This is the first post in a series of posts about definitions. I am going to attempt to “let the cat out of the bag” as I talk about words that may have been hijacked over the years. Perhaps these words have been given a definition that may not have been shined on with a midday sun. The first cat?
In the English language…Two letters. Two letters that have come to change the way I read the entire New Testament. In the Greek, the word is εἰς. This word is translated as “in,” “resulting,” “toward,” and “into.”
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, Magi from the East arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”
Matthew 2:1-2 (NASB)
So that begs the question, why is this word, εἰς, translated as in? Is there another word that εἰς could mean? The word in definitely fits the verse at the location it is placed. I wonder if another English word was placed there, would it be grammatically correct? Would it enhance the meaning of this passage? If so, what about other English passages that use this same Greek word, εἰς? What about the other in word, ἐν?
Come with me, brothers and sisters, as we journey deep…past all the benchmarks you may have considered important or necessary. Higher than standards once considered regal. If you have read The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis, you may remember our friend, Reepicheep, and his quote, “Further up! Further in!” I echo his call to us:
Further up! Further in!
Back to those two letters… i … n …
Upon further review, this word, εἰς, can also mean into in the Greek. This Greek word was used over 1700 times in the New Testament. The definition is “to” or “into”: indicating the point reached or entered, of place, time, fig. purpose, result. Think of reaching a destination…but that destination being pregnant with meaning! More than just leaving the US and traveling into Canada. This in word would mean giving up American citizenship and actively gaining Canadian citizenship. References: 1 John 4:9; John 12:46; Luke 24:51; Hebrews 9:24; John 3:5; Colossians 1:13; Galatians 4:6.
Another word, ἐν, means in, on, or among: properly, in (inside, within); (figuratively) “in the realm (sphere) of,” as in the condition (state) in which something operates from the inside (within). Think going in a submarine. You are dependent upon that which you are in for sustenance, protection, and life. Strong’s Concordance calls it “supra-terrestrial localities.” This Greek word was the most often used in the New Testament at over 2700 times. References: Ephesians 1:10; Colossians 1:20; Hebrews 9:23; 1 Corinthians 11:25; Galatians 1:16; Romans 8:4; Colossians 1:19; Colossians 3:3; John 14:17; Colossians 3:16; Romans 5:5; Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 3:11 (the second one).
And in some other passages, the word κατά is used. This word means down, against, according to: properly, “down from, i.e. from a higher plane to a lower plane, with special reference to the terminus (end-point).” Think of a software program downloading from a server to a laptop computer, or a smart-phone…and the smart-phone is the final perspective that is being discussed. References: Romans 7:22; Ephesians 3:11 (the first one); Hebrews 1:10; Hebrews 11:13; Ephesians 4:24.
There are a couple of other ways the English word in is used in the Greek language. For the sake of this article, we will focus on the previously mentioned three. We’ll use simpler words like nationality…wait, better yet…identity. Then location. The third word will be download.
Who knew that those two letters in the English language had such an effect on how we read the words of Scripture and hear the Word of God?
Let’s start with download.
Download is a synonym of convert, or metamorphose, or transform, or revise. These are words that definitely apply in the references provided.
“For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man,” (Romans 7:22 NASB) or “For I joyfully concur with the law of God which has transformed the inner man.”
“This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord,” (Ephesians 3:11 NASB) or “This was downloaded from the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
“All these died in faith, without receiving the promises…” (Hebrews 11:13 NASB) or “All these died converted by faith, without receiving the promises…”
This in is some sort of radical change due to something greater. This word is used based off of something higher and greater than the receiver. This isn’t about the person it is in. This is about the giver from where it comes. What a gift this in is! This law of God, eternal purpose, and this faith is welcome in us!
Next is location.
Where are you? In your home? Your car? Your workplace? That is the location you are in. With these passages, think of a location as you read through them. Even better yet, think, being in the realm of. And with physical location, or this realm, comes physical expression.
“with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him (Ephesians 1:10 NASB)
“In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.'” (1 Corinthians 11:25 NASB)
“so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:4 NASB)
“For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him,” (Colossians 1:19 NASB)
“For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:3 NASB)
“and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:5 NASB)
“you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,” (Ephesians 1:13 NASB)
“This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord,” (Ephesians 3:11 NASB)
“Christ is all, and in all.” (Colossians 3:11 NASB)
So the question is, where are you? If you are, location-wise, in the realm of Christ…things are good! How do you get located “in Christ?” Hear the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believe! Ephesians 1:13 encourages us with this Good News, then our location will be sealed in Christ, or in the realm of Christ!
Where is Christ? If you are located in Him, He is located in you! Through the Holy Spirit, as Romans 5:5 shows us. And once you’re there, you realize Colossians 3:11. That is beautiful, my brothers and sisters! May we express Him and His realm from our locations!
Finally, our identity.
Who are we? Who is our corporate identity? There is a directional move with this version of the word in. We must think of where one was prior to the now, or stated realm, or where one will be after the now, or stated realm.
“By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.” (1 John 4:9 NASB)
“I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.” (John 12:46 NASB)
“While He was blessing them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven.” (Luke 24:51 NASB)
“For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;” (Hebrews 9:24 NASB)
“Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5 NASB)
“Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!'”(Galatians 4:6 NASB)
The location of where Christ was and then directionally entered into earth, or our heart, or heaven…that can have a tremendous impact on how we see Him and how we live today. Also, think of this as a nationality, or heritage, in addition to identity. Because of where Christ has moved from and into, He has changed our heritage, our nationality!
The word in is quite a big deal. Two letters, but enormous meaning. This word, translated from the Greek, is used hundreds of times. The majority of the meanings are location or realm, but there are other ways in is used. Whether Christ is downloading His thoughts in us, or He is located in us, or He has entered into heaven for and with us giving us a new identity and heritage, we should see in in a whole new light. The Light of Christ, in all!
How does this change the way you see in?