Re: PaulFEvans: Re. 1 Cor. 3:10-17 (still!)

From: Jim Beale (
Date: Sun May 25 1997 - 19:00:00 EDT

At 2:25 PM -0400 5/22/97, Paul F. Evans wrote:

>The use of EI with the future tense I take it, is a fairly std. way of
>expressing a subjunctive type of action (I am not sure if I should say
>condtional rather than subjunctive). Paul uses this form throughout the
>middle part of this paragraph where he moves from the present tense, and
>expressing the factuality of the foundation that has been laid and that
>someone else is building on it.

present tense, is related to the apodosis in the future tense,
which here seems to express a causal connection rather than an
implication. The force of EI TIS seems to be one of generalization,
"Whatever anyone builds upon the foundation ..." The future tense
of the apodosis relate to the eschatological future judgment. The
idea seems to be, Whatever is built on the foundation will be made
known, whether it was built of sound materials or not.

But you are interested in EI+future in verses 14 and 15! These
verses relate the consequences which follow from an examination
of the quality of the work built upon the foundation. Whereas
vv. 12-13 expressed a causal relation, vv. 14,15 express a logical
relation. The logic can be stated as a material equivalence: "If
A, then B; and if ~A, then ~B." This can be understood in terms
of the material equivalence of A and B.

In detail, that is (since I know Paul Dixon will be interested in

   If anyone's work which he has built on the foundation endures,
   then he will receive a reward.

   If anyone's work which he has built on the foundation does
   not endure, then he will not receive a reward (an important
   concession follows - salvation is not of works!)

That is, we have, (A => B) && (~A => ~B). But (~A => ~B), by
transposition, is equivalent to (B => A). So (A => B) && (B => A)
is, by definition, material equivalence, (A == B). That is, one's
reward is directly proportional to the quality/quantity of his work;
perhaps it just _is_ his reward [?] (compare hUMEIS GAR ESTE hH DOCA
hHMWN KAI hH XARA, 1 Thess. 2:20).

>However, in the last part of the
>paragraph there appears to be a slightly diferent construction; EI with
>the present tense FQEIREI. Is is fair to say that what Paul expresses
>here seems to be somewhat less tenuous than the EI with the future tense
>might be?

This is perhaps resumptive (anti-symmetric) of the present tense in
v.12. FQEIRW seems to express a thought contrary to EPOIKODOMEW.

The order of thought in the passage seems to be,

(a) in building up the church, all of one's building efforts will be
tested/made manifest on the Day of judgment.
(b) to the extent that impure building materials are used, one
loses what reward he would have had if all pure building materials
had been used.
(c) those who damage the church will themselves be damaged by God.

The bottom line is: use proper building materials, i.e. sound doctrine.
Any admixture with false doctrine results in a building that will
not survive the test of fire. Hodge says, "False doctrine can no more
stand the test of the Day of Judgment than hay or stubble can stand a
raging conflagration." It is better to have a small "building" with
pure materials than a large one with impure materials.

>That is, is he expressing a certain and definite consequence
>and outcome to destroying the temple by use of EI with the present,
>whereas the by using the EI with the future he expresses more of a
>hypothetical situation, namely building with unsuitable materials? Does
>it naturally follow in general that in Greek the use of EI with the
>present expresses an anticipated outcome, whereas the future with EI a

EI TIS in v. 17 seems to have the same force as in v. 12, that is,
one of generalization. Here I'd say EI TIS has the force "Whoever ..."

In Christ,
Jim Beale

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