Re: eis afesin twn hamartiwn humwn
Fri, 31 May 1996 14:43:09 -0400

Rod Rogers wrote:

>Although I don't know
>exactly what "fancy exegetical gymnastics" are I do think that we erred from
>our purpose (b-greek) when we left off exegesis. This has surprised me more
>than anything else about the discussion of eis afesin hamartiwn on this
>list, that everyone has taken for granted that eis afesin hamartiwn refers
>back to baptisqhtw instead of metanohsate.
>Thanks to John Werner for mentioning the Bibsac article by Luther B.
>McIntyre Jr. on "Baptism and Forgiveness in Acts 2:38", January-March 1996
>Vol. 153. I think that this is "half " the answer as far as "eis afesin
>hamartiwn" goes. For those of you that don't subscribe to Bibliotheca Sacra
>the gist of McIntyre's article is that of concord. He answers the question
>"What does eis afesin twn hamartiwn humwn refer back to?" What is the
>antecedent of humwn? He says that, "The concord between verb and pronoun
>requires that the remission of sins be connected with repentance, not with
>baptism. However, if one associates forgiveness with baptism, the verse
>translated into English with due accord to person and number, would read,
>"let him [third singular] be baptized for the remission of your [second
>plural] sins."

For some reason, you left out hekastos humwn: "each (3rd, sing.) of you (2nd,
plu.)" in connection with the command to be baptized. Since English does not
use a third person imperative, it's a bit awkward to translate the Greek
third person imperative into the English. We make a brave attempt by saying
"let", although "let" is actually 2nd person imperative. Hekastos
(nominative case) is in apposition to the third person singular unspecified
subject of baptisthetw. Thus, Peter is saying, "let (him)--that is, each of
you (humwn)--be baptized... for the forgiveness of your (humwn) sins." So,
even though baptisthetw is 3rd pers. sing., hekastos humwn makes it clear
that it is simply a command given distributively to all the people Peter was
addressing. It seems to me that the 3rd pers. sing. is used here to emphasis
individual need to be baptized. In any case, the command to be baptized is
connected with the purpose for being baptized: twn hamartiwn humwn.

>Thanks again for your time and help. I hope that everyone on the b-greek
>list takes seriously the ramifications of this discussion. The issue is,
>Does baptism wash away your sins or does the blood of Christ wash away your

Or, by such thinking, we could also say the issue is, Does faith (to which
baptism is integral) save us (Gal.3:24)? Or, instead, are we saved by grace
(Eph.2:8)? Is it one or the other? Certainly not. We are saved by
BOTH--but each has a different relationship to our salvation. Christ's blood
purchased our salvation. And by faith, we appropriate this salvation to
ourselves (Rom.5:2; I Tim.6:19)--we "lay hold of it." So, baptism does
indeed "wash away our sins" (Acts 22:16)--but not by providing an atonement
for sin; this was accomplished by Christ in our behalf.

And, yes, Rod, I wholeheartedly agree with you on the extreme seriousness of
the ramifications of this issue. I fear for you, to think you have publicly
taken a stance in opposition to clear teaching on the Lord's design for

Don Partain
1316 Murray
Missoula, MT 59802