Re: Philemon 6

From: CWestf5155 (
Date: Wed Mar 11 1998 - 11:13:11 EST

From: CWestf5155 <>
Return-path: <>
Subject: Re: Philemon 6
Date: Wed, 11 Mar 1998 11:12:24 EST
Organization: AOL (
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII
Content-transfer-encoding: 7bit

Dear Rich,

In a message dated 98-03-10 17:16:13 EST, you write:

> In reading Philemon I notice the variety of possible interpretations
> for verse six. Not only is there the question of the force of the
> genitive in PISTEWS... but there is also the question of how to take
> the prepostitional phrase EN EPIGNWSEI PANTOS AGAQOU. Why should I
> consider taking this phrase as expressing *purpose* "so that you will
> have a full understanding of every good thing" NIV... rather than taking
> it as *causative* "because of the full understanding of every good thing"??
> The latter seems more natural to me. Perhaps someone here could explain
> the logic of the NIV rendering here.

The hOPWS together with the aorist middle subjunctive GENHTAI has the force of
either expressing the content of the prayer (v. 4--EUCAPISTW) or the purpose
of the prayer. The key here is the use of the subjuntive. If the verb were
present indicative, then it would probably be 'how' or 'in what way' which
could continue a causal idea from v. 5 (if the participle AKOUWN is taken as

At a glance, this does seems unnatural, since he just acknowledged Philemon's
love and faith. However, the nature of the letter alternates commendation and
motivation (as in vv. 7 & 8). Paul is appealing to Philemon 'for love's sake'
(v. 10) to come to have a full understanding of every good thing by allowing
Onesimus to return to Paul.

Cindy Westfall
PhD student, Roehampton

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:39:13 EDT