Saturday, September 1, 2018

Fat Heart?

Doing this series on understanding the human heart, I could not help thinking back to a post I did a little over a year ago on Matthew 13:15. In it I pointed out that a literal translation from the Greek would have referred to the heart as "fat." However, most translations take a more functionally equivalent approach and substitute fat with words like calloused, hard, dull, or gross. Even very literal word for word translations like King James, and New American Standard have a hard time staying absolutely literal with this verse. All because culturally it just does not translate well. However in retrospect, I'm starting to wonder if the real problem isn't this misunderstanding of the word heart that I have been highlighting.

For example, if I used the phrase 'fat and lazy emotions' as we often apply to the word heart, it doesn't make much sense.

Yet, if we apply it as we should define the word heart, with phrases like 'fat and lethargic spirit' or 'fat and apathetic personality' it works much better.

Which begs the question, is this what Jesus was really trying to say? That some people are morbidly obese in personality and spirit, which leads to an inactive and sedentary faith. It works in context, with Jesus referring to people who were unwilling to look beyond their own nose to discern the truth in his words.

Considering how so many in the church are exuding such passivity these days. With so many Christians bypassing the complexities of the heart and only demanding intellectual explanations much like the Pharisees did two-thousand years ago. With so many so called Disciples offering only legalistic and insincere application of said explanations. Suddenly the verse, and the concept of a fat heart becomes far more relevant to me. What does it stir in you?

It was difficult finding an absolutely literal translation here, but I did find a couple. This one sounded the least wooden.

The people’s hearts have turned to flab; their ears are clogged; their eyes are shut. They will try to see, but they will not see; they will try to hear, but they will not hear; they will try to understand, but they will not comprehend. If they, with their blindness and deafness, so choose, then I will heal them.
-Matthew 13:15 VOICE

An adult wanting to be spoon fed.
click to enlarge

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