And then, the Bible says [in Mark 3:5] that Jesus looked around at them in anger. Jesus gets angry. Now this story was first told in the Greek language, and there’s a subtle nuance to this word “anger” in the Greek language. It’s in what’s called the aorist tense, which is a technical way of saying that Jesus’ anger is a temporary feeling. It comes on him, and then it leaves him.
- “Anger” is a noun, not a verb, in Mark 3:5. The participle περιβλεψάμενος (“After looking around at”) is aorist.
- καὶ περιβλεψάμενος αὐτοὺς μετ᾽ ὀργῆς, συλλυπούμενος ἐπὶ τῇ πωρώσει τῆς καρδίας αὐτῶν λέγει τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ• ἔκτεινον τὴν χεῖρα.
- NET: After looking around at them in anger, grieved by the hardness of their hearts, he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”
- Even if Bell had correctly parsed the word he was highlighting, his point is still guilty of the aorist tense fallacy. The aorist tense is not “subtle” or “technical.” It’s the default tense that communicates the very least about a particular action. (See, e.g., D. A. Carson, Exegetical Fallacies [2d ed.; Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996), 67–73.)
This is not an isolated example. When Bell talks about ancient history, customs, language, etc., he not infrequently undermines his credibility.
- See Greg Gilbert’s thoughtful reviews of Nooma videos 1-19: parts 1 | 2 | 3.
- C. J. Mahaney, “Rob Bell, the Pastor’s Task of Discernment, and My Heart“
- D. A. Carson comments on Rob Bell’s ministry
- Pat Abendroth, “Rob Bell makes me angry: a pastoral response to Velvet Elvis“
- Ken Silva, “Is Rob Bell Evangelical?“