Re: exegetical significance

From: Carlton Winbery (
Date: Tue Aug 12 1997 - 06:19:01 EDT

Jonathan Robbie wrote;

>I think that most of us agree that a list of Greek elements is the wrong way
>to go about this. So what is the right way to go about it? I think that the
>best approach is often to try to learn what is exegetically significant
>about specific *passages* rather than to make a laundry list of grammatical
>elements. Here are some aids I find useful for this - I discuss this on my
>"Little Greek Home Page" at
>"", but here are a few
>points worth repeating:
In defense of Jonathan and his earlier request, I would admit to having
looked for just such a list myself. However, I would second Carl Conrad's
comments on this request. Not only is no human inerrant, I doubt if
anything in human language can be inerrant either, but that's an old saw.
And yet in a way, there is nothing in the text that is totally
insignificant because the writer used it in the process of communication.

I am reminded of a sermon I read from Charles Davis in Canada. The title
was, "The Lust for Certitude." I'd love to get to the point that I could
say that I have found the only possible meaning for something in human
language. Then I would not have to live between heaven and earth by faith.

>I find grammatical commentaries very helpful, and they are reasonably
>accessible to beginning Greek exegetes. I have two, one written by a
>Catholic, and one written by a Southern Baptist: A Grammatical Analysis of
>the Greek New Testament, Max Zerwick and Mary Grosvenor. Rome: Biblical
>Institute Press, 1981. ISBN 88-7653-588-8, and Word Pictures in the New
>Testament, A.T.Robertson. Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist
>Convention, 1930. ISBN: 0-8010-7710. I rather think Zerwick and Robertson
>would have had wonderful conversations if they had met.
>2. Scriptural indexes in grammars
>I find it really helpful to look up passages in the indexes of my grammars
>and read the comments they make on specific points. Most of the really
>important exegetical points will be discussed in Robertson's Massive Yellow
>Tome (A Grammar of the New Testament in the Light of Historical Research, A.
>T. Robertson, Broadman-Holmann, 1934. ISBN: 0-8054-1308-1.)
>3. B-Greek
>If you *suspect* something may be significant, ask about it here. Hey, if
>some of the people who hang out here can't answer your question, you are
>going to have a hard time finding an answer in print! I find B-Greek a
>pretty amazing resource.
>4. Technical commentaries
>By this, I mean commentaries that discuss the way the Greek is being used.
>These are generally too expensive for me, and I rarely get down to the
>library to check them out, but they can be really helpful.
Now this is on the right track. Get all the help you can and pray.

Carlton L. Winbery
Fogleman Professor of Religion
Chair, Division of Religious Studies
voice 318 487-7241
fax 318 442-4996

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