Abundant Life

Audio Teaching: The Idiom of Permission

by John Schoenheit
God is love. However, there are things God is said to do in the Bible that seem to be clearly unloving. For example, even though God wanted the Israelites to go free from Egypt, the Bible says God hardened Pharaoh’s heart so he would not let Israel go (Exod. 9:12). The answer to many difficult verses in the Bible in which God is said to do something that seems against His nature is that the Semitic languages, such as the Hebrew of the Old Testament, often use an active verb (like “hardened”) idiomatically. When God does something that elicits a response from people, God is often idiomatically said to actually produce the response. In the case of Pharaoh, God righteously asked Pharaoh to let Israel go, and in response Pharaoh hardened his heart, but idiomatically in the Semitic languages God is said to be the one to do the hardening. In this teaching, John Schoenheit explains the “Idiom of Permission” simply but thoroughly, revealing that God is the righteous and loving God we know Him to be.”

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