Re: 1 Cor 15:2 (was 2 kinds of faith)

Date: Sat Mar 04 2000 - 15:09:26 EST

In a message dated 3/4/2000 1:28:04 PM, writes:

<< The common English translation of verse two reads "If you hold fast that
word which I preached to you." I submit that the force of the first class
condition of
EI KATEKETE is virtually lost by this translation. By use of the first
class condition the authors assume, for the purpose of this argument, that
the condition is true. "Since you hold fast" would be an appropriate
translation that would more accurately reflect the force of the first class

This error is commonly repeated in the clause which follows: EKTOS EI MH
EIKH. What we have here grammatically is a negative first class condition
(EI MH) in a pleonastic (redundant) construction (EKTOS), The redundancy
is referenced by A.T. Robertson on page 640 of his grammar with appropriate
cross references to 1 Cor 14:5 and 1 Tim 5:19, where similar constructions
I would therefore suggest "since you did not believe in vain" as a

This brings us to the lexical aspect of exegesis of this verse. Based on
my biblical and theological pre-suppositions it is both intentional and
remarkable to notice that the word used here for vain is EIKH, whereas the
authors switch to KENH in verse 14 of the same chapter. I understand the
meaning of EIKH to be "without a purpose" and the meaning of KENH to be
"without a result."

I would understand the purpose here to be strongly implicit (almost
explicit), that being for the purpose of being saved (verse 2). The
textual implication then, is that these Corinthians were saved by believing
in the death and resurrection of Christ for their sins (verses 3 and 4)
with the purpose of being saved by such belief (verse 2) and with the
result that they stood (ESTHKATE) in this belief (verse 2). I would
therefore suggest the translation "since you did not believe without a

It seems to me that many from my theological persuasion have attempted to
describe EKTOS EI MH EIKH rather clumsily and inaccurately by saying
something like "you need to believe in your heart, not just in your head,"
and to this end a very well known tract has been published by the title of
"Missing Heaven by 18 Inches" which alludes to the distance between the
human head and the human heart. This misses the force of the text of 1 Cor
15:2 and produces a rather silly analogy which is certainly not found in
this text, and, I suspect, nowhere else in Scripture. All of this is to
say that a more exact translation of I Cor 15:2 could obviate such error.

I leave further discussion of faith, whether salvation-producing or not
salvation-producing to the theology list alone (in which I also participate).

I only have one comment to make in relation to this. I think it is
rhetorically unwise to translate ANY 1st class condition as "since" because
it refers for the assumption of truth for the sake of argument, and not
simply the assumption truth. Therefore, since it is for the sake of argument,
the translation of "if" should be retained, because "since" distances the
reader from the argument, while "if" draws him into it.

Charles Powell


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