Re: 1Co 1.18

David L. Moore (
Sat, 04 May 1996 10:20:32 -0400

Shaughn Daniel wrote:
> 1Co 1.18a o logos gar o tou staurou TOIS men APOLLUMENOIS mwria estin,
> 1Co 1.18b TOIS de SWZOMENOIS hmin dunamis theou estin.
> TOIS SWZOMENOIS is apparently a present passive dative masculine 1p plural
> participle from the Gk verb SWZW. One can reconstruct the present active
> sentence by common sense: God SWZei (present = "saves" or "is saving") some
> people. The "some people" is transformed into "those saved" or "being
> saved", depending on whether the present is understood as simple or
> continuous (some use progressive for continuous). The participial phrase is
> then put in the dative case, which brings in the idea of "to/for" those
> people. TOIS SWZOMENOIS ("to/for those being saved" OR "to/for those
> saved") is parallel to TOIS APPOLLUMENOIS ("to/for those being destroyed"
> OR "to/for those perished" OR "to/for those destroying themselves"). The
> form of TOIS APOLLUMENOIS is either passive or middle, entailing that
> either a. God APOLLUsin someone or b. someone APOLLUtai him/her-self.
> Question: for all I know, the -MENOIS is a middle/passive ending for
> present participles: if correct, then why can't SWZOMENOIS be construed as
> middle here implying "those saving themselves"? On the deeper philosophical
> level and connection with "working out one's salvation" in Phil, it would
> seem that dunamis/logos is in a believer and this is the life
> principle/power/energy/thing which allows the one "possessed" with it to
> "continually transform" themselves into "righteous" people. I'm not wanting
> to debate whether that is the case philosophically or theologically. I'm
> more interested in knowing if that is a LOGICAL explanation based on the
> ambiguity of the participial evidence. It may not be the best explanation,
> but it is an original thought with me (although I'm sure someone else has
> thought through it before as well).

We don't really have to interpret both paticiples as grammatically equal.
Although they have endings that are identical, APOLLUMENOIS may be middle, "being lost,"
and SWZOMENOIS may be passive, "being saved."

Relative to the passage in Philippians 2:12: SWTHRIOS may have a temporal,
practical meaning here. Paul seems to be calling the church to put into practice the
attitude of Christ outlined in vv. 5-11. By applying this attitude to problems of
interpersonal relations within the congregation, together, they are to attain the well
being desire. The phrase following, in v. 13, further explains the means, indicating it
is the power of God working in them that will bring this about.

David L. Moore                             Director
Miami, Florida, USA                        Department of Education                     Southeastern Spanish District            of the Assemblies of God