Re: 2 Cor. 5:19

Date: Thu Aug 24 1995 - 22:22:41 EDT

Pastor Ron Stevens wrote,
"Gentlemen: [some might take issue with that word]

I've been "lurking" here for while and have found your discussions

I'm hoping you will help me resolve a dilemma with 2nd Corinthians 5:19.
While the question has to do with the English, I'm hoping that your
knowledge of Greek will reveal the answer. I've been challenged concerning
this verse, as to the intended meaning of the conjunction "in".

2Cor. 5:19 KJV "...God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself..."
2Cor. 5:19 NIV "...God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ..."

Was God IN (i.e. within) Christ, as the KJV punctuation implies, or was God
reconciling the world INn (by means of) Christ, as the NIV indicates.

I HAVE a position on this issue, but am hard pressed to prove it

Thank you, in advance, for your comments."

I realize that Carl Conrad and Ed Krentz have already answered this, but I'd
like to make some observations and duck.

I think Carl is right that the enclosure of EN CRISTWi KOSMON by the verb to
be and the participle with which it forms a periphrasis means that the
enclosed words modify the periphrastic construction. But is it instrumental?
 That is not impossible but rare in NT Greek for this would be personal
agency which is more often expressed by the genitive case. Exceptions can be
found for eg. in Mt 12:24 (EN TWi BEELZEBOUL), Acts 17:31 (EN ANDRI), etc. I
would opt for the possibility of a dative of sphere, i.e., in the sphere of
Christ work on the cross. God was in Christ--on the cross. See Moultman,
The Crucified God or Donald Bailey, God Was in Christ.

Carlton Winbery
Fogleman Prof. NT & Greek
LA College, Pineville, LA
(318) 487-7241 Fax (318) 487-7425 off. or (318) 442-4996 home or

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