From: Maurice A. O'Sullivan (
Date: Mon Mar 15 1999 - 15:34:57 EST

At 12:30 15/03/99 -0500, you wrote:
>I have probably failed to fully grasp Carl's explanation (below), but it
>does seem to me that while APEIQW can be translated "obey," it would much
>more natural, given the context, to translate it "believe" in both
>instances in Jn.3:36: "He who believes..." vs. "He who does not believe
>....," or "The believing one....." vs. "The unbelieving one.... "


Beware the tendency to start with the English and then work your way back
into the Greek.
In English, your balancing of "believing" and "not believing" might look
neat, but it is necessary to examine the Greek.

What we find is the very special nature of PISYEUW in the Christian
Louw & Nida say:
" to believe in the good news about Jesus Christ and to become a follower -
`to be a believer, to be a Christian, Christian faith.'

Liddell & Scott, after numerous classical citations, has:

"-later, P. . EIS QEON to believe on or in God, Ntest.; P.. EPI TON QEON

This is strongly reinforced by Nigel Turner [ Turner, Nigel. Christian
Words. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1980 ]

"I cannot trace, more than very occaslonally, the use of the word in the
secular language ever approaches the special religious sense which the word
enjoys rn Biblical Greek - that is, the confidence in God to help out of
distress and the assurance one receives, through trust in God, to believe
that one's conduct is correct "

The opposite of this, Turner points out later, is SKLHROKARDIA which, in
the longer ending of Mark is: is joined with APISTIA (unbelief) to denote
lack of faith in the resurrection on the part of the eleven apostles (Mk

So, the neat balancing of PISTIS and APISTIA would give the effect you are
looking for in English -- but that is _not_ what the GNT reads.

One scholar ( Brown, Raymond E. The Gospel According to John. 2 vols.
London: Geoffrey Chrapman, 1966.:points out

" ' disobeys '. Tbe Latin tradition reads "disbelieves" on the analogy of
3:18 and because this gives a better contrast to "believes" in the first
Iine of vs. 36 "Disobeys," tbe more difficult reading, occurs only here in
John; its introduction IY scribes is not easily explained, and so it is
probablY original."

Interesting that the KJV went with the Latin tradition !

Maurice A. O'Sullivan
[Bray, Ireland]

"Apply yourself wholly to the text; apply the text wholly to yourself."
- Johann Albrecht Bengel

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