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FAQ: Matthew 5:17-19 - What does “fulfil” mean?

New Testament uses of the Greek word G4137 πληρόω plēroō in the form of: πληρωσαι

πληρωσαι appears four times in the New Testament:

Mat_3:15 KJV And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us
to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

Mat_5:17 KJV Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to
destroy, but to fulfil.

Rom_15:13 KJV Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may
abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Col_1:25 KJV Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given
to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;

Old Testament References from the Greek translation of Hebrew Scriptures:

The Septuagint (LXX)

For those of us not familiar with the Septuagint (LXX), here is a summary from Wikipedia:
The Septuagint (pronounced / sǫptȚ.ədʒǺnt/), or simply "LXX", referred to in critical works by the
abbreviation, is the Koine Greek version of the Hebrew Bible, translated in stages between the 3rd and 1st
centuries BCE in Alexandria. It was begun by the third century BCE and completed before 132 BCE.

It is the oldest of several ancient translations of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, lingua franca of the eastern
Mediterranean Basin from the time of Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE).

The Septuagint was held in great respect in ancient times; Philo and Josephus (associated with Hellenistic
Judaism) ascribed divine inspiration to its authors. Besides the Old Latin versions, the LXX is also the basis
for the Slavonic, the Syriac, Old Armenian, Old Georgian and Coptic versions of the Old Testament. Of
significance for all Christians and for Bible scholars, the LXX is quoted by the New Testament and by the
Apostolic Fathers. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septuagint)

Our access to this translation is of immense value because it gives us tremendous insight to the usage and
meanings of New Testament Greek words in their first century context.

Uses of the Greek word G4137 πληρόω plēroō in the form of: πληρωσαι
πληρωσαι appears nine times in the Septuagint - I have placed its English translation (the Brenton) beside
the King James for comparison:
• Num_7:88 Brenton All the cattle for a sacrifice of peace-offering, twenty-four heifers, sixty rams,
sixty he-goats of a year old, sixty ewe-lambs of a year old without blemish: this is
the dedication of the altar, after that Moses consecrated Aaron, and after he anointed him.

Num_7:88 KJV And all the oxen for the sacrifice of the peace offerings were twenty and four
bullocks, the rams sixty, the he goats sixty, the lambs of the first year sixty. This was
the dedication of the altar, after that it was anointed.

1Ch_29:5 Brenton for thee to use the gold for things of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and
for every work by the hand of the artificers. And who is willing to dedicate himself in work this
day for the Lord?

1Ch_29:5 KJV The gold for things of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and for all manner of
work to be made by the hands of artificers. And who then is willing to consecrate his service this
day unto the LORD?

2Ch_13:9 Brenton Did ye not cast out the priests of the Lord, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites,
and make to yourselves priests of the people of any other land? whoever came
to consecrate himself with a calf of the heard and seven rams, he forthwith became a priest to that
which is no god.

2Ch_13:9 KJV Have ye not cast out the priests of the LORD, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites,
and have made you priests after the manner of the nations of other lands? so that whosoever
cometh to consecrate himself with a young bullock and seven rams, the same may be a priest of
them that are no gods.

Job_20:23 Brenton If by any means he would fill his belly, let God send upon him the fury of
wrath; let him bring a torrent of pains upon him.

Job_20:23 KJV When he is about to fill his belly, God shall cast the fury of his wrath upon him,
and shall rain it upon him while he is eating.

Psa_20:4-5 Brenton (19:4) Grant thee according to thy heart, and fulfil all thy desire. (5) (19:5)
We will exult in thy salvation, and in the name of our God shall we be magnified: the
Lord fulfil all thy petitions.

Psa_20:4-5 KJV Grant thee according to thine own heart, and fulfil all thy counsel. (5) We will
rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: the
LORD fulfil all thy petitions.

Isa_8:8 Brenton and he shall take away from Juda every man who shall be able to lift up his head,
and every one able to accomplish anything; and his camp shall fill the breadth of thy land, O God
with us.
Isa_8:8 KJV And he shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach even
to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel.

Isa_13:3 Brenton I give command, and I bring them: giants are coming to fulfil my wrath,
rejoicing at the same time and insulting.
Isa_13:3 KJV I have commanded my sanctified ones, I have also called my mighty ones for mine
anger, even them that rejoice in my highness.

Jer_33:5 Brenton (40:5) to fight against the Chaldeans, and to fill it with the corpses of men,
whom I smote in mine anger and my wrath, and turned away my face from them, for all their
wickedness:
Jer_33:5 KJV They come to fight with the Chaldeans, but it is to fill them with the dead bodies of
men, whom I have slain in mine anger and in my fury, and for all whose wickedness I have hid my
face from this city.

The context of the instances πληρωσαι in the LXX doesn’t even hint to a definition of “to end” or
“completed.” Given that this word πληρωσαι is not only used as fill and fulfil but also as dedicate,
dedication and consecrate, it is safe to say that the first century usage of this particular form of πληρωσαι
would not and could not be translated as “to end” or “completed.”

The dedication of the altar was not “the end of it." The consecration of one’s self was not “the end” of his
service or life, it was a renewed beginning.

Let’s look once again at the New Testament verses using the definition of πληρωσαι as consecrate (to set
apart and make Holy) instead of fulfil (to end or completed):

Mat_3:15 KJV And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us
to consecrate all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

Mat_5:17 KJV Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to
destroy, but to consecrate.

Rom_15:13 KJV Now the God of hope consecrate you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye
may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Col_1:25 KJV Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given
to me for you, to consecrate the word of God;

Does it make sense? Yes.

Does this fit the context? Yes!


If this is the correct interpretation of πληρωσαι, does it remove any question of what Mat_5:17 is really
talking about? Yes!!

Ask yourself the hard questions. Ask others. Ask the Word. Test your faith. Challenge yourself. Test
everything.

Published by 119 Ministries with permission from Awakened Church


email: clint@AwakenedChurch.com

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