Vol. 6, No. 5
~ Page 10 ~
A Gospel preacher asks, "Why did you translate the Greek word for 'kidneys' in Revelation 2:23 as 'minds'?" The Gospel preacher doing the asking has more than an average interest in the word "kidneys," since he suffered for years with defective kidneys, and now his loving mother has gone to the hospital and had one of her kidneys removed and placed in him. As a result, all who have been edified and saved by Don Ruhl's preaching (Klamath Falls, OR) are smiling and praying that he will have no more health problems.
No one thinks that Jesus literally "searcheth the reins and hearts" (KJV, ASV). Physically and literally, "the reins [the kidneys] and hearts" are very important. But non-literal hearts, both God's and man's, are meant in these two verses:
And Jehovah saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented Jehovah that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart (Genesis 6:5-6).
It is clear then that, when Jesus searches hearts he is talking about a man's mind, for "as he thinketh in his heart so is he" (Proverbs 23:7, KJV), and when Jesus "searcheth the kidneys" he is talking about a man's mind. Also, non-literal kidneys are mentioned in Psalm 7:9, "God trieth the hearts and reins" (KJV), and also in Jeremiah 11:20; 17:10; 20:12. Kidneys (kelayoth in the Hebrew, Psalm 7:10, nephrous in the Greek, Revelation 2:23) refer to "the inner life, mind" (B-G-D, 537).
Similarly, a non-literal meaning of "bones" is in Psalm 6:2: "my bones are vexed" (KJV), "troubled" (ASV). The literal meaning of planchna, "entrails," "bowels," in Acts 1:18 about Judas' hanging, goes to a non-literal meaning in Philippians 2:1, "tender mercies" (ASV), while the KJV has "bowels." Non-literal meanings of both bowels and the liver are found in Lamentations 2:11, "my bowels are troubled, my liver is poured upon the earth."
Don Ruhl is to be complimented because he wants every word of a translation to carry the meaning that God intended.