Dec 16, 2008

Wuest on Adoption

"This word (adoption) is the translation of huiothesia, a word of huiso "a son," and thesia, a form of the verb tithemi meaning "to place," the compound word meaning "to place as a son." The Greek word teknon which means "a child," comes from the verb tikto "to give birth to." It therefore has in it the idea of birth relationship. The word means "a born-one." The word huios does not have this implication. Huios is used in Gal. 3: 26 of the believer under law. The latter was under the schoolmaster (the paidagogoso, a slave charged with the moral supervision of a child in its minority. The word teknon is used in Galatians (4:25, 27, 28, 31) of the believer under law. Thus a teknon is a believer in his minority, a huios, an adult son. Believers under the covenant of law were teknon, that is born children of God in their minority. Believers under grace, are both teknon, born children of God and huios, adult sons of God. This meaning of an adult son is to be used only where the word refers to a believer in this age of grace. The word is used also in the N.T., as a Hebrew idiom, where a person having a peculiar evil, is called the son, (huios) of that quality (Lk. 10: 6, Eph. 2: 2, 5: 6, 8). The word huios is also used to refer to the male issue of child.

The A.V., uniformly translates teknon by the word "child" except in the following places where it is rendered by the word "son," which is the proper translation of huios. Mt. 9:2, 21:28; Mk. 2:5, 13:12; Luk. 2:48, 15:31, 16:25; John 1:12; I Cor. 4:14, 17; Phil. 2:15, 22; I Tim. 1:2, 18; II Tim. 1:2, 2:1; Tit. 1:4; Phm. 10; I John 3: 1, 2. Study these passages, using the word "child" in the translation, keeping in mind the idea of the birth-relationship existing, and see what clearer light is thrown upon them. For instance, Mary calls Jesus "child." He was only twelve years old at the time. Yet this child was confuting the learned Doctors (Lk. 2:48). Timothy was Paul's child and the latter was his spiritual father, for Paul had won Timothy to the Lord. In John 1:12, regeneration is in view. In I John 3: 1,2, the
fact that we are born-children of God, is in view, having the nature of God. In Phil. 2:15, believers, being children of God, and possessing therefore the nature of God, are expected to reflect in their lives the holiness, love, and other qualities of God.

The word huios is uniformly translated "son" except in certain places, some of which rightfully use the word "children" where the plural refers to children of both sexes. But the following places should be translated by the word "son": Mt. 23:15; Lk. 6: 35, 16:8, 20-34, 36; John 12:36; Acts 3: 25, 13:10; Rom. 9:26; Gal. 3: 26; Eph. 2:2, 5:6; Co. 3:6; I Thes. 5:5. It will be observed that in many of the above places the Hebrew idiom is used where a person having a peculiar quality or is subject to a peculiar evil, is called the son (huios) of that quality or evil. He partakes of the nature of that quality.

Coming now to the word "adoption" (huiothesia), we find that it was a term used in Roman legal practice. It referred to a legal action by which a person takes into his family a child not his own, with the purpose of treating him as and giving him all the privileges of an own son. The custom was not common among the Jews, but was so among the Romans, with whom an adopted child is legally entitled to all rights and privileges of a natural-born child. This custom, well-known in the Roman empire, is used in the N.T., as an illustation of the act of God giving a believing sinner, who is not His natural child, a position as His adult son in His family. This is a legal act and position, and not the same as regeneration and a place in the family as a born-child of God.

The word is found in Rom. 8:15, 23, 9:4; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5. In Rom. 8:15 it is the Holy Spirit who places believing sinners in the family of God as adult sons. In Rom. 8:23,
believers have already been placed in the family of God, and are led by the Spirit as the adult sons of God. But only when their mortal bodies have been glorified at the Rapture, will they possess all that sonship involves. In Rom. 9:4, the nation Israel is said to have been placed in the special relationship as the peculiar people of God, thus God's own by adoption. Gal. 4:5 and Eph. 1:5 refer to the same thing that Rom. 8:15 refers to."

See here

I will be having more to say about this in upcoming postings.

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