Either all the Bible is true, or it’s not worth believing

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 26, 2019

By Karen Y. Stevens


My friend Rosemary and I were driving back from Galveston and having a discussion about different things in the Bible.  

She has been to Israel and I have not.  She stated that the Guides in Israel said the word “carpenter” had to be misinterpreted because there are no trees over there.  Just desert. I started thinking, “She’s right.”

I had always heard it was the land flowing with milk and honey but trees?  

I jumped into researching this when I got home and I found the word “tekton”, is the word that the Bible uses for Joseph’s profession.  The Strong’s Concordance states the original word is τέκτων, ονος, ὁ, it’s a noun and masculine, and means a craftsman, a carpenter or artisan.  

An artisan means a worker in a skilled trade, especially one that involves making things by hand.  

So, then I thought, “this is an American Dictionary, let’s find something else.”

The Septuagint is the earliest extant Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures, from the original Hebrew.  The characteristic Ancient Greek distinction between the general worker or wood-worker, and the stonemason, or metal-worker, occurs frequently in the Septuagint.  

So, I think Carpenter was lumped into “general worker” or “woodworker”.  It states that the items that were completed by the “general worker” was helping to build and maintain the roof, they made doors, lintels, shelves, tables, and cabinets.  Which only the rich could afford paneled rooms and woodwork, which were considered opulent. For use outside the home, carpenters made ladders, wheels, yokes for the animals, and farm implements (or at least the handles).  

I did read that Israel has gone thru desertification and they are trying to correct that by planting more trees.  I researched if there was a forest near lower Galilee, where Jesus grew up, and they said flowers, plants, trees, and wood was much more plentiful in Jesus day than the present, due to it was wetter then than now.

In Genesis 13:10 –And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere…”  

Among those trees were, Algum that grows over 60 feet tall, Almond, Box, Cedar, Chestnut, Cypress, Fig, Palm, Oil Tree, Thyine, etc.  (At least 23 different types of trees, maybe more).

While some lumber might have been available locally from suppliers, most carpenters went to the woods themselves.

Isaiah 44:13-15 – describes this work: “The carpenter stretches a line, he marks it out with a pencil; he fashions it with planes, and marks it with a compass; he shapes it … He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a holm tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest; he plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it.”  

The passage in Isaiah clearly states the movements of a carpenter.  I think it’s important we know the facts of the Bible, so we can declare it’s all true, not just some of it.  


Karen Y. Stevens is the founder of Orange County Christian Writers Guild