John 1:9

New Testament • John 1:9

[John 1:9] ην το φως το αληθινον ο φωτιζει παντα ανθρωπον ερχομενον εις τον κοσμον

I’ve always thought that there were only two possibilities:
(1) “το φως το αληθινον ο …” is the subject of the periphrastic “ην ερχομενον …”; “the true light which illuminates every man was coming into the world”
(2) “ερχομενον εις τον κοσμον” adjectivally modifies “παντα ανθρωπον”, and “το φως το αληθινον” is subject of “ην” with predicate as the indefinite relative “ο φωτιζει παντα ανθρωπον”; “the true light was that which illuminates every man who comes into the world”
And I previously thought that (1) was more likely given how it would flow naturally into the next sentence, although (2) could be arguable given John’s liking for using similar words in different places in close proximity with different meanings.

But I happened to look at that verse again today and thought of a third possibility:
(3) “το φως το αληθινον” is subject of “ην” with predicate as the indefinite relative “ο φωτιζει παντα ανθρωπον”, and “ερχομενον εις τον κοσμον” is a circumstantial adverbial modifying “φωτιζει”; “the true light was that which, coming into the world, illuminates every man”

On thinking of that it seemed similar to other occasions of such present tense circumstantial adverbials in John’s writing such as 1:48 (“οντα υπο την συκην ειδον σε”), 4:9 (“πως συ ιουδαιος ων παρ εμου πειν αιτεις γυναικος σαμαριτιδος ουσης”).

So which do you all think is the most likely, if we make the assumption that John isn’t intentionally trying to make an ambiguous sentence? I’m thinking (3) now.

My search turned up only two results:
viewtopic.php?f=46&t=1461, which didn’t clearly identify the grammatical structure, and where there wasn’t really a clear consensus … 23803.html, where Carl concluded on (1) but didn’t mention (3). Any comments, Carl? :)

Statistics: Posted by David Lim — June 25th, 2014, 1:12 am

John 6:29

New Testament • Re: John 6:29:  ἱνα without any nuance of “purposed result”?
moon jung wrote:
But as long as we assume that the ἱνα clause represents a desirable state of affairs in general,
my rendering can be obtained.

At the expense of the context, as I’ve already explained. I hope you seriously reconsider why you are pushing your opinions on “ινα” so strongly, because if we disregard context, we can always argue for anything we like and find excuses for everything that doesn’t quite fit. No doubt, the context has to be interpreted, so again you are free to disregard everyone’s interpretation except those whom you agree with.

moon jung wrote:
My understanding seems to be consistent with the observation of Sim’s dissertation: […]

You can choose whatever you like, but I feel that you are just trying to get someone to agree with you, and at the same time you seem to also let your opinions drive your linguistic claims. For example, you keep trying to use what others say in order to prove your original claims, and you press people in that direction as far as you can. Thus I urge you to instead start learning Greek simply as a language rather than as a tool to be wielded. And it would be good for you to be aware of confirmation bias. No one is immune to it, so the best we can do is to provide objective evidence. For a natural language, it seems that only statistical evidence (with a sufficiently large sample size) is objective enough, as other types of evidence all turn upon interpretation, hence the multitude of opinions based on them. You will have to decide for yourself what you consider as sufficient evidence, but don’t expect me to agree with you if you do not provide corpus-based evidence but only your opinions concerning solitary instances.

Statistics: Posted by David Lim — July 13th, 2014, 10:47 pm

John 1:4

New Testament • Re: John 1:4 ὃ γέγονεν *ἐν αὐτῷ* ζωὴ ἦν – instrumental ἐν?

There are really two different issues being discussed in this thread — agency and instrumentality. Agency is usually expressed with a preposition + the genitive, instrumentality is usually expressed with the dative, sometimes (and especially in Koine) with the preposition ἐν + dative. Agency is usually personal, instrumentality impersonal. I would take ἐν αὐτῷ with ζωὴ ἦν, which would meant that the λόγος is the source of life.

Statistics: Posted by Barry Hofstetter — September 27th, 2016, 1:53 pm

John 1:16

New Testament • Re: John 1:16: how to understand the ὁτι?
Jonathan Robie wrote:
The SBLGNT punctuation uses parentheses around verse 15:

14 Καὶ ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο καὶ ἐσκήνωσεν ἐν ἡμῖν, καὶ ἐθεασάμεθα τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ, δόξαν ὡς μονογενοῦς παρὰ πατρός, πλήρης χάριτος καὶ ἀληθείας· 15 (Ἰωάννης μαρτυρεῖ περὶ αὐτοῦ καὶ κέκραγεν λέγων· Οὗτος ἦν ὃν εἶπον· Ὁ ὀπίσω μου ἐρχόμενος ἔμπροσθέν μου γέγονεν, ὅτι πρῶτός μου ἦν·) 16 ὅτι ἐκ τοῦ πληρώματος αὐτοῦ ἡμεῖς πάντες ἐλάβομεν, καὶ χάριν ἀντὶ χάριτος· 17 ὅτι ὁ νόμος διὰ Μωϋσέως ἐδόθη, ἡ χάρις καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐγένετο.

This implies that the ὅτι in verse 16 continues from the last clause of verse 14:

πλήρης χάριτος καὶ ἀληθείας … ὅτι ἐκ τοῦ πληρώματος αὐτοῦ ἡμεῖς πάντες ἐλάβομεν

Makes sense to me …

Wow! It makes sense. The fact that the witness of the Baptist begins from John 1:19 makes it reasonable
to think that the statement in John 1:15 about the Baptist is parenthetical. The only problem seems whether
such a parenthetical insertion without any discourse particle (e.g. δε ) is an established method of narration.

Moon Jung

Statistics: Posted by moon jung — July 12th, 2014, 10:19 pm

John 3:8

New Testament • Re: John 3:8 τὸ πνεῦμα ὅπου θέλει πνεῖ
cwconrad wrote:
Perhaps I’m simply saying what’s obvious, but the fact that πνευμα in Greek, like ruach in Hebrew and spiritus in Latin, is a metaphoric extension from verbs in these same languages that can mean both “blow” and “breathe” would seem to indicate that the analogy is being drawn to comparable instances of unpredictability in the volatile “substance” for which these languages use the single word.

Yes, that makes sense.

Statistics: Posted by grogers — April 1st, 2014, 12:18 pm

2 Peter 3:10

New Testament • Re: 2 Peter 3:10  (NA28) *οὐχ* εὑρεθήσεται
Jonathan Robie wrote:

May 23rd, 2017, 3:06 pm

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:

May 23rd, 2017, 3:00 pm

Got a good laugh out of that. The suggestion assumes that I know enough coptic to correct the auto parsing mistakes.

Are you copting out?

Yeah, my objective with Sahidic is even less ambitious than a similar project with Syriac. I thought it would be useful to look at the architecture of the language and see to what extent the versions could be trusted in textual criticism. I thought it would be about as difficult as Syriac coming from Hebrew. I was wrong.

Statistics: Posted by Stirling Bartholomew — May 23rd, 2017, 3:11 pm

John 7:49

New Testament • Re: John 7:49
Rhoover60 wrote:
J. Robie, thanks. I read the passage from Jannaris and noticed this phrase, “Nevertheless, it is not rigidly adhered to even by A[ttic?] writers. etc.” This points out what probably happened in my thinking. I falsely imagined that language had a mathematical precision to it!! Hopefully, I will learn from this. More Regards.

No such thing as mathematical precision in any language. In the case of the neuter plural/singular verb, the verb most often goes into the plural when people are the referent of the noun, though even that is not an absolute usage.

Statistics: Posted by Barry Hofstetter — January 1st, 2017, 9:16 am

John 8:33

New Testament • Re: John 8:33 Antecedant of “they”
Hefin J. Jones wrote:
Focusing on the forest might take us out of b-greek.

That depends partly on which forest you focus on, but I do think we need to be careful. Here’s a forest that interests me: my impression is that John is very careful in his use of antecedents and pronouns. Iver’s interpretation seems to require a level of imprecision that I would expect in Mark but not in John, but this is purely my impression, based largely on the wonderfully precise and poetic use of reference in the first chapters of John and 1 John.

I have not yet looked carefully at the passages Iver has brought up, I am going to take a look and see if I can find similar examples of imprecise use of antecedents in John. Can anyone think of such examples?

Statistics: Posted by Jonathan Robie — March 14th, 2014, 9:39 am

2 John 5

New Testament • Re: 2 John 5 οὐχ ὡς ἐντολὴν γράφων σοι καινήν
RandallButh wrote:
You are on the right track with ‘topicalization’. The WS participial clause has fronting for contextualization, but with καινήν left behind in its default saliency position. Sort of like volunteering in an army joke where everyone steps backward, leaving the volunteer “forward”. (In the language, though, moving foward was a ‘demotion of saliency’/orientation/contextualization/topicatlization, and corresponds to moving backward in the joke.) The ἐντολή object was topicalized and the σοι was dragged along by the verb, as two sub-units within the clause. Maybe even the γράφων σοι can be said to be heightened pragmatically for contextualization in this case by its attraction of σοι.

Thanks for that. I like the idea that the whole part οὐχ ὡς ἐντολὴν γράφων σοι is “topicalized” or “contextualized” and your explanation thereof. I’m not so sure about the reason for the placement of σοι, though, as I don’t see any pragmatical heightening of that element. If I understand Devine and Stephens’ work on the phonetics of the Greek accent correctly, there should be a (pitch) peak at γράφων here — even though it may not be pragmatically prominent.

I’m currently testing a hypothesis that clausal clitics in Koine need to be hosted by the first accentual peak in their intonation unit, so maybe that is why σοι is hosted by this element since the grave accent on ἐντολὴν won’t produce a peak according to D&S. (Of course, if Koine isn’t tonal or if D&S’s work on intonation isn’t applicable to the Koine of 2 John, then this whole line of investigation could be wrong-headed.) There is some flexibility in that οὐχ ὡς ἐντολήν σοι γράφων also fits the hypothesized rule, so this choice would still need to be accounted for, but I think this would have to involve extra heightening on (οὐχ ὡς) ἐντολήν to move σοι from its default / base-generated position, a heightening that does not seem contextually appropriate here.

RandallButh wrote:
I would expect all of this to have been instantly communicated in antiquity through intonation by a good reader or speaker. The frontings would not have had any focal intonation, perhaps generating a kind of residual/latent/secondary focal intonation on the default yet salient καινἠν.

Yeah, that’s the kind of thing I’m exploring and whether there is independent evidence for it in the intonation system as investigated by D&S. In particular, I would be especially interested in instances of fronted lexical graves that are not topics.

Statistics: Posted by Stephen Carlson — January 18th, 2014, 8:22 am

2 John 11

New Testament • Re: Split Constituent in John 2:11
Stephen Hughes wrote:

April 20th, 2017, 1:09 am

How difficult is it to make concordance list this into one with verse-either-side or paragraph contexts? Looking them up one by one and finding the element mentioned is tedious.

Here’s one way you could do that: use a text editor to make lists of verses like this:


Luke 19:23; John 17:6; John 17:8

Now use a site like Biblegateway that allows you to specify more than one verse at the same time. Here is the format for the URL you need:

CODE: 19:23; John 17:6; John 17:8&version=SBLGNT

Or you can enter the list of verses into their text box and select SBLGNT, if you prefer. Please start a new thread if you want to discuss the results of that, or put it into your moieties thread.

Statistics: Posted by Jonathan Robie — April 20th, 2017, 6:16 am

2 John 1

New Testament • Re: 2 John 1 ἐγώ

Stephen, are you familiar with Raymond Brown’s 1978 book, The Community of the Beloved Disciple? It’s speculative, to be sure, but he argues that the Johannine community developed separately from the apostolic church but merged with it toward the end of the first century, at which point the Johannine community suffered a schism in which a “Gnostic-like” majority group walked out “into the world”. Brown’s proposition is that the Johannine epistles are intended to point the right understanding of the Johannine gospel and to warn against the schismatic group, the second and third letters focusing more on those in the schismatic group. That, at least, is my recollection of it, but something like that must be involved in these letters.

Statistics: Posted by cwconrad — January 10th, 2014, 10:47 am

2 John 2

New Testament • Re: 2 John 2 διὰ τὴν ἀλήθειαν
Stephen Carlson wrote:

David Lim wrote:Like Carl, I take “δια την αληθειαν” to modify “αγαπω”. If I were to give a reason it would be that it is an adverbial prepositional phrase and must modify a verb form, and the nearest one that fits would be “αγαπω” (not “εγνωκοτες”).

Well, there are three possible verbal forms to pick from in order of proximity, ἐγνωκότες, ἀγαπῶ, and the implied γράφει/γράφω. I don’t quite see how it fits better with ἀγαπῶ than with γράφω, however. I can see how giving a reason fits better with writing than with loving, but how would it work with your option: I love you in truth on account of the truth abiding in us? Please explain this further.

I think my explanation wasn’t clear enough. I took “the truth that remains in us” to refer to “the instruction (singular abstract noun) from God that remains in us”, which includes the laws, teachings, revelations, … In the writer’s views, it is natural for anyone, not just him, who loves the laws and teachings of God, to also love “the chosen lady”, and it is not just any type of love (which may be based on many things) but love that is based on truth. What it means for love to be based on truth is explained by the writer later, that it is a very logical thing (now this is going to be slightly interpretive):
[1 John 4:21] and this commandment we have from him: that the [one] who loves God is to love also his brother.
[1 John 5:2] in this we know that we love the children of God: when we love God and keep his commandments.
In the first statement he says that to love his brothers (including the chosen lady) is actually a commandment from God (which is part of “the truth”).
In the second statement he says that by loving God and keeping his commandments we love the children of God, which is a natural consequence of the first statement.
This is the way the love is “because of the truth”.

Stephen Carlson wrote:

David Lim wrote:I would take it to be a separate statement, with the focus on the whole “μεθ ημων εις τον αιωνα”. But I’m curious as to the suggested possibility that “εσται” represents the future participle; are there any examples you know that indicate the existence of such a phenomenon of finite verbs that seem to take the place of participles?

The statement about “focus” is confusing, because it is a technical term (where only μεθ’ ἡμῶν is in focus, based on fronting: the whole statement is not focus). As for the other issues, there is a certain parallelism between stating that the truth abides within us and then asserting that it will be with us forever. The parallelism of thought, however, is broken by the switch from participle to finite verb form. As you know, participles often do the work of finite verbs.

Indeed participles can easily take the place of finite verbs in various ways, but I understood you (and I think Carl also) to mean that “εσται” functions as a participle, which is the reverse direction. For that I would like to see some examples if you know of any.

Stephen Carlson wrote:

David Lim wrote:I understand “εν αληθεια” similarly as “in truth” (“according to what is true”), while “η αληθεια” here refers to “the truth” (“the commandments/teachings/revelations from God”). The former is indefinite, which is why it is the latter that is described as “remaining in us”. Of course, in this context the former implicitly refers to the latter; “it is because of the instruction from God that we keep in our hearts, which is truth, that we love the chosen lady, and not just I but also all the ones who have received this instruction, and this instruction will remain with us for ever.”

This explanation is a little confusing if not contradictory, because it is asserted that the former is indefinite but also that it refers to something identifiable. How can it be both? At any rate, I was thinking about the NET Bible’s note on the former:

The prepositional phrase ἐν ἀληθείᾳ (en alhqeia) in 2 John 1 is similar to 3 John 1, although it is not qualified there as it is here (see 3 John 1). This is not merely the equivalent of an adverb (“truly”), but is a theological statement affirming the orthodoxy of Gaius, to whom the letter is addressed. “Truth” is the author’s way of alluding to theological orthodoxy in the face of the challenge by the opponents (see 1 John 3:19).

Aside from the confusion over which of the little Johns is addressed to Gaius, they take the phrase ἐν ἀληθείᾳ not be merely adverbial but a reference to orthodoxy. I think you’re doing similar but also trying to have the adverbial usage too?

I do take it as adverbial, but I think it remains an indefinite reference. It is possible for an indefinite reference and a definite reference to refer to essentially the same thing because of the context, though in general it is not the case. For example, we can say “God has power.”, where “power” is indefinite in the sentence itself. At the same time “the power of God” is definite. In the former, we could argue that the indefinite “power” refers to power in general that others may also have, but it is also true that in such contexts we are usually talking about God’s power and not about power in general, so in the end it refers indirectly to the same as the definite reference. In the same way, the indefinite “truth” in “in truth” refers to truth in general, which is why I tried to explain the phrase as “according to what is true” to bring out the indefiniteness. Of course, the context tells us that the writer is not just talking about doing things according to what is true in general, but doing things according to a specific “truth” which appears to refer to “instruction from God”.

Statistics: Posted by David Lim — January 13th, 2014, 10:14 pm

2 John 12

New Testament • Re: 2 John 12 ὑμῖν
cwconrad wrote:

Stephen Carlson wrote:So is it (πολλὰ ἔχων ὑμῖν) (γράφειν οὐκ ἐβουλήθην διὰ χάρτου καὶ μέλανος) or (πολλὰ ἔχων) (ὑμῖν γράφειν οὐκ ἐβουλήθην διὰ χάρτου καὶ μέλανος)?

Even if γράφειν is to be understood fundamentally with οὐκ ἐβουλήθην, it would seem that there’s an implicit λέγειν or the equivalent that must be understood with πολλὰ ἔχων ὑμῖν; that is to say, is it conceivable that πολλὰ ἔχων ὑμῖν could stand alone without an implicit infinitive construed with it? I don’t see how the ὑμῖν can construe directly with πολλὰ ἔχων.We have to assume an ellipsis, don’t we?

I similarly read an ellipsis:
“( { πολλὰ } ἔχων ( ὑμῖν ) γράφειν ) { οὐκ ἐβουλήθην [γράφειν] ( διὰ χάρτου καὶ μέλανος ) }”
“having many things to write to you, I did not want to do so through paper and ink”

Statistics: Posted by David Lim — February 9th, 2014, 11:40 am

John 21:7

New Testament • Re: John 21:7 τὸν ἐπενδύτην διεζώσατο – acc with middle

Χαίρετε, Χριστός Ανέστη.
I thought this is an easy topic for my first post in this forum.
A new greek interpretation of the gospel explains the επενδύτη as a kind of a simple “working garment” (εργατικός σάκκος). Probably a square cloth like apron, still used by fishermen today. So, he just tied hastily the ribbons around his waste. The interpretation explains that he did so in order to go faster to Jesus. Obviously Peter just made some steps into the water but did not swim.


Statistics: Posted by Georgios — April 20th, 2017, 2:24 pm

John 1:17

New Testament • Re: John 1:17: is it hendiadys?
Dmitriy Reznik wrote:

timothy_p_mcmahon wrote:While hendiadys makes reasonable sense, I’m wondering about the use of the article with both nouns.

I found the answer to this in Blass and Debrunner, where there are examples of hendiadys with the article with both nouns:

James 5:10:

τῆς κακοπαθείας καὶ τῆς μακροθυμίας (of perseverance in suffering)

Luke 2:47:

ἐπὶ τῇ συνέσει καὶ ταῖς ἀποκρίσεσιν αὐτοῦ (at his intelligent answers)

Mk 6:26 = Mt 14:9:

διὰ δὲ τοὺς ὅρκους καὶ τοὺς συνανακειμένους (because of the oath taken before the guests)

Also, I found that a famous medieval Jewish commentator Rashi understood חֶסֶד וֶאֱמֶת (lovingkindness and truth) as hendiadys (חסד של אמת, i.e. true lovingkindness)!!
( … iadys.html)

Thank you again,

P.S. Maybe somebody would like to add something to our discussion?

You must be refrring to Blass, Debrunner here:
§442 (16) The co-ordination of two ideas, one of which is dependent on the other (hendiadys), serves in the NT to avoid a series of dependent genitives

They do suggest translations like “perseverance in suffering” for James 5:10 and “intelligent answers” in Luke 2:47, but I don’t think this is the best or only way of interpreting them.

James 5:10 could as well be understood as the unjust suffering the prophets had to endure and their perseverance in spite of those sufferings. Of course, the two ideas are closely connected and overlapping in time, but is one dependent on the other? I usually think of hendiadys as two nouns where one describes the other and therefore one may be translated by an adjective. There is a tendency to look at the sense of καὶ from an English perspective which sees the two nouns as more distinct than they were intended. Two nouns joined by καὶ are often overlapping in sense, reference or time. It may well be more natural and clear in English to say “patience in the face of suffering” (NIV) than “suffering affliction and of patience” (KJV) or “suffering and patience” (NET).

In Luke 2:47 I am not sure it is accurate to reduce “his understanding and his answers” to “his intelligent answers”, because the previous verse says that Jesus was listening to them and asking questions. I think rather Luke is talking about his insightful questions and his excellent answers to their questions. A Rabbinic dialogue was often in the form of questions and counter-questions in addition to answers.

I have similar hesitation for Mk 6:26. The king could not retract for two reasons: He had made an oath, so he might fear God if he went against it. It would be dangerous. He had made it in public so he would fear the reaction of the guests. It would be shameful.

Nor would I consider it likely that a hendiadys is intended in John 1:17.

ὅτι ὁ νόμος διὰ Μωϋσέως ἐδόθη, ἡ χάρις καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐγένετο.

There are 3 pairs of lexical contrasts/comparisons:
ὁ νόμος — ἡ χάρις καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια
διὰ Μωϋσέως — διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ
ἐδόθη — ἐγένετο

The initial ὅτι probably explains the previous χάριν ἀντὶ χάριτος (grace instead of grace). The two words grace and truth also pick up on the same two words in verse 14:
καὶ ἐθεασάμεθα τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ, δόξαν ὡς μονογενοῦς παρὰ πατρός, πλήρης χάριτος καὶ ἀληθείας.

It seems to me that John is talking about a new and fuller expression of the grace and truth from God which came with Jesus and goes far beyond what was given through Moses. It does not mean that there was no grace or truth in the Torah, but there is a fuller reality of grace and truth through Jesus. So, I think grace and truth are best kept separate rather than trying to make them graceful truth or truthful grace. If there is a true grace, is there also a false grace?

Statistics: Posted by Iver Larsen — July 2nd, 2014, 3:17 am

Acts 15:11

New Testament • Re: Acts 15:11

Thank you, for answers. I’ve met in christianity teaching: once saved, always saved (in sense: believe in Jesus and you will be saved instantly). I thougt that this text may be bear out so teaching. But the words of Jonathan are important: “It’s not telling us when this salvation occurs, it’s telling us that it can occur by the grace of Jesus Christ, without circumcision, for both Jews and Greeks.”
Jarek Romanowski

Statistics: Posted by romanjaro — March 24th, 2017, 2:43 pm