Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Abram vs Abraham

I am wondering if in Galatians 3:1-9, when the KJV has "Abraham" if it is "Abram" that is being talked about. I know they're one and the same.  But I'm wondering if this passage here is talking about Abram before God changed his name to Abraham.  And if this is the case, why do you think the KJ translators used Abraham instead of Abram?

Your question is a good one—one that I also had asked and studied out years ago. In my study of it, simply put, the New Testament uses Abraham instead of Abram in every account of his life—even when it is referring to an event before God changed his name—because Abraham was not known in the bible as Abram anymore after Genesis chapter 17:5. (Take a concordance and look up the name "Abram" and you won't see it recorded after Gen 17:5).

Genesis 17:5
Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.

For doctrinal reasons, God in Genesis chapter 17, changed Abram's name from "exalted father" into "father of many nations," according to His covenant with him. That covenant of circumcision (or the cutting off of the flesh) represented Abram dying to his old identity! Therefore, from Genesis 17:5 on, the bible (God) no longer knows Abram as the "exalted father,” but he is, and has been known since Genesis 17:5, in his new God-given identity as the "father of many nations.”

So when Paul and all the other bible writers refer to Abraham, they use His God-given name of Abraham and not his man-given name Abram.  This is because God no longer saw him as Abram after the change and He did not want man to know him by that name either. Therefore any reference to Abraham by God, the Holy Spirit, in the bible (even those that go back in time before his name was changed), uses his God-given name and not his birth name because how God sees him is now the issue from henceforth.

That is not at all uncommon, Paul, when he mentions Eve in 1 Timothy 2, refers to her as "Eve" even though Adam had not yet named her in the account that Paul quotes in Genesis 3:1-4.

1 Timothy 2:13
For Adam was first formed, then Eve.

The passage that Paul quotes is Gen 3:1-4 is when Eve was simply known as Mrs. Adam, [Genesis 5:2].  Adam then gave her the first name of Eve later on in Gen 3:20, and from them on she is known as Eve.

Genesis 3:20
And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.

By the way, Paul did it again in the book of Romans 4. He quotes Genesis 15, while Abe was still Abram, yet he still calls him Abraham and not Abram for the same reason explained above.

Here's a practical example that you might understand. Let's say that you (Jane Doe) are with a group of your current girlfriends at a funeral for one of your old high school girlfriends. And one of your current girlfriends ask one of your old high school friends who she just meets and who is also in attendance "So, tell me about the teenage Jane Doe.” And then your old high school girlfriend says, "Oh girl...let me tell you about teenage you,” and she begins to recount to your current friend some funny things that you did as a teenager.

But technically, before you married your husband, there was no teenage you with your married were known by another name...your father's name/your maiden name, yet you are still the same person and it is ok for your old high school friend to call you your current name, even though she has not seen you since you married your husband.

By the way, even though your old high school friend's recounted events before your name was what it is today, you are now legally your current name, and therefore not known by your father's/maiden name anymore...that you does not exist anymore!) That identity was dead at the wedding ceremony of you and your husband and consummated in the marriage bed! Your father has no more claim over you!

She would not have to say, "No, no, I can't call her by her married name because all the stories that I have about her as a teenager were before she got married...I must refer to her by her maiden name.” That would never happen because you are your married name now! She may insist on calling you by the last name she knew you by, but that is not your name anymore...and will never be again by the way...and your husband would be right to correct your old high school girlfriend if he were present because you no longer belong to your father, but to him! Just like with God's doctrinal reasons with Abraham—for doctrinal reasons, to show whose authority you are now under—your husband has the right from God to correct anybody who uses your father's/maiden name in reference to you, even your own father himself!

So in that same way, although the scriptures technically makes reference to Abraham while he was still named Abram, because he had not been called and known as Abram for 2,000 years by the time these bible writers write about him, and because of the doctrine that God is seeking to teach in Abraham's name change, his new name and not his old name.

By the way, I neglected to mention that on a larger scale and spiritually speaking, God no longer sees us believers today in our physical father Adam, but because we died to Adam at Calvary and are now resurrected to new life in Christ.  God sees us as Christ, PTL!

Hopefully this helps...Maranatha!


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