RE: Eph. 2:8

From: Dale M. Wheeler (
Date: Sat Mar 22 1997 - 18:25:01 EST

Steven M. Baugh wrote:

>William Dicks wrote:
>>I'm busy reading through Ephesians. I am not a Greek expert. I
>>finished Greek at college in 1986. I did well but since leaving
>>college I haven't kept up my Greek. However, in Eph. 2:8 it tells us
>>about the gift of God. Does it refer to salvation(I think so) or to
>>the faith mentioned?
>Hi William,
>I think there are two options both hanging on how you interpret TOUTO:
>(1) TOUTO points to and agrees in its parsing with DWRON (both neuter
>nom. sing.). It is like a postcedent (rather than an antecedent) with
>relative pronouns. Paraphrase: "and this (gift) is not from you, it is a
>gift from God" (QEOU as a genitive of source). Now the question is,
>"What gift?" Some people may take the gift as PISTEWS merely because it
>is closest. [See Phil. 1:29 for an unambiguous statement that
>faith--PISTEUEIN--is a divine gift.] However, it may also be that the
>whole event in Eph. 2:8a is the gift: 'salvation by grace through faith'
>is God's gift. Now we go to option #2.
>(2) In Greek, predications (statements) are viewed grammatically as
>neuter singualar "things." This is evident when a hOTI clause (or an
>infinitive clause) is used as the subject in a predicate statement with
>an adjective as the corresponding predicate; the adjective is neuter
>singular. For instance, Gal. 3:11 has a OTI ("that") clause as the
>subject and neut. sing. DHLON ("clear" "evident") as predicate: "*That*
>no one is justified by the law before God (is) *clear*." (DHLON is used
>quite often in Greek writers in this expression.)
>So then, TOUTO may point not to DWRON but to the statement of 2:8a which
>is grammatically conceived as neuter singular. Hence we end up with the
>same interpretation possible under #1; Paraphrase: "For by grace you
>have been saved through faith--and this grace-faith-salvation did not
>originate from you, it comes as a gift from God." While it is possible
>to view the verb ("you have been saved") as technically the neuter
>singular "thing," it still is qualified in this context by grace and
>faith and so can not be abstracted out from these elements.
>Interpretation #2 is my preference, even though #1 is plausible.

I think there is a lengthy discussion of this issue in the archives...

In support of Steven's choice for #2 is the fact that KAI TOUTO has become
virtually a frozen compound conjunction meaning "and at that, and
especially", and which implies the repetition of the entire preceding
verbal phrase (BAGD, sv. "hOUTOS," 1.b.gamma; BDF #132,2; look at the

BTW, while I respect Steven's right to read Phil 1:29 as referring to the
"gift of faith" (ie., I have NO desire to get into this theological
labyrinth), I would, IMHO, disagree that XARIZOMAI should be read in such
an absolute sense (ie., from the standpoint of Greek, "granting" something
doesn't automatically infer that the "gift" MUST be accepted); I think its
just the granting of an opportunity, just as the flip side of the statement
is...not all believers suffer (1Pet 1:6).

Another thing has recently struck me about many of the posts to bgreek
(maybe its just me ??; and please don't take offense William [the original
poster]); many of the questions asked can be resolved by a quick check of
the BAGD Lexicon or a standard grammar like Blass-DeBrunner-Funk. I'm just
wondering why more questions and answers don't cite the tools...just musing
outloud...feel free to ignore !

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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