Re: Gal 4:28 EPAGGELIAS what type

From: Jason Lee (
Date: Fri May 28 1999 - 02:24:10 EDT

When the case by itself is not clear enough, or when it is not easily
reduced to more concrete terms (I do not think, however, the idea of the
genitive in Gal 4:28 is unclear), other functional words like adverbs and
prepositions can come in to help out. In fact, classical grammarians like
Smyth told us that was how prepositions came about, to resolve certain
ambiguity (or to enhance a specific aspect) of the case notion. Not that
preposition ╬governs' the case but ╬enhances' its flavor. It is correct to
say that EPAGGELIAS TEKNA has the genitive flavor of source, description,
characteristics, and kind, as it is clearly contrasted in Rom 9:8 TA TEKNA
THS EPAGGELIAS (alluding to Isaac) versus TA TEKNA THS SAPKOS (alluding to
Ishmael). But one can consider a bit more the context in Galatians and find
the author's treatment (and thoughts) of the promise. In Gal 3:29 one finds
KAT' EPAGGELIAN, ╬according to promise,' and in Gal 4:23 DI' EPAGGALIAS,
╬through promise.' To bundle these connotations together, a genitive
abstraction will work very well, thus EPAGGELIAS TEKNA. But notice how KATA
and DIA are bundled in Gal 4:23 - KATA ISAAK EPAGGELIAS TEKNA ESTE
╬according to Issac of promise children you are.' The placement of
EPAGGELIAS in between ISAAK and TEKNA serves to link Isaac to the children
through the promise (or vice versa). I think had the word order being KATA
ISAAK TEKNA EPAGGELIAS ESTE or something else, the association will be a
little less effective. As Isaac was born of the promise, so are you the
children through grace under the covenant of promise (and not through the
covenant of law according to the flesh). Promise is the
source/characteristics of both Isaac and the children (the believers in
Christ through grace). The word order of an inflected language can be quite
pictorial, for another example see Acts 1:5.


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