Re: predicate adjectives

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed Feb 05 1997 - 11:59:06 EST

At 9:53 AM -0600 2/5/97, Jonathan Robie wrote:
>OK. As I understand it then, I don't see anything in the *syntax* to make me
>prefer one of these readings:
>1. "All scripture (that is) divinely-inspired (is) also useful for
>2. "All scripture (is) divinely inspired, and is also useful for instruction
>The first seems to be Edgar's interpretation, in which the concern is that
>some scriptures are authentic, and others are not. It is consistent with a
>late date model.

 According to BDF#275.3 PAS with an anarthrous substantive means
"every(one)"--so that here PASA GRAFH ought to mean "every (passage of)
 Accordingly I'd read it like 2 above, but make it "Every (section/passage
of) scripture is divinely-inspired and also useful for ..." I really prefer
(2), but frankly I think either of the alternatives is consistent with
either an early OR a late dating. I don't think the dating hangs on this
verse at all. I think, moreover, that the intent of this particular
assertion is that passages of scripture, since they are inspired, may be
profitably employed for the purposes indicated. That is, the writer is
explaining HOW and WHY scripture may be used appropriately within the

>Louw and Nida say that GRAFH means "a particular passage of the OT -
>"Scripture, Scripture passage." LEGEI GAR hH GRAFH, PAS hO PISTEUWN EP AUTW
>OU KATAISXUNQHSETAI 'for the Scripture says, Whoever believes in him will
>not be disappointed' Ro 10:11.
>I was hoping this would give me a definite answer, but it opens up some
>questions for me:
>1. Is GRAFH used for NT canonical writings in the first few centuries? If
>so, what are the earliest instances of this usage?

This is a larger question that would need to be checked very carefully in
relevant patristic texts. The problem, however, with the way you've
formulated it, Jonathan, is that we can't really talk about a "canon" for
the first three centuries or so, although it is clear that the question
about which Christian writings ought to be considered authoritative is
first raised (if I remember rightly) by Marcion in the middle of the second
century. I think we might be able to discover by carefully studying
contexts just when and where in patristic writings GRAFH is being used of
distinctly Christian writings deemed to be authentic. I'm not sure,
however, that this will offer any definitive guidance regarding 2 Tim 3:18.

>2. Is the absence of the article for GRAFH in PAS GRAFH significant?

Yes. See my reference above to BDF.

>I was hoping this would be easier than Ephesians ;->

But it IS! Don't you think?

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR

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