Re: Grammatical errors in Revelation?

From: Randy Leedy (
Date: Tue May 18 1999 - 09:11:54 EDT


I have written this note for the list, but before posting it I would
like to run it past you. If you believe it would be helpful, then
please either forward it to the list with your comments or let me know
and I will send it myself.

I think I will be in Swannanoa tonight, and I am planning to be there
preaching both services on Sunday. Should you care to try to meet
somewhere for a little snack and a hello, I'd enjoy it. But my
schedule will be pretty full, and it might not be worth the effort on
your part. So feel perfectly free to decline.


Here's the note.

A few, I suspect, have recalled in connection with this thread a
rather uncomfortable exchange a year or so ago between Edward Hobbs
and myself regarding a similar issue with respect to Ephesians 1. I
have relived that ordeal myself and would like to offer a thought or
two that I hope will prove more constructive than those I expressed at
that time.

I suggested at that time that comments on "bad Greek" reveal as much
about the critic as about the object of his criticism. While I think I
would no longer like to take that thought in quite the direction I did
at that time, I still believe it to be true. When one calls grammar
"bad" or "stupefying" or "terrible" rather than using some more
neutral term such as "non-standard," he has revealed not only
something about the nature of the grammar but also something about the
literary values he holds. I think that today we might be able to speak
more confidently of "bad grammar" when we find certain kinds of
constructions and expressions common among the uneducated classes.
Non-standard expressions of this sort do seem to keep rather poor
company. But do we know enough about 1st-century usage across the
social spectrum to be able to say that the non-standard grammar we
find in various places in the NT keeps such poor company? Or are we
instead seeing something that, albeit idiosyncratic, would not at all
have been received as "poor grammar" by even the most educated among
its first audience?

Some people seem to have the gift of bluntness. I think that I may be
among them; at any rate, I have always appreciated someone's
expressing himself in language that doesn't leave me wondering what he
thinks. But may I express again, perhaps more winsomely this time,
that the consideration we fundamentalists and other staunch
conservatives are asked to show on the list by refraining from the
language that we might naturally be inclined to use toward the more
liberal members ought to characterize comments from ALL around the
table. I think I understand exactly what Jim West means by "terrible
grammar," and I am not offended by it. But those inclined to use such
language ought also to be aware that it can be easily misunderstood as
denigrating toward Scripture and would do well to make every effort to
make themselves clear on ALL points--not just that the grammar is odd,
but also that they intend no disrespect toward Scripture. If the
latter point would in fact be an untruth--if they DO intend their
comments to convey disrespect, then, according to list policy, the
comment should not be made at all, and someone who would insist on
voicing such disrespect ought to be held liable to standard list

In love to God and neighbor,
Randy Leedy
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC

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