That's Right, Preacher Man! I Am Dangerous
A few weeks ago, I heard a preacher talking about Galatians 4:4, which speaks of God sending his son "in the fullness of time." The preacher explained that there are two Greek words for "time": chronos and kairos. Chronos, he asserted, refers to time as something measurable and sequential. The impression he gave was that this was just the regular, value-neutral word for time. Kairos, on the other hand, refers to a significant moment in time. The impression he gave was that this word is used to indicate a moment in time which is somehow extraordinary. He then said that kairos is the word translated "time" in Galatians 4:4.
Now, I'm afraid I am naturally suspicious whenever preachers begin contrasting Greek words which are roughly synonymous. While there may be some difference in meaning which is worth looking at, in many cases those distinctions get exaggerated to strengthen the preacher's point. So when my preacher made this distinction between chronos and kairos, I decided to check it out using Accordance on my iPhone.
At that time I was testing a pre-release version of Accordance for iOS 1.4. In case you missed it, this major new update became available through the app store last week. It adds a great many useful features and enhancements including improved instant details and the ability to amplify, along with devotionals, a grid-style verse chooser, and more.
After navigating to Galatians 4:4 in a Bible text with Strong's numbers, I did a long press on the word "time" to verify that it was translating the Greek word for "special time," kairos. Oops! It's actually chronos that is used in that verse!
Thus, with a single long press, a major point in this preacher's sermon proved questionable at best. Of course, all was not lost. Accordance now gave me the entry for chronos in a Greek Dictionary, and from there I could look it up in a more robust lexicon like BDAG. Accordance also gave me the option to Search by Strong's number for every occurrence of chronos. While my preacher had made an embarrassing mistake, he had at least inspired me to do an impromptu word study. Of course, the down side of this was that I was no longer listening to the rest of the sermon!
In my preacher's defense, he's a long-time pastor who probably launched into an impromptu point from memory without previously checking his facts. It happens. But these days, preachers need to take more care that it doesn't happen, because there are people like me who now have the tools to check their facts on the fly. In years gone by, someone in the pew would have had to remember the preacher's point, then go home and check it using a Strong's concordance or similar tool. If he found that the preacher was mistaken, he might have concluded that he had misheard the preacher and then given him the benefit of the doubt. These days, he can find the preacher's mistake in an instant and tell the preacher before he leaves church that morning!
Of course, any preacher would be embarrassed to make such a mistake, but the wise one wants such dangerous, iPhone-toting people in the congregation. With Accordance for iOS, we can all be like the Bereans of Acts 17, who were described as "noble" for examining the Scriptures in response to Paul's preaching.
Have you ever caught a preacher in a gaffe like this? (If you tell us in the comments, please don't identify the preacher!)
Preachers, has anyone ever caught you making a mistake like this?