Sunday, November 22, 2015

Pistis: What Does It Possibly Mean?

Regarding the Greek πίστις (pistis): the lexical evidence seems to allow for the translation "faith" or "faithfulness." BDAG suggests that πίστις (in Galatians 5:22) refers to faithfulness or fidelity. Timothy George (NAB Commentary on Galatians) also thinks that the word denotes "faithfulness" in Paul's list of the spirit's fruit (compare Romans 3:3).

A.T. Robertson's Word Pictures also favors the understanding "faithfulness."

Vincent's Word Studies:

Faith (πίστις)


Alford GNT: "πίστις, in the widest sense: faith, towards God and man: of love it is said, 1 Corinthians 13:7, πάντα πιστεύει."

NET Bible renders πίστις as "faithfulness," but in a note for Gal 5:22, it adds:

Or "reliability"; see BDAG 818 s.v. πίστις 1.a.



Duncan said...

Trust seems to be predominant, although ABP translates this way:-

Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, leniency, graciousness, goodness, belief,

Duncan said...

Antiquities of the Jews 1:321 πληθυόντων δὲ τῶν ἐπ᾽ ὀνόματι τῷ Ἰακώβου τικτομένων τὴν μὲν εἰς τὸ παρὸν οὐκ ἐφύλαττε πίστιν εἰς ἔτος δὲ παρέξειν ἐπηγγέλλετο διὰ τὸ ἐποφθαλμιᾶν τῷ πλήθει τῆς κτήσεως ἐπαγγελλόμενος μὲν διὰ τὸ δυσέλπιστον γενέσθαι τοσαῦτα ψευδόμενος δὲ ἐπὶ γενομένοις

OPG Pseudo-Phocylides 1:13 παρθεσίην τηρεῖν, πίστιν δ᾽ ἐν πᾶσι φυλάσσειν.

BGT 3 Maccabees 3:3 οἱ δὲ Ιουδαῖοι τὴν μὲν πρὸς τοὺς βασιλεῖς εὔνοιαν καὶ πίστιν ἀδιάστροφον ἦσαν φυλάσσοντες

PHI De opificio mundi 1:57 τὸ δὲ μέγεθος τῆς περὶ τὸν ἥλιον δυνάμεως καὶ ἀρχῆς ἐμφανεστάτην πίστιν ἔχει τὴν λεχθεῖσαν ἤδη· εἷς γὰρ ὢν καὶ μόνος ἰδίᾳ καὶ καθ᾽ αὑτὸν ἥμισυ τμῆμα τοῦ σύμπαντος χρόνου κεκλήρωται τὴν ἡμέραν, οἱ δ᾽ ἄλλοι πάντες μετὰ σελήνης θάτερον ὃ κέκληται νύξ· καὶ τοῦ μὲν ἀνατείλαντος αἱ φαντασίαι τῶν τοσούτων ἀστέρων οὐκ ἀμαυροῦνται μόνον, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἀφανίζονται τῇ τοῦ φέγγου ἀναχύσει, καταδύντος δὲ τὰς ἰδίους ἄρχονται διαφαίνειν ἀθρόοι ποιότητας.

PHI De opificio mundi 1:109 ἁρμονικῆς δ᾽ ἀναλογίας διττὴ κρίσις· μία μέν, ὅταν ὃν λόγον ἔχει ὁ ἔσχατος πρὸς τὸν πρῶτον τοῦτον ἔχῃ ἡ ὑπεροχὴ ᾗ ὑπερέχει ὁ ἔσχατος τοῦ μέσου πρὸς τὴν ὑπεροχὴν ᾗ ὑπερέχεται ὑπὸ τοῦ μέσου ὁ πρῶτος. ἐναργεστάτην δὲ πίστιν λάβοι τις ἂν ἐκ τῶν προκειμένων ἀριθμῶν, τοῦ ἓξ καὶ ὀκτὼ καὶ δώδεκα· ὁ μὲν γὰρ τελευταῖος τοῦ πρώτου διπλάσιος, ἡ δ᾽ ὑπεροχὴ πάλιν διπλασία· τὰ μὲν γὰρ δώδεκα τῶν ὀκτὼ τέτταρσιν ὑπερέχει, τὰ δὲ ὀκτὼ τῶν ἓξ δυσί· τὰ δὲ τέσσαρα τῶν δυοῖν διπλάσια.

Anonymous said...

Hello Edgar, I'm a serious minded bible student and I love to study Jehovah's word!
But I've come to you hoping you can help me out on a certain quote that seems to be posted often it's from Clement.

"There was then, a Word importing an unbeginning eternity; as also the Word itself, that is, the Son of God, who being, by equality of substance, one with the Father, is eternal and uncreated."
(Fragments, Part I, section III)

I know theirs something too this I just don't know where to start.

Edgar Foster said...


Clement of Alexandria supposedly wrote those words, and they do appear in the primary sources of Clement's fragments. However, I would consider what Clement of Alexandria taught as a whole. Other passages indicate that he subordinated the Son to the Father. He might have even viewed the Son as a creature.

"But the nature of the Son, which is nearest to Him who is alone the Almighty One, is the most perfect, and most holy, and most potent, and most princely, and most kingly, and most beneficent" (_Stromata_ 7.2).

"Now the energy of the Lord has a reference to the Almighty; and the Son is, so to speak, an energy of the Father" (ibid).

"Now the Stoics say that God, like the soul, is essentially body and spirit. You will find all this explicitly in their writings. Do not consider at present their allegories as the gnostic truth presents them; whether they show one thing and mean another, like the dexterous athletes, Well, they say that God pervades all being; while we call Him solely Maker, and Maker by the Word. They were misled by what is said in the book of Wisdom: 'He pervades and passes through all by reason of His purity;' since they did not understand that this was said of Wisdom, which was the first of the creation of God (SOFIAS THS PRWTOKTISTOU TWi QEWi)" (_Stromata_ 5.14).

Best regards,


Duncan said...

I agree with you Edgar,

Individual fragment witnesses must be put in context. Hanging much weight on one piece of a collective can be foolhardy.

For example.

Trinitarian's claiming a date of about 50AD for the "The Huleatt Manuscript" which is still widely publicized on the web in support of early trinitarian belief but:-

The same papyrus under another name dated now to about 200AD. 150 years makes quite a difference.

In a similar way any individual fragments of Clement could fall out of favor given time.

This may give a little perspective:-

Duncan said...

As a continuation of my example:-