From: Jim West (
Date: Fri May 29 1998 - 21:12:23 EDT

At 03:51 AM 5/30/98 +0200, you wrote:
>Dear B-GREEKers,
>I started a short journey through the first chapter of John. Then I hit
>verse 16 and it's "KAI XARIN ANTI XARITOS". Many translations seem to
>understand this like "and grace and even more grace" ("grace upon grace").
>How is it so? I can't figure out why ANTI is translated like that.

anti can also mean "instead of". Though this seems odd in English, it is
quite proper to translate this phrase "grace instead of grace" or "grace on
top of grace" or "more and more grace". To put it simply, this is an idiom,
and as with most idiomatic phrases, must be translated idiomatically rather
than literally.

>Anyway, here's how I have understood this verse.
>John 1:16 (GNT)
>My translation:
>"For of his fulness we all have received -- also grace for grace."

You are getting at the idiom, but are not quite there yet.
>AFAIK, "grace" in the Bible is sometimes just an eloquent word for "favor",
>for XARIS is "favor". So ELABOMEN KAI XARIN ANTI XARITOS means that we have
>received grace/favor from Christ for favor that we have given to Christ.

No- this is incorrect. The passage means nothing like this. Rather, you
could more properly say "we receive his fullness: more and more grace", etc.

>Question: "How have we given favor to Christ and how have we received it?"
>is answered in verse 12.

No, it isn't- as this is an improper reading.
>We have given favor to Christ:
> We have received him (as who he is) by believing in his name.
>We have received grace/favor from Christ:
> He has given us right/power to be children of God.
>What do you think? Have I missed something?

Yes, you are making too much of the idiom; and you have misunderstood the
phrase because of it.


Jim West, ThD
Quartz Hill School of Theology

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