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paradidomi (Greek) to-beyond-give

Therefore God paradidomi’d them …. Paul’s letter to Roman Christians 1: 24

Like all English speaking peoples we in Jersey regularly use words whose origin is in the ancient Greek of Jesus’ time on earth (AD 0-33) and earlier. One of the prefixes which trill off our lips is “para-“. It means “beyond”. Paranormal and Parachute are respectively: beyond-normal; beyond-a-fall.

But we don’t use paradidomi = to-beyond-give. We don’t even use didomi (to give). Jesus – and his followers – used both, especially paradidomi.

Paradidomi is something which is done every day. Sometimes paradidomi has a good outcome, sometimes a bad.

The bad outcomes of “giving-beyond” arise when paradidomi, in context, becomes “giving over”.

That’s the sense in which Paul used paradidomi when writing to Roman Christians around AD 55. His letter is in the New Testament of the Bible. See bold above. He writes that God “gave them over”. To what did He give them over? To the outcomes of the things which they themselves had chosen.

Most of us, when faced with others over whom we have little authority, will try persuasion. But inevitably we often have to say, in all aspects of our lives, “Have your own way.” We are forced to paradidomi – to-beyond-give - our loved ones to the consequences they are choosing. We leave them to learn by experience.

‘God will give us all what we choose – and what we deserve.' (Anon.)

Big question: in what ways does God give over – “beyond-give” – folk to the consequences that flow from their decisions? Take a deep breath.

In today’s financial world we have all been – and are still – perilously close to financial collapse. The world’s biggest banks are undercapitalised and, possibly, insolvent if their assets were subjected to stringent valuation. The Western governments which have borrowed to bail them out and are (as it were) standing behind the banks may now themselves be unable to repay.

Worryingly, many Western governments are now not only unable to repay their own borrowings but also unable to raise more money from lenders. Their economies cannot stand it. Some are close to having to borrow so as to keep up the interest payments on their debts.

Choices were made in past decades – choices that now are seen to have been crassly stupid. Those choices, including choices to close eyes, were all taken on the basis of personal utility – “will this choice benefit me”, “will it benefit the bank”, “will it benefit the nation which votes me into office”.

What is your view? Would it be “right” and “just” and “good” to allow those choices to be worked out? Would it be “right” to paradidomi the decision-makers – to beyond-give them, to give them over, to their own decisions?

My first answer is “I didn’t do it so why should I suffer?” But who wanted high rates of interest on their deposits? Who wanted a loan to buy a house even when he had to massage his income upwards to get it? Who paid less than he should to workers? Who asked more than he should for his property?
‘God is ultimately unavoidable.' (Anon.)

That the God of Our Lord Jesus Christ has indeed paradidomi’d us all may well be the only satisfactory reason (from God’s perspective) for the present plight of man in so many other areas of human existence. More on that later.

By way of total contrast, how about thinking long and hard about the use Jesus himself made of paradidomi – of “to-beyond-give”. Here are his actual words from Mark’s biography: “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be paradidomi’d (beyond-given, given over) to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and paradidomi (beyond-give, give over) him to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.”

This God who gives over human beings to the outcome of their decisions seems to have given over His only Son into the hands of human beings. He endured all the consequences of the choices made by others so as to be able to forgive them and to give them new life in him.


Richard Syvret

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