I was reading Acts and I came across Acts 2:15 which reads "These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning!"(NIV, 1984).

But I realized that in the Apostolic times, they did not use the a.m. and p.m. way of time telling. So, after a brief search, I found that in early translations, it is "For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day" (KJB, Cambridge ed.)

I know we live by grace and anything we do which is not of faith is a sin. I like using the old way of time telling. But when I communicate, I try to be helpful in order not to confuse people and use the am, pm time. I think this old timing is the standard in countries like Ethiopia and some Greek, Indian and Russian churches.

  • There appear to be two ways to interpret this question. In the literal sense and in the moral sense. Maybe you need to ask two questions instead.
    – Peter Turner
    Jan 27 '12 at 14:12
  • @Peter, yes. I would like to see the answers for both.
    – user5671
    Jan 27 '12 at 20:30

The NIV has simply translated the Jewish reckoning into a time that moderns would understand more readily.

Briefly, hours were reckoned from sunrise - the third hour of the day would be about three hours after sunrise. Depending on the time of year, that is usually around 9 or 10am in the morning.

As to the concerns about translating units, one should realize there is nothing sacred about the units. Translating units is merely a helpful aid to the reader who is otherwise unaccustomed to the system.

It would be the equivalent of going from the German Er fahrt funf kilometer to He drove three miles. Literally, the sentence says 5km, but in changing units as well, the reader gains more clarity.

There is nothing any more sacred about units in which a thing is measured than in the sylables with which a word is pronounced.

People who are baptized in the name of Jesu, Yeshua, iousous (Greek), or "der Herr" are not going to Hell because the syllables G and sus were not uttered.

Unlike Islam, Christianity does not believe there is anything sacred about original languages. Units of measure would be no different- whilest the KJV will speak of homers and ephaths, modern translations are totally okay with kilos and liters.

(As an American, however, quarts are clearly holier than liters. How else do you explain our refusal to do what everyone else is doing!)

  • 1
    Btw, even Jews, when hearing Nisan, are more likely to think car than month nowadays. The original calendars main purpose is to reckon the Gregorian date that Jews actually use. Jan 27 '12 at 12:31

I understand that your question trouble your soul. Understanding Christianity is never an easy business, on the contrary.

In Christianity there is what is important, and what is less important. The Gospel message is what is the most important:

  1. We were created by God to enjoy a relationship with him
  2. Adam sinned and plunged humanity under the wrath of God
  3. God reestablish the relationship through Christ
  4. Grace is given to those who accept his gift
  5. Christ is coming again not as a servant, but as a savior

These five points would be a brief summary of the core of the Gospel. There is a lot of discussion about what is the Gospel in our time: What is the Gospel by Greg Gilbert, I think MacArthur Ashamed of the Gospel would touch the subject, also on the web the The Gospel Coalition has many articles on salvation.

That beeing said, using the ancient terminology or our current time description is, in my view an amoral decision. Use the terminology that people around you will understand. When Paul preached in Athens (Acts 17), he used the Greek philosophy to start where his audience was.

The seasons fall under the same type of discussion, it is a question of preference. On less your salvation comes from your ability to follow any type of law. As shown in the verses below.

Galatian 4.9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years! 11 I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain. (ESV)

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Ga 4:9–11). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Edit After reading the moderator comments I'll try to be more specific on how I believe my answer ties in with the questions. Here are the question asked in the post:

Which timing is correct/Scriptural? The way we speak of timing is not a moral issue, and not a Gospel issue. Therefore I would argue to use the language people around you would understand. Is is more a practical issue then a theological issue.

Changing the times and seasons rings a bell in my mind but I do not remember which verse. When the Anti-Christ comes doesn't he change the time, etc? Without a precise context that question is very ambiguous. Time can be understood in different ways in this questions. 1. Time, has the way we live (a technological time/age) 2. Time a the way we understand the history. Changing what we believed happened in the past. (The second world war, did not carry the genocide of the Jews).

But, I would find hard to say the the Anti-Christ would use a calender over another. I do not remember that in the Bible.

Which calendar should I use? The one people would understand.

Is it Scriptural if I worship by truth and in spirit alone, independent of time keeping, etc? This verse his saying more the way the way we are to worship then on time keeping. Here is my two exegetical cents: Seek the truth of God, get to know him who is spirit. So worship in is minimal sens is what consume the most of your toughs. So if you want to worship in truth and spirit. Seek that knowing, loving God be your default mode (what you do when you are idle). And by that you well be worshiping in truth and spirit.

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    While this is a great and theological piece of writing I'm not sure what it has to do with the question that is asked. Could you tie this in? I (and the other moderators) are faced with a difficult choice if this goes unedited.
    – wax eagle
    Jan 29 '12 at 22:13
  • It is as wax says. This currently doesn't answer the question as asked, therefore we mods are perfectly within our rights to delete this (and we'll have to). Thus, I definitely encourage you to connect the two somehow so we don't have to. Jan 30 '12 at 6:44
  • Hopes the edit will tied the answer more to the question. Let me know if I'm still out of track. Jan 30 '12 at 12:09

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