When is a commandment ever worded with "IF"?

by Israel Ricky Gonzales 6 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Israel Ricky Gonzales
    Israel Ricky Gonzales

    Acts 15:28 For the holy spirit and we ourselves have favored adding no further burden to you except these necessary things: 29 to keep abstaining from things sacrificed to idols, from blood, from what is strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you carefully keep yourselves from these things, you will prosper. Good health to you!”

    If blood was so sacred, to be abstained from, why was this verse worded this way? Why wouldn't it say "By carefully keeping yourselves from these things, you will prosper. Good health to you!”? IMO, that makes more sense than throwing the word "if" in the mix because it leaves the door open that it is not mandatory.

  • Island Man
    Island Man

    The part that starts with "if", is not the command, but merely a statement that the christian will prosper if he obeys the command. The command is the part that starts with "keep abstaining from..."

    The use of "if" in the context that it was used does not imply that the command isn't mandatory. It only implies that a christian who fails to obey will not prosper.

    By way of an illustration, If a bank robber comes up to a teller and points a gun at her head and commands her to hand over money then says: "If you carefully obey my instructions it will go well for you", would you take that statement as meaning the teller doesn't have to obey the robber; that the robber isn't all that serious about her obeying his instructions?

    Notice also that the if statement isn't limited to the question of blood. It also applies to fornication. Do you think its fair to say that abstaining from fornication isn't a necessary thing for christians? The phrase "carefully keep yourselves from" suggests that obeying is important.

    Don't focus on the word "if" in isolation. Carefully consider the context of how it is being used.

  • problemaddict 2
    problemaddict 2

    While i haven't looked into it directly, i would caution by reading to much into english conjunctions.

    I think Kai is used here.

    So KAI can be translated "and, also, but". it is however more of a placeholder for the beginning of a sentance.

    What is more interesting is the final word. Some apologists (including myself back in the day), used to suggest the "good health to you" was almost like a prescription for lack of a better word, from Luke the physician. Now that seems luicrous, but there was a point made by a prominent JW apologist on the matter in the late 90's early 2000's.

    What is translated as "good health to you" however, is a bit of a stretch. I copied below from studylight.org.

    Not trying to throw salt on your point, I'm just not sure the "if" hold the same weight in the original language which could hurt your point.

  • Israel Ricky Gonzales
    Israel Ricky Gonzales

    I just found it odd that such a serious command to abstain from certain activities contains the qualifier "if". I no longer base my beliefs on "if....then..." argumentation. Just my thoughts tho.

    and I never bought into the whole "good health to you" part either.

  • wisdomfrombelow
    I thought the Society admitted that the "good health to you" was nothing more than a common greeting of the day. Not to be interpreted as following the command would result in good health.
  • Vidiot

    "If / then"... can't believe I never noticed that, before.

    They've turned a Biblical Hallmark card into set-in-stone Policy.

  • OverlappingGeneralizations
    I always thought "good health to you!" sounded an awful lot like a pagan toast... Was there a goblet raised in the air as this phrase was uttered? Inquiring minds want to know...

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