I once posted the observations of Frederic L. Godet, who argues that the "me" in John 14:14 seems to be an
"absolutely impossible" reading since it makes little sense to ask Jesus
something in his own name. Compare John 15:16; 16:23-24.
Another place that we can find an objection to this variant is the ICC Commentary on John's Gospel by George B. Gray:
This verse is wholly omitted in two minor uncials, as well as in 1, 22, b, ful, the Sinai Syriac, and Nonnus—a strong and unusual combination. The omission may be due to homoioteleuton, v. 14 being repeated from v. 13. ABL and fam. 13, indeed, repeat τοῦτο ποιήσω from v. 13, but אDWΘ in v. 14 replace τοῦτο by ἐγώ. So ADL follow v. 13 in reading αἰτήσητε ἐν κτλ, but אBWΓΔΘ have αἰτήσητέ με ἐν κτλ.
If the verse is to be retained, it must be taken as a repetition in slightly different terms of what has been said already: a construction which is quite in the style of Joh_1 ἐγώ clearly lays special emphasis on Jesus being Himself the answerer of the prayer: “I will see that it is done.”
But the insertion of με after αἰτήσητε, which the best MSS support, involves the harsh and unexampled phrase, “If ye shall ask me in my Name.” No doubt, it may be urged that the man who is in Christ alone can offer petitions to Christ which are certain of acceptance. He whose will is in harmony with Christ’s will, and who therefore can truly pray “in His Name,” may be assured that Christ will perform what he asks. Yet the expression “ask me in my Name” is awkward, and does not occur elsewhere, the other passages in these discourses in which prayers in the Name of Christ are recommended explicitly mentioning the Father as Him to whom these prayers should be addressed (cf. 15:16, 16:23, 24). The Johannine teaching would not indeed stumble at the addressing of prayer to Christ. He who prays to the Father, prays to the Son, so intimate is their ineffable union (cf. 10:30); but, nevertheless, no explicit mention of prayer to the Son is found elsewhere in Jn., unless 16:23 (where see note) is an exception.
We conclude that με must be rejected here,2 despite its strong MS. support; and we read ἐάν τι αἰτήσητε ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου, ἐγὼ ποιήσω, the thought being carried on from the previous verse, a special emphasis being laid upon ἐγώ.
Sunday, November 28, 2021
I once posted the observations of Frederic L. Godet, who argues that the "me" in John 14:14 seems to be an
"absolutely impossible" reading since it makes little sense to ask Jesus
something in his own name. Compare John 15:16; 16:23-24.
Friday, November 26, 2021
Greek: ὅταν δὲ πάλιν εἰσαγάγῃ τὸν πρωτότοκον εἰς τὴν οἰκουμένην, λέγει Καὶ προσκυνησάτωσαν αὐτῷ πάντες ἄγγελοι θεοῦ.
Morphology and Syntax: ὅταν is a conjunction followed by the postpositive δὲ. Translate ὅταν as "when" rather than "whenever" in this case. But δὲ should be rendered as a continuative along with πάλιν (i.e., possibly render "And again"), yet there is a syntactical issue with the adverbial use of πάλιν.
Does πάλιν function as a connective here (“and again he says”), or does it modify the aorist subjunctive verb εἰσαγάγῃ (“and when he again brings in the firstborn”)? While a number of interpreters and translators favor option two, William Lane contends that πάλιν in Hebrews 1:6 is a connective (option one). Therefore, he maintains that πάλιν is either “continuative” or “mildly adversative.” Lane insists that the Greek word does not modify the verb εἰσαγάγῃ (Lane 26). But when one takes note of how πάλιν Hebrews deploys the word elsewhere in conjunction with εἰσαγάγῃ (4:7; 5:12; 6:1, 6), option two seems preferable.
After all, εἰσαγάγῃ does appear to modify εἰσαγάγῃ in 1:6. Granted, the writer of Hebrews utilizes εἰσαγάγῃ as a connective when he links scriptural quotations together in 2:13; 4:5; 10:30. But in view of the way that πάλιν modifies εἰσαγάγῃ in other passages, and based on the royal context highlighted in Hebrews 1:6, it appears that the firstborn Son's entrance into the world refers to his royal parousia and thus the passage should be rendered: “and when he again brings in the firstborn” (Westcott 21-23). See Zerwick-Grosvenor, Grammatical Analysis, page 655.
Assuming that πάλιν should be construed with εἰσαγάγῃ qua an adverbial modifier, it seems
that the proskynesis given to the Son of God takes place at his parousia: he is τὸν πρωτότοκον ("the firstborn"). Even so, what does Hebrews 1:6 mean when it declares that all the angels of God should render proskyneo to the Son? What does proskynesis denote in this case?
προσκυνησάτωσαν is the aorist active imperative 3rd person plural of προσκυνέω. While it is true that Hebrews 1:6 likely alludes to or quotes Hebrew Bible passages originally directed towards YHWH (Jehovah) such as Deuteronomy 32:43; Psalm 97:7, in the case of Jesus Christ, προσκυνησάτωσαν apparently refers to an act of homage or obeisance. Much has been written about the subject here and elsewhere. At the very least, the semantic range of προσκυνέω allows for this understanding of the word. I will provide sources at the conclusion of this entry for those who might like to consider the matter further.
λέγει ("he says") is the present indicative active 3rd person singular of λέγω. In order to ascertain the imperatival force of προσκυνησάτωσαν, see Daniel B. Wallace, GGBB, page 486. Wallace discusses the dative of direct object in GGBB, pp. 171-173; προσκυνησάτωσαν αὐτῷ seems to be an example of this construction.
Richard Young shows which verbs take the dative case, although Wallace suggests that we consult BDAG, a good concordance, or BDF for a more accurate treatment of this subject. At any rate, the verbs that take dative direct objects are as follows, according to Young:
Verbs of worship
Verbs of service
Verbs of thanksgiving
Verbs of obedience and disobedience
Verbs of belief and unbelief
Verbs of rebuking
Verbs of helping
Verbs of pleasing
Verbs of following or meeting
For more information regarding τὴν οἰκουμένην, see https://oxfordre.com/classics/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780199381135.001.0001/acrefore-9780199381135-e-8008
πάντες ἄγγελοι θεοῦ-"all the angels/messengers of God"
Are these spirit or human "messengers/angels"? The context of royal enthronement, possibly during the Son's parousia, could indicate that the messengers are spirit creatures. We must also consider other places in Hebrews where similar language is employed (Hebrews 1:4-7, 13-14; 2:1-9; chaps. 12 & 13). Compare 2 Peter 2:11-12.
Suggestions for Further Reading:
When studying languages, we can only speak in generalities or in terms of patterns, not strict rules per se. In this entry, I will briefly discuss what sentence structure/syntax one might expect when reading or studying ancient languages. My chief interest is biblical languages or the metalanguage by means of which one expresses or translates the grammar of biblical languages (e.g., English).
S = subject, V = verb, and O = object.
1. Latin-Most sentences in old Latin prose assume a SOV structure (e.g., "Puer canem videt," "Agricola taurum fugat" and "Cicero Corneliam ferit"). Like many languages, Latin's syntactical arrangement changed over time to become more SVO. However, as stated before, one is more likely to see the subject (Canis), object (hominem), and verb (mordet) in older Latin prose.
2. Ancient Greek-Sentences in ancient Greek mainly appear with SOV structure but Koine apparently gravitates toward SVO. See Ann Taylor, "The Change from SOV to SVO in Ancient Greek," pages 1-37; compare Iliad 1.254 and Herodotus 3.27.1.
3. English-Sentences in English tend to follow a SVO structure (e.g., "The cat is sitting on the mat" or "The farmer tills the ground"). Word order is more important in English than in Latin due to the case endings in Latin.
4. Classical Hebrew-This Semitic language normally or mainly has VSO structure. See Genesis 1:1: בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ׃.
Monday, November 22, 2021
Definitions for Common Linguistic Units
1) Phoneme: a minimal unit of sound; one might say that phonemes are primitive insofar as they're irreducible to other units. An example is b, I, t in the word, "bit." However, phonemes must not be confused with letters--they are more about variations in sound. See https://www.encyclopedia.com/science-and-technology/computers-and-electrical-engineering/computers-and-computing/phoneme
2) Morpheme: a minimal unit of meaning, and one may distinguish between free and bound morphemes. The word "unhappiness" has three morphemes: un, happi, ness. See https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/oi/authority.20110803100210358
3) Graphemes: a minimal unit of writing; also defined as "a written symbol that is used to represent speech." Some writers stress the contrastive element of graphmes: see https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-a-grapheme-1690916
4) Lexemes: a fundamental and abstract lexical unit of a language. An example is the English lexeme, RUN, whose forms are run, runs, ran, and running. See https://dbpedia.org/page/Lexeme
5) Sememes: the fundamental unit of meaning that a morpheme bears. In the word, "doer," -er is the sememe; the pluralizing unit of meaning -s is another sememe (e.g., doers, writers, linguists).
Sunday, November 21, 2021
D.A. Carson (The Gospel According to John): "Jesus is not dangerous; he may also be getting under Pilate’s skin. Either way, Pilate abruptly terminates the interrogation with a curt and cynical question: What is truth?– and just as abruptly turns away, either because he is convinced there is no answer, or, more likely, because he does not want to hear it. He thus proves he is not amongst those whom the Father has given to the Son (cf. Haenchen, 2. 180).
Edward W. Klink III (John ZECNT): "The brief response of Pilate in the form of a question is almost certainly a rebuking rejoinder to Jesus; it is a potentially violent and abrupt statement that concludes the interrogation.39 It is difficult to know the exact intention of Pilate, and in this situation it is almost unnecessary, for in this interrogation the meanings of Pilate’s statements have been explained by being contrasted to Jesus and his statements. Pilate’s question is itself his answer to the issue surrounding the person and work of Jesus. But Pilate asks the wrong question, for truth is not a 'what' (Τί) but a 'who'—the person of Jesus Christ.40 Pilate addressed this question to the very one who was the answer. By concluding the interrogation in this abrupt manner, the narrator wants the question to do more than offer insight into the person of Pilate; it is intended to echo in the mind of the readers. In this way the third section of the pericope (vv. 33–38a) comes to a conclusion."
Gerald L. Borchert (John 12-21): "For politically motivated people, truth is frequently sacrificed on the altar of expediency. Many politically oriented people pretend they are interested in truth. But Pilate summarizes his politically oriented life pattern with the haunting question: 'What is truth?' The implications of that question are exceedingly far reaching for any person. For Pilate that question was an attempt to resist taking Jesus' statement seriously in his own life,69 but it did make an initial impact on his view of Jesus during this first interrogation session."
Murray J. Harris (EGGNT): "Interestingly, the fourteen letters of the Latin rendering of Pilate’s question 'What is truth?' or 'Truth? What is that?' (Beasley-Murray 314), viz. Quid est veritas, can be rearranged (viz. Vir est qui adest) to form what would be
John’s answer (cf. 14:6), 'The man who stands before you is!' Pilate’s question
is 'neither philosophical scepticism nor cold irony, and certainly not a serious
search for truth; for the evangelist it is an avoidance and so a rejection of Jesus’
witness' (Schnackenburg 3:251)."
Harris also suggests this article: see A. J. Köstenberger, “‘What Is Truth?’ Pilate’s Question to Jesus in Its Johannine and Larger Biblical Context,” and “Epilogue,” in Whatever Happened to Truth?, ed. A. J. Köstenberger (Wheaton: Crossway, 2005), 19–51.
G.R. Beasley-Murray (John): "Jesus the prisoner sets his judge in the dock! Pilate’s answer indicates that he has no intention of occupying that position: 'Truth, what is that?' His turning on his heel without waiting for an answer shows that he doesn’t believe that
Jesus, or anyone else for that matter, could give one. And that means that he foreclosed the possibility of his coming under the Kingdom of truth and life."
Saturday, November 20, 2021
Greek (SBLGNT): λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Πιλᾶτος· Τί ἐστιν ἀλήθεια; Καὶ τοῦτο εἰπὼν πάλιν ἐξῆλθεν πρὸς τοὺς Ἰουδαίους, καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς· Ἐγὼ οὐδεμίαν εὑρίσκω ἐν αὐτῷ αἰτίαν·
NET Bible: Pilate asked, “What is truth?” When he had said this he went back outside to the Jewish leaders and announced, “I find no basis for an accusation against him.
The words of Pontius Pilate are now lodged in our collective memories. As Jesus stood before this Roman official while proclaiming that his life's purpose was bearing witness to the truth, Pilate gave the rejoinder above. NET suggests that Pilate was dismissive of Jesus; moreover, "He may have been sarcastic, or perhaps somewhat reflective." A number of scholars maintain that Pilate was cynical or possibly skeptical but NET interprets his actions as possibly more benign, portraying the Roman as "somewhat reflective." Does his question make the reader think about the nature of truth? We cannot discount that interpretation from the outset with the scant information we have. Therefore, it's possible that Pilate's words serve to reinforce John 14:6, which declares that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. However, this conclusion is far from certain.
Whatever Pilate meant by his question, Τί ἐστιν ἀλήθεια, there has been no lack of commentary about his query. Pilate might have been questioning the very existence and importance of truth. His question seems to be framed in ontological terms: it apparently is not an epistemological query. Maybe he desired to know the nature or essence of truth versus seeking to know what is true (an epistemological concern). One could also distinguish absolute from relative truth--absolute truth is true at all times, in all places, and for all people whereas relative truth is context-dependent, that is, relative truth is true for a group of people but possibly not for those outside of the group. It could be true at one time but false at another time; the tendency of many people today is to reject absolute truth in favor of relativism. It makes us wonder, does truth matter?
The Hebrew Bible refers to Jehovah as the God of truth (Psalm 31:5); Jesus is the way, truth, and life (John 14:6). The substance of God's word is truth (Psalm 119:160), and Jesus prayed: "Sanctify them in the truth—your word is truth" (John 17:17 LEB). We must not forget John 4:24 as well: "God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (ESV).
Many other texts could be adduced to show that truth mattered to the ancient Bible writers, but the truth about Jesus was and is not merely abstract truth but it is concrete. The truth that revolves around Christ is reflected in what he did and said. When Christ stated, you will know the truth, and it will set you free (John 8:32), the context indicates he was not talking about truth in the abstract: the Lord was referring to the truth about himself (concrete truth). That kind of truth could free his disciples in the relevant sense, from sin. Such truth remains just as liberating today.
Wednesday, November 17, 2021
Greek Text: καὶ μὴ λυπεῖτε τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον τοῦ θεοῦ, ἐν ᾧ ἐσφραγίσθητε εἰς ἡμέραν ἀπολυτρώσεως.
Benjamin Merkle, Ephesians: "Ἐν ᾧ communicates means. The antecedent of the dat. rel. pron. ᾧ is τὸ πνεῦμα. That is, the Spirit is the instr. by which Christians are sealed. The implied agent of the pass. ἐσφραγίσθητε (2 pl. aor. pass. indic. of σφραγίζω, 'seal' [see note at 1:13]) is God the Father."
Source: Benjamin L. Merkle. Ephesians. Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2016.
Monday, November 15, 2021
Critics often denigrate the NWT for "adding to God's Word": they focus on texts like Colossians 1:15-17 and Acts 10:36. However, I wonder if these same critics are willing to be as severe with the NET Bible that often adds words "for the sake of clarity."
I personally have no difficulty with this practice, but the more I read NET and the NIV, the more I observe this practice. As one example, consider this link:
The link directs us to the NET translation for Judges 5. Do you notice how many times NET says something has been added to the text for the sake of clarity? Quite often. For instance, Judges 5:1 reads:
"On that day Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang this victory song"
The NET footnote for this verse states:
tn The words “this victory song” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
And on it goes throughout the fifth chapter of Judges. I will let the reader check the other instances for himself/herself.
As for the NIV, I noticed an interesting example yesterday:
"About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them" (Acts 16:25).
Greek Text: Κατὰ δὲ τὸ μεσονύκτιον Παῦλος καὶ Σιλᾶς προσευχόμενοι ὕμνουν τὸν θεόν, ἐπηκροῶντο δὲ αὐτῶν οἱ δέσμιοι·
Did you notice the words added by the NIV, including "other"?
Ironically, NWT 2013 translates this verse, "But about the middle of the night, Paul and Silas were praying and praising God with song, and the prisoners were listening to them."
Sunday, November 14, 2021
I know that most of you have not forgotten a Trinitarian named "FR" who appeared and made sundry and diverse claims, convinced he was correct. One claim he made was that the Greek word ἐκλέγομαι necessarily applied to Jesus in various passages, including Acts 1:24; however, some verses that he might have overlooked are Mark 13:20; Acts 13:17; 15:7; 1 Corinthians 1:27-28; Ephesians 1:4; James 2:5.
Some of the verses like Ephesians 1:4 and James 2:5 have God as their subject: Mark 13:20 speaks of the Lord, but the context suggests God is the "Lord" of the passage, not Jesus.
Friday, November 12, 2021
The Proposed Structure of Philippians
1) Salutation, thanksgiving and prayer (Verses 1:1-11)
2) Paul reports his condition and prospects for the future (1:12-26, 27-30)
3) Exhortation to imitate Christ by exercising humility (2:1-18)
4) Travelogue that includes commendation of Timothy and Epaphroditus (2:19-30)
5) Doctrinal Section (Chapter 3)
6) Encouragement, personal business, acknowledge the financial gift, and farewell (Chapter 4)
The structure above is a modified version of what Benjamin Wisner Bacon sets forth in An Introduction to the New Testament. See https://books.google.com/books?id=gI4aAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA122&lpg=PA122&dq=epistolary+structure+nt+letters&source=bl&ots=d4uabu6qRX&sig=ACfU3U2yxsGXDVV716_CWGNGFWAnJXM8tQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi4qaf91I_0AhVfSjABHe6NAME4WhDoAXoECAIQAw#v=onepage&q=epistolary%20structure%20nt%20letters&f=false
Other proposals are given here: https://catholic-resources.org/Bible/Paul-Philippians.htm
However, one point I want to make is that Paul's letters (like others) follow a pattern in the way they're written. We can discern such patterns by studying how ancient letters were composed, and many studies on ancient epistolary structure/conventions have been done. Jeffrey Reed also helped us appreciate that the macrostructure of Philippians seems to tell us a lot about the epistle's integrity.
Monday, November 08, 2021
"He stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing" (Job 26:7 ESV).
Some readers of Scripture including big-time Bible scholars snipe at this verse: they insist that it's "unscientific" or informed by ancient mythology. Therefore, some may wonder if Job 26:7 rightly can be employed to show the Bible has marks of divine inspiration (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
There is no unanimous answer to this query, but it seems that the passage might be used as long as one recognizes that Job is a poetic book of wisdom that does not touch directly on science nor was it written as a scientific treatise. Does this mean that the passage is inapt or irrelevant when it states that the earth hangs on nothing?
Critics will insist that the earth doesn't hang at all; they will say what keeps the earth in its place is the sun's gravity. So they contend that Job 26:7 is inaccurate because the Bible states that the earth hangs. In contrast, Robert L. Alden maintains:
"Job's assertion that the earth hangs on nothing is amazingly accurate and certainly counters the charge that the Bible's writers held that the earth stood on something else" (Job, NA Commentary).
It is amazing that Job, unlike other ancient narratives, does not claim that earth is suspended upon something else. Secondly, one must keep in mind the poetic nature of the book. Third, when Job references "pillars," it is best not to construe this language at face value. The content indicates that the inspired writer of Job likely did not believe the earth has literal pillars.
Sunday, November 07, 2021
Taken from An Introduction to Logic by Richard Arthur, page 147:
We come now to what is perhaps the most important rule of inference after modus ponens. Certainly it has been at the creative heart of logic through the years, despite its not being part of the formal logic taught in universities until the twentieth century. As we’ll see below, Galileo Galilei used the reductio ad absurdum argument form to brilliant effect in demolishing the physics of Aristotle, even while pouring scorn on the sterile logic he had learned in the Schools. The reductio is a way of refuting a proposition by showing that it leads to an absurdity, by reducing it to absurdity—hence the Latin name, which translates as “reduction to an absurdity.” Generally, of course, such a reduction cannot be achieved without enlisting the aid of other premises.
Monday, November 01, 2021
Greek (SBLGNT): καὶ ἡ εἰρήνη τοῦ θεοῦ ἡ ὑπερέχουσα πάντα νοῦν φρουρήσει τὰς καρδίας ὑμῶν καὶ τὰ νοήματα ὑμῶν ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ.
1) What is the peace of God?
2) How does one obtain it?
Before exploring these questions, I want to review some contextual factors that probably shaped Philippians 4:7.
A) Hebrew, Greek and Roman Terms for "Peace"
The word appearing in the Hebrew scriptures which translators often render "peace" is shalom. See Judges 6:23; Isaiah 9:6; 26:3.
As ardent students of the Bible know, shalom does not signify merely absence from war, strife or conflict, but it denotes harmony, prosperity, and wholeness. Nicholas Wolterstorff connects shalom with justice, the justice of YHWH. Furthermore, he constructs a nexus between prosperity and shalom:
"The flourishing life, thus understood, was called shalom by the Hebrew writers of the Old Testament, 'shalom' being translated with the Greek 'eirene¸' in the Septuagint; the New Testament writers followed in the steps of the Septuagint translators. So if we need a name for this moral vision—this conception of the good life coupled with this maxim of action—best to call it eirene´ism" (Justice: Rights and Wrongs, page 226).
When used substantivally, shalom denotes within respective contexts such things as wholeness, safety, soundness, health, welfare, peace, concord and friendship (Gesenius).
As Wolterstorff explains, the LXX translators rendered shalom with the Greek εἰρήνη (eirene). εἰρήνη occurs ninety-two times in the GNT; Philippians uses this word three times (1:2; 4:7, 9). Gordon Fee makes these remarks about Paul's introduction to the Philippians:
"The traditional greeting in the Hellenistic world was chairein—the infinitive of the verb 'to rejoice,' but in salutations meaning simply 'Greetings!' (see Acts 15:23; Jas 1:1). In Paul’s hands this now becomes charis ('grace'), to which he adds the traditional Jewish greeting shalom ('peace,'⁵⁸ in the sense of 'wholeness' or 'well-being').⁵⁹ Thus instead of the familiar 'greetings,' Paul salutes his brothers and sisters in Christ with 'grace to you—and peace.' ”⁶⁰
Fee thinks that genuine peace (shalom/eirene) is the result of divine grace (charis); additionally, he suggests that Paul could be modifying a formulaic Jewish blessing in the opening verses of Philippians (compare Galatians 6:16). Nevertheless, Fee reckons that Philippians 1:1-2 emphasizes divine grace and resultant shalom--both now and in the life to come.
Cousar (Philippians and Philemon) echoes some of Fee's thinking: “ 'Peace' likely reflects the Hebrew root shalom, implying wholeness and well-being. The source of both grace and peace is 'God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.' ”
Yet Paul was a multidimensional person in terms of his cultural experiences: his writings bear the marks of Jewish, Greek, and Roman culture. Therefore, it would likely benefit students of Philippians to know a little about not only shalom and eirene, but also the Latin term, pax.
Jerome would later translate Philippians 4:7, 9:
et pax Dei quae exsuperat omnem sensum custodiat corda vestra et intellegentias vestras in Christo Iesu
quae et didicistis et accepistis et audistis et vidistis in me haec agite et Deus pacis erit vobiscum
See the Oxford Latin Dictionary entry for Pax in order to get a feel for the role of the term in ancient Rome. Paul lived at a time when the Pax Romana existed: a powerful Roman presence dominated the Mediterranean world. Moreover, some Graeco-Roman philosophers advocated ways to experience ultimate tranquility or peace of mind. Yet these were human attempts to find lasting solace.
B) Addressing the Two Questions Raised at the Outset
Now that we've considered some of the potential background for Philippians 4:7, I now want to addresses the questions above.
Firstly, what is the peace of God?
Some understand the expression ἡ εἰρήνη τοῦ θεοῦ to be a genitive of source ("peace from God"). Longenecker and Thompson write:
"The peace of God is the peace that comes from God (genitive of source), about which Paul prays at the beginning and end of his letters. The peace of God is a common theme in the OT, the equivalent of God’s steadfast love and mercy (Jer. 16:5). God is the source of peace (Num. 6:26; Ps. 29:11; Job 25:2)."
If I'm interpreting these words properly, it seems like an objective view of God's peace is being expressed. In other words, the peace that belongs to God's being will guard your heart and mental powers, etc. Maybe this is what the authors mean. Gerald Hawthorne (WB Commentary on Philippians) certainly is convinced that the peace of God is a possession of God himself.
Bonnie Thurston and Judith Ryan take this approach to the text:
"The phrase 'the peace of God' appears only here in the NT. God’s peace is never, in the Bible, the absence of conflict, but something much deeper. That God is the source of peace is a Pauline assumption (Rom 15:33; 16:20)."
No other details are supplied, so I'm not sure whether an objective or subjective view of divine peace is being posited here. Furthermore, what is the deeper component of divine peace that the authors mention? Later on in their commentary, Thurston and Ryan imply that the peace of God is subjective and not affected by what's happening around its possessors. Compare Isaiah 26:3.
Lynn H. Cohick makes the point that anxiety, which Philippians 4:6 warns against (or the verse warns about worrying too much), is like spinning tires in quicksand or its comparable to going around in circles (i.e., going nowhere). Paul teaches that it's much better to pray rather than endlessly worry. That is how one gains the peace of God. Cohick portrays divine peace as being transformative and communal, but she does not give a precise definition of what it is.
Joseph Hellerman provides a somewhat long paragraph arguing that the "peace of God" is not inward, but it's God's peace that belongs to him, issues from him, and fills the Christian community. Hellerman writes:
"The gen. τοῦ θεοῦ is not obj. ('peace with God' [cf. Rom 5:1] is presupposed) but, rather, subj. ('the peace that God has and gives' [R 499]), or perhaps, a gen. of source or origin ('peace from God') (Porter 93). Some take the gen. as loosely descriptive (H-M 246; O’Brien 496)."
Walter G. Hansen adds:
How do we obtain the peace of God? Besides being a Christian, one must obey the divine precepts while being vigilant with a view to prayer.
Cohick, Lynn H. Philippians. The Story of God Bible Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic, 2013.
Cousar, Charles. Philippians and Philemon: A Commentary. New Testament Library.
Louisville, Kentucky : Westminster/John Knox Press, 2009.
Fee, Gordon. Paul's Letter to the Philippians. NICNT. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1995.
Hawthorne, Gerald. Philippians. WBC 43; revised edition. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2004.
Holloway, Paul. Philippians: A Commentary. Hermeneia. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2017.
Thompson, James W., and Bruce W. Longenecker. Philippians and Philemon. Grand Rapids: MI: Baker Academic, 2016.
Thurston, Bonnie Bowman, Judith Ryan, and Daniel J. Harrington. Philippians and Philemon. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2009.
Wolterstorff, Nicholas. Justice: Rights and Wrongs. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008.