OK Friends, this is a new experiment. I’m considering starting a regular commentary on the Greek text of the NT lectionary passages. Here is the first one, the Corinthians text for Jan. 19, 2014, as a sort of trial run. On the left is the SBL text (pretty close to the best Greek texts). On the right is my translation–as literal as possible while maintaining at least roughly comprehensible English. (Words I’ve added that I think are implied in the text, but not actually present, are enclosed in [brackets].) I’ve also added footnotes to the Greek text in places where I’ve offered brief comments. The goal here is not to offer a complete commentary on the text, but simply to highlight some issues where looking at the original language may help to illumine what is going on overall here. One of my purposes for this whole approach is to encourage those who are preaching and teaching the lectionary text to explore the original languages, and to give them a head start on what they might discover. I’d welcome your comments on whether this is useful or not, and suggestions for changes.
1 Cor 1:1-9
|1 Corinthians 1:1 Παῦλος κλητὸς[A] ἀπόστολος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ διὰ θελήματος θεοῦ καὶ Σωσθένης ὁ ἀδελφὸς||Paul, [a] called apostle of Christ Jesus through [the] will of God and Sosthenes the brother|
|2 τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ τοῦ θεοῦ, ἡγιασμένοις[B] ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, τῇ οὔσῃ ἐν Κορίνθῳ, κλητοῖς ἁγίοις, σὺν πᾶσιν τοῖς ἐπικαλουμένοις[C] τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ αὐτῶν καὶ ἡμῶν·||To the church of God, sanctified in Christ Jesus, to the [church] being in Corinth, called saints, [together] with all the ones who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place, theirs and ours.|
|3 χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν καὶ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.||Grace to you and peace from God our father and [the] Lord Jesus Christ.|
|4 Εὐχαριστῶ τῷ θεῷ μου πάντοτε περὶ ὑμῶν ἐπὶ τῇ χάριτι τοῦ θεοῦ τῇ δοθείσῃ ὑμῖν ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ,||I give thanks to my God always concerning you, on the basis of the grace of God given to you in Christ Jesus,|
|5 ὅτι ἐν παντὶ ἐπλουτίσθητε ἐν[D] αὐτῷ, ἐν παντὶ λόγῳ καὶ πάσῃ γνώσει,||Because in every[thing, or way] you were enriched in him, in all speech and all knowledge,|
|6 καθὼς τὸ μαρτύριον τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐβεβαιώθη[E] ἐν ὑμῖν,||Just as the testimony of Christ was confirmed among you,|
|7 ὥστε ὑμᾶς μὴ ὑστερεῖσθαι ἐν μηδενὶ χαρίσματι, ἀπεκδεχομένους τὴν ἀποκάλυψιν τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ·[F]||So that you are not lacking in any gift, [as you] await the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,|
|8 ὃς καὶ βεβαιώσει[G] ὑμᾶς ἕως τέλους ἀνεγκλήτους ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.||Who will also establish you until the end [as] blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.|
|9 πιστὸς ὁ θεὸς διʼ οὗ ἐκλήθητε εἰς κοινωνίαν τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ[H] Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν.||God is faithful, through whom you were called into [the] fellowship of his son Jesus Christ our Lord.|
[A] The word can either mean “called” in the sense that other people call Paul an apostle, or it can mean “called to be” an apostle (i.e. by God). Most interpreters understand the word with the second meaning, both here and in the next verse, in the phrase κλητοῖς ἁγίοις (“called by God to be saints” by God, rather than those who are called “saints” by others.)
[B] A perfect passive participle meaning “sanctified.” The perfect tense connotes a present state which is a result of a prior and completed action. It’s interesting in this context that sanctification is not an ongoing reality, but a completed one! The New Testament uses the verb in both senses.
[C] A substantive participle—“to the ones who call upon.” Note the correlation, in that both Paul and the Corinthians are “called” by God, and they in turn “call upon” God. Interesting motif of “call and response” here.
[D] Could have the connotation of means (“enriched by him”), or the connotation of location, with the emphasis on union with Christ (“enriched in him.”) The same goes for the use of ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ in the previous verse.
[E] Might be “established” as well as “confirmed.”
[F] Many commentators note the way in which vv. 5-7 summarize many of the themes addressed in 1 Cor as a whole.
[G] The same verb as in v. 6, though now in the future tense. The confirming, establishing work of God in the community is both a past event and a future event.
[H] Can mean either “into the fellowship we have with his son” or “into the fellowship we have (with others) that comes from his son.”