Easter Gospel lection from John 20; Comments on the Greek text

Jn 20:1 Τῇ δὲ μιᾷ τῶν σαββάτων[A] Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνὴ ἔρχεται[B] πρωῒ σκοτίας ἔτι οὔσης εἰς τὸ μνημεῖον, καὶ βλέπει τὸν λίθον ἠρμένον ἐκ τοῦ μνημείου. On the first [day] of the week, Mary Magdalene comes early, while it is still dark, to the tomb, and she sees the stone removed from the tomb.
Jn 20:2 τρέχει οὖν καὶ ἔρχεται πρὸς Σίμωνα Πέτρον καὶ πρὸς τὸν ἄλλον μαθητὴν ὃν ἐφίλει[C] ὁ Ἰησοῦς, καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς· Ἦραν τὸν κύριον ἐκ τοῦ μνημείου, καὶ οὐκ οἴδαμεν[D] ποῦ ἔθηκαν αὐτόν. So she runs and comes to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and she says to them, “They took the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they placed him.”
Jn 20:3 ἐξῆλθεν οὖν ὁ Πέτρος καὶ ὁ ἄλλος μαθητής, καὶ ἤρχοντο[E] εἰς τὸ μνημεῖον. Then Peter and the other disciple went out, and they were going to the tomb.
Jn 20:4 ἔτρεχον δὲ οἱ δύο ὁμοῦ· καὶ ὁ ἄλλος μαθητὴς προέδραμεν τάχιον τοῦ Πέτρου καὶ ἦλθεν πρῶτος εἰς[F] τὸ μνημεῖον, And the two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead more quickly than Peter, and he came first to the tomb.
Jn 20:5 καὶ παρακύψας βλέπει κείμενα τὰ ὀθόνια, οὐ μέντοι εἰσῆλθεν. And after stooping down, he sees the cloth wrappings lying, though he did not go in.
Jn 20:6 ἔρχεται οὖν καὶ Σίμων Πέτρος ἀκολουθῶν αὐτῷ, καὶ εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸ μνημεῖον· καὶ θεωρεῖ τὰ ὀθόνια κείμενα, Then Simon Peter also comes following him, and he entered into the tomb; and he sees the cloth wrappings lying,
Jn 20:7 καὶ τὸ σουδάριον, ὃ ἦν ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς αὐτοῦ, οὐ μετὰ τῶν ὀθονίων κείμενον ἀλλὰ χωρὶς ἐντετυλιγμένον εἰς ἕνα τόπον· And the facecloth, which was on his head, not lying with the wrappings, but apart, folded in one place.
Jn 20:8 τότε οὖν εἰσῆλθεν καὶ ὁ ἄλλος μαθητὴς ὁ ἐλθὼν πρῶτος εἰς τὸ μνημεῖον, καὶ εἶδεν καὶ ἐπίστευσεν[G]· So then also the other disciple, who came first to the tomb, entered into the tomb, and he saw and believed.
Jn 20:9 οὐδέπω γὰρ ᾔδεισαν τὴν γραφὴν ὅτι δεῖ αὐτὸν ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀναστῆναι. For they did not yet know the Scripture, that it [was] necessary from him to rise from the dead.
Jn 20:10 ἀπῆλθον οὖν πάλιν πρὸς αὑτοὺς[H] οἱ μαθηταί. Then the disciples went out again to them.
Jn 20:11 Μαρία δὲ εἱστήκει[I] πρὸς[J] τῷ μνημείῳ ἔξω κλαίουσα. ὡς οὖν ἔκλαιεν παρέκυψεν εἰς τὸ μνημεῖον, But Mary was standing at the tomb outside weeping.  Then, as she was crying, she stooped down into the tomb.
Jn 20:12 καὶ θεωρεῖ δύο ἀγγέλους ἐν λευκοῖς καθεζομένους, ἕνα πρὸς τῇ κεφαλῇ καὶ ἕνα πρὸς τοῖς ποσίν, ὅπου ἔκειτο[K] τὸ σῶμα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ. And she sees two angels in white, sitting one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus was lying.
Jn 20:13 καὶ λέγουσιν αὐτῇ ἐκεῖνοι· Γύναι, τί κλαίεις; λέγει αὐτοῖς ὅτι Ἦραν τὸν κύριόν μου, καὶ οὐκ οἶδα ποῦ ἔθηκαν αὐτόν. And they say to her, “Woman, why are you crying?”  She says to them, “They took my Lord, and I don’t know where they placed him.”
Jn 20:14 ταῦτα εἰποῦσα ἐστράφη εἰς τὰ ὀπίσω, καὶ θεωρεῖ τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἑστῶτα, καὶ οὐκ ᾔδει ὅτι Ἰησοῦς ἐστιν. Having said these things, she turned around, and she sees Jesus standing, and she did not know that it [was] Jesus.
Jn 20:15 λέγει αὐτῇ Ἰησοῦς· Γύναι, τί κλαίεις; τίνα ζητεῖς; ἐκείνη δοκοῦσα ὅτι ὁ κηπουρός ἐστιν λέγει αὐτῷ· Κύριε[L], εἰ σὺ ἐβάστασας αὐτόν, εἰπέ μοι ποῦ ἔθηκας αὐτόν, κἀγὼ αὐτὸν ἀρῶ. Jesus says to her, “Woman, why are you crying?  Whom are you seeking?”  That one [i.e. Mary], thinking that he is the gardener, says to him, “Sir, if you carried him [off], tell me where you placed him, and I will take him away.”
Jn 20:16 λέγει αὐτῇ Ἰησοῦς· Μαριάμ. στραφεῖσα[M] ἐκείνη λέγει αὐτῷ Ἑβραϊστί· Ραββουνι (ὃ λέγεται Διδάσκαλε). Jesus says to her, “Mary.”  Turning, that one says to him in Aramaic “Rabbouni” (which means “teacher”).
Jn 20:17 λέγει αὐτῇ Ἰησοῦς· Μή μου ἅπτου[N], οὔπω γὰρ ἀναβέβηκα πρὸς τὸν πατέρα· πορεύου δὲ πρὸς τοὺς ἀδελφούς[O] μου καὶ εἰπὲ αὐτοῖς· Ἀναβαίνω πρὸς τὸν πατέρα μου καὶ πατέρα ὑμῶν καὶ θεόν μου καὶ θεὸν ὑμῶν. Jesus says to her, “Stop holding me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.  But go to my brothers and tell them ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, both my God and your God.’”
Jn 20:18 ἔρχεται Μαριὰμ ἡ Μαγδαληνὴ ἀγγέλλουσα τοῖς μαθηταῖς ὅτι[P] Ἑώρακα τὸν κύριον καὶ ταῦτα εἶπεν αὐτῇ. Mary Magdalene comes announcing to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and that he said these things to her.

 

 

[A] Literally “on the first of the Sabbath”

[B] The present tense is used commonly throughout this passage to create a sense of vividness.  I have translated tenses literally.

[C] Imperfect tense, indicating continuous action in the past.  Jesus was in the present and enduring state of loving him.

[D] An interesting point of contact with the synoptic accounts, which have more than one woman, in contrast to John’s focus on Mary.

[E] Imperfect tense here connotes the beginning of an ongoing process.

[F] I translated “to the tomb” because that’s what the context seems to require (especially the end of v. 5), but the text says literally “into the tomb.”  (Cf. the same phrase in the prior verse, where “to the tomb” is the only possible meaning.)

[G] Note the significance and recurrence of this phrase in John—the juxtaposition of (and sometimes the distinction between) seeing and believing.

[H] I translated literally, but this is a classic difficult phrase to know how to translate, even though most translations render “to their homes.”  “To them” may simply refer to a return to the other disciples.

[I] Pluperfect in tense, but the perfect and pluperfect forms of this verb are simply the intransitive forms, so this is just a simple past tense.

[J] Literally “[facing] towards the tomb.”

[K] One might have expected a pluperfect here (i.e. “where the body of Jesus had been lying.”), since the story obviously intends to say that the body is missing, but the imperfect is what we have here.

[L] Depending on context, this can be translated either “sir” as a polite form of address, or “Lord.”

[M] She wasn’t facing him directly before?

[N] Literally “stop touching me,” though most commentators think that the emphasis is more on Mary’s trying to hold on to Jesus than on her simply touching him.

[O] Note the familial language all the way through this verse.

[P] Tough to translate, since the first clause to follow is clearly quoted speech, but the second is clearly indirect discourse.

Epistle Lection, March 16 2014 Romans 4:1-4, 13-17; Comments on the Greek Text

Epistle Lection, March 16 2014

Romans 4:1-4, 13-17; Comments on the Greek Text

Ro 4:1 Τί οὖν ἐροῦμεν εὑρηκέναι Ἀβραὰμ τὸν προπάτορα ἡμῶν κατὰ σάρκα[A]; What then shall we say Abraham found—our forefather according to the flesh?
Ro 4:2 εἰ γὰρ Ἀβραὰμ ἐξ ἔργων ἐδικαιώθη, ἔχει καύχημα· ἀλλ’ οὐ πρὸς θεόν, For if Abraham was justified from works, he has a boast, but not before/toward God.
Ro 4:3 τί γὰρ ἡ γραφὴ λέγει; Ἐπίστευσεν δὲ Ἀβραὰμ τῷ θεῷ καὶ ἐλογίσθη[B] αὐτῷ εἰς[C] δικαιοσύνην. For what does the Scripture say?  “Abraham believed God, and it was counted for him as righteousness.”
Ro 4:4 τῷ δὲ ἐργαζομένῳ ὁ μισθὸς[D] οὐ λογίζεται κατὰ χάριν ἀλλὰ κατὰ ὀφείλημα· But for the one who works, the wage is not counted according to grace, but according to obligation.
Ro 4:5 τῷ δὲ μὴ ἐργαζομένῳ, πιστεύοντι δὲ ἐπὶ τὸν δικαιοῦντα τὸν ἀσεβῆ[E], λογίζεται ἡ πίστις αὐτοῦ εἰς δικαιοσύνην, But for the one who does not work, but who trusts on the one who justifies the ungodly, his [or her] faith is counted as righteousness.
Ro 4:13 Οὐ γὰρ διὰ νόμου ἡ ἐπαγγελία τῷ Ἀβραὰμ ἢ τῷ σπέρματι αὐτοῦ, τὸ[F] κληρονόμον αὐτὸν εἶναι κόσμου, ἀλλὰ διὰ δικαιοσύνης πίστεως[G]· For [it was] not through law [that] the promise [came] to Abraham or to his seed, [that] he [would] be [the] heir of the world, but through [the] righteousness of faith.
Ro 4:14 εἰ γὰρ οἱ ἐκ νόμου κληρονόμοι, κεκένωται ἡ πίστις καὶ κατήργηται[H] ἡ ἐπαγγελία· For if the heirs [are] from [the] law, faith has been emptied and the promise has been wiped out.
Ro 4:15 ὁ γὰρ νόμος ὀργὴν κατεργάζεται[I], οὗ δὲ οὐκ ἔστιν νόμος, οὐδὲ παράβασις. For the law accomplishes wrath, but where there is no law, neither [is there] transgression.
Ro 4:16 Διὰ τοῦτο ἐκ πίστεως,[J] ἵνα κατὰ χάριν, εἰς τὸ εἶναι βεβαίαν τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν παντὶ τῷ σπέρματι, οὐ τῷ ἐκ τοῦ νόμου μόνον ἀλλὰ καὶ τῷ ἐκ πίστεως Ἀβραάμ (ὅς ἐστιν πατὴρ πάντων ἡμῶν, For this reason [righteousness/promise comes] from faith, so that it [might be] according to grace, so that the promise might be secure to all the seed, not to the [one] who [lives] from the law only, but also to the one [who lives] from the faith of Abraham, (who is father of all of us,
Ro 4:17 καθὼς γέγραπται ὅτι Πατέρα πολλῶν ἐθνῶν[K] τέθεικά σε), κατέναντι οὗ ἐπίστευσεν θεοῦ τοῦ ζῳοποιοῦντος τοὺς νεκροὺς καὶ καλοῦντος τὰ μὴ ὄντα ὡς ὄντα[L]· as it is written, “I have appointed you [as] father of many nations/Gentiles,) in the presence of the God whom he trusted—the God who makes the dead come to life and calls the things that do not exist as if they do exist.

[A] The phrase could be adjectival (not just any forefather, but our forefather according to the flesh), or adverbial (What did Abraham our forefather find according to the flesh?)  Word order favors the former, but the latter is possible, and avoids the seeming oddity of Paul suddenly seeming to address only Jews.

[B] The more traditional translation is “reckoned.”  The word comes from the world of accounting.  That’s why I used “counted.”

[C] Or perhaps more literally “counted for him into righteousness.”

[D] The word can have the connotation of reward (beyond what is earned) or simply what is earned.  It may be better to translate simply “payment.”

[E] A surprising word here.  Paul has spoken earlier in chap. 3 of the justification of those who were not themselves righteous in their behavior, but implicitly identifying Abraham as one of the “ungodly” is a bit shocking here.  Cf. Rom 5:6.

[F] The article goes with the infinitive (thus neuter), not with the masculine κληρονόμον.

[G] Either a genitive of origin (the righteousness that comes from faith) or an appositional genitive (the righteousness that is faith.)

[H] Both verbs are perfect tense, indicating a continuing state which is the result of a prior action.

[I] See Rom 3:9ff.

[J] The subject is unstated.  “Promise” is suggested by its use later in the verse, but “righteousness” seems more like to come from faith.  The promise doesn’t originate in our faith, but in God’s free gift.  Nor is the giving of the promise dependent on faith, but only its reception.

[K] Note in Greek that this word could be translated either “nations” or “gentiles.”

[L] Literally, “calls the things not being as being.”  The “if” in my translation is interpretative.

Gospel Lection for March 9 2014; Matthew 4:1-11, comments on the Greek text

Gospel Lection for March 9 2014

Matthew 4:1-11, comments on the Greek text

Mt 4:1   Τότε ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἀνήχθη εἰς τὴν ἔρημον ὑπὸ τοῦ πνεύματος, πειρασθῆναι[A] ὑπὸ τοῦ διαβόλου. Then Jesus was led into the wilderness by the Spirit, to be tempted by the devil.
Mt 4:2   καὶ νηστεύσας ἡμέρας[B] τεσσεράκοντα καὶ νύκτας τεσσεράκοντα ὕστερον[C] ἐπείνασεν. And after having fasted forty days and nights, later he was hungry.
Mt 4:3   καὶ προσελθὼν ὁ πειράζων εἶπεν αὐτῷ· Εἰ[D] υἱὸς εἶ τοῦ θεοῦ, εἰπὲ ἵνα οἱ λίθοι οὗτοι ἄρτοι γένωνται. And coming forward, the tempter said to him, “If you are the Son of God, speak, so that these stones may become bread.”
Mt 4:4   ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν· Γέγραπται· Οὐκ ἐπ’ ἄρτῳ μόνῳ ζήσεται ὁ ἄνθρωπος, ἀλλ’ ἐπὶ παντὶ ῥήματι ἐκπορευομένῳ διὰ[E] στόματος θεοῦ. But he said in response, “It is written, the human shall not live on bread alone, but on every work proceeding through [the] mouth of God.”
Mt 4:5   Τότε παραλαμβάνει[F] αὐτὸν ὁ διάβολος εἰς τὴν ἁγίαν πόλιν, καὶ ἔστησεν αὐτὸν ἐπὶ τὸ πτερύγιον τοῦ ἱεροῦ, Then the devil takes him into the holy city, and stood him on the pinnacle of the temple.
Mt 4:6   καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ· Εἰ υἱὸς εἶ τοῦ θεοῦ, βάλε σεαυτὸν κάτω· γέγραπται γὰρ ὅτι[G] Τοῖς ἀγγέλοις αὐτοῦ ἐντελεῖται περὶ σοῦ καὶ ἐπὶ χειρῶν ἀροῦσίν σε, μήποτε προσκόψῃς πρὸς λίθον τὸν πόδα σου. And he says to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and on [their] hands they will carry you, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”
Mt 4:7   ἔφη αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς· Πάλιν γέγραπται· Οὐκ ἐκπειράσεις κύριον τὸν θεόν σου. Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not test [the] Lord your God.’”
Mt 4:8   Πάλιν παραλαμβάνει αὐτὸν ὁ διάβολος εἰς ὄρος ὑψηλὸν λίαν, καὶ δείκνυσιν αὐτῷ πάσας τὰς βασιλείας τοῦ κόσμου καὶ τὴν δόξαν αὐτῶν Again the devil takes him to an exceedingly high mountain, and shows him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.
Mt 4:9   καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· Ταῦτά σοι πάντα δώσω, ἐὰν πεσὼν προσκυνήσῃς[H] μοι. And he said to him, “All these things I will give to you, if falling [down] you worship me.”
Mt 4:10 τότε λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς· Ὕπαγε, Σατανᾶ· γέγραπται γάρ· Κύριον τὸν θεόν σου προσκυνήσεις καὶ αὐτῷ μόνῳ λατρεύσεις[I]. Then Jesus says to him, “Go [away], Satan.  for it is written, ‘You shall worship [the] Lord your God, and him alone shall you serve.’”
Mt 4:11 τότε ἀφίησιν αὐτὸν ὁ διάβολος, καὶ ἰδοὺ ἄγγελοι προσῆλθον καὶ διηκόνουν[J] αὐτῷ. Then the devil leaves him, and look, angels came and began to serve him.

[A] The verb can have a neutral connotation (“tested”) or a negative one (“tempted.”)  It’s a bit ambiguous which is intended here.  The infinitive does not express purposes quite as strongly as a ινα clause would here.

[B] Accusative case with expressions of time indicates duration, answering “how long?”

[C] The aorist case of νηστεύσας already indicates that the fasting took place before the action of the main verb, but this word emphasizes this temporal sequencing.  Cf. the accounts in both Mark and Luke, where the temptation occurs throughout the 40 days of fasting.

[D] The most natural reading of this word is that it assumes the truth of what is being postulated.  “Since” would also be a possible rendering.  The text is not conveying that the Devil is trying to get Jesus to prove to a skeptic that he is the Son of God.

[E] “Through” is a much more commonly attested meaning here than “from,” which the translations tend to prefer (relying more heavily on the previous ἐκπορευομένῳ).  The text here follows the Septuagint of Deut. 8:3.

[F] As happens frequently in Greek narrative, the tense switches to the present for the sake of vividness.  I have translated literally here and throughout this passage.

[G] Here ὅτι is introducing a direct, rather than in indirect quotation (i.e., using “that”).  In Greek, both are possible.

[H] The verb carries the connotation of prostrating oneself before another.

[I] Serve in a cultic or worshipful sense.

[J] An inchoative imperfect, indicating the beginning of continuing action.  The word is commonly used of waiting tables, and carries the connotation of bringing him food.

Feb. 23, 2014 Gospel Lection; Matthew 5:38-48; Comments on the Greek text

Feb. 23, 2014 Gospel Lection

Matthew 5:38-48

Mt 5:38 Ἠκούσατε ὅτι ἐρρέθη· Ὀφθαλμὸν ἀντὶ[A] ὀφθαλμοῦ καὶ ὀδόντα ἀντὶ ὀδόντος. You heard that it was said, “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”
Mt 5:39 ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν μὴ ἀντιστῆναι τῷ πονηρῷ[B]· ἀλλ’ ὅστις σε[C] ῥαπίζει εἰς[D] τὴν δεξιὰν σιαγόνα, στρέψον αὐτῷ καὶ τὴν ἄλλην· But I tell you not to oppose the evil one, but whoever strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him also the other [one].
Mt 5:40 καὶ τῷ θέλοντί σοι κριθῆναι καὶ τὸν χιτῶνά[E] σου λαβεῖν, ἄφες[F] αὐτῷ καὶ τὸ ἱμάτιον[G]· And to the one who wants to go to court with you and to take your tunic, allow him also the cloak.
Mt 5:41 καὶ ὅστις σε ἀγγαρεύσει[H] μίλιον ἕν, ὕπαγε μετ’ αὐτοῦ δύο. And whoever compels you [to go] one mile, go with him two.
Mt 5:42 τῷ αἰτοῦντί[I] σε δός, καὶ τὸν θέλοντα ἀπὸ σοῦ δανίσασθαι μὴ ἀποστραφῇς.[J] Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away the one seeking to borrow from you.
Mt 5:43 Ἠκούσατε ὅτι ἐρρέθη· Ἀγαπήσεις τὸν πλησίον σου καὶ μισήσεις τὸν ἐχθρόν σου. You heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and you shall hate your enemy.”
Mt 5:44 ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀγαπᾶτε[K] τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν καὶ προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν διωκόντων ὑμᾶς· But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
Mt 5:45 ὅπως γένησθε[L] υἱοὶ τοῦ πατρὸς ὑμῶν τοῦ ἐν οὐρανοῖς, ὅτι τὸν ἥλιον αὐτοῦ ἀνατέλλει ἐπὶ [M]πονηροὺς καὶ ἀγαθοὺς καὶ βρέχει ἐπὶ δικαίους[N] καὶ ἀδίκους. So that you may become sons [and daughters] of your father who is in [the] heavens.  Because he causes the sun to rise on [the] wicked and [the] good, and he sends rain on [the] righteous and unrighteous.
Mt 5:46 ἐὰν γὰρ ἀγαπήσητε[O] τοὺς ἀγαπῶντας ὑμᾶς, τίνα μισθὸν ἔχετε; οὐχὶ καὶ οἱ τελῶναι τὸ αὐτὸ ποιοῦσιν; For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?  Do not even the tax collectors do the same thing?
Mt 5:47 καὶ ἐὰν ἀσπάσησθε τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς ὑμῶν μόνον, τί περισσὸν[P] ποιεῖτε; οὐχὶ[Q] καὶ οἱ ἐθνικοὶ τὸ αὐτὸ ποιοῦσιν; And if you greet only your brothers [and sisters], what are you doing [that is] remarkable?  Do not even the gentiles do the same thing?
Mt 5:48 Ἔσεσθε οὖν ὑμεῖς τέλειοι[R] ὡς ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος τέλειός ἐστιν. Therefore, you shall be complete, as your heavenly Father is complete.

[A] Literally “in place of.”

[B] Ambiguous in the Greek alone as to whether this is The Evil One, or just someone who is evil.

[C] Note the prominence of the singular “you” throughout this text, which focuses here on the individual response.

[D] Literally “strikes you into the right cheek.”

[E] The bottom layer worn against the skin

[F] The focus here is not so much on active giving as on non-resistance.

[G] An outer garment.

[H] Cf. Matt 27:32, where the same verb occurs.

[I] Should we emphasize the present tense (“give to the one who continually asks you”)?

[J] One form for prohibitions in Greek is μὴ + the aorist subjunctive, as we see here

[K] Note both imperatives in this verse are present tense, indicating continuous, repeated, or habitual action that is commanded.  Note also that from this point onward, we have commands using you-plural, rather than the singular, as in the earlier verses.

[L] “Be” or “become” here?  Is love for enemies the means by which we become children of God, or the means by which our identity as children of God is made evident?  The Greek could be translated either way, though the verb is stronger than the regular form of the verb “to be” (εἰμί).

[M] The absence of definite articles gives a generalizing force here.

[N] Or “just and unjust.”

[O] Love in the sense of devotion and loyalty.

[P] Literally, “What more are you doing (than anyone else)?”

[Q] And the expected answer, of course, is “yes.”

[R] Not easy to translate, but “perfect” doesn’t quite do it.  The focus is not on the absence of defect, but rather on the full actualization  of all that is required.

Matthew 5:21-37 Gospel Lection Feb. 16, 2014

Feb 16, 2014-01-29

Matthew 5:21-37

Comments on the Greek Text

Mt 5:21 Ἠκούσατε ὅτι ἐρρέθη τοῖς ἀρχαίοις· Οὐ φονεύσεις[A]· ὃς δ’ ἂν φονεύσῃ, ἔνοχος ἔσται τῇ κρίσει[B]. You heard that it was said to the ancient ones, “You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.”
Mt 5:22 ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι πᾶς ὁ ὀργιζόμενος τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ ἔνοχος ἔσται τῇ κρίσει· ὃς δ’ ἂν εἴπῃ τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ· Ῥακά[C], ἔνοχος ἔσται τῷ συνεδρίῳ[D]· ὃς δ’ ἂν εἴπῃ· Μωρέ[E], ἔνοχος ἔσται εἰς τὴν γέενναν[F] τοῦ πυρός. But I tell you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment.  Whoever ways to his brother, “Idiot,” will be liable to the Sanhedrin.  And whoever says, “Moron” will be liable to the Hell of fire.
Mt 5:23 ἐὰν οὖν προσφέρῃς τὸ δῶρόν σου ἐπὶ τὸ θυσιαστήριον κἀκεῖ μνησθῇς ὅτι ὁ ἀδελφός σου ἔχει τι κατὰ σοῦ[G], So if you are offering your gift on the altar and there you remember that your brother has something against you,
Mt 5:24 ἄφες ἐκεῖ τὸ δῶρόν σου ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου καὶ ὕπαγε πρῶτον διαλλάγηθι τῷ ἀδελφῷ σου, καὶ τότε ἐλθὼν πρόσφερε τὸ δῶρόν σου. leave your gift there before the altar, and go, first be reconciled with your brother, and then coming [back], offer your gift.
Mt 5:25 ἴσθι εὐνοῶν[H] τῷ ἀντιδίκῳ[I] σου ταχὺ ἕως ὅτου εἶ μετ’ αὐτοῦ ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ, μήποτέ σε παραδῷ ὁ ἀντίδικος τῷ κριτῇ, καὶ ὁ κριτὴς τῷ ὑπηρέτῃ, καὶ εἰς φυλακὴν βληθήσῃ·[J] Make friends with your adversary quickly during the time you are with him in the road, lest the adversary hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the assistant, and you are thrown into jail.
Mt 5:26 ἀμὴν λέγω σοι, οὐ μὴ ἐξέλθῃς ἐκεῖθεν ἕως ἂν ἀποδῷς τὸν ἔσχατον κοδράντην.[K] Truly I tell you, you will surely not go out from there until you pay back the last penny.
Mt 5:27 Ἠκούσατε ὅτι ἐρρέθη· Οὐ μοιχεύσεις. You heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery.”
Mt 5:28 ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι πᾶς ὁ βλέπων γυναῖκα πρὸς[L] τὸ ἐπιθυμῆσαι αὐτὴν ἤδη ἐμοίχευσεν αὐτὴν ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτοῦ.[M] But I tell you that everyone who looks at a woman for the purpose of desiring her [lustfully] already committed adultery [with] her in his heart.
Mt 5:29 εἰ δὲ ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου ὁ δεξιὸς σκανδαλίζει[N] σε, ἔξελε αὐτὸν καὶ βάλε ἀπὸ σοῦ, συμφέρει γάρ σοι ἵνα ἀπόληται ἓν τῶν μελῶν[O] σου καὶ μὴ ὅλον τὸ σμά σου βληθῇ εἰς γέενναν. And if your right eye causes you to sin, take it out and throw it [away] from you.  For it is better for you that one of your body parts is destroyed, and your whole body is not thrown into Hell.
Mt 5:30 καὶ εἰ ἡ δεξιά σου χεὶρ σκανδαλίζει σε, ἔκκοψον αὐτὴν καὶ βάλε ἀπὸ σοῦ, συμφέρει γάρ σοι ἵνα ἀπόληται ἓν τῶν μελῶν σου καὶ μὴ ὅλον τὸ σῶμά σου εἰς γέενναν ἀπέλθῃ. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw [it away] from you, for it is better for you that one of your body parts is destroyed, and your whole body does not depart into Hell.
Mt 5:31 Ἐρρέθη δέ· Ὃς ἂν ἀπολύσῃ τὴν γυναῖκα[P] αὐτοῦ, δότω αὐτῇ ἀποστάσιον. It was said, “Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.”
Mt 5:32 ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι πᾶς ὁ ἀπολύων τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ παρεκτὸς λόγου[Q] πορνείας[R] ποιεῖ αὐτὴν μοιχευθῆναι, καὶ ὃς ἐὰν ἀπολελυμένην γαμήσῃ μοιχᾶται. But I tell you that everyone who divorces his wife (apart from a case of sexual immorality) makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced [woman] commits adultery.
Mt 5:33 Πάλιν ἠκούσατε ὅτι ἐρρέθη τοῖς ἀρχαίοις· Οὐκ ἐπιορκήσεις[S], ἀποδώσεις[T] δὲ τῷ κυρίῳ τοὺς ὅρκους σου. Again, you heard that it was said to the ancient ones, “You shall not make a false vow, but you shall give back to the Lord your vows.”
Mt 5:34 ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν μὴ ὀμόσαι ὅλως· μήτε ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ, ὅτι θρόνος ἐστὶν τοῦ θεοῦ· But I tell you not to take an oath at all,  neither by heaven, since it is the throne of God,
Mt 5:35 μήτε ἐν τῇ γῇ, ὅτι ὑποπόδιόν ἐστιν τῶν ποδῶν αὐτοῦ· μήτε εἰς[U] Ἱεροσόλυμα, ὅτι πόλις ἐστὶν τοῦ μεγάλου βασιλέως· nor by earth, since it is the footstool of his feet, nor toward Jerusalem, since it is the city of the great king.
Mt 5:36 μήτε ἐν τῇ κεφαλῇ σου ὀμόσῃς, ὅτι οὐ δύνασαι μίαν τρίχα λευκὴν ποιῆσαι ἢ μέλαιναν. Neither shall you take an oath by [i.e. invoking] your head, since you can’t make one hair white or black.
Mt 5:37 ἔστω δὲ ὁ λόγος[V] ὑμῶν ναὶ ναί, οὒ οὔ· τὸ δὲ περισσὸν τούτων ἐκ τοῦ πονηροῦ[W] ἐστιν. Let your “yes” statement be “yes,” and your “no” be “no.”  What is beyond these [statements] is from the evil [one].

[A] This is the same word that is used in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible used in Jesus’ day, and it tends to have the more specific connotation of murder.  Greek has another word that is more generic for any sort of killing:  ἀποκτείνω.  But that’s not what we have here.

[B] The word can have either a neutral connotation (“judgment”) or a negative one (“condemnation”).

[C] The Aramaic word here literally connotes “empty” or “empty-headed.”

[D] The word can also connote a more generic council, rather than the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem, though in light of Jesus’ love of hyperbole, I wonder whether that more specific reference is in view.

[E] The Greek word for “fool.”

[F]Literally the valley of Hinnom, a ravine south of Jerusalem where God’s final judgment was supposed in some texts to take place.   In the gospels, this is commonly used of the place of punishment in the next life—Hell.

[G] Note that it’s the perpetrator, not the victim, who is in view here.  The other side comes into view in Matthew 18:15ff., when the one who is sinned against is called to initiate the reconciliation process.

[H] Literally “be of a good mind.”

[I] Adversaries are not usually among the folks we are most inclined to make friends with!

[J] Again here, the assumption is that the person addressed is the perpetrator, not the victim.

[K] An interesting prudential sort of argument:  reconciliation will make your life easier than it would be otherwise.

[L] προς with the infinitive commonly expresses purposes in Greek.

[M] Hence the inclination to a sinful act is as culpable as the sinful act itself.  This is one of the things that makes me quite hesitant about the way in which so many want to distinguish between same-sex orientation (OK) and same-sex behavior (not OK).  I don’t think Jesus lets us get away with that sort of distinction.

[N] Often in Matthew, this verb is used of people inappropriately taking offense at Jesus.  But cf. 18:6ff. for another strong rejection of anything which genuinely causes another to stumble.

[O] Literally “members” which in English doesn’t always still carry the connotation of “body parts.”

[P] The same Greek word can mean “wife” or “woman,” depending on context.

[Q] The word is flexible enough to mean either “case” or “charge.”

[R] A general word for sexual immorality of a variety of sorts.  Cf. Mark 10:11 which lacks this exception clause.  Some commentators say that Mark simply presupposes this.  Others argue that Matthew softens Jesus’ strong convicting statement to make it more practical in a community seeking to implement this teaching in difficult circumstances.

[S] Or “swear falsely,” “perjure oneself.”

[T] Could be either “give back” or “pay back.”

[U] Note the shift in pronoun with this last clause.

[V] Or more literally, “Let your yes-word be yes.”

[W] or “from an evil [motive].”

1 Corinthians 3:1-9, Comments on the Greek text; Epistle lection Feb. 16, 2014

Epistle Lection, Feb 16, 2014

1 Corinthians 3:1-9

1Co 3:1 Κἀγώ, ἀδελφοί, οὐκ ἠδυνήθην λαλῆσαι ὑμῖν ὡς πνευματικοῖς[A] ἀλλ’ ὡς σαρκίνοις, ὡς νηπίοις[B] ἐν Χριστῷ. And I, brothers [and sisters] was not able to speak to you as to spiritual [people], but as to fleshly [ones], as to babies in Christ.
1Co 3:2 γάλα ὑμᾶς ἐπότισα, οὐ βρῶμα, οὔπω γὰρ ἐδύνασθε. ἀλλ’ οὐδὲ ἔτι νῦν δύνασθε, I gave you milk to drink, not food, for you were not yet able [to eat solid food.]  Indeed, even now you are still not able.
1Co 3:3 ἔτι γὰρ σαρκικοί[C] ἐστε. ὅπου γὰρ ἐν ὑμῖν ζῆλος[D] καὶ ἔρις, οὐχὶ σαρκικοί ἐστε καὶ κατὰ ἄνθρωπον[E] περιπατεῖτε; For you are still fleshly.  For where there is jealousy and discord among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking in a [merely] human [way]?
1Co 3:4 ὅταν γὰρ λέγῃ τις· Ἐγὼ μέν εἰμι Παύλου[F], ἕτερος δέ· Ἐγὼ Ἀπολλῶ, οὐκ ἄνθρωποί ἐστε; For when someone says, “I am of Paul,” and another [says] “I am of Apollos,” are you not [merely] human?
1Co 3:5 Τί οὖν ἐστιν Ἀπολλῶς; τί δέ ἐστιν Παῦλος; διάκονοι δι’ ὧν ἐπιστεύσατε, καὶ ἑκάστῳ[G] ὡς ὁ κύριος ἔδωκεν. What then is Apollos?  What is Paul?  Servants, through whom you believed, and to each one as the Lord gave.
1Co 3:6 ἐγὼ ἐφύτευσα, Ἀπολλῶς ἐπότισεν, ἀλλὰ ὁ θεὸς ηὔξανεν[H]· I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth.
1Co 3:7 ὥστε[I] οὔτε ὁ φυτεύων ἐστίν τι οὔτε ὁ ποτίζων, ἀλλ’ ὁ αὐξάνων[J] θεός. So then, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but rather God who causes the growth.
1Co 3:8 ὁ φυτεύων δὲ καὶ ὁ ποτίζων ἕν εἰσιν, ἕκαστος δὲ τὸν ἴδιον μισθὸν λήμψεται κατὰ τὸν ἴδιον κόπον[K], The one who plants and the one who waters are one; each will receive [his] own wage according to [his] own toil.
1Co 3:9 θεοῦ γάρ ἐσμεν συνεργοί· θεοῦ[L] γεώργιον, θεοῦ οἰκοδομή ἐστε. For we are God’s co-workers.  God’s field, God’s building [is what] you are.

[A] Note the extensive discussion in the previous chapter of the work of the Spirit.

[B] The Greek word can refer to young children from infancy through pre-puberty.  In this context, with the contrast between milk and solid food in the next verse, it’s probably a reference to nursing children—i.e. very young.

[C] A slightly different form from the form used in v. 1 (see the textual apparatus for variants), but there isn’t any significant difference in meaning.  This adjectival form is not terribly common in Paul—he tends to prefer the phrase κατὰ σάρκα.

[D] Or “zeal.”  The word can have either positive or negative connotations.  N.T. Wright, in his latest magnum opus Paul and the Faithfulness of God, makes a lot of Paul’s references to his own “zeal” prior to his Damascus road experience (e.g. Phil 3:6).

[E] It is interesting to scan the uses of this word in Paul.  While some are positive, a large number are negative, as we see here, connoting human life apart from divine grace.

[F] Could be a genitive of origin (I come from Paul), or a genitive of possession (I belong to Paul) or it could connote association (I am associated with Paul).

[G] Presumably to each [of these two leaders, as well as others.]  Could conceivably mean “by means of each one as the Lord gave.”

[H] Or possible “but God became greater,” though this is less likely.

[I] Grammatically, this sentence is the logical result or consequence of the previous one.

[J] Note the way in which the participial phrases are in parallel with each other.  Even more literally one might render, “So then, neither the planter is anything nor the waterer, but rather the grower – God.”

[K] The word usually has a negative connotation of activity that is burdensome in some way.

[L] Grammatically, the meaning could be rendered either co-workers in the service of God or co-workers with God.

The Greek of the Gospel lection for Feb 9, 2014–Matthew 5:13-20

Matthew 5:13-20

Gospel lection for Feb. 9, 2014

Mt 5:13 Ὑμεῖς[A] ἐστε τὸ ἅλας τῆς γῆς· ἐὰν δὲ τὸ ἅλας μωρανθῇ[B], ἐν τίνι ἁλισθήσεται; εἰς οὐδὲν ἰσχύει[C] ἔτι[D] εἰ μὴ βληθὲν ἔξω καταπατεῖσθαι ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων. You are the salt of the earth.  If salt becomes tasteless, in what [way] will it be salted?  It is no longer good for anything except having been thrown out to be trampled underfoot by people.
Mt 5:14 Ὑμεῖς ἐστε τὸ φῶς τοῦ κόσμου[E]. οὐ δύναται πόλις κρυβῆναι ἐπάνω[F] ὄρους κειμένη· You are the light of the world.  A city cannot be hidden [when it is] lying above a mountain.
Mt 5:15 οὐδὲ καίουσιν λύχνον καὶ τιθέασιν αὐτὸν ὑπὸ τὸν μόδιον[G] ἀλλ’ ἐπὶ τὴν λυχνίαν, καὶ λάμπει πᾶσιν τοῖς ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ. Nor do [people] ignite a lamp and set it under the basket, but [they place it] on the lampstand, and it shines on all those in the house.
Mt 5:16 οὕτως λαμψάτω τὸ φῶς ὑμῶν ἔμπροσθεν τῶν ἀνθρώπων,[H] ὅπως ἴδωσιν ὑμῶν τὰ καλὰ ἔργα καὶ δοξάσωσιν τὸν πατέρα ὑμῶν τὸν ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς. In this way, let your light shine in the presence of people, so that they may see your good works and glorify your father who is in the heavens.
Mt 5:17 Μὴ νομίσητε ὅτι ἦλθον καταλῦσαι[I] τὸν νόμον ἢ τοὺς προφήτας· οὐκ ἦλθον καταλῦσαι ἀλλὰ πληρῶσαι[J]· Do not suppose that I came to destroy the law or the prophets.  I came not to destroy but to fulfill.
Mt 5:18 ἀμὴν γὰρ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἕως ἂν παρέλθῃ ὁ οὐρανὸς καὶ ἡ γῆ, ἰῶτα ἓν ἢ μία κεραία[K] οὐ μὴ παρέλθῃ[L] ἀπὸ τοῦ νόμου, ἕως ἂν πάντα[M] γένηται. For I solemnly tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one iota or one stroke [of a letter] will pass away from the law, until all things take place.
Mt 5:19 ὃς ἐὰν οὖν λύσῃ μίαν τῶν ἐντολῶν τούτων τῶν ἐλαχίστων[N] καὶ διδάξῃ οὕτως τοὺς ἀνθρώπους, ἐλάχιστος κληθήσεται ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τῶν οὐρανῶν· ὃς δ’ ἂν ποιήσῃ[O] καὶ διδάξῃ, οὗτος μέγας κληθήσεται ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τῶν οὐρανῶν. Therefore whoever loosens one of the least of these commandments and teaches people in this way will be called least in the kingdom of the heavens; but whoever does and teaches [them], this one will be called great in the kingdom of the heavens.
Mt 5:20 λέγω γὰρ ὑμῖν ὅτι ἐὰν μὴ περισσεύσῃ ὑμῶν ἡ δικαιοσύνη πλεῖον τῶν γραμματέων καὶ Φαρισαίων,[P] οὐ μὴ[Q] εἰσέλθητε εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν. For I tell you that unless your righteousness abounds more than [that of] the scribes and the Pharisees, you will surely not enter into the kingdom of the heavens.

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] The Ὑμεῖς (“you”)  is plural (y’all), but the salt (τὸ ἅλας)  is singular (presumably a collective noun.)

[B] Literally “becomes foolish,” though many suggest an Aramaic or Hebrew word tpl which lies behind the double meaning, and has the connotation of becoming either foolish or insipid / tasteless.  The double meaning is probably intentional.

[C] Literally “it is not strong for anything” or “it does not have capacity or usefulness for anything”

[D] Literally “It is still good for nothing,” though the negatives don’t work so well literally in English.

[E] Probably an objective genitive—light which shines on the world.

[F] Or just “on the top of a mountain,” though this particular form is a little surprising here—one would expect the simple επι.

[G] A small basket holding 8.75 liters (=2.3 US gallons)—almost a peck.

[H] It’s important, (and requires some subtlety) to differentiate this verse from texts such as Matthew 6:1, since in both texts, the explicit purpose for good works/righteousness is “to be seen by them,” though the underlying goal is different (honor for the individual, or glory to God). The Greek words are different in the two texts, but it’s hard to get the distinction just from the Greek text, and the line between these two purposes can get blurry!

[I] or “undo,” “tear down,” “demolish”

[J] It’s ambiguous whether the implied object of “destroy” and “fulfill” is the law and the prophets particularly, or whether a wider meaning is intended (i.e. all God’s purposes).  Probably the former option, given the parallel use of “I came” in both clauses.

[K] Some scholars think that this refers, not to normal strokes that are part of letters, but to scribal ornamentation, making this an ironic reference.

[L] The Greek construction expresses emphatic future denial.

[M] Presumably all things anticipated in the law?  Or is it a reference to all the messianic tasks to be completed?  And what happens after that to the law?

[N] Note the somewhat emphatic position of “least” here.

[O] Note, for Matthew, the many places where “doing” and “teaching” belong together.

[P] Because, according to Matthew 23:3, they teach, but don’t do.

[Q] οὐ μὴ + aorist subjunctive = emphatic future denial (as also in 5:18).

Jan. 26 Matthew 4:12-23 lectionary commentary on the Greek text

Jan. 26 2014 Lectionary, Matthew 4:12-23

Mt 4:12 Ἀκούσας δὲ ὅτι Ἰωάννης παρεδόθη[A] ἀνεχώρησεν εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν. But when he [i.e. Jesus] heard that John was handed over, he withdrew into Galilee
Mt 4:13 καὶ καταλιπὼν τὴν Ναζαρὰ ἐλθὼν κατῴκησεν εἰς Καφαρναοὺμ τὴν παραθαλασσίαν ἐν ὁρίοις Ζαβουλὼν καὶ Νεφθαλίμ· And leaving Nazareth, he went [and] settled in Capernaum—the [place] beside the sea—in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali,
Mt 4:14 ἵνα πληρωθῇ[B] τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ Ἠσαΐου τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος· So that what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled, when he said,
Mt 4:15 Γῆ Ζαβουλὼν καὶ γῆ Νεφθαλίμ, ὁδὸν θαλάσσης, πέραν τοῦ Ἰορδάνου[C], Γαλιλαία τῶν ἐθνῶν,[D] “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles–
Mt 4:16 ὁ λαὸς ὁ καθήμενος ἐν σκοτίᾳ φῶς εἶδεν μέγα, καὶ τοῖς καθημένοις ἐν χώρᾳ καὶ σκιᾷ θανάτου φῶς ἀνέτειλεν[E] αὐτοῖς. The people sitting in darkness saw a great light, and to those sitting in a region and shadow of death, light arose for them.”
Mt 4:17 Ἀπὸ τότε ἤρξατο ὁ Ἰησοῦς κηρύσσειν καὶ λέγειν· Μετανοεῖτε, ἤγγικεν[F] γὰρ ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.[G] From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven has come near.”
Mt 4:18 Περιπατῶν δὲ παρὰ τὴν θάλασσαν τῆς Γαλιλαίας εἶδεν δύο ἀδελφούς, Σίμωνα τὸν λεγόμενον Πέτρον καὶ Ἀνδρέαν τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ, βάλλοντας ἀμφίβληστρον εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν, ἦσαν γὰρ ἁλιεῖς· And walking beside the sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (the one called Peter) and Andrews his brother, throwing a net into the lake, for they were fishers.
Mt 4:19 καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς· Δεῦτε ὀπίσω μου, καὶ ποιήσω ὑμᾶς ἁλιεῖς ἀνθρώπων. And he says to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of people.”
Mt 4:20 οἱ δὲ εὐθέως ἀφέντες τὰ δίκτυα[H] ἠκολούθησαν αὐτῷ. And they immediately leaving the fishnets followed him.
Mt 4:21 Καὶ προβὰς ἐκεῖθεν εἶδεν ἄλλους δύο ἀδελφούς, Ἰάκωβον τὸν τοῦ Ζεβεδαίου καὶ Ἰωάννην τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ, ἐν τῷ πλοίῳ μετὰ Ζεβεδαίου τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτῶν καταρτίζοντας[I] τὰ δίκτυα αὐτῶν, καὶ ἐκάλεσεν αὐτούς. And going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James the [son] of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, arranging their nets, and he called them.
Mt 4:22 οἱ δὲ εὐθέως ἀφέντες τὸ πλοῖον καὶ τὸν πατέρα[J] αὐτῶν ἠκολούθησαν αὐτῷ. And they, immediately leaving the boat and their father, followed him.
Mt 4:23 Καὶ περιῆγεν ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ Γαλιλαίᾳ, διδάσκων ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς αὐτῶν καὶ κηρύσσων τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς βασιλείας καὶ θεραπεύων πᾶσαν νόσον καὶ πᾶσαν μαλακίαν[K] ἐν τῷ λαῷ. And he led [them] around in all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom and healing every illness and every disability among the people.

[A] The same word used later in the gospel of Judas’ betrayal, but here carrying simply the connotation of being “handed over” to the authorities.

[B] One of 13 references to the fulfillment of Scripture in Matthew, using this verb.

[C] A difficult reference (but found in Isaiah), because it suggests that the speaker is located to the east of the Jordan, since Capernaum is to the west of the Sea of Galilee (which feeds into the Jordan river).

[D] Given the way in which the Great Commission at the end of Matthew commands the disciples to “disciple all the nations” using the same word for nations/Gentiles found here, this is probably significant for Matthew.

[E] Probably a reference to the dawn and the rising of the sun.

[F] A particularly interesting interaction of meaning and tense.  The root verb ἐγγίζω means to draw near or approach.  The perfect tense of the form here indicates a present and continuing state as a result of a prior action.  Hence the Kingdom of Heaven is in the present and enduring state of having drawn near or approached.  So is it here or not?  It’s ambiguous!

[G] Identical to John’s language in 3:2.

[H] Interestingly a different word for “nets” from v. 18!  Apparently there was more than one kind of net that they left, and this latter term is the more inclusive one?

[I] Could be either “arranging” or “repairing.”

[J] Given the references elsewhere in the gospels to the way in which Jesus’ proclamation creates disruption for families, this is not insignificant.

[K] Literally “softness” or “weakness” but when combined with “illness” above, this seemed like an appropriate modern equivalent.

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.