Re: Philemon 6 revisited

Date: Sat Mar 21 1998 - 12:17:10 EST

Richard Lindeman wrote:
> Now back to Philemon 6. Sorry about the delay in my response to your
> observations George, but I got temporarily distracted by the Aktionsart
> debate.

Hi Rich ~

I am STILL distracted by it... :) :) Lucky YOU!! Yours was only
> I wrote:
> > My currently proposed translation for Philemon 6 is:
> > "My prayer is that the partnership (we have) of your faith might be
> > effective in the knowledge of every good thing we have in(to) Christ"
> > "in order that our fellowship of faith with you may be effective in
> > understanding every blessing which is ours in Christ".
> George Blaisdell wrote:
> >The thematic unity of ENERGHS, EPIGNWSEI, and EIS provide the key to
> >this passage.
> >ENERGEIS is an increasing [of effectiveness]
> >EPIGNWSEI is an increasing [of knowledge, based on knowledge already
> >possessed]
> >EIS is an increasing [of us in Christ], otherwise Paul would have used
> >the word EN
> I am not convinced that ENERGHS means an increasing of effectiveness here.
> Perhaps you have evidence to support this.

I'm a first time reader of both the NT and the GNT, and have been
asleep to Greek for 25 years, so I have a confession to make. [As if
what I just said isn't confession enough!!] When I saw ENERGHS in the
text and mentally pronounced it, I saw that obnoxious Energizer
Bunny!! [Now you know whar a REAL confession is! :)] Yes, and he was
STILL beating on that drum! So I took the associational meaning of
'energize' into my understanding of this word. I'm not saying the
result is necessarily wrong, mind you... [Would you guys QUIT that
laughing!?! :) :) ]

> But since I view KOINWNIA as a
> reference to the partnership of Paul and Timothy and Philemon in Christ... I
> would then take ENERGHS to mean that Paul prays here for an effectiveness
> within that partnership. Therefore I take EN of ENERGHS to be local rather
> than intensive.

Which, I believe, is why the primary editor of the Sainai Manuscript
replaces KOINWNIA with DIAKONIA, because he perhaps was anticipating
such a misunderstanding. [And maybe HE misunderstood!] 'Service'
would definitely 'belong to' Philemon, whereas KOINWNIA is arguable...

> But I do agree with you that EPIGNWSEI is an increasing [of
> knowledge, based on knowledge already possessed].
> I am a bit reluctant to translate PANTOS AGAQOU TOU EN HMIN as "all good
> that is in us". I would be more inclined to translate it this way if it
> read PANTOS TOU AGAQOU EN HMIN. In contrast to concrete nouns it seems that
> abstract nouns are often made definite by the absence of the definite
> article and made indefinite by the articles presence in the attributive
> position. Therefore I am more inclined to translate this "every good thing
> which is in us" or "every good thing we have".

To my craggy thinking, we are saying about the same thing here, and I
like yours better.

> The increasing knowledge is either a knowledge of "every good thing we have
> *in*
> Christ" or else it is a knowledge of "every good thing we have *unto*
> Christ". In the former case the "good things" are the spiritual blessings
> that we have "in Christ" (That is where all spiritual blessings are to be
> found). In the latter case the "good things" are referring specifically to
> the blessings of a growth in faith and spiritual maturity *unto* Christ.

And the reason I like the latter has to do with my 'natural'
inclination to see 'progression' from first locating the 'good
things', [EN], to then describing their 'action' [EIS].

> Although it is unusual for Paul to substitute EIS for EN it is not entirely
> unheard of. But the formula "EN XRISTWi" is so pregnant with meaning
> within Paul that it would seem to me almost unheard of for Paul to avoid its
> use when called for. I am not sure and have not checked yet whether or not
> Paul elsewhere uses EIS XRISTON as a substitute for the formulaic EN
> XRISTWi. Therefore for the moment I must hold judgement as to whether to
> translate EIS as "in" or as "unto".

The header of this letter might be useful here, where Paul is NOT
speaking in his authority as an apostle, and as well the purpose of
his writing, which is to ask for a favor ~ Thus his possible 'selling'
to Philemon the benefits [those to Philemon] of his granting of the
favor. Thus the possible implication that he is suggesting to P that
by granting the request, he will benefit by his association with
Onesimus. Subtle pressures, indeed, but perhaps much more apparent to
one who thinks in Koine Greek... I don't know...

On the other hand, perhaps it is only related to the purpose of Paul's
previous prayer...

This is good stuff!!


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