1 Corinthians 2:13

Hey folks,

I was wondering if it might be more natural to place the comma after πνευματικοῖς in 1 Corinthians 2:13:

ἃ καὶ λαλοῦμεν οὐκ ἐν διδακτοῖς ἀνθρωπίνης σοφίας λόγοις, ἀλλ’ ἐν διδακτοῖς πνεύματος, πνευματικοῖς πνευματικὰ συνκρίνοντες.

If we place the comma after πνευματικοῖς, that would make the comparative statement a bit more symmetric:

διδακτοῖς ἀνθρωπίνης σοφίας λόγοις / διδακτοῖς πνεύματος πνευματικοῖς
through words taught by human wisdom / through spiritual (things/gifts/words) taught by the Spirit

However, this would remove πνευματικοῖς from the last clause “πνευματικοῖς πνευματικὰ συνκρίνοντες” and leave only “πνευματικὰ συνκρίνοντες”. Would “συνκρίνοντες” without a dative be valid? ESV and NIV seem to allow this (interpreting συνκρίνοντες as “interpreting”/”explaining”) , but NASB and WEB seem to require the dative to complete the “comparing”/”combining” of the accusative and the dative.

Louis L Sorenson » May 10th, 2013, 11:09 pm

I think there are some truncated expressions here.(a) ἃ καὶ λαλοῦμεν
(b) οὐκ ἐν διδακτοῖς ἀνθρωπίνης σοφίας λόγοις [λαλοῦμεν],
(c) ἀλλ’ ἐν διδακτοῖς πνεύματος [σοφίας λόγοις λαλοῦμεν],
(d) πνευματικοῖς πνευματικὰ συνκρίνοντες.My initial reading is that the dative πνευματικοῖς is an obvious change of phrase, not continuing the previous phrase, but being part of the phrase boundary of συνκρίνοντες.

I suppose it is possible to read the passage as
(a) ἃ καὶ λαλοῦμεν
(b) οὐκ ἐν διδακτοῖς ἀνθρωπίνης σοφίας λόγοις [λαλοῦμεν],
(c) ἀλλ’ ἐν διδακτοῖς πνεύματος [σοφίας] πνευματικοῖς [λαλοῦμεν],
(d) πνευματικὰ συνκρίνοντες.

This reading would take the phrase πνευματικὰ συνκρίνοντες to be a summarizing τὰ διδακτὰ πνευματικά. ‘Taught words of man’s wisdom’ vs. ‘Taught spiritual words of spirit wisdom.’

Here is BDAG’s entry which interestingly gives both meaings 1 and 3 to this verse:

① to bring things together so as to form a unit, combine (Epicharmus et al.; Pla.; Aristot., Metaph. 1, 4, 985a, 24) so perh. πνευματικοῖς (neut.) πνευματικὰ συγκρίνοντες giving spiritual truth a spiritual form (Goodsp., Lghtf., BWeiss, Bousset) 1 Cor 2:13 (s. 2b and 3 below).
③ to clarify on the basis of a compatible relationship, explain, interpret (Polyb. 14, 3, 7; Gen 40:8, 16, 22; 41:12f, 15; Da 5:12 Theod.; JosAs 4:14 [ἐνύπνιον]) πνευματικοῖς (masc.) πνευματικὰ συγκρίνοντες interpreting spiritual truths to those who possess the Spirit 1 Cor 2:13 (s. 1 and 2b above) so NRSV text, PSchmiedel, Heinrici, JSickenberger.—FBlass and JWeiss propose emendation of the text.—M-M. s.v. συνκρίνω. TW.Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed.) (953). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Unless the phrase πνεύματος πνευματικοῖς is a set phrase used in Patristic literature and elsewhere, I would be reluctant to separate the instrumental dative πνευματικοῖς from συνκρίνοντες; the two words seem made for each other; ‘comparing the spiritual with the spiritual’ (and not with the human elements of life).

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