Paul's First Letter to the Thessalonians

Paul's Second Letter to the Thessalonians

In the Aramaic language, the words for "Jews," "Judeans" and "Judaism" are all based on the name of the land, "Judea." Therefore, an individual from Judea is a "Judean," the people of Judea are "Judeans" and a person who believes in Judaism is a "Judean." There's no "Jew" or "Jewish." I wonder when the word "Jew" was introduced in the English language? Of course, it's become an acceptable designation. However, the terms "Jew" and "Jewish" are not always clear in the Bible. A reference to "Jews" may mean the Jewish people as a religion or the Jewish people as a nation or the Jewish inhabitants of Judea. However, in Aramaic, it's the context that decides whether "Judean" is a reference to the religion, the nation, the land or the culture. In Biblical times not all Judeans practiced Judaism. To call them all "Jews" is not always correct. We should distinguish between the inhabitants of the land, the culture and the religion of the people the Bible call "Jews." Today, a reference to "Jews" is primarily cultural. When we refer to Jews as a religion, we make that clear by saying "the Jewish religion," for example. In my translation, I've endeavored to use the appropriate designations for Jews, Jewish and Judaism, depending on the context of the passage.

Consider the 14th verse in Apostle Paul's First Letter to the Thessalonians, Chapter 2: "You brethren, however, resemble the churches of God in Judea, those Jews who have given themselves to Jesus Christ, so that you should likewise preach [the Kingdom] to your generation, just as they do to the other Jews."

It should be noted that in my translation it's clear that there are Jews who believe in Jesus Christ and those that don't. In other English language Bibles it's not always clear. Many people assume that none of the Jews believed in Jesus Christ, and some people think by definition. However, I don't agree with this concept. My understanding is different, and the difference is subtle.


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