Re: 1Co 1.18

David L. Moore (
Sun, 05 May 1996 16:40:32 -0400

Shaughn Daniel wrote:
> David:
> > 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."
> With such statements is one not granted a Ph.D. One must take a position
> and defend it. I don't know which position is most logical at this point,
> so that is why I'm asking here and others everywhere. If APOLLUMENOIS is
> middle, then we are making a statement about their participation in being
> APOLLUMENOIS, no? And if we are taking SWZOMENOIS as passive, then we are
> making a statement about their non-participation in being SWZOMENOIS. I
> find this construct untenable as such, but am intrigued by the Lutheran
> theology that seeps out in such statements. But, more importantly, how
> does one demonstrate what is middle and what is passive in the context? I'm
> leaning toward the position that BOTH forms are PASSIVE because of 1.19
> APOLW par APOLLUMENOIS and MWRIA par EMWRANEN. Both transitive verbs,
> hence, transitive participles, hence, passive objects, hence, one active
> person/thing being GOSPEL/CROSS/GOD.

Part of the reason for taking APOLLUMENOIS as middle and SWZOMENOIS as passive
is that the lexicons classify them in these voices for the sorts of contexts we have
here. (Cf. BAGD, s.v. APOLLUMI, #2; and s.v. SWiZO #2,b; L&S s.v. APOLLUMI B; and
s.v. SWiZW #1.)

Shaun's insistence on a purely reflexive meaning for the middle voice is to take
too far the idea of the middle's calling special attention to the subject (Robertson,
804). In fact, Turner indicates that, in Hellenistic Greek, the reflexive middle is
relatively rare - especially so in the NT (Moulton, III:54).

About the context in v. 19 and its influence on our understanding of v. 18: Paul
is not saying here that God is destroying the wise-of-this-world but that He is
destroying the worldly kind of wisdom by establishing a new kind of wisdom. This
brings about the downfall of the worldly-wise, since their base of wisdom is taken away.
But does that make God the cause of their destruction? For He calls all mankind to
turn from the world's wisdom to the wisdom of God in the cross of Christ.

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