Phil. 3:8 PANTA, object of DIA, and GNWSEWS

From: Harold R. Holmyard III (
Date: Sat May 13 2000 - 17:52:50 EDT

Dear Mark,
     You ask some questions about Phil 3:8.


>Per Alford, PANTA should not be translated "all things," since it is not
>in the emphatic position (i.e. before HGOUMAI).

>"I continue to esteem them all..." (Alford).

>My question is to what does "all" refer?

"All" refers to everything. Paul considered everything that he had to be
loss. Paul does not just mean the things that he mentioned in verses 5-7,
for he has already summed them up in hATINA ("whatever") in verse 7. It is
anything else that he might be able to think of in his life.


>What is the object of the preposition?

The object is hUPERECON, which is a participle functioning as a noun, as
indicated by the definite article TO that precedes it. The UBS GNT
dictionary renders TO hUPERECON as "something of much more value," thus the
thing which has more value.


>It seems that this refers to far more than just the gospel. But if Paul is
>saying he counts as loss all (the things done in the flesh), it would seem
>that he would naturally be referring to his conversion experience.

I agree. Paul is referring to his relationship with Jesus Christ. The
genitive GNWSEWS defines what the surpassing thing is; so THS GNWSEWS is a
genitive of content: the thing of surpassing value, that is, the knowledge
of Jesus Christ. The knowledge of Jesus Christ is of greater value than
everything else in Paul's life. John 17:3 says that knowledge of God and of
His Son Jesus Christ is eternal life. So Phil 3:8 is essentially saying
that Paul is willing to count his entire earthly life as loss for the sake
of eternal life, which is the knowledge of God and Jesus.

But rather I count all (things) to be loss for the sake of the greater
value of the knowledge of Jesus Christ . . . .

                                Harold Holmyard

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