The Bible is the word of God, his revelation of truth. It tells us who we are, who God is and what his plans for us are. It reveals an ethic for living, and why and how we are to trust in Jesus for salvation. People have been challenging the bible (in its current compiled form and before) for centuries, and yet it stands.
In today's readings in Acts 8, we read about Philip being led by the Spirit to meet and preach to a court official of Candace, Queen of the Ethiopians. So the question arises? Is Candace a historical person? If the bible is recording events that occurred at a point in time and history, what of Candace?
A quick search tells us there was no Candace, Queen of the Ethiopians in that era. 'Aha,' the critics cry, 'another nail in the coffin of bible reliability.'
Not so fast. It does not take long to ground this person in history.
The NET Bible is a great resource, a translation of the bible providing translation and interpretative helps verse by verse. I have been using it for years, as an important tool to unpack the English translation. forHere is what they say about what they achieved:
"The NET Bible is a completely new translation of the Bible with 60,932 translators’ notes! It was completed by more than 25 scholars – experts in the original biblical languages – who worked directly from the best currently available Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts. Turn the pages and see the breadth of the translators’ notes, documenting their decisions and choices as they worked. The translators’ notes make the original languages far more accessible, allowing you to look over the translator’s shoulder at the very process of translation. This level of documentation is a first for a Bible translation, making transparent the textual basis and the rationale for key renderings (including major interpretive options and alternative translations). This unparalleled level of detail helps connect people to the Bible in the original languages in a way never before possible without years of study of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek."
So, what does the NET bible say about 'Candace' of Acts 8:27? Here are the notes on this verse:
"83tn Or “the Candace” (the title of the queen of the Ethiopians). The term Κανδάκης (Kandakh") is much more likely a title rather than a proper name (like Pharaoh, which is a title); see L&N 37.77. A few, however, still take the word to be the name of the queen (L&N 93.209). BDAG 507 s.v. Κανδάκη, treats the term as a title and lists classical usage by Strabo (Geography 17.1.54) and others.
sn Candace was the title of the queen of the Ethiopians. Ethiopia refers to the kingdom of Nubia in the northern Sudan, whose capital was Meroe (not to be confused with Abyssinia, which was later called Ethiopia and converted to Christianity in the 4th century a.d.). Classical writers refer to several queens of Meroe in the 1st century b.c. and 1st century a.d. who had the title Candace (Kandake). The Candace referred to here was probably Amantitere, who ruled a.d. 25-41.
Some translations actually use the title, Kandake, not Candace. Our problem in reading Candace is that it is a modern name, and Ethiopia is a modern country, formerly Abyssinia. But it just takes a little work to unpack the bible to our greater understanding. Other characters in the bible are also real, in time and place in history: Pontius Pilate, Herod, Caesar Augustus. So too, 'Kandake', or more properly, Amantitere.
For more on the NET bible, click here. Various downloads (MS Word, Kindle, etc,) are available here.
Derek Butler - I am a Christian, husband, father, son, brother, friend, reader, et al, all inadequately. This blog is a tool to encourage daily bible reading, for myself and others.
Click above to access the 5 Day Reading Plan used here. I am using the 5 readings Monday through Friday, with other postings on topics of interest Saturdays and Sundays.
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