RE: Philemon 6

From: Richard Lindeman (
Date: Thu Mar 12 1998 - 00:54:15 EST

I wrote:
>> 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
>> The latter seems more natural to me. Perhaps someone here could explain
>> the logic of the NIV rendering here.

Cindy wrote:
>The hOPWS together with the aorist middle subjunctive GENHTAI has the force
>either expressing the content of the prayer (v. 4--EUCAPISTW) or the
>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
>At a glance, this does seems unnatural, since he just acknowledged
>love and faith. However, the nature of the letter alternates commendation
>motivation (as in vv. 7 & 8). Paul is appealing to Philemon 'for love's
>(v. 10) to come to have a full understanding of every good thing by
>Onesimus to return to Paul.
>Cindy Westfall
>PhD student, Roehampton

Thank you Cindy... I follow your logic here. But I don't believe that we
should read the prepositional
phrase as being supplementary to hOPWS GENHTAI here. ENERGHS is
supplementary. EN EPIGNWSEI
PANTOS AGAQOU is then circumstantially associated with hOPWS GENHTAI
Yet you may very well be right that the circumstance could be *purpose*.
However not necessarily so. I notice that KJV renders the phrase as
instrumental "by the
acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Jesus Christ". I
agree that the distance from
AKOUWN makes my suggestion of *causative* circumstance less likely.

Rich Lindeman

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