Re: 1 John 4:13ff

From: David L. Moore (
Date: Sun Apr 06 1997 - 15:59:02 EDT

Carl W. Conrad ( wrote:

>Jonathan has already responded to these questions; I'd like to offer a
>slightly different slant on the first and a clarification regarding the

>At 6:06 PM -0600 4/4/97, Tom Launder wrote:
>>Hello all,
>>I have a couple questions on 1 John 4:13;15
>>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?"
>First, I think that the most significant parallel to 1 Jn 4:13 is probably
>in the prologue of the gospel, Jn 1:16 hOTI EK TOU PLHRWMATOS AUTOU hHMEIS
>PANTES ELABOMEN KAI CARIN ANTI CARITOS. It is moreover, a recurrent major
>theme in the gospel and one could point in particular to chapters 3
>(dialogue with Nicodemus on spiritual rebirth), 4 (dialogue with the
>Samaritan woman over living water (3:14) TO hUDWR hO DWSW AUTWi, OU MH
>hUDATOS ALLOMENOU EIS ZWHN AIWNION) and 6 (dialogue on bread of life).
>Secondly, while it is certainly true, as Jonathan has said and as Micheal
>Palmer has said in a different way, that PNEUMATOS is genitive because EK
>must be construed with a genitive, I think it should be added that EK +
>genitive may function in Koine in the same way that a partitive genitive
>itself functioned as a complement to a verb in earlier phases of Greek. Let
>me use a simplistic but not unuseful (I think) example: PINW TOU OINOU is
>classical Greek expressing the sense "I'm sipping some wine" while PINW TON
>OINON (which one is far less likely to see) would mean something like "I'm
>gulping down (whatever) wine (is available). Now it seems to me that the
>gospel and the first letter of John in the passage you have cited are
>indicating that PNEUMA or the PLHRWMA or the hUDWR ZWON provided to
>believers by Jesus are inexhaustible sources from which the believer draws
>to sustain ZWHN AIWNION. One partakes of it, i.e, one takes part of it--one
>does not take it all nor could one possibly do so. In that sense, then, I
>think it is valid to understand the expression EK TOU PNEUMATOS AUTOU in 1
>Jn 4:13 as a partitive one.

        We might also want to take a look at Numbers 11:17, 25 in the LXX
where God promises to take of the spirit (AFELW APO TOU PNEUMATOS) which is
upon Moses and put it upon the seventy elders. Both the verb used here and
the preposition indicate a definite partitive idea, even suggesting that
something is being subtracted from Moses. (In this, it goes further than
the NT examples cited, as Carl has pointed out.) But the main point in the
Numbers passage has to do with the *identity* of the spirit in Moses and the
spirit received by the seventy elders. This idea is also present in 1Jn.
4:13 (and probably also in Jn. 1:16 as mentioned above) since it is in the
manifestation of the divine agape love that we are to recognize the Spirit's
presence in us (Cf. v. 11, 12).

        The usage that John gives to AGAPH in this epistle suggests he may
be employing the word as a technical term for Christian love - first
manifest in God's love for us (v. 10) - and then, toward others by those who
are born of God (vv. 7, 8).


David L. Moore E-mail:

Miami, Florida, USA Home Page:

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:38:11 EDT