No one has asked me this question, but it seems reasonable: "How could someone who has not been formally educated in Greek and theology have the audacity to write New Testament Greek word-studies?"
Here's my hopefully honest and humble response:
I studied engineering while in the U.S. Navy in 1944 and after World War II completed my studies at the University of Wisconsin, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1948. I questioned the authenticity of some of the concepts that were presented, such as 1) that ball and roller bearings had been perfected and could not be improved, and 2) that no simpler gas turbine principles or mechanisms were possible.
After graduation I began an engineering job with the Chrysler Corporation in Detroit. I quit after six months because the work was uninteresting.
So I signed up for the Navy's Flight School in Pensacola and received my wings in 1951, after the Korean war had begun and received a commission in the Marine Corps as a Second Lieutenant. I flew jet dive-bombers in the Korean war and Medevac Helicopters in the Vietnam war, retiring from the Marines in 1968 as a Lieutenant Colonel. My duties included much "paperwork" and writing wherever I was assigned. My highest responsibilities were as Commanding Officer of a 500 man Squadron at Jacksonville, North Carolina, and Commanding Officer of a 260 man Helicopter Squadron in combat in Vietnam.
After retirement I worked as Production Engineer for a new company in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, laying out the production line for a new kind of Hydroski boat. The company was unsuccessful, so in 1970 when my production layout was complete I resigned.
I had been working in my spare time with some ideas for a new kind of gas turbine engine, and had applied for a patent on one of these. I also began to seek answers to ball and roller bearing limitations and improvements to the Wankel rotary engine mechanism. By 1980 I had received or applied for over 20 U.S. patents.
Meanwhile, I was dissatisfied with existing New Testament translations and had discovered that an interlinear Greek-English New Testament was a great help in more accurately understanding the text. By 1975 I also noticed inconsistencies in the interlinear New Testament.
I began to translate First Timothy to accurately understand it but decided from its variations that I should do word-studies on each word to achieve accuracy. But the lexicons used pagan Classical or Koine Greek contexts to derive their word meanings, and some Greek words were not even translated. So in about 1978 I began to allow the word usages in the New Testament Greek text and context to determine word meanings.
At the same time, I was attempting to sell my patents, with zero success. One evening in about 1980 as I was trying to figure out ways to sell patents, this thought came into my mind: "Why are you trying to get more money when I have already provided you with an income for life?" I understood this message to mean that God wanted me to stop work on patents. So I did, ending up with nineteen U.S. patents about gas turbines, rotary motors and ball bearings.
I also continued studying Greek, doing word-studies and translating at a leisurely pace for my personal benefit, and to better prepare me to teach the good news of Jesus to others. I thought about preparing the word-studies for the benefit of others too. But later I thought to myself, surely God couldn't use a non-theologically trained person like myself to write such studies. So I asked him, "You don't want someone like me without a seminary education in theology to do word- studies, do you?" The response was immediate, "That's why I want you to do them."
Eventually I figured out that my method of questioning existing engineering "truth" and seeking for basic answers may have been why I was being allowed to do this task. After all, if the test aircraft crashes or the bridge collapses, error is obvious and engineering redesign is obviously necessary. But errors in New Testament translation may be unobvious, yet necessary to correct.
So, instead of accepting "ecclesiastically approved" seminary doctrines, lexicons and translations, I felt compelled to seek out the most basic information available from the Greek New Testament text.
After translating some 1500 words from Greek into English on the basis of their New Testament usage, I discovered that many of these words were already adequately translated, and that synonyms for them really were not earth shaking discoveries.
But I did discover (or was nudged into discovering) that there are many New Testament Greek contexts (and thus Greek words) which have "spiritual" applications, but which have been translated on the basis of words derived from pagan Greek contexts; that is, the classical Greek writings and Koine Greek writings of the First Century A.D. After all, how could idolatrous pagans know anything about spiritual matters, much less the relationship between humans and God?
Beginning in about 1985 I began to put greater emphasis on these "spiritual" New Testament Greek contexts, and to spend more time on the derivation of their word-meanings.
Then in 1991 The Christian Bible was published by Christian Bible Translators, Inc. Most of the work was done by Alan Donaldson, whom I gratefully thank for his excellent research and results. He listed 106 erroneous words from existing English translations and corrected them on the basis of Koine (First Century A.D.) Greek and greatly improved the English text. Alan found better English words, such as "pure" rather than "holy" or "sanctified," "older one" rather than "elder" and "group of called ones" rather than "church." I have, with gratitude, taken the liberty of using some of these improved words, because some of them seem to be the most concise, accurate terms available.
But even with its improvements The Christian Bible had one major flaw. It based many of its words on the pagan "Koine" Greek language.
My word-studies have attempted to translate EVERY New Testament Greek word into English on the basis of ONLY the New Testament Greek contexts, even those which represent inexact concepts such as "adultery" and "hell." Amazingly, God has provided a definition of each word or has provided sufficient context to translate EVERY Greek word which has a "spiritual" significance!
At this time (August 2001) word-studies for ninety-seven of these words with a "spiritual" connotation are included in this web-site. But there are at least a dozen more which may eventually be included.
Please note that many of the older word-studies do not include enough detail, especially those that have not been updated since the mid to late 1980's. I will revise them as soon as I can.
Yours in love,
Earl W. Traut
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