《西敏信条教牧简释 7.4》

Posted on Sep 3, 2019 by admin

7.4 This covenant of grace is frequently set forth in Scripture by the name of a testament, in reference to the death of Jesus Christ the Testator, and to the everlasting inheritance, with all things belonging to it, therein bequeathed.1
1 Heb 9:15, 1617; 7:22; Lk 22:20; 1 Cor 11:25. 

7.4 这恩典之约在圣经中常称为遗命,是指立遗命者耶稣基督的死,又指由遗命所留下的永远的产业及其所附属的一切1。

“Why do you speak about covenant so much, when it is an outdated Old Testament concept? This was the question posed to a young minister many years ago. The objector, who was inclined to a Baptistic viewpoint of the Scripture, insisted that the New Testament hardly makes any mention of the idea of covenants. There are only 17 explicit occurrences of the word; almost all in reference to Old Testament realities, and none found in the lips of our Saviour.

“为什么你常讲关于圣约,它只不过是一个旧约过时的概念?” 这是多年前针对一位年轻的牧师提出的问题。反对者倾向于浸信會的观点,坚持认为新约几乎没有提到关于圣约的概念。这个字”约”只明显出现17次; 但几乎都是参考旧约的实体,在我们救主的口中也没有题过。

But is this assertion true? Well, the reality is that the Greek word for covenant, i.e. diathēkē (diaqhvkh), actually occurs in the New Testament almost exactly twice the number of times that our baptistic brother cared to admit. And moreover, the word was, in fact, used by the Lord!

但是这个说法是真实的吗?其实这一个希腊词 διαθήκη (diathēkē) “约”,实际上在新约出现的次数,比这位浸信會弟兄所说的多出两倍。而且,这个词实际上也被主使用过!

When told this fact, our brother admitted that he did not know Greek, but insisted that if God intended His people to believe in covenant theology, then the word and idea will be more explicitly found in the English translation. 
One wonders if part of the reasons for the present paragraph in our Confession is actually to address such objections and confusions.


You see, the word diathēkē can actually be translated either as ‘testament’ or ‘covenant’. The word ‘testament’ refers to a will in which the testator bequeath an inheritance to his heirs. A divine covenant is related to a testament in that death is involved in both. In the case of the covenant, death stands at the beginning of the relationship between two parties, as the curse or threat of penalty.

其实在圣经中,”遗命” (testament) 与 “约” (covenant) 二字其实译自同一个希腊词 διαθήκη (diathēkē)  “遗命” 是指立遗嘱之人把所留的产业转予继承人的遗嘱。因为”遗命”与约都涉及死亡,它因此有了关系。死亡是在两位立约者开始建立关系时出现的, 它是属于圣约中的诅咒

Death is not strictly necessary unless the covenant is broken. In the case of a testament, however, death stands at the end of a relationship between two parties to actualise an inheritance. Death is strictly necessary in a testament.

如果没有违约,就不须死亡。 而””遗命” 所谈及的死亡则是出现在两者关系结束的时后,为了承受遗产,死亡是必要的。

In almost every occurrence of the word diathēkē in the New Testament, such as in Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20; Hebrews 7:22; Hebrews 9:15; and 1 Corinthians 11:25, the word can be translated as ‘covenant’ and is probably less confusing if it is so translated. The Lord Jesus is clearly referring to the new covenant prophesied in Jeremiah 31:31, when He says, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you (Lk 22:20).

在新约圣经中,διαθήκη (diathēkē)  这个词的每一次的使用,例如太26:28,可14:24; 路22:20; 来7:22;来9:15;林前11:25,”约” 这个词可能更合适,如果这样翻译的话,可能会減少人的误会。主耶稣基督显然是在引用 (耶31:31),当祂说: “这杯是用我的血所立的新约,为你们流出来的。”(路22:20)

There is perhaps only one instance, where the meaning of testament is decidedly intended where the word diathēkē is used. This is found in Hebrews 9:16–17, which reads, “For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.

也许只有一个例子, διαθήκη (diathēkē) 使用时,其中遗嘱的含义是明确地。就是在希9:16-17:“凡有遗嘱,必须证实立遗嘱的人已经死了。因为人死了,遗嘱才有效力;立遗嘱的人尚在,遗嘱就不能生效。” (来9:16-17)

Christ shed His blood and died to pay for the penalty of covenant breakers, not really as a testator, but as covenant head. However, since the Greek word allows for both meaning, the author of Hebrews appears to employ the second meaning of the word, i.e., testament’ in this passage to emphasis the sovereign necessity of the death of Christ that the everlasting inheritance, with all things belonging to it which God has appointed for His elect might be bequeathed.


Thank God for the privilege of living under the New Covenant when the blessing of the Covenant of Grace has been sealed by the death and resurrection of our Covenant Head!


原文作者: 林集章 、蔡林斯 、欧阳效正
中文譯者: 何恩杰,刘行
來源: Westminster Confession of Faith — With Brief Pastoral Comments  

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