Translation comments on Philippians 3:12

From: Eric Weiss (
Date: Thu Sep 04 1997 - 22:31:14 EDT

I wrote a note to someone today in which I quoted Philippians 3:12, and
then off-the-cuff translated it something along the lines of "in order
that I may lay hold of [KJV - "apprehend"] that for which (EF' hWi) also
I was laid hold of [KJV - "apprehended"] by Christ Jesus" - a la New
American Standard Version.

That's the danger of knowing an English translation too well!

As I was reading Romans 5 later today, I came across the same phrase -
EF' hWi - at Romans 5:12 - and remembered that it should be translated
"BECAUSE all sinned."

Turning back to Philippians 3:12, we thus should have -"in order that I
may lay hold of [it], BECAUSE also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus" -
a quite different meaning.

Looking at my Precise Parallel New Testament (Greek + 7 English
translations), KJV, NASB, NIV and Amplified follow the former
translation; NAB (New American Bible) and NRSV follow the latter; Rheims
seems to follow the latter also ("wherein"). [Others: REB (Revised
English Bible) and NJB (New Jerusalem) pick the former; Moffat picks the
latter.] At Romans 5:12, the first 6 use the equivalent of "because";
Rheims translates "in whom" - thus the NAB and NRSV (and possibly
Rheims) are consistent here. [Moffat is consistent, too; REB and NJB are

Bauer's (BAGD) Lexicon likewise translates EF' hWi [ = EPI TOUTWi hOTI]
as "for this reason that, because" - p. 287, II.1.b.gamma (near end of
paragraph) - and cites BOTH Romans 5:12 AND Philippians 3:12 as examples
of this (though it cites an article that disagrees with the causal sense
at Romans 5:12).

It seems consistency and BAGD would favor "because" in both places.

My Kohlenberger-Goodrick-Swanson Exhaustive Greek Concordance (p. 337 -
#2093) lists Acts 7:33, Romans 5:12, 2 Corinthians 5:4, Philippians 3:12
and Philippians 4:10 as all the NT occurrences of EF' hWi.
* Acts 7:33 probably means "where" or "on which"
* 2 Cor 5:4 "for the reason that" or "because"
* Philippians 4:10 shows many translations favoring "indeed," which is
the BAGD suggestion for this verse, though it seems to me that "for the
reason that, because" might also work here.
So of its five occurrences, it looks like possibly 4 of them could be
translated "for the reason that, because."

Any comments why many translations go for "lay hold of THAT FOR WHICH
also I was laid hold of" at Philippians 3:12, when it seems that
"BECAUSE" not only works but is probably preferable?

"Eric S. Karol-Ann Weiss"

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