June 8 2014 Epistle lection; 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13; Comments on the Greek text

1Co 12:3b καὶ οὐδεὶς δύναται εἰπεῖν· Κύριος Ἰησοῦς[A] εἰ μὴ ἐν[B] πνεύματι ἁγίῳ. And no one is able to say “Lord Jesus” except in [the] Holy Spirit.
1Co 12:4 Διαιρέσεις δὲ χαρισμάτων εἰσίν, τὸ δὲ αὐτὸ[C] πνεῦμα· There are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.
1Co 12:5 καὶ διαιρέσεις διακονιῶν[D] εἰσιν, καὶ ὁ αὐτὸς κύριος· And varieties of ministries, and the same Lord.
1Co 12:6 καὶ διαιρέσεις ἐνεργημάτων εἰσίν, ὁ δὲ αὐτὸς θεός, ὁ ἐνεργῶν[E] τὰ πάντα ἐν πᾶσιν. And there are varieties of activities, but the same God who activates all things in all [people].
1Co 12:7 ἑκάστῳ δὲ δίδοται[F] ἡ φανέρωσις τοῦ πνεύματος[G] πρὸς τὸ συμφέρον. To each one is being given the disclosure of the Spirit, for [what is] profitable.
1Co 12:8 ᾧ μὲν γὰρ διὰ τοῦ πνεύματος δίδοται λόγος[H] σοφίας, ἄλλῳ δὲ λόγος γνώσεως κατὰ[I] τὸ αὐτὸ πνεῦμα, For to one, through the Spirit, is being given a statement of wisdom; to another a statement of knowledge according to the same Spirit.
1Co 12:9 ἑτέρῳ πίστις ἐν[J] τῷ αὐτῷ πνεύματι, ἄλλῳ χαρίσματα ἰαμάτων ἐν τῷ ἑνὶ πνεύματι, To another faith by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit.
1Co 12:10 ἄλλῳ ἐνεργήματα δυνάμεων[K], ἄλλῳ προφητεία, ἄλλῳ διακρίσεις[L] πνευμάτων, ἑτέρῳ γένη γλωσσῶν[M], ἄλλῳ ἑρμηνεία γλωσσῶν· To another workings of miracles; to another prophecy; to another distinguishing of spirits; to another types of tongues; to another interpretation of tongues.
1Co 12:11 πάντα δὲ ταῦτα ἐνεργεῖ τὸ ἓν καὶ τὸ αὐτὸ πνεῦμα, διαιροῦν ἰδίᾳ ἑκάστῳ καθὼς βούλεται. But all these, the one and the same Spirit activates, distributing to each one just as [the Spirit] wills.
1Co 12:12 Καθάπερ γὰρ τὸ σῶμα ἕν ἐστιν καὶ μέλη πολλὰ ἔχει, πάντα δὲ τὰ μέλη τοῦ σώματος πολλὰ ὄντα ἕν ἐστιν σῶμα, οὕτως καὶ ὁ Χριστός[N]· For just as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of the body, being many, are one body, so also [is] the Christ.
1Co 12:13 καὶ γὰρ ἐν ἑνὶ πνεύματι ἡμεῖς πάντες εἰς ἓν σῶμα ἐβαπτίσθημεν, εἴτε Ἰουδαῖοι εἴτε Ἕλληνες, εἴτε δοῦλοι εἴτε ἐλεύθεροι,[O] καὶ πάντες ἓν πνεῦμα ἐποτίσθημεν[P]. For also in one Spirit we all were baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slave or free, and all were given to drink [of] one Spirit.

[A] Or “Jesus is Lord,” though the accent clearly is falling on “Lord,” regardless of which word order is chosen.

[B] Hard to know whether to render the preposition “in” or “by.”  Either is grammatically possible.

[C] Forms of αὐτὸς, when found in the attributive position, mean “same.”

[D] Hard to know how to translate this without sounding too ecclesiastical.  Literally “table service.”

[E] Literally “works” or “effects.”  I have translated “activates” to underscore the common term with the noun form ἐνεργημάτων earlier in the verse.

[F] I translated “is being given” to underscore the ongoing force of the present tense.

[G] The genitive could be objective (the disclosure which reveals the Spirit) or a genitive of source (the disclosure which comes from the Spirit).

[H] I have translated “statement” because the meaning of λόγος is not restricted to a single word alone.

[I] Note the variety of prepositions, seemingly used almost interchangeably by Paul in this text.

[J] Could also be rendered “faith in the same Spirit” but that sort of “objective meaning” of the preposition seems less likely here.

[K] I’ve translated “miracles” since this is a common rendering, though it could also be “powers.”

[L] or even “judging of spirits”!

[M] Or “languages” here and in the next usage.

[N] Or “the Messiah”

[O] Cf. Gal 3:28.

[P] Interesting how the water of baptism impacts not only the exterior of the body, but the interior!

Epistle Lection, Feb. 23, 2014; Comments on the Greek Text; 1 Cor 3:10-11, 16-23

Epistle Lection, Feb. 23, 2014; Comments on the Greek Text

1 Cor 3:10-11, 16-23

1Co 3:10 Κατὰ τὴν χάριν τοῦ θεοῦ τὴν δοθεῖσάν μοι ὡς σοφὸς ἀρχιτέκτων[A] θεμέλιον ἔθηκα, ἄλλος δὲ ἐποικοδομεῖ. ἕκαστος δὲ βλεπέτω πῶς ἐποικοδομεῖ· According to the grace of God given to me, like a wise master builder I set a foundation, but another is building on [it].  Let each one watch how he [or she] builds on [it].
1Co 3:11 θεμέλιον γὰρ ἄλλον οὐδεὶς δύναται θεῖναι παρὰ[B] τὸν κείμενον[C], ὅς ἐστιν Ἰησοῦς Χριστός· For no one is able to set another foundation, other than the one [already] laid, who is Jesus Christ.
1Co 3:16 Οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι ναὸς[D] θεοῦ ἐστε καὶ τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ θεοῦ οἰκεῖ ἐν[E] ὑμῖν; Don’t you know that y’all are God’s temple and the Spirit of God dwells among you?
1Co 3:17 εἴ τις τὸν ναὸν τοῦ θεοῦ φθείρει[F], φθερεῖ τοῦτον ὁ θεός· ὁ γὰρ ναὸς τοῦ θεοῦ ἅγιός ἐστιν, οἵτινές ἐστε ὑμεῖς[G]. If someone destroys the temple of God, God will destroy that [one].  For the temple of God is holy, [and that is] who you are.
1Co 3:18 Μηδεὶς ἑαυτὸν ἐξαπατάτω[H]· εἴ τις δοκεῖ[I] σοφὸς εἶναι ἐν ὑμῖν ἐν τῷ αἰῶνι τούτῳ, μωρὸς γενέσθω, ἵνα γένηται σοφός, Let no one deceive himself.  If someone seems to be wise among you in this age, let him [or her] become a fool, so that he [or she] may become wise.
1Co 3:19 ἡ γὰρ σοφία τοῦ κόσμου τούτου μωρία παρὰ[J] τῷ θεῷ ἐστιν· γέγραπται γάρ· Ὁ δρασσόμενος τοὺς σοφοὺς ἐν τῇ πανουργίᾳ[K] αὐτῶν· For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the sight of God.  For it is written, “The one who catches the wise ones in their cunning.”
1Co 3:20 καὶ πάλιν· Κύριος γινώσκει τοὺς διαλογισμοὺς[L] τῶν σοφῶν ὅτι εἰσὶν μάταιοι.[M] And again, “[The] Lord knows the disputations of the wise—that they are empty.
1Co 3:21 ὥστε μηδεὶς καυχάσθω[N] ἐν[O] ἀνθρώποις· πάντα γὰρ ὑμῶν ἐστιν,[P] So then, let no one boast in human beings, for all things are yours,
1Co 3:22 εἴτε[Q] Παῦλος εἴτε Ἀπολλῶς εἴτε Κηφᾶς εἴτε κόσμος εἴτε ζωὴ εἴτε θάνατος εἴτε ἐνεστῶτα εἴτε μέλλοντα, πάντα ὑμῶν, whether Paul, whether Apollos, whether Cephas, whether [the] world, whether life, whether death, whether [things] present, whether [things] coming—all things [are] yours,
1Co 3:23 ὑμεῖς δὲ Χριστοῦ, Χριστὸς δὲ θεοῦ. and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

[A] or “architect.”

[B] or “beside”

[C] or “the one that is presently lying [there]”

[D] The word refers not to the entire temple precinct, but to the shrine—the main building housing the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies.”  NT Wright in his magnum opus Paul and the Faithfulness of God points out that this is a massive shift in thinking about the Temple—particularly noteworthy in that it takes place before the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD.  In Paul’s thinking, the physical Temple has morphed into the Christian community.

[E] Or “in you.”  I translated “among” because that is the more natural reading, and most folks these days tend to overly individualize the text.

[F] or “corrupts,” though that doesn’t quite work with the second usage later in this verse.

[G] Note again the collective plurals here.

[H] The implication, of course, is that some of the Corinthians may in fact be deceiving theselves!

[I] Could be either “seems to be wise” or “thinks he is wise.”

[J] or “in the presence of God.”

[K] Not a nice word to link with “wise.”  Literally “in their readiness to do anything [to achieve their goals].”

[L] Or “thoughts” if one wants to interpret more individually.

[M] Cf. the cognate form in the Septuagint version of Ecclesiastes.

[N] Paul uses this word 26 times in the Corinthian correspondence alone!  It’s a big issue for these Christians.

[O] Or “let no one among human beings boast.”

[P] The drive for higher status shifts when you have everything already!

[Q] I translated all these literally, to bring out the somewhat ponderous nature of the verse.

Feb. 9, 2014 Epistle lection–1 Corinthians 2:1-12

1 Corinthians 2:1-12

Epistle lection for Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014

1Co 2:1 Κἀγὼ ἐλθὼν πρὸς ὑμᾶς, ἀδελφοί, ἦλθον οὐ καθ’ ὑπεροχὴν λόγου ἢ σοφίας καταγγέλλων ὑμῖν τὸ μαρτύριον[A] τοῦ θεοῦ. As for me, when I came to you, brothers [and sisters,] I did not come in accordance with excellence of speech or of wisdom when I was proclaiming to you the testimony [or in some texts, “mystery”] of God
1Co 2:2 οὐ γὰρ ἔκρινά τι εἰδέναι[B] ἐν ὑμῖν εἰ μὴ Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν καὶ τοῦτον ἐσταυρωμένον· For I made the judgement to recognize nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
1Co 2:3 κἀγὼ ἐν ἀσθενείᾳ καὶ ἐν φόβῳ καὶ ἐν τρόμῳ πολλῷ ἐγενόμην πρὸς ὑμᾶς[C], And I was in your presence in weakness, and in fear and in much trembling,
1Co 2:4 καὶ ὁ λόγος μου καὶ τὸ κήρυγμά[D] μου οὐκ ἐν πειθοῖ σοφίας[E] ἀλλ’ ἐν ἀποδείξει[F] πνεύματος καὶ δυνάμεως, and my speech and my preaching was not [done] in [words of] persuasion [from] wisdom, but in [a] demonstration of the Spirit and of power,
1Co 2:5 ἵνα ἡ πίστις ὑμῶν μὴ ᾖ ἐν σοφίᾳ ἀνθρώπων ἀλλ’ ἐν[G] δυνάμει θεοῦ. so that your faith might not be in [the] wisdom of humans, but in [the] power of God.
1Co 2:6 Σοφίαν δὲ λαλοῦμεν ἐν τοῖς τελείοις[H], σοφίαν δὲ οὐ τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου οὐδὲ τῶν ἀρχόντων[I] τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου τῶν καταργουμένων[J]· But we do speak a wisdom among the mature, a wisdom not of this age nor of the rulers of this age who are coming to an end;
1Co 2:7 ἀλλὰ λαλοῦμεν θεοῦ[K] σοφίαν ἐν μυστηρίῳ, τὴν ἀποκεκρυμμένην, ἣν προώρισεν[L] ὁ θεὸς πρὸ τῶν αἰώνων εἰς δόξαν ἡμῶν· Rather, we speak a wisdom of God in a hidden mystery, which God predestined before the ages for our glory,
1Co 2:8 ἣν οὐδεὶς τῶν ἀρχόντων τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου ἔγνωκεν, εἰ γὰρ ἔγνωσαν, οὐκ ἂν τὸν κύριον τῆς δόξης ἐσταύρωσαν[M]· which none of the rulers of this age recognized.  For if they had known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
1Co 2:9 ἀλλὰ καθὼς γέγραπται[N]· Ἃ ὀφθαλμὸς οὐκ εἶδεν καὶ οὖς οὐκ ἤκουσεν καὶ ἐπὶ καρδίαν ἀνθρώπου οὐκ ἀνέβη, ὅσα[O] ἡτοίμασεν ὁ θεὸς τοῖς ἀγαπῶσιν αὐτόν. But as it is written, “What [things] eye did not see and ear did not hear, and [what] did not arise upon [the] heart of a human being—what [or “all that”] God prepared for those who love him.”
1Co 2:10               ἡμῖν γὰρ ἀπεκάλυψεν ὁ θεὸς διὰ τοῦ πνεύματος, τὸ γὰρ πνεῦμα πάντα ἐραυνᾷ[P], καὶ τὰ βάθη[Q] τοῦ θεοῦ. For God revealed [this] to us through the Spirit, for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.
1Co 2:11               τίς γὰρ οἶδεν ἀνθρώπων τὰ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου εἰ μὴ τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ ἀνθρώπου τὸ ἐν αὐτῷ; οὕτως καὶ τὰ τοῦ θεοῦ οὐδεὶς ἔγνωκεν[R] εἰ μὴ τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ θεοῦ. For who of [all] people knows the things of someone except the spirit of the person [which resides] within him [or her]?  So also no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.
1Co 2:12               ἡμεῖς δὲ οὐ τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ κόσμου ἐλάβομεν ἀλλὰ τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ, ἵνα εἰδῶμεν[S] τὰ ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ χαρισθέντα[T] ἡμῖν· But we did not receive the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, so that we might know the things granted to us by God.

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.


[A] Other manuscripts have μυστήριον “mystery.”  This is probably the better reading.

[B] The word could mean either “to know” or “to recognize”

[C] Or “I came to you”

[D] or “my message”

[E] Some textual variants here are knotty from a lexical perspective, but a substantive difference in meaning is not really at stake.

[F] The word occurs only here in the NT, so meaning is a little uncertain.  It could refer to miraculous events which “demonstrate” or “prove” the power of the Spirit, or it could (more likely) refer to preaching which relies on the Spirit’s power to be convincing proof, rather than on eloquence.

[G] Could either be “in the power of God” in the sense of “your faith might come to existence by means of the power of God,” or else “your faith might have the power of God as its object.”  I think that the former is more likely.  Otherwise Paul is just substituting another jazzy display for eloquence.

[H] An interesting word to show up here, particularly when Paul is tilting so hard against claims of superiority.  Cf. the other Pauline uses of this word in Rom 12:2; 1 Cor 13:10; 14:20; Phil 3:15; Col 1:28; 4:12.

[I] It’s not entirely clear from this text whether human rulers, or transcendent rulers are in view, though the word can have both of these connotations in the NT outside of Pauline usage.

[J] Note that the plural makes it clear that it is the rulers who are coming to an end; it is not “the age” which is in view here.

[K] I translated “of God” to keep the parallel with the genitives in the previous verse, but one might also render this as a genitive of source:  “wisdom from God.”

[L] The only use of the verb “predestine” in Paul where the object is not people.

[M] Contrary to fact conditional sentence—that’s why the tenses are rendered the way they are.

[N] A big debate on what Paul is quoting here—it’s not clear.

[O] not much difference in meaning in the textual variant here.

[P] Interesting image of the “searching” Spirit.

[Q] Cf. Rom 11:33 for an interesting parallel use of this word.

[R] Note the perfect form, literally “has come to know.”

[S]very close connection between the Spirit and knowledge in this entire section.

[T] of “freely given”

Jan. 26 1 Corinthians 1:10-18

1 Cor 1:10-18

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.

1Co 1:10               Παρακαλῶ δὲ ὑμᾶς, ἀδελφοί, διὰ τοῦ ὀνόματος τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἵνα τὸ αὐτὸ λέγητε[A] πάντες, καὶ μὴ ᾖ ἐν ὑμῖν σχίσματα, ἦτε δὲ κατηρτισμένοι[B] ἐν τῷ αὐτῷ[C] νοῒ καὶ ἐν τῇ αὐτῇ γνώμῃ[D]. I urge you, brothers, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all say the same thing, and that there not be divisions among you, but that you may be formed in the same mind and in the same intention.
1Co 1:11               ἐδηλώθη γάρ μοι περὶ ὑμῶν, ἀδελφοί μου, ὑπὸ τῶν Χλόης ὅτι ἔριδες[E] ἐν ὑμῖν εἰσιν. For it was revealed to me concerning you, my brothers, by those of Chloe, that there are quarrels among you.
1Co 1:12               λέγω δὲ τοῦτο ὅτι ἕκαστος ὑμῶν λέγει· Ἐγὼ μέν εἰμι Παύλου[F], Ἐγὼ δὲ Ἀπολλῶ, Ἐγὼ δὲ Κηφᾶ, Ἐγὼ δὲ Χριστοῦ. I say this because each of you says, “I am of Paul,” and “I am of Apollos,” and “I am of Cepthas,” and “I am of Christ.”
1Co 1:13               μεμέρισται ὁ Χριστός; μὴ[G] Παῦλος ἐσταυρώθη ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν, ἢ εἰς τὸ ὄνομα [H]Παύλου ἐβαπτίσθητε; Has Christ become divided?  Paul was not crucified on your behalf, was he?  Or were you baptized into the name of Paul?
1Co 1:14               εὐχαριστῶ ὅτι οὐδένα ὑμῶν ἐβάπτισα εἰ μὴ Κρίσπον καὶ Γάϊον, I am thankful that I baptized none of you except Krispus and Gaius,
1Co 1:15               ἵνα μή[I] τις εἴπῃ ὅτι εἰς τὸ ἐμὸν ὄνομα ἐβαπτίσθητε· lest any [of you] should say that you were baptized into my name.
1Co 1:16               ἐβάπτισα δὲ καὶ τὸν Στεφανᾶ οἶκον· λοιπὸν[J] οὐκ οἶδα εἴ τινα ἄλλον ἐβάπτισα. I did also baptize the household of Stephen. Beyond that, I don’t know if I baptized anyone else.
1Co 1:17               οὐ γὰρ ἀπέστειλέν με Χριστὸς βαπτίζειν ἀλλὰ εὐαγγελίζεσθαι, οὐκ ἐν σοφίᾳ λόγου, ἵνα μὴ κενωθῇ[K] ὁ σταυρὸς τοῦ Χριστοῦ. For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to proclaim the good news—not in the wisdom of speech, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied.
1Co 1:18               Ὁ λόγος[L] γὰρ ὁ τοῦ σταυροῦ τοῖς μὲν ἀπολλυμένοις μωρία[M] ἐστίν, τοῖς δὲ σῳζομένοις ἡμῖν δύναμις[N] θεοῦ ἐστιν. For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.

[A] The NRSV translates this phrase as “that you all be in agreement,” but this loses some of the tangible quality of Paul’s rhetoric.  The issue is not only what people think, but how they speak, and whether that speech reveals conflict and disagreement.

[B] The passive voice suggests “that you allow yourself to be formed by Christ . . . .”

[C] Remember that αυτος in the attributive position (i.e., between the definite article and the noun it modifies) means “same.”

[D] The root meaning of this word is “opinion,” but it can also carry the connotation of intention or purpose, which seems more fitting here.

[E] There is a nuance of rivalry (in addition to mere conflict) here that should not be overlooked.

[F] The genitives here might convey possession (I belong to Paul, etc.), or origin (I come from Paul’s place/perspective).

[G] This form of the negative means that the expected answer is “no.”  That’s why I translated, “Paul was not . . . was he?”

[H] Cf. other places where the same formula “baptized into the name of” appears:  the Great Commission in Matt 28:19, Acts 2:38; 8:16; 19:5.

[I] This combo often translated “lest,” though the rendering is not exactly contemporary English—there isn’t a better equivalent that I know of.

[J] An accusative of respect:  “with respect to the rest . . .”

[K] Interesting uses of this verb elsewhere in Paul: Rom. 4:14, 1 Co. 9:15, 2 Co. 9:3, Phil. 2:7

[L] Could be “word,” “message” or “meaning.”

[M] The word is found only in 1 Cor, in the entire New Testament!  A key issue for Paul here.

[N] Given the use of μωρια earlier in the verse, we might expect “wisdom” here, but we get “power” instead.  I suspect that this is part of Paul’s attempt to reframe the conflict in Corinth.