Re: 1 Peter 4:2

From: Daniel L Christiansen (
Date: Fri Jun 11 1999 - 16:57:19 EDT

Jonathan Brubaker wrote:

> I was studying 1 Peter 4:2 for a bible study class at my church and came
> across something that confused me a little. Here is how the verse reads:
> I know from grammars that EIS TO + infinitive denotes purpose or result and
> also that word order does not matter. But it did appear strange that the
> infinitive comes so far after the EIS TO construction. Doing a search on
> my computer in Romans through Revelation, I found only one other occurance
> of an infinitive not immediately following EIS TO. This was in Hebrews
> 11:3 which reads:
> Is there any reason why Peter put the infinitive so far back in the
> sentence? Is he trying to emphasize that the time we are supposed to live
> for the will of God and not for the desires of men is during the remaining
> time we live in the flesh? Literally it would be the "remaining
> in-the-flesh-to-live time". Any suggestions would be much appreciated.


    There are actually two other occurrences of such a construction within the
parameters you set: 1Cor 8:10 and 2Thess 2:2. Also--outside of the Romans-Rev
boundaries you mentioned--there is the possible occurrence in Acts 13:42 (where the
EIS TO arguably, though not certainly, goes with the infinitive). The 1Cor passage
places TA EIDWLOQUTA between the prep+article and ESQIEIN, apparently to identify
the resultant eating as an "idol-offered-things" kind of eating. The 2Thess passage
includes two infinitives, both being governed by the EIS TO. The prep+article here
is immediately followed by MH TACEWS, where the TACEWS is bound to the negative, and
so we should ask why the negative is in that position.

    There are a handful of instances where the EIS TO is separated from the
infinitive by the negative MH alone. And, while this positioning of the negative
may seem obvious, it may fit the pattern you are looking for. Though I am aware of
no such examples, it would also make logical sense to say MH EIS TO ....; however,
that would seem actually to negate the idea of purpose/result, rather than the
verbal idea of the infinitive itself. If the intent of the negative is to negate
the action of the infinitive, then MH needs to immediately precede the infinitive:
in this way, the envisioned result/purpose is clearly defined as a "not doing
something," rather than the result/purpose concept itself being called into

    In the same way, other phrases may be placed after the EIS TO, in order to
clearly bind them to the nature of the infinitive's action, rather than to the
concept of the result or purpose. In short, it seems to me that you might translate
1Peter 4:2 as ". . . with the result that he lives the remainder of his physical
life not in keeping with human desires but in keeping with God's will."

    Of course, this doesn't answer what, to me, is the really troublesome question
regarding this passage. Why does the author place CRONON outside the entire
construction. It seems that it would make more sense to bracket the entire clause
with EIS TO . . . BIWSAI, rather than EIS TO . . . CRONON. Any thoughts from the

Daniel L. Christiansen
Department of Bible
Multnomah Bible College
8435 NE Glisan Street
Portland, OR  97236
(Also Portland Bible College, Prof of Biblical Languages)

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