Sense: cross <=> tree
n. — a cross understood especially from its origin and the material that composes it.
He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross (ξύλον), so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.
1 Pe 2:24 (NRSV)
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree (ξύλον), that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
1 Pe 2:24 (ESV)
Translations are often divided on how they render ξύλον when the word’s referent is Jesus’ cross. Examples of this usage can be found in Acts 5:30, 10:39, 13:29 and today’s example verse in 1 Peter (consider looking at these texts with the text comparison tool). This issue arises because “tree” can be extended to refer to a “cross” since a cross is made from the wood of a tree. This is a type of metonymy that could be called material for object. The Bible Sense Lexicon label – “cross ⇔ tree” – highlights this metonymy, and the definition provides some explanation. Further, we see in the BSL hierarchy that referring to the cross as a “tree” is a more specific way of referring to a cross than simply using σταυρός. This invites us to further reflection. Why would the New Testament author use “tree” instead of “cross”? Or to state this another way, what aspect of the New Testament authors meaning might we lose by rendering ξύλον as “cross” as opposed to “tree”?
What is the Bible Sense Lexicon?
Sense of the Day is based on content from Logos’ Bible Sense Lexicon, which organizes biblical Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words by meaning based on a variety of semantic relationships. Sense of the Day provides examples of senses in context, along with insight into their application for theology and interpretation.
The Bible Sense Lexicon is a Logos dataset available in Logos 5 Gold and higher base packages. If you’re enrolled in the Logos Academic Discount Program, you can also find the Bible Sense Lexicon in the Biblical Languages base package. Take your studies even further by exploring semantic domains, engaging the biblical text like never before.
Learn more about the Bible Sense Lexicon.