[b-greek] Re: 2Tim 3:16

From: CEP7@aol.com
Date: Mon Nov 06 2000 - 01:03:18 EST

In a message dated 11/5/00 11:52:14 PM, patrick@extremehope.org writes:

<< I came across the following statement in F.F. Bruce's "Canon of
Scripture." I'm especially interested in the footnote included.

    When we speak of 'the scriptures' we mean 'the sacred writings' as
        distinct from other writings: to us 'scripture' and writing' are
        separate words with distinct meanings. But in Hebrew and Greek
        one word does duty for both 'writing' and 'scripture': in these
        languages 'the scriptures' are simply 'the writings' -- that is
        to say, 'the writings' _par excellence_. As we shall see,
        sometimes this involves a measure of ambiguity: does the word in
        this or that context mean 'scripture' in particular or 'writing'
        in general? {2}

        {2} Compare the ambiguity of the beginning of 2 Tim 3:16. Does
        _graphe_ here mean 'scripture' (in the special sense) or
    'writing' (in the general sense)? If the former (which is more
    probable), the translation is 'Every scripture is divinely
    inspired (God-breathed) and profitable...'; if the latter, the
    translation is 'Every divinely inspired writing is also

Would anyone care to comment on the legitimacy of the second translation?
I'm far too little a Greek to examine this competently. I'm not so much
interested in whether it is *correct* (even Bruce says that it isn't) as
to whether it is conceivable. >>

According to Wallace,

What bears on the relation of adj. to noun most directly: In the NT, LXX, in
classical and Koine Greek, the overwhelming semantic force of an
adj.-noun-adj. construction in an equative clause is that the first adj. will
be attributive and the second will be predicate. There are almost 50
instances in the NT and LXX in which the second adj. in such a construction
is predicate and the first is attributive (39 of which involve PAS before the
noun; most in the LXX) and none on the other side. The evidence is so
overwhelming that we may suggest a “rule”: In PAS + noun + adjective
constructions in equative clauses the PAS, being by nature as definite as the
article, implies the article, thus making the adjective(s) following the noun
outside the implied article-noun group and, therefore, predicate. In the
least, the evidence renders translations of this verse such as the NEB’s
(“every inspired scripture has its use”) highly suspect.

Charles E. Powell, Ph.D.
(h) cep7@aol.com
(w) cpowell@dts.edu
(h) 972-231-4166
(w) 214-841-3763

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