Text Tuesday: (Be, Make) Heavy

On Tuesdays, I scour Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament words to find some extra insight into the biblical text. Today’s word is “heavy,” or “to be/to make something heavy.”

In the Hebrew Old Testament text, “heavy” (kabed) means “to honor.” This is an interesting Jewish idiom that we use today. When someone powerful or important speaks we often say, “Her words carry a lot of weight.”

In the Greek New Testament, “to be made heavy” (lype) has a different meaning. It carries the idea of grief or sorrow, a person experiencing a heaviness because of a loss of a loved one. The action of grief exhausts someone and they feel heavy because of it.

The two, distinct meanings in the two languages reminds us that reading the Bible is complex, for the same word “heavy” in English has two different meanings in the text. We get to do the tough work of hearing the ancient voices in order to understand the text.

 

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