Re: eis aphesin hamartiwn

From: James H. Vellenga (
Date: Fri May 24 1996 - 08:34:49 EDT

Don Partain writes:
> Perhaps the clearest way to demonstrate that EIS APHESIN does indeed mean "in
> order to obtain the forgiveness of sins" is to see its usage in
> Matt.26:28:"for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for
> many for forgiveness of sins (EIS APHESIN)." Did Jesus mean to say that He
> shed His blood in order to forgive our sins--or that He shed His blood
> because our sins were already forgiven? Even so, "let each of you be
> baptized in the name of Jesus Christ EIS APHESIN..." (Acts 2:38).

Allow me to demur and to state reasons.

In English (by way of analogy), the "meaning" of a preposition is
determined not only by the object of the preposition but also by what
the prepositional phrase hangs off of. Consider, for example, the
phrase "for the Patriots" (New England football team):

  Robert Kraft paid X million dollars for (in exchange for) the

  Tony Eason played quarterback for (on behalf of or under the direction
  of) the Patriots.

  My family cheers for (in favor of) the Patriots.

With this in mind I have collected below most (I think) of the NT
references that combine BAPTIZW with EIS. I would make the following

-- In each case (except _possibly_ Acts 2.38) the object of EIS is in
existence before the act of BAPTIZW.

-- Except for Mark 1.9, the medium of baptism (whether water, spirit,
fire, cloud, or sea) is related to BAPTIZW by EN or by the unadorned
dative rather than by EIS (although I haven't listed all those

-- In most cases, in baptism the baptizee somehow seems to be
appropriating or recognizing something which already exists. Cf.
especially Matt 3.11 "I'm really baptizing you EN water EIS repentance."

So my take is that the grammar permits but does not require EIS in Acts
2.38 to be interpreted as "in order to obtain", and even if we do so
interpret it, it doesn't mean that the forgiveness follows or is even
dependent on the baptism.

Jim V.

James H. Vellenga |
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Matt 3.11: I'm really baptizing you EN water EIS repentance.

Matt 28.19: baptizing them EIS the name of the Father and of the Son and
of the Sacred Spirit

Mark 1.9: Jesus came ... and was baptized EIS the Jordan by John.

Acts 2.38: Repent, and have each of you get baptized EPI the name of
Jesus Christ EIS forgiveness of your sins.

Acts 8.16: they had only been baptized EIS the name of the Lord Jesus
(and sim. Acts 19.5)

Rom 6.3: Or are you unaware that as many of us as were baptized EIS
Christ Jesus were baptized EIS his death?

1 Cor 1.15: so that none of you could say that you were baptized EIS my

Gal 3.27 because as many of you as were baptized EIS Christ ....

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