RE: predicate adjectives

From: Dale M. Wheeler (
Date: Thu Feb 06 1997 - 11:51:01 EST

Fred Nofer wrote:

>>1. Is GRAFH used for NT canonical writings in the first few centuries? If
>>so, what are the earliest instances of this usage?
>These are not extra-biblical citations, but would seem to support for
>your previous conclusions.
>Though the plural, GRAFAS, is used, it seems as though Peter is referring
>to some of Paul's writings, at least, as being Scripture in II Peter
>Also, in I Timothy 5:18, GRAFH is apparently used to refer to both Deut.
>25:4 and Luke 10:7.

Let me suggest--and that's all it is at this point--for your consideration
that GRAFH is used to refer to NT "writings" in James 2:8, ie., the
NOMON...BASILIKON refers to statements by Jesus, our King, and the quote is
intended to reflect Jesus' discourse on the matter (cf., Matt 5:43; 19:19;
22:39; cmp., John 13:35; 1John 2:7-11) rather than the OT (Lev 19:18)(in
addition, the "quotes" in 2:11 could just as easily be referenced to Jesus
as well, since it is hO...EIPWN [He who said...], not TO...EIPWN [That
which says...] and thus refer to statements like those recorded in Matt
19:19 rather than Ex 20:13; Deut 5:17). This use of NOMOS to refer to the
New Covenant as expounded by Jesus is not unusual (cf., Rom 3:27; Gal 6:2;
1Cor 9:21) and James has used NOMOS previously with other terms which seem
to indicate that he is thinking in terms of the Gospel (="word") and its
implications (eg., 1:25 NOMON TELEION, cf., TELEIOS in 1:3, 17; 1:25
NOMON...TON THS ELEUQERIAS), ie., it looks like for James the New Covenant
brings about "maturity" and "freedom". This use of GRAFH would at least be
consistent with 2Peter 3:15f. and 1Tim 5:18.

I realize that one of the normal ways to deal with this passage is to see
NOMON BASILIKON as referring to Jesus' statements in some way, and then the
use of KATA THN GRAFHN is thought to indicate that His statements are
consistent with the OT, but I've always felt that such a reading packed an
awful lot into those three words, so the above *suggestion*.


Dale M. Wheeler, Th.D.
Research Professor in Biblical Languages Multnomah Bible College
8435 NE Glisan Street Portland, OR 97220
Voice: 503-251-6416 FAX:503-254-1268 E-Mail:

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