From: James H. Vellenga (
Date: Tue Jan 07 1997 - 08:42:15 EST

From Ellen Adams:
> Well, parsing ZHLOUTE as indicative makes an easy interpretation for 12:31.
> Unfortunaely, there is a parallel sentence at the beginning of Chapter 14:
> there is a natural tendency in most of us to want to interpret something
> which occurs in one place the same way as we do when it occurs elsewhere in
> a similar setting. Friberg parses DIWKETE as imperartive; also, according
> to my ancient but better than nothing Wigrams it is imperative. There is no
> 2nd plural indicative listed to compare it to. Even if it might be parsed
> as indicative (which is looks very much like it might be), the context here
> seems to dicate an imperative. Thus the ZHLOUTE in 14:1 should also be seen
> as imperative.
> (Perhaps this occurance in 14:1 is what has compelled translators to view
> 12:31 to also be imperative. Of course such speculation is far beyond our
> scope.)
> So would the simple fact that 12:31 would make more sense as an indicative
> than imperative bear sufficient weight to interpret it that way despite the
> fact that 14:1 is imperative and that most translations render 12:31 as
> imperative?
I think we sometimes demand more from an analysis of the
Greek syntax than we expect of our own mother tongues. In
English, we can sometimes use what appears to be present
indicative or future indicative as a form of imperative:

  "OK, Bugsy, you wait five minutes, and then you come
  bustin' in the back door."

  "OK, Bugsy, you'll wait five minutes, and then you'll
  come bustin' in the back door."

We the listeners (or readers) add from our own experience
and the context the implication that the speaker is giving
directions to Bugsy and telling him to do something. So
syntactically these sentences are not imperatives, but
practically they are.

I'm not sure that that applies to 1 Cor 14.1, but the context
there seems to demand an imperative interpretation, in that
Paul goes on to encourage prophesy rather than tongues
(primarily) in public meetings.

What puzzles me more in 14.1, however, is the significance
of the first DE. If I try to recast the verse in English,
I get something like

  Keep pursuing the love, yet keep "obsessing over the
  spiritual [stuff]," but especially so that you can
  keep prophesying.

The DE, rendered here as "yet", seems (to me) to put the
emphasis on ZHLOUTE TA PNEUMATIKA, where I would expect

I'm wondering if one shouldn't break the sentence and the
paragraph otherwise, so as to get something like

  ...Keep pursuing the love!

  Now do keep "obsessing over the spiritual [stuff]," but
  especially so that you can keep prophesying....

On 12.31, I find myself (reluctantly) disagreeing with Carl.
I here (as above) give ZHLOUTE a negative sense -- in general
ZHLOUW seems to indicate passionate feeling, whether good or
bad. My choice to do so is that after Paul's arguments about
the necessity in balance among the gifts, it "feels" better
to interpret the sentence as

  Yet you keep obsessing over the "greater gifts"!

than as

  Now/yet keep being passionate about the greater gifts.

The latter would make more sense as an introduction to chapter
14, whereas the former seems to make a better segue to the
arguments of chapter 13.


James H. Vellenga |
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