Re: Structure and Purpose of Biblical Books?

From: Paul S. Dixon (
Date: Wed Sep 17 1997 - 23:56:34 EDT

Carl Conrad wrote:

>I certainly don't mean that a perception of an author's purpose cannot
>be or should not be considered as it bears upon a specific Biblical
>text, and I wouldn't want to be misunderstood here. It's a matter
>rather of proportion and judgment, I'd say: does the larger but still
>context of the Greek text of this verse illuminate what the writer
>intends this verse to mean? Then by all means bring that context to

Yes, I thought and still think that a larger picture (purpose, style and
methodology employed by John) have some bearing upon the interpretation
of 1:6-10. I addressed the three purpose clauses (hINA clauses) and
argued how they all relate to the final statement (5:13). If so, then
the discussion in 1:6-10 should probably be viewed in light of this. I
showed John's significant use of GINWSKW (26x) and OIDA (16x) to this
end, then illustrated John's constant recurring theme stated and
developed throughout the epistle (perhaps here especially you took
offense). And, since I had already enumerated countless times John's use
of the customary/habitual present tense throughout (cf 3:6-8 especially
where such use is undeniable; still haven't heard Dale's explanation to
the contrary here; as well as that use in 3:9), I did not feel it
necessary to do so again.

In previous posts I had heard it stated at least two or three times that
"John is not trying to construct a theology of sin or a litmus test to
help us decide which of our brethren are really saved." This told me that
the purpose of John probably needed addressing and that the only possible
hope for resolution of differences may lie in a clarification of such.

>the meaning of the Greek text of this verse be understood without
>formulating a hypothetical structural analysis of the entire document?
If it can't,
>then I'm inclined to think that one would do better to publish one's own
>commentary on that document rather than initiate a higher-critical
>discussion of the document as a whole here.

Carl, I appreciate your concern. It is a fine line. But, I honestly do
not think I crossed over. If you feel I have, then I humbly request that
some consideration be given for the loosening of the quidelines just a
tad. I do feel the b-greek list has by far the best scholarly
interaction, and that if we are allowed a little more freedom to chase
the rabbit wherever it goes, then the hunt could be even more exciting
and rewarding. Besides, some of this stuff very well could end up in a

Your sincere and respectful friend,

Paul Dixon

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