|Dr. Couch, what do the words Maranatha and Anathema mean?|
ANSWER: The word "marantha" can mean either "Our Lord has come!" or "Lord come!" In the lexicons we are told that it is difficult to determine which meaning is correct. The word is used only in 1 Corinthians 16:22. Since it is at the end of the book, it would be assumed that this is a wish, "May our Lord come!" Actually, a wish idea follows in the next verse (v. 23). "The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you!" This is used in the Didache 10:6: "Let grace come and may this world pass away! Hosanna to the God (v. 1 son) of David! If anyone is holy, let him come; if not, let him repent! Amen."
Anathema and its verb is used eleven times in the NT. It means "to curse," or "accursed." Generally, it is for false doctrine that Paul pronounces a curse. This tells us how important truth was in the early church. No one was allowed to fudge with proper doctrine.
In his 1 Corinthian commentary, Hodge says: "This is a solemn warning. The Lord, whom men refuse to recognize and love, is about to come in the glory of His Father and with all His holy angels to take vengeance on those who know not God, and who obey not the gospel."
Interestingly, both words are used together in 1 Corinthians 16:22.
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch (8/10)