I Cor. 6:9, passive or middle of PLANAW

David L. Moore (dvdmoore@ix.netcom.com)
Thu, 21 Nov 1996 11:16:35 -0500

I'm wondering if PLANASQE in I Cor. 6:9 should be taken in a passive
(MH PANASQE: "do not be deceived") or in a middle sense ("do not deceive

The BAGD lexicon gives the active sense of the verb as "lead astray,
cause to wander;" Louw and Nida define it similarly. But isn't PLANAW
cognate to the word for *planets* (viz. ASTERES PLANHTAI of Jude 13) and
dependent on the same root meaning. Did 1st-Century cosmology think of the
planets as *led* about or, rather, as wandering according to their own course?

The lexicon definitions of the of the active voice for this verb
would appear to indicate that MH PLANASQE in I Cor. 6:9 is saying, "Do not
be led astray." The context, however, has not suggested any corrupting
influence except the Corinthians own "flesh" in the Pauline sense of that
word. According to 5:1ff., it is the Corinthians' own spiritual pride that
has led them to harbor gross sin in their midst. Verses 9 through 11 of
Chapter 5 warns specifically against allowing immorality to become
established in the church and sets up mechanisms to deal with it whenever it
might appear. That this danger rises from within and must be externalized
to be dealt with indicates that the danger of self-deception is paramount.

This being the case, IMO, a reflexive, middle-voice understanding of
the form PLANASQE is called for. The BAGD glosses this verse, "Make no
mistake" (BAGD 2:c:beta), which is fairly non-commital relative to passive
or middle. In the same paragraph of the lexicon, BAGD also mentions some
reflexive forms but doesn't classify them as middle. The verse following
the list of sins whose practictioners "shall not inherit the kingdom of God"
says, "All thing are lawful for me; but not all things are expedient...."
Barrett comments on the first part of this sentence that "there is fairly
general agreement that these words are *quoted* by Paul, and that they were
in use at Corinth" [emphasis mine]. That Paul is warning against a process
of self-deception seems to be the inescapable conclusion, and this certainly
favors the middle voice for PLANAW in this passage.

Regards to all,
David Moore

David L. Moore Director
Miami, Florida, USA Department of Education
dvdmoore@ix.netcom.com Southeastern Spanish District
http://members.aol.com/dvdmoore of the Assemblies of God