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Reflexive Pronouns

November 25, 2017

I shot the buck myself.  

Q. Who is shooting (the subject)?   Ans. I (myself)

Q. Who was shot (the object)? Ans. the buck

The intensive pronoun myself is used to magnify the fact that I alone am responsible for that buck  (stay away from him, he’s going to my freezer!)

 

I shot myself.

Q. Who is shooting (the subject)?   Ans. I (myself) 

Q. Who was shot (the object)? Ans. I was shot   (ooops!)

The reflexive pronoun myself is used to ‘reflect’ the object back to the subject.   The subject (the one initiating the action of shooting), is also the object (the one receiving the action).

 

Before you shout,”So what!” or grumble “Yeah, grammar is for librarians and nerds,” consider that the word of God is structured: it has perfect grammar.  These rules must be recognized in order to perfectly understand the written word.

 

“And Amaziah strengthened himself...” (2 Chron 25:11).   The subject is Amaziah;  the verb is strengthen; the object, the one who was strengthened, was himself- Amaziah.   The pronoun himself reflects to the subject for they are the same.  

 

“...seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh...” (Hebrews 6:6) .   The verb is crucify; the noun that initiates or acts on the verb is they.   The object, always following the preposition (to, in this case), is themselves.  They and themselves, the subject and object, are one in the same, it’s a reflexive pronoun case.  

 

Now it gets interesting!

“If they shall fall away, to renew them again...” (Hebrews 6:6).  This passage is the crux of many a theological train wreck.   Some say “it’s difficult.”    But, it’s not difficult if you use basic grammar principles.  Warning: if you approach this phrase with the idea that they and them are the same, you’ll end up in the weeds.  Basically, the predominate body of commentary theory suggests that them (the object) and they (the subject) are the same: these people (they) fall away and then these same people (them) can’t get back.   

 

But, as we have seen, if them and they are the same, it would be a reflexive pronoun case.   It would, by rule, read, ‘if they fall away to renew themselves...‘   Notice themselves is the reflexive pronoun for them.  But, it doesn’t read that way; the pronoun is them, not themselves–therefore them is not the same noun group as they.

 

Knowing then that them represents another group of nouns (and not they who fall away), we can seek the matching antecedent: the principles of the Law mentioned in 6:1,2.  It’s impossible to revive them into favor: the first things, the follow up things, and the future things of the Law.  For Christ is better,  and those nouns wax old and are to vanish away.   

 

Grammar reinforces the doctrine: Christ is better.   It’s not difficult.   

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