Re: the usage of PROGINOSKW in 1 Pet 1:2&20

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Tue Mar 30 1999 - 11:20:29 EST


At 9:49 AM -0600 3/30/99, Jay Adkins wrote:
>On 03/29/99, ""Lee Nunes" <leem@massed.net>" wrote:
>> Can anyone tell me the reason for the translation of PROGINOSKW as
>"foreordained" in 1 Pet 1:20, when it is translated "foreknow" in many
>other places? (1 Pet 1:2, Rom 8, Rom 11:2) Don't worry about appearing to
>be Calvinist or Arminian, I just want to know what the nature of
>PROGINOSKW
>is, and how this may support either view. Is Peter's usage unique? Or is
>it used similar ways in other literature?>
>
>I know of no grammatical reason for the KJV using ╬foreordained' in this
>verse. Consider how other translations have handled this word in 1 Peter
>1:20:
>
>(NASB) ╬foreknown'
>(NIV) ╬chosen'
>(NKJV) ╬foreordained'
>(NRSV) ╬destined'.
>(RSV) ╬destined'
>(WEY) ╬pre-destined'
>(YLT) ╬foreknown'
>(ASV) ╬foreknown'
>(BBE) ╬Who was marked out by God'
>(DBY) ╬foreknown'
>(NEB) ╬predestined'
>(TCNT) ╬destined'
>
>The answer may be due to a hermeneutic principle not grammatical. That
>principle would be the one where Scripture interprets Scripture. The
>passage I believe you were referring to in Rom 8 is Rom 8:29 where we
>read;
>
>Roma 8:29 (NASU) For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined [to
>become] conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the
>firstborn among many brethren;
>
>Thus equating God's foreknowledge with His preordination of our salvation,
>which is always based on the kind intention of His will and not our works.
>
>Ephe 1:4 (NASU) just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the
>world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He
>predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself,
>according to the kind intention of His will,
>
>While I know this list purpose is for grammatical Greek questions, I for
>one do not believe we can look at the Greek NT without ever coming across
>questions that can only be answered in theological terms. This may be one
>of them.
>
>In any case, this is just a suggestion and would be willing to hear
>opposing points of view.

One of the factors involved in this question is the usage of the verb-stem
of GIGNWSKW in a sense going beyond that of "know" to the sense "reach a
decision," "make a resolution"--and when you combine that with the prefix
PRO-, I think it becomes evident that PROGIGNWSKW may mean, in the right
context, not simply "foreknow," but also, in a particular case,
"foreordain" or "predetermine." What the sense is in any particular passage
must be determined from contextual factors and certainly is a matter of
interpretation. And while there may be more than one instance of the verb's
use where it is difficult to decide clearly whether it is "foreknow" or
"foreordain," I don't really think it is altogether arbitrary which one
understands to be the sense in most passages. GIGNWSKW and its cognates
will repay well the time spent to study the array of senses and nuances
laid out in LSJ and BAGD. This is one very important verb from which one
can learn a valuable ancillary lesson: it is perilous to assume that there
is only one fundamental sense in which any word must always be used.
Although that is so very obvious, if only one thinks a moment about it, it
is something we all too readily forget in a quick survey of the terminology
in any passage that we have never examined very carefully hitherto.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649
cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu OR cconrad@yancey.main.nc.us
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

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