Re: Eph 1:17

From: James H. Vellenga (
Date: Wed Oct 02 1996 - 08:47:13 EDT

From Rob Elkington,
> Thanks to those of you who helped with Acts 7:55. I have another
> question to ask. I am particularly interested in Paul's usage of
> "pneuma" "pneumati" in Ephesians.
> The NIV renders "dwh umin pneuma sophias kai apokalupsews" " the
> Spirit of wisdom and revelation."
> Would it not be better to translate this "a spirit of wisdom and
> revelation"? since 1:13 declares "esfragisqhte tw pneumati..."

It seems to me that even with "a" the phrase remains ambiguous.
For example, if you simply capitalize "Spirit" you get

  ... may give you a Spirit of wisdom and of revelation ...

i.e., one could still interpret this as being "the Spirit," but
being referred to in a more general sense.

As an analogy, one could imagine a fragment of English that
refers to

  ... the wife of the President -- who has a wife of great insight
  and intelligence ...

(No particular president -- or country -- in mind, of course).
Clearly, "a wife" in this context still refers to a particular wife.

> Paul has already declared they have the Spirit {I think although I am
> wondering about that construction in 1:13 as well} but now wants them
> to have a certain attitude (or am I reading a Western concept back
> into that word "pneuma"?)
> (What too of the unusual "en epignwsei autou" - "in a knowledge of
> him"? rendered as a purpose clause in the NIV - "that you might know
> Him")

though often translated as "full knowledge," seems to me to refer
to a process of ongoing discovery, related to EPIGINWSKW (to find
out). Hence,

  ... a Spirit of wisdom and of a revelation in (or by means of)
  an ongoing discovery of him ...

Jim V.

James H. Vellenga |
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