Curator's note: Most of the articles by John H. Mattox, ThD, originally were combined privately in two volumes for personal distribution. Those articles and some others subsequently were published in a single volume, Hidden Treasures. The editor of that volume, Mr. Carlton E. Mattox, gives credit to those that were known to be financial contributors when the preface was written. However, for some reason, there was a financial shortage when actual printing already had started. As a result, the widow of Dr. Mattox, Mrs. Mary Carlton Mattox contributed substantially in order to have publication completed.
My father, the late John H. Mattox, served as pastor of the Gardenville Baptist Church of Gibsonton, Florida, from its organization in 1950 until his death in 1982. During the last two decades of his life he was a rather prolific writer - producing two short books and several articles concerning questions of doctrine, exegeses of certain passages of Scripture and answers to articles written by others.
These books and articles were originally handwritten, then typed and mimeographed (and later photocopied) by the church for distribution. I have undertaken to combine the two books and several of the articles into one printed volume so as to make them easier to read (and easier to handle).
The arrangement is thus: First, the introductions to the original books; second, a Table of Contents; third, the two books, themselves; followed by the individual articles.
In several places I have taken the editor's prerogative and have rewritten sentences and either deleted, added or somehow changed punctuation. I trust that I have done no violence to the original work by having done this. I have inserted a few editor's notes where I thought they were appropriate.
Hopefully, work may begin soon on a second volume containing the lengthy article. Streams in the Desert, and others which were not included in this one.
I wish to thank the Grace Baptist Church of Bradenton, Florida, and the Faith Baptist Church of Lawtey, Florida, for helping to underwrite the cost of producing this book. I also thank my daughter, Marianne, for her many hours of work in transcribing the typewritten originals to computer disks and her patience with a father not yet fully into the computer age.
Carlton E. Mattox, Editor
This book is the result of a considerable period of intensive study in the vocabulary of the Hebrew Old Testament - a study which was carried on with a view toward learning how the understanding and interpretation of the New Testament might be affected by taking significant New Testament Greek words and comparing them with their Hebrew equivalents. The reader may judge for himself as to the success of this venture.
The scope of the investigation widened, as may be seen, but all of the studies in general follow the line of original investigation and purport to show how the understanding of the New Testament is aided by an intensive study of the full range of meanings of the Hebrew words of the Old Testament. Jesus said in Matthew 13:32:
"Every scribe which is instructed unto the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old."
What did a scribe possess in the way of treasure that would enable him to bring forth things new and old? The only treasure possessed by scribes, which other men might be unlikely to have, was a thorough knowledge of the Old Testament, including the language in which it was written. Jesus intimated that, to a man instructed unto the Kingdom of Heaven, such knowledge was a veritable treasure, enabling him to bring forth things new and old. Yet, we have largely neglected the study of Hebrew, and those who have mastered it have, generally, put it to use only in connection with new translations, little, if any, effort being devoted to an intensive study of Hebrew words and their effect upon New Testament interpretation. The writer does not flatter himself that he has filled this void; but perhaps the present work, faulty as it may be, may provoke the labors of others in this field who are eminently better qualified for the task.
The writer makes no pretense to being a Hebrew scholar. He was privately tutored in Hebrew grammar by Rabbi Stanley Kazan of the Rodeph Sholom Synagogue of Tampa, Florida.
The authorities used in these studies were Strong's Hebrew Lexicon which forms a part of his Exhaustive Concordance, Gesenius' Hebrew and English Lexicon, as translated from the Latin by Samuel P. Tregelles, and the Pocket Hebrew-English, English-Hebrew Dictionary by Ehud Ben-Yehuda and David Weinstein. The latter book deals with Modern Hebrew.
John H. Mattox, 1965
This book may be regarded as a continuation of the writer's previous book, Hidden Treasures from the Hebrew Old Testament. The studies contained in the present book follow, in general, the line of investigation begun in the first book being, in fact, condensed messages based on studies undertaken in the Hebrew of the Old Testament, in the hope of being able to shed more light on various passages and words in the New Testament.
The reason for an approach of this nature to the study of the Bible is found in the fact that, while the New Testament was written in Greek, it was written by Jews whose minds must have been saturated with Hebrew concepts and ideas, to which they had to accommodate the Greek words which they used. It is true that, to the best of our knowledge. Biblical Hebrew was no longer being spoken by the Jews by the time of Christ, and was known only to the rabbis and other scholars. However, the people did speak Aramaic, which is cognate to the Hebrew, and therefore very much like it in many respects - especially in regard to vocabulary. Moreover, even though they no longer knew Hebrew, the people were certainly acquainted with the Old Testament; and its teachings, impressed on their minds by the rabbis, who did know Hebrew, must have caused them to think (at least along religious lines) in terms of Hebrew concepts, rather than those of the Greek language.
For example, the word eirene in classical Greek meant peace but as it is used in the New Testament, it exhibits all of the richness of its Hebrew counterpart, shalom, which suggests health, harmony, prosperity, wholeness, preservation, agreement, etc. New Testament writers must have been influenced by Hebrew concepts, merely couching them, as best they could, in the Greek language. The writer's aim has been to show that there is much truth left hidden beneath the surface of even the best translation of the Old Testament - truth which is concealed in the richness of meaning of many Hebrew words. These truths, then, when projected into the realm of New Testament doctrine, are found to enhance the preciousness of these doctrines, and to bring them into sharper focus for our consideration.
It is the writer's hope and prayer that the Lord may be pleased to use this book, in spite of its imperfections, to stimulate Christians, and especially ministers, to a deeper study of God's Word, to which end the Apostle exhorts us in II Timothy 2:15:
"Study (be diligent) to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
John H. Mattox, 1967return to index