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Text Sermons : Greek Word Studies : Received (3880) paralambano

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Received (3880) (paralambano from para = beside + lambano = appropriate, receive) means to receive from another, to receive alongside or to take to oneself (into close association). There are two basic ideas - to take or to receive.

To take with one in order to carry away (eg, Jesus' reference to the Rapture in John 14:3 below where the taking also conveys a sense close fellowship and agreement associated with the receiving to Himself)

To receive something transmitted, as spiritual instruction or truth (see 1Cor 11:23, Gal 1:9 below) or a ministry (Col 4:17-note)

To receive in the sense of an inheritance (see use of paralambano below in Da 7:18 - "receive the kingdom", He 12:28-note)

The aorist tense looks back to the time when the Thessalonians heard the missionaries' proclaim the gospel and records their active response to that message - they took hold of the divine message. They received it alongside. They took it to themselves.

Paralambano is used 49 times in the NT (Mt. 1:20, 24; 2:13,14, 20, 21; 4:5, 8; 12:45; 17:1; 18:16; 20:17; 24:40,41; 26:37; 27:27; Mk. 4:36; 5:40; 7:4; 9:2; 10:32; 14:33; Lk. 9:10, 28; 11:26; 17:34, 35; 18:31; Jn. 1:11; 14:3; 19:16; Acts 15:39; 16:33; 21:24, 26, 32; 23:18; 1Co. 11:23; 15:1, 3; Gal. 1:9, 12; Phil. 4:9; Col. 2:6; 4:17; 1Th 2:13; 4:1; 2Th 3:6; Hebrews 12:28)

Below are some representative uses of paralambano...

Mt 2:14 And he arose and took the Child and His mother by night, and departed for Egypt;

Mt 2:20 Arise and take the Child and His mother, and go into the land of Israel; for those who sought the Child's life are dead.

Mt 24:40 "Then there shall be two men in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. 41 "Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left. (Comment: Although paralambano means to take to one's self and to seize for one's own possession, and is usually used in a good sense [see John 14:3 below], here in Matthew 24 the context is not good. The upshot is that this is clearly not a proof text to support the Rapture of the saints as some commentators state! The ones taken will be taken to judgment and death. The ones left will be left to enter the blessings of the millennial kingdom.)

Mark 7:4 and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they cleanse themselves; and there are many other things which they have received in order to observe, such as the washing of cups and pitchers and copper pots.) (Comment: Here paralambano conveys the idea of receiving of tradition passed down from other men, similar to the use in 2Thes 3:6)

John 1:11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive (or accept - contrast with Col 2:6 below) Him. (Comment: Metaphorically, paralambano here is equivalent to "to accept or acknowledge one to be such as he professes to be; not to reject, not to withhold obedience")

John 14:3 "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

Galatians 1:9,12 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed...12 For I neither received (paralambano) it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

Colossians 2:6 (note) As you therefore have received (or accepted - contrast with John 1:11 above) Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk (present imperative) in Him

Colossians 4:17 (note) And say to Archippus, "Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it."

1Thessalonians 4:1 (note) Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that, as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you may excel still more.

Hebrews 12:28 (note) Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;

Paralambano is used 22 times in the Septuagint (LXX) (Ge 22:3; 31:23; 45:18; 47:2; Num. 22:41; 23:14, 20, 27f; Jos. 4:2; 2Chr. 25:11; Esther 5:1; Song. 8:2; Jer. 32:7; 49:1, 2; Lam. 3:2; Da 4:31; 5:31; 6:19, 28; 7:18)

Genesis 22:3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took (Lxx = paralambano) two of his young men with him and Isaac his son; and he split wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.

Numbers 23:20 "Behold, I have received (Lxx = paralambano) a command to bless; When He has blessed, then I cannot revoke it.

Daniel 5:31 So Darius the Mede received (Lxx = paralambano) the kingdom at about the age of sixty-two.

Daniel 7:18 'But the saints of the Highest One will receive (Lxx = paralambano) the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come. (Comment: This event describes the time of the inception of the Messianic Kingdom - see Millennial Kingdom)

Paralambano is the verb the Lord used to to encourage Joseph's reception of Mary after her conception

Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife...And Joseph...took her as his wife (Mt 1:20, 24)

John uses this verb describing the failure of most of the Jews (in contrast to the predominantly Gentile population at Thessalonica) refusal to receive Jesus as their Messiah...

He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive (paralambano) Him. (John 1:11, cp Jn 1:12, 13 in v12 "recieved" = lambano)

Paralambano denotes an objective, outward receiving. It was used for the reception of words which were to be conveyed, Paul writing...

For I received (paralambano) from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread (1Cor 11:23)

Paul used paralambano in the context of the gospel proclamation in other epistles...

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received (paralambano), in which also you stand 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received (paralambano), that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures (1Co 15:1-note; 1Cor 15:2-note)

The things you have learned and received (paralambano) and heard and seen in me, practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you. (Php 4:9-note)

Paralambano also has nuances of seizing or taking to one's self or taking something into one's possession (ponder that as you think about the "attitude" of the Thessalonians. How do I compare when I am confronted with the word of God's message?)

Paralambano is the verb especially used of receiving a message or body of instruction handed down by tradition, to be delivered (paradidomi - literally give beside and so to pass down) to others in turn. Paul uses it in this sense in 2Thessalonians...

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep aloof from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition (paradosis derived from paradidomi - give alongside) which you received (paralambano) from us. (2Thessalonians 3:6)

In sum, paralambano conveys the idea that the Thessalonians had received the word of God's message into their mind and so they learned it.

Regarding the phrase of God Hiebert rightly remarks that...

Paul reminds his readers that they heard and received the message from us the missionaries who first brought it to Thessalonica. But to guard against any possible misunderstanding of the nature of the message they received, Paul at once adds of God, emphatically placed immediately after from us as marking the clear distinction between us and God as the ultimate source of the message. Although brought by human messengers, in reality it was God's message...It is God's message; the missionaries were the medium. Lightfoot comments, "The Apostle betrays a nervous apprehension that he may be unconsciously making claims for himself; the awkwardness of the position of the words tou theou (of God) is the measure of the emphasis of his disclaimer." (Hiebert, D. Edmond: 1 & 2 Thessalonians: BMH Book. 1996) (Bolding added)

Application: How important is it for modern teachers and preachers to remember and assimilate this seemingly small point?

It is God's Message
The missionaries were the Medium

Spurgeon writes that...

In these words we find a window into the heart of the Thessalonian Christians and what we see is like a cabinet of jewels. (Sermon)

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