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Ephesians 4:11

Jonathan Robie » September 10th, 2013, 9:25 pm

καὶ αὐτὸς ἔδωκεν τοὺς μὲν ἀποστόλους, τοὺς δὲ προφήτας, τοὺς δὲ εὐαγγελιστάς, τοὺς δὲ ποιμένας καὶ διδασκάλους, πρὸς τὸν καταρτισμὸν τῶν ἁγίων εἰς ἔργον διακονίας, εἰς οἰκοδομὴν τοῦ σώματος τοῦ Χριστοῦ,

I’ve been reading this as though τοὺς μὲν ἀποστόλους, τοὺς δὲ προφήτας, τοὺς δὲ εὐαγγελιστάς were equivalent to τοὺς μὲν ἀποστόλους ἐστίν, τοὺς δὲ προφήτας ἐστιν, τοὺς δὲ εὐαγγελιστάς ἐστιν … that μὲν and δὲ delimits different groups who were given these gifts. Someone suggested to me that this could equally be read as more or less equivalent to:

ἔδωκεν πρὸς τὸν καταρτισμὸν τῶν ἁγίων εἰς ἔργον διακονίας τοὺς ἀποστόλους, τοὺς προφήτας, τοὺς εὐαγγελιστάς, τοὺς ποιμένας καὶ διδασκάλους …

Do you agree? I am trying to understand if the use of μὲν .. δὲ makes the first reading more likely, or if anything in the context or grammar tells us which reading to prefer.

 David Lim » September 11th, 2013, 5:38 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:I’ve been reading this as though τοὺς μὲν ἀποστόλους, τοὺς δὲ προφήτας, τοὺς δὲ εὐαγγελιστάς were equivalent to τοὺς μὲν ἀποστόλους ἐστίν, τοὺς δὲ προφήτας ἐστιν, τοὺς δὲ εὐαγγελιστάς ἐστιν … that μὲν and δὲ delimits different groups who were given these gifts.

How is “εστιν” supposed to go with the accusatives?

Jonathan Robie wrote:Someone suggested to me that this could equally be read as more or less equivalent to:
ἔδωκεν πρὸς τὸν καταρτισμὸν τῶν ἁγίων εἰς ἔργον διακονίας τοὺς ἀποστόλους, τοὺς προφήτας, τοὺς εὐαγγελιστάς, τοὺς ποιμένας καὶ διδασκάλους …

Sorry I don’t get why you put commas in place of “και” or something. Also, the purpose of the original sentence seems to be to say that God himself gave different groups of people for the purpose of preparing his holy ones for ministry work, for building of the body of Christ. So it is more than just conjunction, but a contrast with the earlier part in which the author mentions oneness. In short, he is saying that any differences that God gave is for the sake of the one body of Christ. The direct object is put in front because the other clauses follow one after another: “for work of ministry”, “for building of the body of Christ”, … and after a while I lose track of what modifies what…

Stephen Hughes » September 17th, 2013, 3:36 pm

I’ve been thinking about your question for a while and it seems to me that you have been looking at the microscope so long that you have begun to see the glass of then lens rather than what is on the other side of it being magnified.

Jonathan Robie wrote:I’ve been reading this as though τοὺς μὲν ἀποστόλους, τοὺς δὲ προφήτας, τοὺς δὲ εὐαγγελιστάς were equivalent to τοὺς μὲν ἀποστόλους ἐστίν, τοὺς δὲ προφήτας ἐστιν, τοὺς δὲ εὐαγγελιστάς ἐστιν … that μὲν and δὲ delimits different groups who were given these gifts.

I am trying to understand if the use of μὲν .. δὲ makes the first reading more likely, or if anything in the context or grammar tells us which reading to prefer.

I think the μὲν .. δὲ is a simply a way to indicate that all of the things in the list are affected in the same (or similar) way.

I think it groups together groups (or individuals) with some sort of equivalence. The focus of attention is not on the delimiting and separation but on the unification and (supposed) equivalence in the syntax of similar units.

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