From: Eric Weiss (email@example.com)
Date: Mon Jun 23 1997 - 23:42:06 EDT
John 3:16 and GAR
J. Harold Greenlee in A CONCISE EXEGETICAL GRAMMAR OF NEW TESTAMENT
GREEK (fifth edition, revised) states: "1. GAR, 'for,'
(postpositive--cannot stand first in its clause). Always refers to
something preceding (like "for" in English), never to something
following." (p. 71).
While this seems to be the majority usage according to most grammars,
BAGD states that GAR under certain circumstances functions as DE (p.
152, item 4.), and Smyth ( #2811) states that "Anticipatory GAR states
the cause, justifies the utterance, or gives the explanation, of
something set forth in the main clause which FOLLOWS. The main clause
usually contains an inferential word, a demonstrative pointing backward,
or KAI, DE, ALLA; or stands without a connective. Anticipatory GAR may
often be rendered by SINCE, but it is often omitted in translation."
Greenlee thus seems to be too limiting in his explanation of the usage
Blass-Debrunner-Funk (#452) states: "GAR is one of the most common
particles in the NT, being used relatively least often in Jn, especially
in the Johannine Epistles; it is also rare in Rev." I looked up all the
usages of GAR in John, I-II-III John, and Revelation. Almost all usages
fit the majority usage of GAR to explain what precedes it, except:
- John 9:30 seems to use GAR as explaining what follows (APEKRIQH hO
ANQRWPOS KAI EIPEN AUTOIS, EN TOUTWi GAR TO QAUMASTON ESTIN,
hOTI hUMEIS OUK OIDATE POQEN ESTIN, KAI HNOIXEN MOU TOUS
- I John 5:3 seems to straddle the fence, referring both to 5:2 and what
follows in 5:3 (2. EN TOUTWi GINWSKOMEN hOTI AGAPWMEN TA TEKNA
TOU QEOU, hOTAN TON QEON AGAPWMEN KAI TAS ENTOLAS AUTOU
POIWMEN. 3. hAUTH GAR ESTIN hH AGAPH TOU QEOU, hINA TAS
ENTOLAS AUTOU THRWMEN, KAI hAI ENTOLAI AUTOU BAREIAI OUK ESTIN)
This leaves me with John 3:16. How would you view the use of GAR there:
1) As explaining what follows (the usual interpretation, I believe,
though such usage appears in a cursory appraisal to be highly irregular
for John) - i.e.:
BASIS/REASON: "Because God so (much) loved the world" (or: "For thus [in
this manner] God loved the world")
RESULT: "He gave his son...."
2) As explaining what precedes - i.e.:
BASIS/REASON: "Because God so loved the world, that he gave his only
RESULT: "everyone who believes can have eternal life in him" (3:15) or
"the son of man must be lifted up" (3:14b) or "Moses lifted up the
serpent in the wilderness" (3:14a)
3) Any other alternative?
Trying to figure this out while concurrently trying to relate the hWSTE
and hINA clauses in 3:16 with whatever interpretation I could best
conceive for GAR got to be too much for this tired brain!
-- "Eric S. (and Karol-Ann) Weiss" part-time grad student at The Criswell College http://home1.gte.net/eweiss/index.htm "Send those testimonies!" firstname.lastname@example.org
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