does that mean? How can one do that?
Shortest Verse in the Bible
seems to dangle somewhere between a daunting task, and impossible
hyperbole. An interesting, or non-interesting note: some claim that
the verse, “Jesus wept”,
John 15:51, is the shortest verse in
the Bible. That may be true for the English translations. However
technically in the Greek text, John 15:51 is a verb, an article, and
a noun; while I
here is comprised of merely an adverb and a verb. So
technically this is the shortest verse in the entire Bible. That bit of
boring trivia won't
cost any extra, it's on the house.
Pass the Greek
don't be fooled by its brevity. It may consist of only two
Greek words, but it is pregnant with meaning. Paul paints an
unforgettable picture of an essential element for walking in victory.
As always, we are bound by rules of grammar, and certain principles of
interpretation in order to arrive at a correct application. Here, we will attempt to limit
our language analysis to making a very brief reference to the etymology of the
adverb, and the examination of verb's voice, tense, and mood.
the Greek students, the verb “proseuchesthe”
is the 2 p. pl.
present – middle - imperative of “proseuchomai”.
Paul was never careless or haphazard in his word usage.
Remember, “...all scripture is given by inspiration of God
breathed), and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for
correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God
might be perfect (complete), thoroughly (completely) furnished unto
all good works....”, II Timothy 3:16, 17.
Here Paul uses
the middle voice. Simply put, that means the subject (you the reader)
participates in the act and the result of the action (prayer). The basic
application of the present tense here means your prayer is to be a
perpetual activity. Finally, the Imperative mood means this is an
essential command or authoritative order, and not just an option, recommendation, or
There are two other considerations here. First,
Paul is the only one to use this adverb. Second, as we will see, its
meaning is specific and unambiguous. Again, it is an “order” to
Addressing the middle voice
is too important to pass over. Yet it is difficult to describe since
we have no equivalent in English. The simplest explanation is the one
used by the old scholars Dana and Mantey. The middle voice means the
subject both produces the action and participates in its result(s).
One of the best illustrations of this rule of grammar is found
describing a “direct
middle voice” action by Judas. “...and
having gone forth, he hanged himself....”, Matthew 27:5. We
that Judas both produced the action, and participated in its result.
Paul is stating here that when you produce this action of “perpetual
prayer” as prescribed, you directly participate in its
Remember, Paul once described himself as
He was a scholar. He would have learned to
teach like the legendary Rabbi's taught. First century Rabbi's used
four teaching methods. A good student will understand those methods,
and know when they are being used. Otherwise, they can overlook a lot
of gold nuggets, and even miss the core meaning of a writing entirely.
One of these teaching methods was called
It involves hinting at something. Jesus used it frequently, as did
Paul. This is another reason we know Jesus was also a scholar, just
like Paul. Using remez, we've seen where Jesus and Paul would quote a
verse, but actually be making a point about a surrounding verse or
In the above referenced scriptures in
when Jesus cleansed the Temple, he healed the blind and lame who came
to Him. Then the children burst forth ecstatically proclaiming
“...Hosanna to the Son
of David....” It seems inferred that the
leaders demanded Jesus stop them immediately. Jesus quoted from Psalm
8:2a “...out of the
mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected
praise....”. But He didn't quote the second half. Why?
was using remez. His main point was found in Psalm 8:2b; in order
that the enemy and the avenger be silenced!
Paul's use of this word “adialeiptos”
was deliberate. Paul was
hinting at something. In effect, it was much the same as “...he
who hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the
churches....” where Jesus was hinting at something vastly
greater than having "an
the force of his command, Paul resorted to this imagery. This is a
rare Greek word “adialeiptos”,
the only place the word appears in the entire New Testament. You will
see that Paul intended to paint an unmistakable picture in the first
century reader's mind they couldn't forget. He desired to convey more
than merely a command to do
a specific act incessantly, and without intermission. He did not want
his order to be interpreted subjectively, so he got specific. This
was a “term of art” in Greek medicine. It was used
diagnose a specific medical condition.
word evolved from
ancient Egyptian medicine. It is not uncommon for any contemporary
language to borrow, or transliterate technical words from an ancient
American law, most of our present legal terms of art evolved from
Latin, French, and Old English. Many of our medical terms today
evolved from ancient Greek and Latin. This is also true in other
sciences. Likewise, many 1st century
Greek medical terms of art evolved from ancient Egyptian medicine. So
Paul deliberately used the word
“Adialeiptos” here to make
his point clear, it was that important! Again, the word was used to
describe an ancient medical condition. Today we refer
to that condition as
a “Hacking Cough”. So when a 1st century Greek speaking believer heard the word "Adialeiptos", they knew that could only mean a "Hacking Cough".
Paul gave us this standing “Order”
to pray; to do so “Perpetually”, and "Without Intermission";
and he attached “this
adverb that is a medical term of art” (the only
writer to use this word). He used the “Middle Voice” to
demonstrate the actor's assured participation in the result. So it would behoove us to obey that command. Paul was
well educated, always chose his words deliberately, knowing that his
words carried Apostolic
Authority. So what he writes is backed up by all the resources of
heaven. The first century legal status of the Apostle was well
established in Roman history, Rabbinic writings, and Ante Nicene
literature. To sum up the way these sources cogently define the
Apostle's legal authority is, “As
the Man Himself”. Whatever Paul
wrote was as binding as if Jesus Christ had written it.
The Expanded Translation
Kenneth Wuest was one of the foremost authorities in New Testament
Greek in my lifetime. In the “Preface”
of his “New Testament an
Expanded Translation” (which
I highly recommend) he gave examples
of why an expanded translation can be helpful. On page viii of the
Preface, Wuest gives an example comparing Romans 12:2 in the King
James Version (KJV)
to his expanded translation. To translate the
single word “transform”
from that verse, Wuest used no less than twenty-three
words. He found that necessary to translate it sufficiently that a
layman could appreciate its richness and full meaning. While Hebrew
is a pictorial language, Greek is a highly technical language. I like
to divide Koine' Greek (New
words into three categories. All Koine' Greek words will obviously
have a technical meaning. Some will also represent a biblical
concept. And a smaller group will represent an entire biblical
doctrine. So expanding some words can be very helpful, even
essential; as long as the teacher strictly adheres to the proper principles
of interpretation, “...rightly
dividing the word of truth....”
interprets this passage in his expanded translation simply as, “Pray
My personal expanded translation of what Paul is
actually saying here is as follows, “...I command you to
in a perpetual prayerful state, continually praying with the
frequency of a hacking cough, and anticipate that you will receive
and participate in its assured result....”
Participating in the
This has become
a way of life for my wife and me. Even when we buy groceries, drive
the highways, study The Word, or visit others, we try to maintain a
level of prayer. It's like two simultaneous levels of consciousness.
I call it the “double
level”. The one level can be disturbed and
distracted easily. So it must be protected. This requires work in
order to become a faith practice. When we present our study on “Body,
Soul, and Spirit”, this state of being will become more
For example when we shop for food. When
I pick up a can of vegetables I hold
it in my hand prayerfully. I pause and wait for a response, a feeling
to manifest. If I get no feeling, or if it doesn't feel right, I put
it back on the shelf and pick up another can. I do that until I find
one that passes the test and feels right. When I'm in a hurry and
unctions, I usually regret it. The Spirit of the Living God abides in
me, and that Spirit in me knows whether there is “salmonella” in
that can, or “e coli”
in that package of meat. You may think this
is bondage, New Age stuff, or an unnecessary waste of time. But I view being deathly
ill as a greater bondage and waste of time. It's
more like having inside information, and listening to it.
would caution anyone against assigning any spiritual gift manifested
through me to anyone but the Holy Spirit. Some have not heeded that
warning and blasphemed the Holy Spirit, and repentance was no longer
available to them.
it Worth to Know His Voice
This not only
protects me, it continually trains me to “KNOW HIS VOICE”
“...My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow
Me....” John 10:27. There is a lot of inference going on in
that verse. In order for His sheep to hear His voice, first He must
be speaking to them, and second, they must be listening to Him. It is
a simple formula Jesus gave here, “Speaking + listening =
stated in this same chapter that His sheep will not follow any other
voice. So His sheep are not going to be listening to ungodly voices
like gossip, maligning, judging, talk radio and television, immoral
programming, ungodly music, or false teaching.
For me, it
feels much safer whether buying food for my family, or buying big
ticket items like cars, houses, and other investments, when I know
the Omniscient Shepherd's voice is guiding me.
You may ask,
“is Paul is directing us to pray 24/7?” Yes and no.
Obviously, no one could sustain a 24/7 schedule of nothing but
audible prayer, indefinitely. Paul is teaching us to develop this
practice of “double levels” as a way of life, rather
another rule, or some mechanical formula for spirituality. Paul is
instructing us to remain in a “prayerful state of mind”.
Brother Branham used to teach us that just like there are radio waves
flying everywhere throughout space, washing over us and through us. We
can't hear it with our natural ears. But tune a receiver to the right
frequency and oyu can hear everything being broadcast. Then he would
explain how that is analagous to the Voice of the Lord. He is always
speaking, but we are not always tuned in to His frequency. This is a
lifestyle that will teach us God's personal language to communicate
with us; His Voice. So get to know His Voice, and you will knwo the
difference between His Voice and the othr fella's voice.
With practice, it can be achieved. Just like devotional Bible study,
it is a matter of learning a new habit which may take some time.
Practice truly does make perfect. In
view of the spiritual forces we must overcome in these “Last
Days”, both habits are well worth forming.