1 John 4:13 translation questioned

From: LGOberean@aol.com
Date: Sat Feb 27 1999 - 16:52:18 EST


I have been lurking on this list for some time. I am a little Greek, and a
rusty one at that. I was a first year student of Greek a quarter of a century
ago. Consequently, I have believed that I should listen a great deal more
than I speak on this list, and so I‚ve been lurking for months. However, a
question concerning the translation of the last phrase of 1 John 4:13 has
puzzled me for almost a year, so much so that it has brought me out of hiding.

In 1 John 4:13, hOTI EK TOU PNEUMATOS AUTOU DEDWKEN hHMIN, with few
exceptions, is rendered „because he has given us of his Spirit.š The
implication of this translation seems to be that what we have been given is a
„measured portionš of His Spirit.

My question: Why? Shouldn‚t it be something like „because of the Spirit of
him he has given to usš? Especially in light of the last phrase in ch. 3:24
EK TOU PNEUMATOS hOU hHMIN EDWKEN. The phrase in this passage is typically
translated „by [means of] the Spirit which He has given to us.š

I realize there are slight differences in the wording of these two phrases.
There is the relative pronoun hOU in 3:24 that is absent in 4:13. The
personal pronoun AUTOU in 4:13 is absent in 3:24. Likewise the conjunction
hOTI in 4:13 is missing from 3:24. And of course the tense of DIDWMI changes
from aorist in 3:24 to perfect in 4:13.

On the other hand, these verses seem to have a lot in common. The
prepositional phrase that seems to be the key to this translation controversy
(EK TOU PNEUMATOS) is identical in both passages. The topic of discussion is
the same in both passages. Why would ch. 3:24 typically be translated one
way, while 4:13 is rendered so differently?

By the way, I am truly seeking help in understanding this. I doubt that a
little Greek like myself could pick up on a translation error that scholars
for centuries have missed. (That is theoretically possible, of course, but
not probable in this case.) I‚m just hoping that some of you can point out to
me what I‚m missing here. Thanks in advance.

Larry G. Overton
LGOberean@aol.com

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