WHO ARE THE GENTILES?
Bertrand L. Comparet
It is unfortunate that most people have so many mistaken
ideas about their religion. This is due largely to the many mistranslations of
words in the commonly used King James Bible. One of these mistaken ideas is that
most of the people of the United States and Western Europe, in fact nearly all
the Christians in the world, are Gentiles. You hear many of them, even clergymen
that should know better say, I'm just a Gentile, saved by grace. I think it is
high time that we learned something about one of the most misused words,
You may be surprised to know that there is no such word
in the Bible, in its original language. Oh yes, I know that you are now riffling
through the pages of your King James Bible, looking for some of the many places
you will find Gentile in it. However, I said that there was no such word in
the original languages. Translators, who changed the wording of the Bible
centuries after the last book of the Bible was written, put the word into it.
If you are a good Christian, you will surely agree with
me that Yahweh inspired what the prophets originally wrote, in the books that
make up our Bible. It was correct as the prophets wrote it. But not one of them
wrote in English, because no such language existed until many centuries after
the prophets lived.
The Old Testament was written in Hebrew and the New
Testament was originally written in the language that Yahshua spoke, Aramaic.
This is a Semitic dialect somewhat similar to, but not the same as Hebrew.
Aramaic was not generally understood outside of western Asia. So, when
Christianity began to spread into southern and southwestern Europe, the New
Testament had to be translated into a language, which was widely used in Europe.
Greek served this purpose nicely as well-educated men
understood it, over nearly all of Europe; therefore the New Testament was first
translated into Greek. Protestant English language translations of the Bible of
today are nearly all translated from the Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Testament
and Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. Let's start at the beginning with
the Old Testament.
The word Gentile is not once used in any Hebrew
manuscript of the Old Testament. There is a very good reason for this; there is
no such word in Hebrew, nor any word that corresponds to it. Everywhere you find
the word Gentile used in the Old Testament, it is a mistranslation of the Hebrew
word goi, which means nation; the plural form of it is goyim.
Since it means nation, why didn't they translate it correctly? Sometimes they
did, but for the most part they translated it to fit the official doctrines of
the church of their day. It didn't matter what violence that did to the true
meaning of the word.
The church hierarchy had long since determined what its
doctrines should be. If the Bible didn't agree with them, so much the worse for
the Bible. Men were still being burned at the stake, in those days, for heresy.
Heresy meant any religious idea, which differed from the official doctrines,
proclaimed by the bishops. The translators did the best the church would allow
them to; let's examine some examples.
In Genesis 12:2 Yahweh said to Abram, "I will
make of thee a great nation". In Hebrew Yahweh said, "I will make of
thee a great goi". It would have been too silly to translate this,
"I will make a Gentile of [email protected] so they
correctly translated it nation. In Genesis 25:23 Rebekah was pregnant
with the twins Esau and Jacob, while still in her womb, the unborn children were
struggling against each other. Rebekah wondered at this, and asked Yahweh what
was the meaning of this? Yahweh said to her, "Two goyim are in thy womb".
Certainly Yahweh was not telling her, you are an
adulteress, pregnant with two Gentile children, when your husband is not a
Gentile. Yahweh said, "Two nations are in thy womb", and that
is the way it is translated. It is the same word goyim, which elsewhere they
generally translate as Gentiles.
Now let's take some examples from the New Testament. Here
the word mistranslated Gentile, is nearly always the Greek word ethnos. This
means just exactly nation, the same as the Hebrew word goy.
Luke 7 begins with the incident of a Roman
centurion who appealed to Yahshua to heal his servant who was sick and close to
dying. The elders of the Jews praised him to Yahshua saying, "He loveth our
ethnos and hath built us a synagogue". These Jews would never praise
anyone for loving the Gentiles. The centurion would not have built a synagogue
for Gentiles. So, to avoid the absurdity, the translators were forced to
translate ethnos correctly as nation.
In John 11:50 we find that the Jewish high priest
Caiaphas, was plotting with the chief priests and Pharisees, to murder Yahshua.
Caiaphas told them, "It is expedient for us that one man should die for the
people, and that the whole ethnos perish not". Nothing could have
pleased this evil Jew more than for all the Gentiles to perish, using the word
Gentile as we do today. Therefore the translators had to translate ethnos
correctly as nation, yet in many places, they mistranslate it
The Greek word ethnos simply means nation, it has no pagan, non-Israel, or even non-Greek connotation. The Greeks
distinguished between Greeks and all non-Greek people, the non-Greeks were
called Barbarians. All well educated men of that day knew this. The apostle Paul
was a very well educated man, who was quite familiar with the Greek language and
its idioms. He recognized this distinction between Greek and Barbarian in Romans
1:14 where he said, "I am debtor both to the Greeks and to the
Barbarians". Therefore Paul never wrote the word Gentile in any of his
What does this word Gentile mean and from what is it
derived? It is derived from the Latin word gentilis, which means one who is
not a Roman citizen. If you use the word correctly, then you would have to
say that Yahshua and His twelve disciples were all Gentiles. None of them were
Roman citizens by birth.
How then is it used at present, when the speaker means to
say that someone is non Jewish? About the fourth century A.D., its use was
loosely extended to cover more than its original meaning. It was especially
applied to those who were heathen or pagan. It became a term for those who were
neither Christian nor Jewish. Christians and Jews were generally called just
that, Christian or Jew. This was centuries after the last book in the New
Testament had been written.
The writer of any book of the Old Testament never used
the word Gentile, because none of them had ever heard of it, as they had never
come in contact with Rome.
The writer of any book in the New Testament did not use
it, for there is no such word in the Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek languages. They
did not borrow the word from the Latin. If you will look up every place where it
is used in the King James Bible, you will see that it is never used in the
correct sense, to say that someone is not a Roman citizen. This is the only
meaning it had; the only way anybody used it in those days. The translators put
it in, in an effort to make the Bible say what the translators thought it should
have said; therefore it has no authority at all.
Wherever you see the word Gentile in the Bible, remember
the correct word is nation, race or people. Sometimes it is used when
speaking of Israel nations or the Israelite race, as we have seen in the
examples I have given you.
In other instances, the context will show that it is
being used for a nation, which is non-Israelite. Only the context in which it is
used will show you which meaning to give it. When used of non-Israelite people,
perhaps Gentile is as good a word as any, for we seem to have no other in
general use. Never be deceived by reading the word Gentile in your Bible, for its
only correct meaning is nation or race.