Re: Hebrews 4:12-13 PROS hON hHMIN hO LOGOS

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Fri Oct 17 1997 - 17:27:54 EDT

At 6:03 PM -0500 10/17/97, Eric Weiss wrote:
>Hebrews 4:12-13
>After writing in Hebrews 4:2 that the readers had the gospel preached to
>them as the Israelites in the wilderness did, but that the message (hO
>LOGOS) did not profit them, since faith was not involved - and then
>warns his readers not to miss God's voice - in 4:12 he makes his
>oft-quoted statement about hO LOGOS TOU QEOU being living and active,
>etc. In 4:13 he continues by writing that all things are laid bare
>before God's eyes, etc. ... PROS hON hHMIN hO LOGOS. This last phrase in
>4:13 is said to be idiomatic, meaning "with whom we have to do" (NASB)
>or "to whom we must give account" (NIV). But is there perhaps a "double
>meaning" intended by the author here, i.e., not just the idiomatic
>meaning whereby LOGOS means an "account" or a "reckoning" to God that we
>must give, but also perhaps a literally-translated meaning referring
>back to the LOGOS that they had received and to which they were being
>warned to pay heed - i.e., translate it as "to Him [from whom] to us is
>[this] LOGOS" or (more smoothly) "but all things are naked and laid bare
>to (or "by" - instrumental dative) His eyes - to Him whose LOGOS [was
>given] to us."
>Any thoughts?

Personally I think this is a very simple idiom that means nothing more than
"about whom we are talking." If one wants to be "hyper-literal" about this,
I would render it in English as "regarding whom the discussion (is) for
us." ESTIN must in any case be understood. It is very easy to read into
every instance of the Greek word LOGOS all the richness of theological
content that is undoubtedly present at several points in the NT apart from
the Johannine prologue and which is potentially present in it at any point
simply because it represents the OT phrase DBR-YHWH; I may be going to the
opposite extreme, but I do think it is worth remembering that hO LOGOS is
also the ordinary noun equivalent to the ordinary verb LEGW, and that the
word can be used in a sense that is not loaded.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649 OR

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