Jun 18, 2012 David Lang

Accordance User Confronts a Demon

Rick Mansfield is an Accordance power-user who blogs on a variety of subjects at This Lamp. Today he posted an interesting examination of the personification of sin in Genesis 4:7. After observing that the Revised English Bible (REB) renders this verse as "sin is a demon crouching at the door,” Rick was inspired to explore the Hebrew text of this passage and consult some commentaries to see why this translation used the word "demon" here.

I won't summarize any more of Rick's post here. I'll just encourage you to read it for yourself. For my part, I just want to point out a few things we can learn from the way Rick went about this study.

Comparing translations can reveal new insights. By using a different translation than he typically uses, Rick noticed something about this passage he had never seen before. That got him exploring further. No matter what your preferred translation, it is always wise to consult a few less familiar ones.

Examine the text before the commentaries. The next thing Rick did was to examine the Hebrew text behind the translation. Does it contain a word usually translated "demon"? Not exactly. What then would have motivated the REB's use of that word?

Examine multiple commentaries. Rick next turned to several commentaries for answers, and a few of them explained where the idea of a demon may be present in the text.

Again, I'd encourage you to read Rick's post and reflect on the argument given for this rendering. In addition, I'd encourage you to learn from the way he approached this study, using Accordance to get much of the information he needed.

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