Re: Some clarity on DIA

From: H. Fred Nofer (
Date: Fri Mar 21 1997 - 21:55:38 EST

On Wed, 19 Mar 1997 21:06:00 -0600 Eric Weiss <> writes:
>>>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
>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,
>what is meant by, e.g., "through," may at times be subject to more
>one possibility.

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

>"Eric S. and Karol-Ann Weiss"
I like the basic concepts for understanding DIA Eirc has outlined. The
problem I have had with following through with using "through" and "for"
for DIA with the genetive is not with the Greek but with the English. My
Thorndike/Barnhart two volume dictionary lists 6 definitions for the
English preposition "through" and 19 for the preposition "for." Using
either of these in translation, IMHO, renders it almost meaningless for
accuracy. I have found that starting with "by means of" for DIA with the
genetive clarifies numerous translations and opens the door for many

As for DIA with the accusative, "on account of" or "because of" makes for
a good starting place for me.

By way of example, I find the various, and to me herrendous, translations
for Romans 4:25 to be a case in point. For the hOS PAREDOQH DIA TA
delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justifiaction,"
which has given rise to all sorts of erroneous theology by those who
posit two different meanings for "for" in the verse. The NIV, the ASV
and the RSV perpetuate the misconception, again using two "fors," and the
NEB outright states that the Lord was "raised to life to justify us." I
have found only the NASB to correctly translate the verse "...who was
delivered up because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our

* H. Fred Nofer, Th.D., Pastor-teacher *
* Faith Bible Church "XARITI QEOU" *
* 244 Courtney Lane
* Reno, NV 89523 e-mail: *

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