James 1:22-23

But become makers of the message - and not just hearers misleading yourselves
For if anyone is a hearer of the message and not a maker
he is like a man assessing the face of his 'Genesis' in a mirror [Jm.1:22-23]

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published by Capabel Press in September 2009.

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at the time they were first composed.

The riddles of Greek scripture are soon unravelled to expose the devastating plot
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Chapter 9 : Beware 'Face Value' of the Text

Copyright Notice
As the basis for my work I have used the Nestlé-Aland 26th Edition Greek text. Copyright on this is reserved as follows :
..... Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestlé-Aland 26th edition (c)1979, Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart;
..... The Greek New Testament, 3rd edition (c) 1975, United Bible Societies, London
This is the Greek text underlying most modern English translations since 1881, including the New American Standard and New International Versions. Certain words within the Nestlé text proper are enclosed in square brackets [ ] or double brackets [[ ]]. These reflect those places where the critical text editors consider the inclusion or omission of such text to be in question.
This text is only available for NON-COMMERCIAL personal/scholarly and educational use.

I have also used the CATSS LXX editions of the Septuagint Old Testament prepared by the TLG (Thesaurus Linguae Graecae) Project directed by T. Brunner at the University of California, Irvine and made available through the Center for Computer Analysis of Texts (CCAT) at the University of Pennsylvania 'for the use of students, teachers and scholars in study and education contexts'.
This text is only available for NON-COMMERCIAL personal/scholarly and educational use.

Unless otherwise noted, the remainder of what is presented in this document is my original work. Copyright on this is reserved as follows :
..... Authentic Christianity, 4th edition : (c) 2001 - 2002, Target Technical, York, UK
All rights are reserved - except that this text is made available without charge for NON-COMMERCIAL personal/scholarly and educational use.

9.1 Introduction
Genesis :
01O 4 13 kai eipen kain pros ton kurion meizwn h aitia mou tou afeqhnai me
01O 4 13 Cain said to the lord, "My accusation [alt: guilt] (is) too great to acquit me.

01O 4 14 ei ekballeis me shmeron apo proswpou ths ghs kai apo tou proswpou sou krubhsomai kai esomai stenwn kai tremwn epi ths ghs kai estai pas o euriskwn me apoktenei me
01O 4 14 If you throw me out today from the face of the earth, I will also be hidden from your face. I shall be contracting [alt: sighing] and shivering upon the earth and it shall be that each one finding me will kill me."

01O 4 15 kai eipen autw kurios o qeos ouc outws pas o apokteinas kain epta ekdikoumena paralusei kai eqeto kurios o qeos shmeion tw kain tou mh anelein auton panta ton euriskonta auton
01O 4 15 And the lord God said to him, "Not so : whoever kills Cain will set free seven vengeances" And the lord God established a sign for Cain, so that everyone finding him should not raise him up [alt: get rid of him; hang him]

01O 4 16 exhlqen de kain apo proswpou tou qeou kai wkhsen en gh naid katenanti edem
01O 4 16 Cain went out from the face of God, and dwelt in the earth of Nod, opposite Eden.

As explained in Chapter 2 (Section 2.5), the use of anagrams is a constant feature of Greek scripture. Did you catch sight of Cain there - hidden from your face ?

The word 'proswpolhmyia' (face value) does not appear in the Septuagint version of the 'Old Testament'. But in the texts of the Greek 'New Testament' [GNT] it appears (with variations) seven times. Here I probe its significance.

9.2 Face Value
The Greek word proswpolhmyia is a compound noun assembled from two words as follows :

  1. proswpon, proswy = face; superficial appearance; mask
    This common word is clearly derived by combining :
    pros = fronting
    oyh = appearance
    Then it refers to 'what may be seen at first sight'.

  2. lhmyis, lhyis = receiving, accepting, taking hold; [in logic] assumption, point of view
    This word is derived from the verb :
    lambanw = I take; I receive
    - which in the future tense becomes :
    lhmyomai = I will receive

The compound proswpo-lhmyia should then mean 'the superficial assumption'; 'the impression I will receive at first sight'.

In current English it may be rendered well enough as : 'Face Value'.

In the tradition of the Kaballah it may be known as the 'Face Reading'.

The 'Vulgate' translation is consistent in rendering it (also in two words) as :
personarum acceptio = 'meaning of masks'; possibly 'sense of characters'.
This risks obscuring the meaning of the Greek source.

The King James' (KJV) translation is consistent in rendering this as : 'respect of persons'.
Now where has the 'face' gone? We seem to have lost sight of the original meaning completely.

The translators of the 'New Jerusalem Bible' (NJB) have largely followed those of the (earlier) 'Jerusalem Bible' in rendering : 'favouritism' - although for the letter of James they come up with 'class distinction'.

Now where are we ? At Mt.15:14 we hear that "if the blind guide the blind then both fall into the ditch".

9.3 No 'Face Value' with God
Here are the seven occurrences of the string 'proswpolhm...' in the NT texts :

Acts :
44N 10 34 anoixas de petros to stoma eipen ep alhqeias katalambanomai oti ouk estin proswpolhmpths o qeos
44N 10 34 But, opening the mouth, Peter said "In truth I detect that God is not (at) face value

Note: kain (Cain) can be found within the word 'katalambanomai' (I detect).

Romans :
45N 2 11 ou gar estin proswpolhmyia para tw qew
45N 2 11 For there is not face value with God

Ephesians :
49N 6 9 kai oi kurioi ta auta poieite pros autous anientes thn apeilhn eidotes oti kai autwn kai umwn o kurios estin en ouranois kai proswpolhmyia ouk estin par autw
49N 6 9 And the lords, do the same things with them, relieving the threat, having known that he is both their lord and yours in (the) heavens - and there is no face value with him.

Colossians :
51N 3 25 o gar adikwn komisetai o hdikhsen kai ouk estin proswpolhmyia
51N 3 25 For the wrongdoer will get (his reward). What he did wrong is not even (at) face value.

Note: kain (Cain) can be found within the word 'adikwn' (wrongdoer) - and it does seem possible that, in declaring 'what he did wrong was not at face value', this verse refers directly to him. And in the word 'adikwn' can we see also 'to shmeion iwna' (the sign of Jonah) [see Mt.12:39;16:4, Lk.11:29-30] ?

James :
59N 2 1 adelfoi mou mh en proswpolhmyiais ecete thn pistin tou kuriou hmwn ihsou cristou ths doxhs
59N 2 1 My brothers, do not hold at face value belief in our lord Jesus Christ of glory.
59N 2 2 ean gar eiselqh eis sunagwghn umwn anhr crusodaktulios en esqhti lampra eiselqh de kai ptwcos en rupara esqhti ...
59N 2 2 For if a man with a gold ring in brilliant clothing enters your synagogue - but also a poor man enters in filthy clothing ...
59N 2 9 ei de proswpolhmpteite amartian ergazesqe elegcomenoi upo tou nomou ws parabatai
59N 2 9 But if you take (things) at face value, you commit sin, censured under the law as transgressors.

Note: For those accustomed to interpret scripture only at 'face value', the statement at Jm.2:1 can come as something of a surprise (and I suggest much doctrine has been formulated by those who never understood the scriptures).

But Jm.2:2 reinforces the point - for the 'lord Jesus Christ of glory' is clearly :

... anhr crusodaktulios en esqhti lampra
... a man with a gold ring in brilliant clothing

Look, in the word 'crusodaktulios' do you not see 'cristos' (the Christ) ? But if anyone is impressed by the manifestation of glory, has he not become [Jm.2:4] one of :

... kritai dialogismwn ponhrwn
... the judges with evil reasoning

1 Peter :
60N 1 17 kai ei patera epikaleisqe ton aproswpolhmptws krinonta kata to ekastou ergon en fobw ton ths paroikias umwn cronon anastrafhte
60N 1 17 And if you appeal as 'Father' (to) the one (who) without face value judges the work of each one, (then) you have spent the time of your posting in fear.

Note: kain (Cain) can be found within the word 'krinonta' (the one who judges).

What can we conclude ?
Perhaps as follows:

  1. There is more to the texts of scripture than the literal meaning.
  2. Part of the literal is 'the works of satan' - ie: it is a deliberate work of deception on the part of the authors, intended to 'put you to the test'. The test is both a technical one (are you competent to resolve the full message of scripture) and a moral one (can you withstand the lying blandishments of satan).
  3. Accordingly some of what appears to be taught in the literal text is not to be taken at face value.
  4. Included in this category is 'our lord Jesus Christ of Glory'.
  5. Without going into detail here, there is surely much else besides.
  6. Taking at face value what should not be taken thus is to commit sin

9.4 PostScript
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