Re: Some clarity on DIA

From: Eric Weiss (
Date: Wed Mar 19 1997 - 22:06:00 EST

>>Alan M Feuerbacher (
Wed, 19 Mar 1997 17:28:53 -0800


>>I'd like to get some input on the meaning of the Greek DIA. Most
of the time it means "through" or "by" or something similar, but
it sometimes has other meanings. How does one distinguish among
the various meanings to understand a particular passage when the
context provides an apparently uncertain guide?...<<

The simple answer is that when the object of the preposition DIA is in
the genitive case, DIA is to be translated "through" - with all the
various meanings "through" can have, e.g., place, time ("during"),
agency ("by means of"), etc. - hence one DIA can mean the agent
"through" which or whom something is done, and another DIA can mean the
person who does the action, whether through another person or agent or
strictly solo. Context and one's theology may at times have to be the
determining factor.

When the object is in the accusative case, DIA is to be translated "by
reason of," "because of," "for the sake of," etc.

(Micheal Palmer's March 13 post "Re: Object of the preposition" deals
with prepositions and their cases at length, and even uses DIA as an
example. Check it out in the archives.)

The choice of "through" or "for" is usually pretty cut-and-dried, though
what is meant by, e.g., "through," may at times be subject to more than
one possibility. It can get interesting when you come across a passage
like Romans 8:11 where some manuscripts have DIA TOU... (i.e., genitive,
translated "through his indwelling spirit") and other manuscripts have
DIA TO... (i.e., accusative, translated "because of his indwelling

Look up the reference to DIA in the Bauer or Abbott-Smith lexicons
(lexica?) for lengthy lists of examples.

Of course, if your question (and hence the answer) is not a simple one,
then I trust the other readers will also respond.

"Eric S. and Karol-Ann Weiss"

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:38:10 EDT