Re: 1 Cor 14:27--number agreement

From: David L. Moore (
Date: Wed Jun 24 1998 - 18:11:46 EDT

At 02:01 PM 6/24/98 -0400, Carl W. Conrad wrote:
>At 9:08 AM -0400 6/24/98, David L. Moore wrote:
>>At 05:48 AM 6/24/98 -0400, you wrote:
>>>I don't really agree with the above interpretation, but I think it is a
>>>plausible reading of the Greek with one exception: I don't believe that
>>>hEIS could function as TIS does for an "indefinite 'someone'."
>> Well, BAGD, sv. hEIS has a section 3 that is headed "someone =
>>class. TIS,
>>whereby hEIS can mean exactly the same thing as the indef. art." And
>>Blass-DeBrunner notes this usage in #247 (2) where it implies that the
>>Hebrew _echad_ or the Aramaic _chad_ are the model for this usage in the NT.
>I confess I was too lazy to check BAGD and/or BDF, both of which I have
>ready to hand here. Sorry, I ought always to allow for that Semitizing
>influence. Nevertheless, I note, upon checking BDF #247 (2) that all the
>instances cited in BDF are from the gospels and Revelation, none from Paul.
>And upon checking BAGD (3) I get the same impression. Nevertheless, since
>ENAS (= anc. hEIS) does serve as the modern Greek indefinite article (many
>MG words and usages are to be seen in the Koine), I'd have to grant this is
>indeed possible. I would personally be inclined to doubt, however, that
>Paul is using the Semitism here.

        Turner mentions that Luke's, use of hEIS as a substitute for TIS does not
seem to be a Semitism (Turner, _Syntax_, Moulton, III:195), but it does
appear that this usage is mainly found in the Gospels and Acts.

        I went over a search of Paul for instances of hEIS and found only one
other passages where we might have it used as indefinite. In 1Cor. 4:6
use of hEIS may be an idiom - like hEIS hEKASTOS. But if not, it may be an
instance of its being used as indefininte.

        I must admit that this is pretty scant supporting evidence for indefinite
use in 1Cor. 14:27. The use of hEIS as a number, emphasizing unity or
single quality is Paul's characteristic way of using this word.

        I'm looking at the whole passage and trying to harmonize some of the
things that Paul says. Relative to the question of whether KATA DUO H ...
TREIS means "two or three at a time," v. 29 may provide a parallel with
PROFHTAI DE DOU H TREIS LALEITWSAN which appears to mean "two or three in
any meeting." And v. 30 suggests that these are speaking one by one.

        Although hEIS in v. 27 may mean "one," the context at v. 13, where Paul
instructs that he who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret, gives
the impression that the "one" who interprets may be whomever receives the

David Moore

David L. Moore
Miami, Florida, USA
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