Maranatha (מרנא תא or מרן אתא)

I have encountered the word “Maranatha” in many applications but never knew the meaning until curiosity got the best of me and I finally looked it up. A quick study seems appropriate for Christmas season.

Maranatha is a two-word combination in the Aramaic of Jesus that was transliterated into Greek letters rather than being translated (Μαραναθα). Now this is where the fun starts. Depending how which two Aramaic words you use you get either maranâ thâ' or maran 'athâ'. The first “marana tha” is often translated as “Our Lord, Come!” where the second set of words “maran atha” is translated as “Our Lord has come”.

This can be problematic for folks who like a literal translation of the bible because depending on which translation of the bible you have you may see it as “Our Lord, Come!” or “Our Lord has come”. Some bible translations don’t even try to translate and just insert the Greek word “Maranatha” You might think that the context of the words use might give us some guidance but the word is only found once in the entire bible and context does not help. Check it out in your bible. It can be found in 1 Corinthians 16:22.

So what does this have to do with Christmas? Well, we are in the Season of Advent. Advent is a season observed in many Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for both the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas and the return of Jesus at the Second Coming.

Our Lord has come. Come Lord Jesus. Amen

Mark Autterson

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