1 Corinthians 13:13 νυνὶ δὲ μένει

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Jonathan Robie
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1 Corinthians 13:13 νυνὶ δὲ μένει

Post by Jonathan Robie » April 17th, 2020, 9:50 am

1 Corinthians 13:13 wrote:νυνὶ δὲ μένει πίστις, ἐλπίς, ἀγάπη, τὰ τρία ταῦτα· μείζων δὲ τούτων ἡ ἀγάπη.
How do you read νυνὶ δὲ μένει in this sentence?
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: 1 Corinthians 13:13 νυνὶ δὲ μένει

Post by Stephen Carlson » April 17th, 2020, 10:16 am

From left to right. Or do you have something more specific in mind?
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Re: 1 Corinthians 13:13 νυνὶ δὲ μένει

Post by Jonathan Robie » April 17th, 2020, 12:48 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:
April 17th, 2020, 10:16 am
From left to right. Or do you have something more specific in mind?
Some translations seem to treat νυνί as a discourse marker that does not have a strong temporal sense, others seem to treat it as a strong time marker. A little like the difference between:

"Now these three things remain (even when knowledge, prophecy, and that which is imperfect disappear)" versus "These three things remain now (in the current time, as things we can rely on in our imperfect knowledge and prophecy, while waiting for the time that we are face-to-face and know as fully as we are known)".

Are both readings valid? Here's Meyer's take on it:
1 Corinthians 13:13. Νυνὶ δέ] nunc autem, and thus, since, according to 1 Corinthians 13:8-12, the present temporary charismata do not continue but cease in the future age, continue (into the everlasting life and onward in it) faith, hope, love. [2093] This explanation of νυνὶ δέ in a conclusive sense, as 1 Corinthians 12:18; 1 Corinthians 12:20, and of ΜΈΝΕΙ as meaning eternal continuance, [2094] has been rightly given by Irenaeus, Haer. ii. p. 47, iv. 25; Tertullian, de pat. 12; Photius in Oecumenius, p. 553; Grotius, Billroth, de Wette, Osiander, Lipsius (Rechtfertigungsl. pp. 98, 210), Ewald, Maier, Hofmann. For, although the majority of interpreters since Chrysostom (including Flatt, Heydenreich, Rückert, David Schulz, Neander) have explained νυνὶ δέ in a temporal sense: “but for the present, so long as that glorious state lies still far off from us” (Rückert), and μένει of continuance in the present age (in the church), this is incorrect for the simple reason, that Paul, according to 1 Corinthians 13:8 ff., expected the charismata to cease only at the Parousia, and consequently could not have described merely the triad of faith, hope, and love as what was now remaining; the γνῶσις also, prophecy, etc., remain till the Parousia. Hence, too, it was an erroneous expedient to take μένει in the sense of the sum total, which remains as the result of a reckoning (Calvin, Bengel, and others).
And the SIL Exegetical Summaries discusses these interpretations:
13:13 And-now(a) remains(b) faith, hope, love, these three;

LEXICON—a. νυνὶ δέ (LN 91.4) (BAGD 2.b p. 546): ‘and now’ [Lns; KJV, NET, NIV, NRSV], ‘now’ [LN, NTC], ‘but now’ [AB, BAGD, Herm, HNTC], ‘for now’ [CEV], ‘right now’ [ISV], ‘meanwhile’ [LN; TEV], ‘in the end’ [NAB], ‘as it is’ [NJB], ‘so then’ [ICC; TNT], ‘so now’ [NIGTC], ‘but now, as the situation is’ [BAGD], not explicit [NLT, REB]. See this phrase also at 12:18.
b. pres. act. indic. of μένω (LN 13.89) (BAGD 2.c.β. p. 504): ‘to remain’ [BAGD, Herm, LN, Lns, NIGTC, NTC; ISV, NET, NIV, NJB, TEV], ‘to last’ [BAGD; NAB], ‘to last on’ [ICC], ‘to be lasting’ [TNT], ‘to last for ever’ [REB], ‘to endure’ [AB; NLT], ‘to abide’ [HNTC; KJV, NRSV], ‘to be’ [CEV], ‘to continue, to continue to exist, to still be in existence’ [LN], ‘to persist, to continue to live’ [BAGD].

QUESTION—What relationship is indicated by νυνὶ δέ ‘now and/but’?

The phrase is logical and means ‘and so we see’. The δέ has no contrastive meaning [Ed]. Νυνὶ is logical, meaning ‘now’ and the δέ contrasts with the temporal gifts just mentioned [ICC]. The phrase is inferential, meaning ‘now, since things are so’ [Ho]. Νυνὶ ‘now’ is not temporal but logical [Ed, ICC, Lns, NIC, NTC, TNTC, Vn]. The phrase indicates that 13:13 is a conclusion [NIC, TH, Vn]. Νυνὶ has some temporal sense here referring to the present condition as over against what will be [NIC2]. This phrase means ‘in truth’, ‘as a fact’, or ‘as things are’. It has the same meaning as at 12:18 [TG].

Trail, R. (2008). An Exegetical Summary of 1 Corinthians 10–16 (2nd ed., pp. 189–190). Dallas, TX: SIL International.
This should be read as a set of interpretations found in various commentaries, reformatting might make that clearer:
  • The phrase is logical and means ‘and so we see’. The δέ has no contrastive meaning [Ed].
  • Νυνὶ is logical, meaning ‘now’ and the δέ contrasts with the temporal gifts just mentioned [ICC].
  • The phrase is inferential, meaning ‘now, since things are so’ [Ho].
  • Νυνὶ ‘now’ is not temporal but logical [Ed, ICC, Lns, NIC, NTC, TNTC, Vn].
  • The phrase indicates that 13:13 is a conclusion [NIC, TH, Vn].
  • Νυνὶ has some temporal sense here referring to the present condition as over against what will be [NIC2].
  • This phrase means ‘in truth’, ‘as a fact’, or ‘as things are’. It has the same meaning as at 12:18 [TG].
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: 1 Corinthians 13:13 νυνὶ δὲ μένει

Post by Barry Hofstetter » April 17th, 2020, 2:55 pm

So, more than just left to right... :)

Because of the preceding context, I have always seen δέ as contrastive, and νυνί as temporal (νυνί, with the deictic iota, is often emphatic in such contexts). According to BDAG it can be used non-temporally, and that's fine, but not, I think, here.
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Re: 1 Corinthians 13:13 νυνὶ δὲ μένει

Post by nathaniel j. erickson » April 17th, 2020, 6:02 pm

"Now these three things remain (even when knowledge, prophecy, and that which is imperfect disappear)" versus "These three things remain now (in the current time, as things we can rely on in our imperfect knowledge and prophecy, while waiting for the time that we are face-to-face and know as fully as we are known)".
Being a "both/and" kind of interpreter, I'm not sure these are exclusive options. I think the assertion here is that faith, hope, and love are more ultimate realities, in a sense, and they subsume these other categories both now and forever. If "faith, hope, and love" is meant as a sort of minimal description of the ultimate realities of life in Christ (much like "love your neighbor is the fulfillment of the law"), then it could be an assertion that covers both the now and the eschaton. I always like to leave room for the possibility that the authors were playing with the ambiguity inherent in phrases they used to maximize the meaning of their communication. It is possible that Paul is saying something like, "our thinking/acting like a child is characterized by the knowledge/sight/prophecy of this age, which will give way in the eschaton; but faith, hope, and love are ultimate realities that we have now as children which will also continue on into our adulthood, that is continue unchanged into the eschaton (i.e., they will not lose their value or become fundamentally transformed; unlike spiritual gifts, the subtle actual referent of the categories "sight" and "knowledge" in my opinion)." If this is getting at the intention of the text, then making a hard and fast distinction between two different senses of νυνὶ δέ would not be necessary.

A possible key in the interpretation here would be the likely meaning of ελπις and πιστις. I wonder if πιστις here is akin to Hebrews 11.1: Ἔστιν δὲ πίστις ἐλπιζομένων ὑπόστασις, πραγμάτων ἔλεγχος οὐ βλεπομένων.. In which case it would not be obvious how that would have value in the eschaton. But if they convey something more like "the (Christian) faith and the (Christian) hope" (πιστις has this sort of quasi-technical meaning in the pastoral epistles) then the expression could easily take on eschatological dimensions.
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Re: 1 Corinthians 13:13 νυνὶ δὲ μένει

Post by Stephen Carlson » April 17th, 2020, 9:00 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
April 17th, 2020, 2:55 pm
So, more than just left to right... :)

Because of the preceding context, I have always seen δέ as contrastive, and νυνί as temporal (νυνί, with the deictic iota, is often emphatic in such contexts). According to BDAG it can be used non-temporally, and that's fine, but not, I think, here.
I’m with Barry on this, and frankly surprised that so many commentators (apparently) don’t like this reading. What’s wrong with the termporal now?
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Re: 1 Corinthians 13:13 νυνὶ δὲ μένει

Post by Stephen Carlson » April 18th, 2020, 6:37 pm

Perhaps the issue is an implied constrast (of what kind?) between ἄρτι and νυνί?
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Re: 1 Corinthians 13:13 νυνὶ δὲ μένει

Post by Jonathan Robie » April 19th, 2020, 4:02 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:
April 18th, 2020, 6:37 pm
Perhaps the issue is an implied constrast (of what kind?) between ἄρτι and νυνί?
I think there must be a contrast between the two. νυνὶ δὲ is clearly contrastive. So is τότε δὲ, so I think I see the overall pattern as ἄρτι ... τότε δὲ ... ἄρτι ... τότε δὲ ... νυνὶ δὲ ...

One of the other main things going on here is the contrast between καταργηθήσεται and μένει. I wish that made it clear what the contrast between ἄρτι and νυνί is in this section, but I don't quite get it yet. But clearly there's a pattern. The things that are

Let's color some patterns:
  • ἄρτι, νυνί, τότε.
  • πίπτει, καταργηθήσεται, παύσονται, μένει
  • τὸ τέλειον, τὸ ἐκ μέρους
Ἡ ἀγάπη οὐδέποτε πίπτει· εἴτε δὲ προφητεῖαι, καταργηθήσονται·
εἴτε γλῶσσαι, παύσονται· εἴτε γνῶσις, καταργηθήσεται.
ἐκ μέρους γὰρ γινώσκομεν καὶ ἐκ μέρους προφητεύομεν· ὅταν δὲ ἔλθῃ τὸ τέλειον, τὸ ἐκ μέρους καταργηθήσεται.
ὅτε ἤμην νήπιος, ἐλάλουν ὡς νήπιος, ἐφρόνουν ὡς νήπιος, ἐλογιζόμην ὡς νήπιος
· ὅτε γέγονα ἀνήρ, κατήργηκα τὰ τοῦ νηπίου.
βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾽ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον· ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην. νυνὶ δὲ μένει πίστις, ἐλπίς, ἀγάπη, τὰ τρία ταῦτα· μείζων δὲ τούτων ἡ ἀγάπη.

Something's going on here, I can't clearly see what it is. βλέπω ἄρτι δι᾽ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι ... But it feels like verse 10 is key here:

ὅταν δὲ ἔλθῃ τὸ τέλειον, τὸ ἐκ μέρους καταργηθήσεται.

This looks like a chiastic structure in which the following pairs correspond:
  • Ἡ ἀγάπη οὐδέποτε πίπτει
  • νυνὶ δὲ μένει πίστις, ἐλπίς, ἀγάπη, τὰ τρία ταῦτα· μείζων δὲ τούτων ἡ ἀγάπη.
  • εἴτε δὲ προφητεῖαι, καταργηθήσονται· εἴτε γλῶσσαι, παύσονται· εἴτε γνῶσις, καταργηθήσεται.
  • βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾽ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον· ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.
  • ἐκ μέρους γὰρ γινώσκομεν καὶ ἐκ μέρους προφητεύομεν· ὅταν δὲ ἔλθῃ τὸ τέλειον, τὸ ἐκ μέρους καταργηθήσεται.
  • ὅτε ἤμην νήπιος, ἐλάλουν ὡς νήπιος, ἐφρόνουν ὡς νήπιος, ἐλογιζόμην ὡς νήπιος· ὅτε γέγονα ἀνήρ, κατήργηκα τὰ τοῦ νηπίου.

Some of these things are clearly identified as τὸ ἐκ μέρους, as things that will pass away. πίστις, ἐλπίς, and ἀγάπη do not seem to be in that category - Ἡ ἀγάπη οὐδέποτε πίπτει, it seems to imply that the other two are also like this. And these are the three things introduced with νυνὶ δὲ μένει, as opposed to ἄρτι or τότε δέ.

But ... ὅταν ἔλθῃ τὸ τέλειον, so we still need πίστις and ἐλπίς? Why do we need faith when we are face to face and know as fully as we are known? What would we still hope for?
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Re: 1 Corinthians 13:13 νυνὶ δὲ μένει

Post by Jonathan Robie » April 19th, 2020, 4:51 pm

nathaniel j. erickson wrote:
April 17th, 2020, 6:02 pm
A possible key in the interpretation here would be the likely meaning of ελπις and πιστις. I wonder if πιστις here is akin to Hebrews 11.1: Ἔστιν δὲ πίστις ἐλπιζομένων ὑπόστασις, πραγμάτων ἔλεγχος οὐ βλεπομένων.. In which case it would not be obvious how that would have value in the eschaton. But if they convey something more like "the (Christian) faith and the (Christian) hope" (πιστις has this sort of quasi-technical meaning in the pastoral epistles) then the expression could easily take on eschatological dimensions.
Could you say more about "but if they convey something more like the Christian faith and the Christian hope? This might well be something I am missing, but I don't quite manage to finish the thought here.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: 1 Corinthians 13:13 νυνὶ δὲ μένει

Post by Jonathan Robie » April 20th, 2020, 9:51 am

Edgar Krentz sent me an email on this topic:
Edgar Krentz wrote:νυνὶ δέ in non NT Greek denotes what is actually the case after saying something that is not true. Will that fit the 1 Corinthians 13 text?
The UBS Translation Handbook says this:
So (TEV|prj:GNTD.1CO.13.13's “Meanwhile”) is literally “now.” In some contexts it may refer to time. The word used in verse 13, however, often has a logical meaning; in 12.18, 20 it was translated “as it is.” If this is the meaning here, there will be a contrast between complete knowledge that Paul hopes for, and the present in which faith, hope, and love remain. However, it is more likely that this verse is a summing up of what has gone before, and either so or “Meanwhile” would accurately fit the context.
Both of these make sense to me ... here are the uses from 1 Corinthians 12 that are mentioned in that last paragraph.
1 Cor 12:17-18 wrote:εἰ ὅλον τὸ σῶμα ὀφθαλμός, ποῦ ἡ ἀκοή; εἰ ὅλον ἀκοή, ποῦ ἡ ὄσφρησις; νυνὶ δὲ ὁ θεὸς ἔθετο τὰ μέλη, ἓν ἕκαστον αὐτῶν ἐν τῷ σώματι καθὼς ἠθέλησεν.
It's hard to give that particular use a temporal interpretation. The usage in 19-20 is similar:
1 Cor 12:19-20 wrote:εἰ δὲ ἦν τὰ πάντα ἓν μέλος, ποῦ τὸ σῶμα; νῦν δὲ πολλὰ μὲν μέλη, ἓν δὲ σῶμα.
So I think I'm beginning to believe that νυνὶ δὲ μένει might simply be in apposition to the previous τότε - ·ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην. νυνὶ δὲ μένει ...

And maybe renderings like "meanwhile" or "as it is" are perfectly reasonable. (FWIW, I do think reading this left-to-right is also reasonable.)

What do you think?
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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