Little did I know that reading your Bible in Greek actually doesn't solve all those problems, but in fact, raises a whole host of new ones! It turns out that our English translations often clarify a lot more than the Greek!
But sometimes, there's something really really cool that you can see in the Greek text that you might miss in the English (it's there, just harder to see)
Last week I had the opportunity to translate through Ephesians 2, which is a source of incredible joy. You were dead in your trespasses and transgressions... but God!!! What a beautiful phrase!
But I digress - here's a passage that totally floored me.
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ JesusSpecifically, verse 6 jumped out at me. "Raised us up with him and seated us with him" - and that instantly reminded me of the same idea that showed up in chapter 1:19-20
19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,It turns out that in the Greek, those two verbs in verse 20, "raised" and "seated," are exactly the same verbs used in verse 6 of chapter 2, except with a prefix "syn" which, if your vocabulary is better than mine, you'd know was the prefix meaning "with" (ex: synchronic - syn + chronos - at the same time)
What does that mean? If we were to keep the verbs that Paul is using as one word, might say "God raised-with us and seated-with us, with Christ." It seems that Paul is directing us back to that earlier passage and saying, "do you remember that great power that raised Jesus Christ up from the dead? That power that seated him above all the thrones and powers and dominions and anything else? That same power is working in you to do exactly the same things, with Jesus."
That really blew me away. And I was reminded of the call of John Piper's book God is the Gospel. I don't want to be sinless, alive from the dead, seated in the heavenlies, but without Jesus! I don't want the power of God working in me for my good if He withholds the greatest good of all - being with Jesus. I don't need crowns in heaven if I don't get to worship Jesus with them.
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God