From: John Barach (email@example.com)
Date: Fri Mar 10 2000 - 17:29:54 EST
There is some ambiguity about the subject of the first two clauses in
John 1:43: THi EPAURION HQELHSEN EXELQEIN EIS THN GALILAIAN KAI
EURISKEI FILIPPON. KAI LEGEI AUTWi hO IHSOUS....
Many commentators (e.g., Morris, Ridderbos) and translations (e.g., NIV)
take the subject of all three verbs to be Jesus. Jesus wanted to leave
for Galilee, Jesus finds Philip, and then Jesus calls him to follow him.
Others, however, point to the syntax of the sentence(s). Jesus is
mentioned only at the end. It is clearly Jesus who calls Philip to
follow, but the syntax suggests that someone else wanted to go to
Galilee and found Philip. Carson thinks that someone was Andrew. Van
Houwelingen suggests rather that it was Peter, the last person mentioned
in the preceding verses.
Van Houwelingen's argument is grounded (1) on the unusual syntax, (2) on
the pattern in the chapter (people are brought to Jesus by someone
else), (3) on Philip's declaration ("*We* have found..." not "*He* found
us..."), and (4) on the explanation in 1:44. If Peter (or Andrew)
brought Philip into contact with Jesus, it makes John's explanation more
understandable: Peter was introducing Jesus to someone he knew, someone
from his old town.
I'm particularly interested in the argument from syntax. Is this syntax
-- Jesus' name mentioned as the subject only after all three verbs --
really all that unusual? Ridderbos says, "The best evidence argues for
thinking immediately of Jesus in vs. 43a." Does it?
Any help you can provide is greatly appreciated.
John Barach (403) 317-1950
Pastor, Trinity Reformed Church (URCNA)
113 Stafford Blvd. N.
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