This blog, hitherto called “The Long War,” is getting a new name!
Almost exactly four years after my very first post, I am finally changing the name. About two and a half years ago, I seriously considered changing the name, and explained what I was thinking in a post at that time.
This last weekend, I finally realized the name that I want to use. It is still related to my theme verse, II Samuel 3:1, and it still goes with the images on my header, as I will explain below.
What the new title means…
The Greek word asthéneia is pronounced “oss-THEN-ay-ah” (with an unvoiced ‘th’ as in ‘thick,’). It is part of a New Testament word family based on the root, “sthen.” Here is a breakdown of the words in that family, together with their meanings and their frequency of use in the NT:
sthenoō — “I strengthen, make strong” (1x)
astheneō — “I am weak, powerless, sick, in need” (33x)
asthenēs — “weak, powerless, sick, ill, feeble” (26x)
astheneia — “weakness, sickness, disease, timidity” (24x)
asthenēma — “weakness” (1x)
We can see, then, that sthen has to do with strength or strengthening. The other four words all have the alpha privative prefix, giving them the basic idea of ‘un-strength.’ That, of course, would be a strange way of translating them in English, so they are typically rendered in ways like I’ve shown in this list.
It is the fourth one on the list that I have taken as the new title. Here are a few key NT texts where asthéneia is used:
I Corinthians 15:43
II Corinthians 11:30; 12:9-10; 13:4
What the new title is about…
My theme verse, II Samuel 3:1, reads:
“Now there was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David; and David grew steadily stronger, but the house of Saul grew weaker continually.”
The significance of this verse has not changed for me, other than to grow in intensity, since I began this blog in 2009. I see here, and in the over all narrative of the book of Samuel, the image of the struggle between man’s king and God’s king. Or as I have put it many times before, it is the struggle between what I get when God lets me have what my flesh wants and what I get when God gives me what is right and good. Across the years of my life, there continues in my heart the great struggle between the house of Saul and the house of David. And my prayer is that the house of Saul grows weaker and weaker while the house of David grows stronger and stronger. (Incidentally,the book of Samuel is part of the Hebrew Scriptures, but the Septuagint [aka, the LXX], which is the ancient Greek translation that was in common use in the time of Jesus and His apostles, uses the verb astheneō to express what happened to the house of Saul.)
Then we see the NT, particularly the writings of the apostle Paul, picking up on this theme. His letters to the church in Corinth carry it from end to end, from the first chapter of I Corinthians 1 to the last chapter of II Corinthians, until he finally writes, “For indeed He was crucified because of weakness, yet He lives because of the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, yet we will live with Him because of the power of God toward you” (II Cor. 13:4). And so you see the reason I have chosen asthéneia as the title of my blog. I want to know the power of Christ’s resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering, the suffering He has done in weakness for me.
I am not changing the images on my header. They were always meant to be ironic. Now the ironic connection is directly related to the blog title. The point of the two pictures is to remind us that “the mighty have fallen”(II Samuel 1:19-27). I have written on this before and, undoubtedly, will again.
Whatever I post on this little blog, whether serious or silly, the great theme running under all of it is the truth that I am a man of weakness who is entrusting his entire self and destiny to the One who became weak for us so that, as we share in His death, we may also share in the power of His resurrected life.
May He glorify Himself here in whatever way He may choose.