Mansions

17 Mar 2016

Word for Today: Mansions

In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2, NKJV)

Here we actually have two words, House and Mansions, that we are going to examine. The first word is house which is the Koine Greek word οἰκία [oikia /oy·kee·ah/][1]. Oikia means a residence and implies a family. Let’s compare oikia to οἶκος [oikos /oy·kos/]. Oikos means a family dwelling with all the property, wealth, and goods. So, oikos includes the house and possessions, while oikia is just the family dwelling. In this instance, it is the abode of God.

Look at the word, heaven in Matthew 6:9. ““Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.” (Matthew 6:9, NASB95) Heaven is the Greek word, οὐρανός [ouranos /oo·ran·os/][2]. It is the celestial expanse above the earth; the holy residence of God. “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;” (Philippians 3:20, NASB95)

Now, observe the Greek word for mansions, μονή [mone /mon·ay/]. Mone is the plural of monai, and means a resting place, dwelling (-place) , room, abode[3]. Monos, which means alone, is derived from the word monai. This may have reference to single or individual places for families, like they had on earth.

The King James “mansions” comes originally from Tyndale’s translation, at which time the word “mansion” merely signified a dwelling, and not necessarily a large and luxurious one, as in contemporary English. Some commentators take the Greek word used here (monē) to mean “stopping place” or “resting place.”[4] It means a permanent dwelling place.

The heavenly dwellings which are the goal of salvation (the movement is from below upwards), and to which believers will go after their earthly separation from God, are called abiding places which are fully prepared for them in the Father’s house. The word seems to be deliberately chosen to express the fact that our earthly state is transitory and provisional compared with eternal and blessed being with God.[5]

Jesus is saying that He is preparing a place for us in Heaven where we will dwell with God in close communion with Him. My Father’s house is best taken as a phrase descriptive of heaven as a place having many rooms (that is, room enough for all).[6] He is saying that in God’s home (heaven) there will be many people in the family of God all abiding together. One translation says, “There are many abiding-places in my Father’s house.”

A house on earth may become overcrowded. A hotel may be filled to capacity. But in heaven, there is room for all, and within God’s heavenly house, we will live in the presence of the Lord. Hence, the word is best taken in a generic sense, meaning “a place of dwelling”; since this dwelling is obviously one place within the whole (house), the most natural English equivalent is “room.” “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” (John 14:2, ESV)

Other Translations:

There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home. If that weren’t so, would I have told you that I’m on my way to get a room ready for you?” (John 14:2, The Message)

“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2, NASB95)

There are many rooms in my Father’s house; I would not tell you this if it were not true. I am going there to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2, EXPNT)

© Learning The Bible 2016

[1] Strong, James. Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon 1995 : n. pag. Print.

[2] Strong, James. Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon 1995 : n. pag. Print.

[3] Arndt, William et al. A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature : a translation and adaption of the fourth revised and augmented edition of Walter Bauer’s Griechisch-deutsches Worterbuch zu den Schrift en des Neuen Testaments und der ubrigen urchristlichen Literatur 1979 : 527. Print.

[4] Newman, Barclay Moon, and Eugene Albert Nida. A Handbook on the Gospel of John. New York: United Bible Societies, 1993. Print. UBS Handbook Series.

[5] Kittel, Gerhard, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, and Gerhard Friedrich, eds. Theological dictionary of the New Testament 1964– : 580. Print.

[6] Newman, Barclay Moon, and Eugene Albert Nida. A Handbook on the Gospel of John. New York: United Bible Societies, 1993. Print. UBS Handbook Series.

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JD Wilhite

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