Re: What does THi refer to in Romans 5:15 and But Not As

From: Ben Crick (
Date: Thu Jun 04 1998 - 11:48:57 EDT

On Wed 3 Jun 98 (20:38:19), wrote:
> I think you are saying that in Greek, a "dual subject" can be addressed
> with a singular verb form? That doesn't seem consistent with the
> "agreement principle". You translate EPERISSEUSEN (singular) as "have
> abounded" (plural).

 Hi Bill!

 I thought you'd jump on that!
 What is "singular" is the conjoined [(hH CARIS TOU QEOU) KAI (hH DWREA
 In English we often use a plural verb with a singular but complex subject;
 as in "The team ARE a good team" when we should say "the team IS a good
 team". So the Greek singular is grammatically correct; but the English
 plural is usage-wise acceptable IMHO. I won't insist on it.

 EPERISSEUSEN is Aorist, because the corresponding verb in the first half of

 C Hodge, /Romans/, Edinburgh, 1864, p 164, suggests that the conjunction
 KAI be better translated /even/, so we have "the grace of God, /even/ the
 gift by grace..."

> Where else in the NT can I see the concept of a "dual subject" agreeing
> with a singular verb?


> Also, Ben, putting the first phrase into English reads rough. Is it
> rough in Greek?

 Paul dictated his words to his amanuensis; he spouted on way ahead of the
 scribe and often lost the drift of the construction as he waited for the
 scribe to catch up. The technical term for this is ANAKOLOUQON, or lack of
 structure. He wasn't called hO SPERMOLOGOS hOUTOS for nothing (Acts 17:18)!
 Actually though, Romans 5:15 shows remarkably consistent structure; an
 almost Semitic parallelism.

 What is idiomatic in Greek often sounds rough when word-for-word translated
 into English. If we translate a Greek idiom by an English idiom, we get
 accused of mis-translating or paraphrasing. A no-win situation.

> "But, not as the offense, so also the grace-gift?"
> This construction "but not also" seems askew. I would expect
> "but is", or "but not".

 In the first half of the verse Paul is denying (ALL' OUC) the straight
 analogy "as the offence, so also the grace-gift". It is so much more (POLLWi
 MALLON) than this.

 For the theological/doctrinal significance see the commentaries. B-greek
 is not the forum for what can often degenerate into denominational or cultic
 point-scoring. 8-(


 Revd Ben Crick, BA CF
 232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK)

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