My efforts to make a bow and arrow as a kid were always a disaster: either the bow snapped or the arrow was hugely inaccurate!
The current world record holder for the furthest arrow shot on target is held by Paralympic archer Matt Stutzman, with a record of an incredible 283.47 metres!
Amazingly, Stutzman has no arms, but taught himself archery with his foot and shoulder.
In ancient Greek, “tynchano” meant to “hit the mark”.
The opposite of this word was “hamartano”, often used when an archer missed the target.
In the New Testament “hamartano” is also the word meaning “to sin”, i.e. missing God’s mark for our lives.
In today’s passage, Paul introduces a unique compound three-part word “hyper-en-tynchano”, usually translated as “intercede”.
Knowing how this unusual word is built up will really help us see what the Holy Spirit is doing for us:
- “Tynchano” = “hit the mark”
- “En-tychano” = “intervene”
- “Hyper-en-tychano” = “intervening, expressly for the benefit of, to hit the mark”
In other words, the Holy Spirit helps us be more accurate and better than we ever could by ourselves in those times when we simply don’t know how to hit the mark in our prayers.