Thursday, May 25, 2006

Living true in Love

Last night in our discussion we looked at the familar statement in Ephesians 4:15 commonly rendered in English translations as: "speaking the truth in love".

Naturally, we have often read the English as if the instruction is about preaching or proclaiming truth, with "love" being the way we go about telling others the truth. In other words, we need to tell others what is true, but do it lovingly. The "truth" in this reading of the verse comes down to facts, information, or doctrines. That is what we've heard this verse saying.

But the original Greek has a whole different meaning. The Greek uses a verb form for truth, in essence saying something untranslatable into English - truing in love. The Pulpit Commentary remarks that this word is hardly translatable in English - "it implies being true as well as speaking the truth and following the truth. Truth is the element in which we are to live, move, and have our being."

Rather than being about telling truth in a loving way to others, it is about us being true in love. It's why Paul then talks about the body of Christ building itself up in love - rather than truth.

The focus is not propositional truth statements told in a loving way, but love lived in a true way.

Through it all Tim brought up the concept of truing a tire, which is shaving rubber off an uneven tire until it is perfectly round again. We couldn't think of another English use of true as a verb - but this one works well.

We are to be trued in love.

Then we will be like Jesus, who is truth - not just has it or spoke it, but is truth.

Being true in love.

3 comments:

betsy2b said...

Yeah, I don't like this interpretation.
Way too hard....let's stick with the "I can tell anyone any truth that I think is truthful...as long as, deep down, I really love them, even though I may not like them on the surface." (after all, I AM a christian, the bible says I HAVE to love everyone, duh!)

Yep, that one's much easier.

P.S. Greg, why do you complicate my life by being soooo insightful?!

A said...

Brilliant! I love this.

pd said...

"Truing up" is also used in building houses, especially your foundation. (There must be a sermon in that statement) You use a level and a square so that your corners are what they should be and so that the brick mason has a "true" line to which he can lay his brick. That's why Homer nearly went crazy putting an OLD log cabin back together because nothing about it was "true". And it's for sure he could never go to Honduras to help build houses, he and his level would drive Mark over the edge!