Re: "one' in John 10:30 and Gal 3:28

From: Steven Craig Miller (
Date: Fri Oct 29 1999 - 13:20:57 EDT

<x-flowed>To: Tony Costa,

<< I had a question re: the translation and meaning of hEN in John 10:30
and hEIS in Gal 3:27. I understand that in the Johanine passage, the word
translated "one" is neuter and refers to the oneness Jesus claims to have
with the Father; whereas in Gal 3:27 Paul uses the word hHEIS in reference
to the unity of believers in Christ. hEIS in the Galatians passage is in
the masculine. My question is as follows, why didn't Paul use hEN in Gal
3:27, or why didn't John utilize hEIS in John 10:30? Why is the neuter form
of "one" used in John 10:30 and the masculine in Gal 3:27? Many thanks. >>

John 10:30 was a key verse in the early Trinitarian controversies. The
Monarchians interpreted this verse to mean that Jesus and the Father were
'one person' (hEN sc. PROSWPON). Of course, this was deemed to be heresy by
the Trinitarians.

But the phrase "are one" (hEN ESMEN) appears to be a Greek idiom, such as
that which appears at 1 Cor 3:8.

   "Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one [hEN EISIN]: and every
    man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour" (1 Cor
3:8 KJV).

Saint Paul does not mean to insist that the one who plants and the one who
waters are the same person, rather the point here is that the both have a
common purpose. Thus the NRSV translation:

   "The one who plants and the one who waters have a common purpose, and
    each will receive wages according to the labor of each" (1 Cor 3:8 NRSV).

So also at John 10:30, one might translate:

   "The father and I, we have a common purpose" (Jn 10:30).

-Steven Craig Miller
Alton, Illinois (USA)

"And behold, a certain one of his disciples standing by said unto him,
'Rabbi' (which is to say, being interpreted, Master), 'how can these things
be, if they are toothless?' And Jesus answered and said, 'O thou of little
faith, trouble not thyself; if haply they will be lacking any, teeth will
be provided'" (from the Coleman-Norton agrahon).

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