Re: 1 John 4:13ff

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Sat Apr 05 1997 - 06:24:26 EST

Tom Launder wrote:

> 1. Can someone explain what the significance of EK TOU PNEUMATOS AUTOU?
> The preposition EK is referred to as being partitive and I am not sure
> what that would mean. Is it something like "He has given to us a part
> from the His Holy Spirit?"

Partitive genitive describes one kind of meaning that the genitive can have
- the fact that AUTOU is genitive is objectively true, whether it is
partitive is a matter of interpretation (and I don't think it is...but let
me first describe what partitive is), and TOU PNEUMATOS is also genitive.

Partitive genitive is used to say that one thing is a part of a whole; the
whole will be genitive:

                half *of* my *posessions*

                one tenth *of* *the* *city*

                the poor *of* *the* *saints*

The person who says this is a partitive genitive is saying that AUTOU is
genitive because the spirit is a part of God. But if the spirit belongs to
God in any sense at all, it would have to be genitive - whether it is God's
spirit, his word, his shoes, or whatever. AUTOU simply tells us that this is
*his* spirit.

The other genitive here is EK TOU PNEUMATOS. This is genitive because EK
always takes the genitive (this kind of genitive is called ablative by some
grammars). EK means "out of" or "from". God has given us of his spirit.

In context, I think that verse 12 tells us that if we love one another, God
abides in us, and we can know that we abide in him and he in us because he
has given us of his spirit: his spirit dwells within us, and we live in the
love which is the hallmark of his spirit.

2. Is the hOS EAN in v.15 a conditional clause dependent on v.15b? Some
translations say "whomever confesses" and others "if anyone." Are they
saying the same thing?

Yes. I believe the most literal translation would be: if anyone should

This is my understanding. If any of this is wrong, I'm sure others will jump in.


Jonathan Robie
POET Software, 3207 Gibson Road, Durham, N.C., 27703
Ph: 919.598.5728 Fax: 919.598.6728
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