The epistle of this 25th Sunday in ordinary time cites-according to experts- the refrain of an old hymn or formula of faith in verses 5 to 6a of 1Ti 2. A kind of ride by the time machine towards the era of the first Jesus communities. As a matter of fact, verses 3 to 6a are very dense: it redirects to high-level theology . But that is just not the subject of this blog. Let’s better embark on a little tour with words, a sort of handycraft with language.
Most known modern translations employ sensitive words: saviour, redemption … I would better suggest coming back to some of the very origins: for exemple, to the standard version of the Bible in Syriac, called Peshitta, offered to all us thanks to DUKHRANA tool http://www.dukhrana.com/peshitta/
It is worthy reminding that Syriac is an ancient Semitic language, very next to the possible mother tongue of Jesus, a kind of Aramaic dialect. In our selected fragment, we find a recurrent Syriac lexical root: ܚܝܐ which means LIFE. By the way, this root is just the same also in Hebrew, Arabic, classical Ethiopic and so on -of course, changing the usual letters for each one of every language-.
Obviously, the persistence of this root with meaning of “life” does not imply that soteriology (a theological branch that deals with the concept of “salvation”) could be minimized to the rank of a reflection about life. Nevertheless, (good) life is an aspect closely related to salvation. If we would stay among gourmets, it would be said that rice is to paella (a Spanish receipt) what life means to salvation.
Here is my own versión-specially for your eyes- of 1Ti 2, 3-6a:
“This (prayers, thankgivings, etc, mentioned in previous verses) is beautiful and acceptable to God, who gives life (it is employed a kind of active participle of a verb with a lexical content next to “giving life “). He wants all human beings to live (again, the same root) and to pay attention to the knowledge of the truth.
One is God,
one is the mediator of God and of the human beings:
Jesus, the man, the Messiah.
He is himself the one who gives ransom in favour to everybody.”
It remains a high density text but I think that, somehow, we simplify the equation. If you desire so, classical translations to compare with may be also found in the mentioned website of DUKHRANA.
And a last comment: experts in liturgy cut the reading of the Biblical text just in verse 8. Personally, I find it better that way, because if not, then some specific advice for ladies comes next and, nowadays, perhaps this precise piece of advice may be considered not always politically correct. Although from a certain point of view, some of these recommendations can also be regarded as “unisex” as far as some gentlemen could exercise some more austerity too.
Have a nice Sunday-