Thefollowing study material appeared twice before in leadingreligious magazines, and many calls have come for the materialin tract form.
we offer it now in thisform in hopes that it willshed light on the Bible and also opens the way for a readyacceptance of theproper identity ofIsrael as the Anglo-Saxon and kindred people.
AStudy Into theMeaning
the WordGentile as Used in theBible
Afewyears ago the writer wasin the home ora friend, ap.das I looked over her books I saw that she had one of theselarge dictionaries that are usually found only In publiclibraries. I said to her, "MayI use your dictionary?" I knewthat she had always been interested In the correct use of words, so I thought that this would be a good wayto start aconversation regarding our identity with Israel. I turned thepages to find the word
Immediately the ladyasked,''Whatisthe word you are looking for?"Ireplied, "Iamlookingup the word
Then she wanted to know what thedictionary had to say. I gave her to understand that if thedictionary was correct she couldn't possibly be a gentile,which she had always claimed to be. Then I read her thisdefinition. "Agentile isapagan or aheathen or someone whois not aJew or a Christian." "Now,"I said, "since you are aChristian you cannot possibly be a gentile." She was ratherstartled at what I told her. Then I went into the meaning of that sameword as used in the Bible, and you maybe assuredthat before I was through she had many of herlong·established ideas upset.Agreat deal of confusion and misunderstanding has beencaused by the use of the word
in the Englishtranslation of the Bible. Letus take up a brief study of it. Itshould always be remembered that foreign languages oftenlose the strength of their meaning through translation. Thenit should also be remembered that some words have manymeanings.Takethe word man as an illustration. Genericallyspeakingit means mankind generally, both men and women. But if itisused Inthe same sentence with the word woman, it meansthe maleofthe species. If itisused Inthe samesentence withthe word boy it means the mature of the species. Thus theword man has threemeanIngs, the meaning ofthe word beingdetermined by its use In the context.Nowthe word
is atranslation ofthe Hebrewword
(plural) and the Greek word
(plural). Using the word
totranslate these words is often misleading because it is amisapplication ofthe Hebrew and Greek words asused IntheBible. The modern use of the word has come to meannon·Jew or non· Israel, but that meaning cannot bemaintained in the face of the evidence I will present In thisstudy.The Hebrew wordgoi isacollective nO\lnmeaning
or sometimes a collective body of people. But it has beentranslated into Englishmanydifferent ways. The word occurs557 times in the Old Testament. The Authorized Version of the Bible translates it
once. But theAmerican Standard Revised Version cuts the occurrence of
from 30 to 9 times, and then shows In the footnotesof5of those 9 times that the word
should have beenused.Of course the word
is not always an exactequivalent term because there is too much of a politicalsignificanceattached to it. Butitismuch better than the word
and some of our best translators prefer the word
This is also shown by the way the RevisedVersioneliminates the word
The same thing istrue of the Greek word ethnos. Itoccurs164 times in the New Testament. In the Authorized Versionit is translated
twice. In the American StandardRevisedVersion it is
96 times In the text and 7 timesin the footnotes, making 103 occurrences altogether. But inthe footnotes it iscorrected 15times to read
makingthe finalcount 88. Sonot only the Hebrew word goibut alsothe Greek word
has been translated to read
more than any other word.Though the word
and the word
are usedmanytimesin the Bible,we must facethe factsthat there areKno Hebrew or Greek words that would demand thistranslation.Ifthe reader will consult a good dictionary, you willfindthat the word
is derived from the Latinword
and properly understood means
Asused byaJew or an Israelite itwould mean
But they are not the only people who have aright to use theword.For instance, suppose a Buddhist priest spoke Latin andhe wanted to refer to the nations that were not Buddhist, hewould callthem
In Hebrew and Greek, there isnotexactequivalent tothe Latin
or the Englishword
nevertheless, if this same priest spoke Hebrew andGreek alohg with his Latinand wanted to refer to the nationsthat were not Buddhist, he would callthem
ifspeaking Greek, and each time he wouldnaturally include the Jewish and Israel people. likewise aMoslempriest could use the three languages and refer to theJews and Israel
One important thing to alwayskeep Inmind is thatgoi and
arecollective nouns and cannot properly be translatedto mean an Individual person. They alwaysrefer to a group.There is no such thing as
it is always plural.
In its plural sense may at times be used to translate
but its use gives an added thought notIntended In the original word which cannot In every case be justified.Another important word found Inthe Hebrew text, whichneeds only passing notice is the Hebrew word
and isfound many times In the Old Testament text. It is translatednation by 17times. Itisusually translated
foritoccursthat way 1,835 times in our English text. Occasionally it isqualified by the phrase,
but when it isrendered"
it usually means
But this isnotthe word that has been the source of misunderstanding.Translations of the Hebrew word
and the Greek word
etbnos have caused the trouble.
The Hebrew word goiand the Greek word
in theirsingular and plural forms are used three ways in the Bible.
1.In referring to theIsrael and Jewish people,
let us notethe verses which follow below found in the Old Testamentand New Testament which refer·either to Israel or the Jewsasanation and use the Hebrewwordgoi and the Greekword
To demonstrate the absurdity of always translatingthe wordgoi or
asgentile we suggest that you read thefollowingverses substituting the word
will make of thee agreat nation."
17:4,5-"Afather of many nations have I made thee."
20:4-"Lord, wilt thou slay a righteous nation?' (heathen).
25:23-"Two nations are in thy womb." (Try the word heathen orgentile in that verse).
nation and a company of nations."
19-"11ryseed shall become a multitude of nations. "
1:4-'14.bsinful nation, apeople laden with iniquity."
10:6-"Send him against an hypocritical nation."
31:36-"Shall ceasefrom being a nation before me."·
7:5-''He loveth our nation and hath built us asynagogue. "
:48-"TbeRomans will come and take ourplace and nation."
11:5Q-"Tbatone man should die for the people and that the whole nation perish not. "
24:2-''Worthy deeds are done unto this nation by the providence. "
came to bring aIm to my nation."
From the foregoing verses and many others that could begiven,it can easilybe seen that the Hebrew word
and theGreek word
do not alwaysrefer to non-Israel people.Now let us read a few verses where the same words areused and, as can be seen,
refer very definitely to non-Israel people.
14:9-''With Chedorlaomer the king of Elam. and withthe Tidal king of nations. "
21:13-'\4.nd also the son of the bond woman will I make a nation. "
21:18-'~or I will make of him a great nation."