Re: Eph 4:20 EMAQETE TON CRISTON - why accusative?

From: Dale M. Wheeler (
Date: Sat Feb 15 1997 - 13:14:30 EST

Let me suggest that the reason the accusatives after EMAQETE in v 20 and
HKOUSATE in v 21 are there is because the ARE direct objects after all. The
problem lies not in the grammar but in the semantics; I take it that both
are figures of speech, specifically Metonomy of the Subject (ie., a person
or thing is put in place of what they represent, do, etc...see Bullinger,
Figures, for examples).

Thus v. 20 means "You'all were not taught thusly [that such things were
appropriate and part of] the GOSPEL concerning the Messiah (and its

V. 21 means "Since indeed you'all have heard the gospel concerning him and
you now in Him [I take it that this usage of EN AUTWi means "as
Christians"] have been instructed, which instruction matches the life we
see lived by the man named Jesus..."

Sometimes solutions aren't "grammatical" at all, but involve other issues
of the meanings of words; figures, I've found, are the most difficult to
pick up immediately, since we as English "thinkers" don't necessarily
"think" the same way the author/audience in the 1st century did...these
types of idioms are the most difficult things to pick up going from any one
language to another; do any of you English-only speakers know what "I going
to smear honey on his beard." means ?? German speakers have just as much
trouble with "I going to butter him up." While these are different types of
figures I'd suggest that the point still is valid; figures happen in other
languages at spots non-native speakers don't necessarily expect.

Let me suggest another place where I think a metonomy occurs, namely PNEUMA
is put for PNEUMATIKOS, ie., "spiritual gift" (the thing the Spirit gives)
all through 1 Cor 14; the interpretive key I'd suggest is in verse 12,
"Since you are zealous for 'spirits'..." I doubt that the Corinthians were
eagerly seeking multiple human spirits, multiple demons, multiple Holy
Spirits, multiple bottles of vodka, gin, and whiskey, etc.; rather Paul is
simply reiterating what he said early and what has been implicit in the
entire discussion in chs 12-14, namely that the Corinthians were fascinated
by the variey of spiritual gifts and wanted to experience all they could,
especially the one which brought great attention to the possessor/exerciser
of the gift. If its a consistent figure in Ch 14, then what does that mean
PNEUMA signifies in vv 2, 14, 15, 16, 32 ?


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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