Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Genesis 18:22 and 19:27

A proposed emendation of Genesis 18:22 is that "Jehovah/YHWH stood before Abraham." Yet such a reading would contradict Gen. 19:27 and be problematic (seemingly) from a theological perspective.

Genesis 18:22 only contradicts Gen. 19:27 if the Masoretic text suggestion is accepted, but we have good reason to think the reading is fanciful. Robert Alter pans the suggestion, if memory serves me correctly, and the Targum Onkelos clearly says Abraham kept ministering/praying before YHWH. Textually, we also don't have reason to accept an emendation. So no emendation--no contradiction.

Victor P. Hamilton (The Book of Genesis 18-50, page 24)

See https://www.jstor.org/stable/43725136

Bill Mounce's Review of The Greek New Testament, Produced at Tyndale House, Cambridge


2 Corinthians 5:14--What Kind of Genitive?

What kind of genitive do we have in 2 Corinthians 5:14?

Greek: ἡ γὰρ ἀγάπη τοῦ χριστοῦ συνέχει ἡμᾶς, κρίναντας τοῦτο ὅτι εἷς ὑπὲρ πάντων ἀπέθανεν· ἄρα οἱ πάντες ἀπέθανον·

Grammarians usually set forth 3 possibilities for 2 Corinthians 5:14: subjective, objective, and plenary genitive. I personally take the verse to be saying that our love for Christ compels us (i.e., objective genitive), but we cannot be dogmatic.

George H. Guthrie (Baker Exegetical Series): Most commentators interpret τοῦ Χριστοῦ (tou Christou) as a subjective[1] rather than an objective[2] genitive, reading the phrase to refer to “the love Christ has for us,” rather than “our love for Christ,” and this seems to be the best interpretation on at least two primary grounds. First, the immediate context emphasizes Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross for his people. Later in this verse, Paul confesses “that Christ died for all,” and in the next verse, “he died on behalf of all,” and that act of giving himself in death for the benefit of “all” certainly constitutes Christ’s expression of love. Second, in Paul’s writings, when a personal use of the genitive follows on the heels of the word ἀγάπη (agapē), as it does here, the construction speaks of the person “having or showing love, not the one receiving it” (Harris 2005: 418).[3]

A.T. Robertson (Word Pictures) also suggest that 2 Cor. 5:14 contains a subjective genitive.

NET Bible: tn The phrase ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ Χριστοῦ (Jh agaph tou Cristou, “the love of Christ”) could be translated as either objective genitive (“our love for Christ”) or subjective genitive (“Christ’s love for us”). Either is grammatically possible, but with the reference to Christ’s death for all in the following clauses, a subjective genitive (“Christ’s love for us”) is more likely.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible: Love of Christ constraineth us ... Did Paul here refer to his own love of Christ, or to Christ's love of him? "It matters little whether this be interpreted as a subjective genitive, `Christ's love to men,' or as an objective genitive, `our love to Christ'; the two suppose and interfuse each other."[23]

Henry Alford GNT: Christ’s love (not, love to Christ, as Œc(6), Beza, al.,—but Christ’s love to men, subjective, as most Commentators; as shewn in His Death, which is the greatest proof of love, see Romans 5:6-8. Meyer remarks that the gen. of the person after ἀγάπη is with Paul always subjective,—Romans 5:5; Romans 5:8; Romans 8:35; Romans 8:39; ch. 2 Corinthians 8:24; 2 Corinthians 13:13; Ephesians 2:4; Philippians 1:9 al. (but see his own note on 2 Thessalonians 3:5, where he maintains the objective sense), whereas with John it is not always so, 1 John 5:3. Paul usually expresses love of, i.e. towards, by εἰς, Colossians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 3:12)

Expositor's GT also understands the genitive to be subjective.

IVP NT Commentary: A further reason for preaching the gospel is found in verse 14: For Christ's love compels us. Conviction (4:14), fear (5:11) and now love motivate Paul to pursue his call. The text is literally, "the love of Christ." The genitive can be objective, "our love for Christ," or subjective, "Christ's love for us." Although we might instinctively incline toward the former, the latter is preferred by most modern translations. This is because Paul goes on in verses 14-15 to speak of Christ dying on our behalf--the ultimate demonstration of love. The basic sense of synecho (to compel) is to hold something together so that it does not fall apart. From this we get the meanings to "hold fast" (that is, to not allow to slip through one's fingers) and to "surround" or "hem in" (that is, to not let escape; Köster 1971:883). The idea is that Christ's love completely controls and dominates Paul so that he has no option but to preach. The hymn writer George Matheson knew of this kind of constraining love when he penned the words "O love that wilt not let me go, I rest my weary soul in Thee; / I give Thee back the life I owe, That in Thine ocean deptes its flow may richer, fuller be."

See https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/IVP-NT/2Cor/Christs-Love-Compels-Service

Mark A. Seifrid (Pillar NT Commentary): Paul is not speaking here of his love for Christ, but of the love of Christ that encompasses all human beings, including Paul himself (v. 16). This love of Christ overpowers the apostle and determines his life and actions.

Saturday, December 07, 2019

1 Timothy 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9 (Universal Salvation?)

In 1 Tim 2:4, we read:

ὃς πάντας ἀνθρώπους θέλει σωθῆναι καὶ εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν ἀληθείας ἐλθεῖν.

Augustine of Hippo interpreted the "all" of 1 Tim. 2:4 as the predestined or elect. He believed that God wills for all the elect to be saved and he thus argued that "The passage did not say 'that there is no man whose salvation [God] does not desire, but that no one is saved unless God desires it.'" However, as Jaroslav Pelikan brings to our attention, this attempt to exegete 1 Tim. 2:4 is still attended by a number of logical and exegetical difficulties. Moreover, it does not answer the question, "Can we imagine without grieveous blasphemy that he [God] does not desire all men in general, but only some rather than all to be saved? Those who perish, perish against his will." See
Pelikan's Christian Tradition (1:321-327).

In the final analysis, if 2 Pet. 3:9 does not suggest universal salvation, then why should 1 Tim. 2:4. In 2 Pet. 3:9, we have:

οὐ βραδύνει Κύριος τῆς ἐπαγγελίας, ὥς τινες βραδυτῆτα ἡγοῦνται, ἀλλὰ μακροθυμεῖ εἰς ὑμᾶς, μὴ βουλόμενός τινας ἀπολέσθαι ἀλλὰ πάντας εἰς μετάνοιαν χωρῆσαι.

According to Peter, God does not desire (μὴ βουλόμενός) any to be destroyed, but wills that all (πάντας) repent. In 1 Tim. 2:4, God wills (πάντας) that all should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of the truth. Even if we understand the "all" in 1 Tim. 2:4 as a reference to "all humans"without exception, how does it prove "universal salvation" if God wills that all men repent or be saved, but they still "perish against his will?"

Lastly, I'd like to offer some quotes on this topic from a few scholarly sources.

"And to say that God wants (not 'wills,' and therefore it must come to pass) all people to be saved, implies neither that all (meaning everybody) will be saved (against [1 Tim.] 3:6; 4:2; or 4:10, e.g.) nor that God's will is somehow frustrated since all, indeed, are not saved. The concern is simply with the universal scope of the gospel over against some form of heretical exclusivism or narrowness" (Gordon D. Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, page 64).

"God is, so far as His inclination or will is concerned, 'the Saviour of all men,' but actually, so far as we can affirm with certainty, 'of them that believe' (1 Tim 4:10)" (Expositor's Greek Testament, Vol. 4:104).

There are some formal or functional differences between βούλομαι and θέλω, but the two words appear to have possessed similar meanings in the first century (BDAG 182).

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Colossians 2:9: A Parsing Sample by Cranford

Quoting from the work from which this sample parsing was taken:

Parsing of the Greek Text
The parsing of the Greek text below is based upon the system of Greek grammar analysis set forth in Appendix 2 of Lorin L. Cranford, Learning Biblical Koine Greek, 4th rev. edition (Boiling Springs, NC: C&L Publications, 2002). Some assessments may be subject to reevaluation. Please call attention to any errors by sending an email to GWU@cranfordville.com.

Monday, December 02, 2019

2 Corinthians 12:3-4 ("Unutterable Utterances"?)

Greek: ὅτι ἡρπάγη εἰς τὸν παράδεισον καὶ ἤκουσεν ἄρρητα ῥήματα ἃ οὐκ ἐξὸν ἀνθρώπῳ λαλῆσαι.

Richard Lenski calls ἄρρητα ῥήματα an "oxymoron," rendering the phrase as "unutterable utterances."

ESV: and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter.

KJV: How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

NWT 2013: who was caught away into paradise and heard words that cannot be spoken and that are not lawful for a man to say.

Rogers and Rogers: ἄρρητος verbal adj., unspeakable, unutterable. The word was often used of divine secrets not intended for human beings (Windisch; Barrett). ῤῆμα word. ἐξὸν pres. act. part. nom. n. sing. ἔξεστιν it is allowed. The word is to be taken in connection w. ἀνθρώπῳ (s. v. 2); “which it is not lawful for a man to speak” (Plummer).

Zerwick and Grosvenor:

Friday, November 29, 2019

Revelation 5:10--"shall reign" or "reign"?

ESV: and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”

J.B. Phillips: "and we shall reign on the earth.”

Weymouth NT: "And they reign over the earth."

Grant Osborne (Baker Exegetical Commentary): 5:10. βασιλεύσουσιν: There are three readings for “they shall reign” here. The first plural βασιλεύσομεν is based on inferior readings (2432 idem et al.) and is unlikely. The other two have nearly equal manuscript support. The future βασιλεύσουσιν is supported by א P 1 94 1828 1854 et al., and the present βασιλεύουσιν is supported by A 046 1006 1611 et al. It is a difficult decision, because the present would probably be futuristic, “they are going to reign”; hence, it would have nearly identical force to the future. Due to the superiority of A and the others in 5:9, I tentatively side with the futuristic present here. Moreover, it is the most difficult reading, that is, a present force does not make sense, and so later scribes changed it to a future tense to make the future reign of the believers more evident.

Robert Mounce: Textual evidence is rather evenly divided between “they reign” (ASV) and “they will reign” (NIV), although the latter is favored both by the Nestle text (27th ed.) and the UBS text (3rd ed.). It seems unlikely that John is here referring to a present spiritual reign of believers.³⁶ The hymn of praise is not a cryptic reference to Christians as the true kings in spite of the apparent rule of the Caesars. The promise is that the church is to share in the eschatological reign of Christ and all that it will involve (2:26–27; 20:4; 22:5).

Mounce, Footnote 36: Even if βασιλεύουσιν is read instead of βασιλεύσουσιν, the reference is probably future, the verb serving as a futuristic present and imparting a tone of assurance (Moulton, Grammar, 3rd ed., 1.120). Krodel prefers the reading βασιλεύουσιν and concludes, “In short, the present tense, ‘they reign,’ also includes the future” (167).

Jon Morales: Christ, Shepherd of the Nations The Nations as Narrative Character and Audience in John's Apocalypse:

Craig Koester (Anchor Bible Commentary):

J.H. Moulton and the Greek Present of Past Action

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Larry Hurtado (1943-2019)


Thanks to Duncan for letting me know about the death of Larry Hurtado. Jim Davila provides a nice discussion of his work in the link above and illustrates the great loss that has about in NT studies. Despite theological differences with Hurtado, I express my condolences to Larry's friends and family.

What a comfort it can be to know that God "cares for us" (1 Peter 5:7).

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Gesenius and the Objective Genitive in Hebrew

Gesenius on the objective genitive.


Use the key term "objective genitive."

See also https://www.psephizo.com/biblical-studies/the-grammar-of-leviticus-18-22/

Notice what's said about the construct state and the fear of God. Compare Genesis 20:11; 22:12.