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A Theatrical Spectacle to the World


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All Bible translations say that Christians are a spectacle to the world. But the New World Translation better captures the flavor of the Greek word and renders the term ‘theatrical spectacle.’ Is it because its translators are better acquainted with the concept of acting on a stage? They have acted in millions of plays on every front porch. Sometimes they have received rave reviews. Sometimes they have received horrid reviews. Sometimes they have been run out of town.

In the spiritual paradise, actors exchange field service experiences. They talk about new approaches. They kibbutz on how to better expose the Trinity doctrine. If they go online, they send paradise pictures to each other. It is all fine to do this. It is as it should be. It is a paradise, after all, and in a paradise, you do not take out the trash. You know that housekeeping will do that.

Occasionally, however, some guest notices that the trash is piling up. “I’d better attend to that,” he says, and having done so, resumes his place at the play, just like you would pick up a paper on the Kingdom Hall floor. Or even turds at the dog park, because you appreciate a clean dog park. http://www.tomsheepandgoats.com/2018/07/picking-up-women-at-the-dog-park.html

It is not to be expected that the coordinators of the play will personally take out the trash. This is again as it should be. They will continue to provide the food and drink and focus on efforts to invite more to the play. Since the paradise is proving popular, they work to extend it into other areas, even taking into account the fact that people ‘talk funny’ over there. Some of them do not even notice the trash, and the ones that do reassure themselves with the knowledge that housekeeping will take care of it.

They know that no one who is plowing and screws up the furrows by looking behind is well-suited for the Kingdom of God. They know that when the children are criticizing you no matter what you do, the answer is to let ‘wisdom prove itself righteous by its works.’ They think of David, who noted (or did he?) that people kept muttering about him all day long and chose to respond by keeping his mouth shut. All this is as it should be.

Will they thank the one who is attending to the overflowing trash? Most likely not. Who is to say that he should be thanked? Taking out trash can backfire sometimes. Maybe he will spill some. The coordinators keep themselves so busy that they may not even notice him doing it. If they do, possibly they will not be happy about it. “Doesn’t he know that housekeeping is coming?” they may say. Or they may note he didn’t do it right this or that time. ‘Don’t you have faith to see the big picture?’ they may ask. ‘Here: consider another way you could reason with someone about hellfire,’ the other stage actors might add.


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Most probably the others avoid "theatrical" spectacle because it implies acting on a stage. While this could have been the meaning, it is an interpreted one, and not necessary to imply in translating.

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2 hours ago, TrueTomHarley said:

But the New World Translation better captures the flavor of the Greek word and renders the term ‘theatrical spectacle.’ Is it because its translators are better acquainted with the concept of acting on a stage?

Most probably the others avoid "theatrical" spectacle because it implies acting on a stage. While this could have been the meaning, it is an interpreted one, and not necessary to imply in translating. In the context, it was much more likely that Paul was referring to the procession of those who were taken to theaters to be killed. No acting required!

Contemporary English Version

  • It seems to me that God has put us apostles in the worst possible place. We are like prisoners on their way to death. Angels and the people of this world just laugh at us. 

[A pretty bad translation that implies angels are just laughing at people like Paul]

Good News Translation

  • For it seems to me that God has given the very last place to us apostles, like people condemned to die in public as a spectacle for the whole world of angels and of human beings. 

[Much better in that it links the condemnation directly with the idea of being a condemned spectacle, a very common sight in Greek/Roman theaters at this time.]

Aramaic Bible in Plain English

  • For I suppose that God has appointed us Apostles at last, as for death, that we would be a stage play for the universe, for Angels and for men.

[Same idea as the NWT]



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