and Covenant are no longer central.The ‘Word of God’ is religion (Judaism, Christianity, Islam— all of Abrahamic descent). It is translations (like churches and denominations of Christendom— too many now to count). The ‘utterances’, ‘the saying’ for us is ‘Red Letter’ (with credit given to Klopsch in 1899 for printing the first bible with the ‘Sayings of Jesus’ highlighted in red).In our times ‘The Word of God’ goes way beyond ‘preaching’— it is ‘Televangelism’!

“To begin with, the Jews are entrusted with the Oracles of God. What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God?” Needless to identify the void in New Testament Pauline scholarship on the subject of “the logion of God. “What with this being Paul’s single use of “the logion of God” coupled with it’s rare form usage in New Testament; and, not even to enter here into the mega-complex discussion of ‘revelation’— the ‘how’ “the logion of God” is received by (hu)man. Even raised in question form, Paul’s point is clearly ‘hope’ in our times: ‘our faithlessness could never “nullify the faithfulness of God?”

by email: myfathersmansion@mail.com

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