Friday, March 30, 2007

Set Apart

Greek Word Pronunciation: ah-fo-RID-zo
Strong’s Number: 873
Goodrich/Kohlenberger Number: 928
Key Verse: “Paul, a bond-servant of Christ ... set apart for the gospel of God …” -- Romans 1:1

This word is a compound word from apo (“away from”) and horizo (“to set bounds, to restrict”) [from which we get our word “horizon”]. Therefore, aphoridzo means “to separate, sever, cut off, ostracize or exclude,” often carrying with it an implication of divine determination.

In the Old Testament, the believing community existed as a nation that was socially and geographically separated from its pagan neighbors. Israel and the surrounding nations constantly had to be reminded of the distinction that God Himself had made. In the Septuagint, this word is used in Genesis 2:10 and 10:5 regarding river and coastlands being divided; Leviticus 10:15 as wave offerings (separations); many times in Leviticus in reference to leprosy victims being separated from the camps; Numbers 18:24 in giving tithes, as well as Ezekiel 45:13 and 48:9 of first-fruits being offered; and Deuteronomy 4:41 and Joshua 16:9 with cities being separated.

In the New Testament, this word appears only 10 times. In Galatians 2:12, Peter was separating himself from the Gentiles; 2 Corinthians 6:17, Paul quoted Isaiah 52:11 to “be separate,” regarding yoked relationships with unbelievers; Acts 13:2, the Holy Spirit commanded Barnabas and Saul to be set apart for Him; Acts 19:9, Paul took (separated) the disciples with him; Matthew 13:49, the angels separating evil men from righteous, and 25:32, God will separate the nations from one another as a shepherd separates sheep from goats; and Luke 6:22, in the Beatitude, “blessed are you when people ... exclude/ostracize you …” In Galatians 1:15, God set apart Paul before he was born.

Finally, in ROMANS 1:1, Paul was set apart from all mankind for a specific purpose by God for his apostleship. It should be noted that in this instance, the verb is in the perfect tense, meaning it is a past completed action having present results, giving the idea of permanency. The past act of God in separating Paul to one thing, the gospel, finds its results in his permanent position as a person separated to one thing

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