Oct 14, 2016

Waiting For The Huiothesia IX

Chapter IX - Teknon vs. Huios

In this chapter we will study the difference between "teknon" and "huios," two of the leading NT Greek terms used to denote those who are saved and members of the family of God. The reason for studying the NT meaning and usage of "huios" is because "huiothesia" has "huios" as the first part of the compound word. What does it mean to be a "son" of God, or to be "son" of something else, such as "sons of disobedience" and "sons of light"?

Huiothesia is "son" placement, not "child" placement. Further, huiothesia is not "son making" but "son placing." In this study we will see that often the word "teknon" refers to the beginning of spiritual life, to birth into the family of God, and to the infantile or novice state of the Christian in his spiritually begotten life. On the other hand, "huios" generally refers to the perfection of begotten life and person.

What have we affirmed thus far about "teknon" and "huios"? Simply these things:

1) "teknon" is distinct from "huios" and neither term is used loosely or interchangeably (as if they were practical synonyms), and

2)  "teknon" means "child" while "huios" means "son," and translators, like the KJV, who oftentimes translate "huios" (singular or plural) as "child" or "children," and who translate "teknon" as "son," make a big mistake, and

3)  "teknon" is never a term to denote adopted children, but the idea of being a begotten child is integral to the meaning, and

4) "huiothesia" involves being adult sons and not mere children, and denotes more than just being a male child, but often connotes maturity or final state of perfection.

In this chapter we will look deeper into the proper definition of "teknon" and "huios" by noticing how these terms are used in Scripture.

In an Internet article titled "The Difference between Teknon and Huios as used in the New Testament" (SEE HERE), there is this enlightening information about these two terms (STEM Publishing : Magazines : The Bible Treasury : Volume 12 - emphasis mine).

"The word teknon (from tikto to bear) is used for "child," irrespective of sex, as descended by birth from its natural parents. (See Matt. ii. 18.) Whilst huios, "son," is the word used to distinguish a male from a female child (see Matt. x. 37), it is also used in a general sense to denote descendants as representing the family or line of the particular person. (John iv. 12.) When we look into scripture to find the use of these words, in reference to the relationship of a believer to God, we remark that the word huios — son — is the word always used in the Epistle to the Hebrews, and teknon does not occur in the book, whilst in the Gospels and Epistles of John teknon (child) is used to express that relationship with only one exception, which will be referred to hereafter. The word huios occurs frequently in John, as applying to Christ, or in the simple sense of male child, or descendant, (and once in John xvii. 12, son of perdition), never (save in John xii. 36, the exception referred to), in allusion to a believer's relationship to God."

Who can deny, in the face of these few facts, that "huios" and "teknon" are not synonyms? Yet, as shown previously, the KJV translators often viewed them as such, translating "huios" as "children" many times, because they thought that often, in most contexts, it was used as a synonym for "teknon." Thus, the reader of the KJV must either accept that view, or else get an interlinear Greek-English bible and see where the KJV gives "children" as the translation of "huios." The KJV also erred in translating "huios" many times as "children." Thankfully, the Revised Version uniformly translated "huios" as "son" and "teknon" as "children" except in the places where they translated "sons (huioi) of Israel" as "children of Israel." Further, though "son" may sometimes express simply a male child, it is not generally used with this simple definition in the NT, but is used to denote that which is "like" something else.

In the article just cited, the author continues, saying:

"Hence we find, as we might expect, that John uses the word teknon — child — expressive of a being deriving its life and nature from another, as children do from their parents, whilst in Hebrews we have huios — son — expressive of the distinctive position and dignity which a son has in a household. The former word "teknon" carries with it more thought of internal intimacy, moral characteristics, community of life and nature, whilst the latter word "huios" directs the mind to a position given or recognised and the dignities resulting from it. A "child" delights in the intimacy and affection of the family, a "son" may have to submit to parental authority (Heb. xii.), but will be displayed in manifested glory. (Heb. ii. 10.) If we turn to Romans viii. 19, 21, we find this very distinction carefully brought out, as we read of the "liberty of the children of God," on the one hand, and on the other the "manifestation of the sons of God."

As stated before, the word "teknon" cannot refer to an adopted child but only to one who has been born a child, one who derives his life and nature from his parents. On the other hand "huios" is connected in thought, connotatively, with adult status, as the article above affirms. Both words involve the idea of "likeness." However, the likeness of new born children to their parents is not complete. The likeness that comes from imitation and growth, following childhood, is towards full likeness, or to a perfect image. On this most important point more will be said in this and the next chapter.

Our article continues:

In further development of this, we shall find a distinction made between that which morally characterises a person, that is, his nature, and that which his ways externally proclaim him to be, and the two words under consideration are respectively applied to each. The distinction is more subtle, and not quite so easily grasped in some cases, but it will be found that it always assists in understanding the subject to which the words apply. For example, in Ephesians ii. we read in verse 3 of "children of wrath," where the apostle is speaking of the condition in which they were "by nature," but when he speaks of that which they had manifested themselves by their acts to be, he says in verse 2, "sons of disobedience." 

To those commentators and translators who see no reason for the Apostle's use of "children" (tekna) and "sons" (huioi) in Ephesians 2:3, they will follow the KJV in translating "sons (huioi) of disobedience" (which most modern translations now correctly give) to "children of disobedience." The KJV translators obviously saw no distinction between "teknon" and "huios" in the passage for they translate both words as "children." But, doing so blurs the clear distinction in the terms and how they are used by Paul in the passage and in other places in the NT. The KJV did the same thing with other words, such as "aion" and "cosmos," which are both often translated by the singular word "world." Yet, all later English translations will correctly translate "aion" as "age" and "kosmos" as "world."

The reason why people are "children" (tekna - plural of teknon) is because of their being born such as the Apostle confirms by saying "and were by nature (birth) children of wrath." But, the reason why these same children are "sons of disobedience" is because of their years spent in immoral practice, because of their reaching a kind of maturity in their state of sin, and also to denote external likeness to that which fathered them. Men are born into sin, and are the offspring of "wrath," children in understanding of evil, but they soon grow up and soon become "sons" and adult in their lawless behavior.

The article continues:

"Again in Romans viii. 16, where the purely internal action of the Spirit (testifying to our spirit) is spoken of, the words tekna Theou children of God, is used, but in verse 1-4, where the leading of the Spirit is in question, but may he displayed externally, we find huioi Theou — sons of God, in Romans ix. 20. It is clear from the context that the question is of positional relationship owned by God, and so, as we should expect, it is "sons" and not "children" as in our version.

This is correct as we will further see as we examine the context of Romans 8 in greater detail in the next section of this book. The point is this: Romans eight makes a clear distinction between being a child (teknon) and being a son (huios) and to see it helps explain what is meant by "son placing." The idea that Paul used "children (tekna) of God" as synonymous with "sons (huioi) of God" is assumption.

The article continues:

"By observing the distinction between the words we shall find a connection in passages, which does not appear to exist as they are now translated. For instance, in Galatians iii. 26 the Greek is, "For ye are all SONS of God, through faith in Christ Jesus," and we see at once how beautifully Galatians iv. 6 is connected with it, "And because ye are SONS, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba Father."

Besides Romans chapter eight, where "huiothesia" is used twice, Galatians four, where it is used once, are the only two places left to examine. When we examine Galatians 4 and the above passage in question, it will become obvious that "teknon" is distinct from "huios." But, more on that later.

Our worthy author continues:

"It is scarcely necessary to add that the same person may be, and the believer of course is, both "child" and "son;" but the comparison of such passages, for instance as John i. 12, and Galatians iii. 26, where the Greek gives "children" in the first, and "sons" in the second, enables us to appreciate the value of the precious distinction which the Holy Ghost has marked by the use of the different words, and surely it is a loss to us when we do not apprehend what He has pointed out. It is not necessary to trace out here all the passages where the words are used, but we shall find that, although in some cases the exact distinction may not be easily seen or of great importance, we shall always be helped in our understanding of scripture by noting where the difference exists."

But, this is exactly what was denied by the KJV translators. Yet, as we have seen, and will see yet further, there is such a distinction and the failure to see it does not help in interpreting the text.

Argument of the Deniers of Distinction

Wrote our author:

"In John xii. 36 (the exception referred to) we find the expression "sons of light," and on examination of the context, we find that the Lord urged on those whom He addressed to have faith in the light that they might become (that is, get into the position of) "sons of light." In Ephesians 5:8 we find almost the converse of this, where the apostle exhorts them to display in walk the moral characteristics which were theirs already as "children of light.""

"Contemporary scholars conclude that “Paul…does not distinguish between child and son.” This conclusion is based, in part, upon parallel statements." 

The argument that "teknon" and "huios" signify the same thing is based upon the fact that "the children (teknon) of God" is similar to "sons (huios) of God" seem to signify the same thing in Scripture is no argument at all. The argument fails to distinguish between the genus and the difference. Further, as we will see, some passages clearly make a distinction. Certainly all those who are sons of light are also children of light.

The article continues:

"For example, in Galatians, Paul writes “you are…a son; and if a son, an heir also through God.”(Gal. 4:7). But Romans says, “if children, heirs also; on the one hand, heirs of God…” (Rom. 8:17a). The two phrases, “If a son, then an heir” and “if children, then heirs,” are equivalent. “Child” and “son” are used in analogous statements." 

But, this is a weak argument and though the two parallel expressions may seem to denote the same thing in some passages, yet this does not prove that there is no clear distinction. Further, some passages, as in the case of the Galatians passage, do clearly make a distinction, as we will see.

And, notice these comments:

"As a further example, Romans 8 tells us “creation eagerly awaits the revelation of the sons of God.” (8:19). This event is also called “the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” (8:21). Again “sons of God” and “children of God” are used interchangeably."

But, again, we will see that Paul in Romans 8 makes a clear distinction between children and sons of God and did not use the different expressions "interchangeably."

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