re: Philemon 6

From: Richard Lindeman (
Date: Thu Mar 12 1998 - 17:38:50 EST

>Dear Rich and Cindy,
>I haven't spent a great deal of time on the book of Philemon and I have no
>opinions on the exegesis of this verse. I do feel, however, that the
discussion of
>this matter in Vol. XI of the Interpreter's Bible is somewhat illuminating.
The IB's
>treatment of Philemon 6 is brief and is by no means decisive. We are simply
>that the verse is ambiguous. Note the comments below:
>"Vs. 6 is difficult and the meaning is not clear. The confusion in the MSS
as to
>whether Paul wrote "in us" or "in you" no doubt grows out of the obscurity
of the
>sentence. As has been indicated, the preferred reading is "in us." Thus,
the reading,
>that the sharing of your faith may promote the knowledge of all the good
that is
>ours in Christ" (IB, Vol. XI, p. 564).
>Edgar Foster
>Classical Languages Major
Interesting... but once again the suggestion is made here that the
prepositional phrase
be taken as *purpose*. The more I look at the verse and its context the
less I like
this explanation and the NIV rendering of it. Let's take a closer look at
the verse and
some of its context and see if we can shake something out of it. Rather
posting a rather long message I will try to do this in parts.

I suppose that KOINWNIA THS PISTEWS is as good a place to begin as any. Here
we have two
verbal nouns. PISTEWS could be be either taken as a subjective or an
objective genitive.
Either "My prayer is that the sharing BY your faith might be effective" or
"My prayer
is that the sharing OF your faith might be effective". Either Paul asserts
that faith
is doing the sharing or that faith itself is being shared. Youngs grammar
might suggest
a third possibility. Perhaps PISTEWS is also to be taken verbally. In that
case the
translation would be "My prayer is that your fellowship and your faith might
effective". Of these three I like subjective genitive the best. I think
that Paul so
far is acknowledging both the faith that Philemon has and the fact that he
is already
sharing from it. So his prayer is that the the word of God would be
effective as Philemon
carries on this task of the Great Commission.

Rich Lindeman

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