Re: EN + dative in Eph 5:18

From: kdlitwak (
Date: Tue May 06 1997 - 21:45:50 EDT

I didn't see the citation of Dan Wallace but I'd have to agree with
Edgar Krentz (which I of course do not do begrudgingly). Since EN +
dative allows for both a locative or instrumental sense, and since the
genitive is used for a pesonal agent while the dative seems to be more
often associated with an impoersonal means by which something happens
(this is my feeling, not based on sadistical analysis), and given the
context that Paul seems to be comparing being filled with wine to being
filled with the Spirit, it seems pefectly natural, as well as
grammatically acceptable to understand this construction to mean that
believers should be filled up with the Spirit.

    I hasten to add, however, that there are a great many places in
Paul's letters, such as Galatians 5 (if you think Galatians is
Pauline*), in which there is definite ambiguity, possibly intentional on
Paul's part, over how to construe the dative. Does Paul exhort the
Galatians to walk by the Spirit or in the Spirit? I opt for the former,
though I have chosen a different understanding of the dative in Eph 5:18

Ken Litwak
Graudate Theological Union
Berserkely, CA

* I take strenuous exception to the quite arbitrary decision to make
Romans and Galatians normative and then use this decision as an assured
result to decide which other letters could or could not be by Paul.
Imagine the results if we decided that the Patorals were the normative
guide (that wouldn't change anything for but it would for some!)

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