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8 Hope of Israel Ministries BIBLE Correspondence Course Lesson 4

random -- the English word Gentile. This GROUP OF PEOPLE SHARING A COMMON
apparent INCONSISTENCY in translation is the CULTURE. That could be a family, a group of
kind of thing that causes CONFUSION in related families, a tribe, or an entire nation.
readers’ minds. Verses like these are used by COMMENT: Note the meanings of the
some people to suggest that ANYONE who calls words gens and genus which were used to
himself a “Jew” has a preeminent place in explain ethnos and gentilis.
YEHOVAH’s eyes while “Gentiles” (so-called The words ethnos and gentilis
non-Jews and Christians) are somehow themselves DO NOT denote one PAR-
subordinated. This is FAULTY REASONING TICULAR group of people -- they could be used
AND TRANSLATING! In the ORIGINAL for ANY group or for groups in general. The
tongue these verses suggest NO SUCH THING. CONTEXT in which these words are used may
We have seen that the Greek word indicate a particular group, but the words
ethnos means ANY GROUP OF PEOPLE OF themselves are NEUTRAL.
SHARE A COMMON AND DISTINCTIVE English word gentile was the SAME as its Latin
CULTURE. It should have been translated root gentilis: a group of people related in some
nation rather than “Gentile.” Also, the Greek way. In this respect, the Old Testament word
word Hellen means “Greek” and should have gentile would have been COMPARABLE with
been thus translated instead of “Gentile.” the Greek word ethnos or the Hebrew word goy.
CONSISTENCY in translation would have This may logically explain WHY the translators
prevented confusion. Now let us examine the chose to use it in their translating back in the
ORIGIN and INTENDED USE of the English 1600s, even though they did so INCON-
word gentile. SISTENTLY.
However, when one considers the
Origin and Intent of “Gentile” MODERN concept of the word gentile, it
becomes obvious that a DEFINITE CHANGE
The English word gentile originates has taken place in meaning and usage. Most
from the Latin word gentilis. The New Thayers so-called “Christian churches” today consider a
Greek-English Lexicon defines ethnos (#1484) Gentile to be “any person who is not a Jew.”
as follows: “1. a multitude associated or living Ministers are taught this ERROR at the
together. 2. a multitude of individuals of the seminaries, and they pass it on to their church
same nature or genus. 3. race, nation.” members through sermons, Bible studies and
Webster’s New World Dictionary, under Sunday school classes.
the word “Gentile,” shows that the Latin root Additionally, countless numbers of
word gentilis means: “of the same gens, clan, or films, books, tracts and articles are developed
race.” espousing this ERRONEOUS POSITION! The
The same dictionary states the following “modern Gentile” is CERTAINLY NOT the
under the words gens and genus: “Gentile” of the Scriptures.
gens: “originally, that belonging To say that gentile means “non-Jew”
together by birth or descent.” (which is the predominant usage today)
genus: “birth, origin, race, species, kind, VIOLATES the ORIGINAL meaning and intent
class.” of the word and its root. There is AB-
Comparing the meanings given in the SOLUTELY NO HONEST WAY to apply this
above, notice the close similarity between the modern meaning of “non-Jew” to the Greek
Latin word gentilis and the Greek word ethnos. word ethnos and the Hebrew word goy as used
The INTENT of both words is the same: A IN SCRIPTURE! Doing so has caused a great

Understanding Word Meanings
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