From: Iver Larsen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Thu Feb 01 2001 - 06:54:38 EST
> I would appreciate some help in understanding the function EN in Eph.
> 1:17. The text reads:
> hINA hO QEOS TOU KURIOU hHMWN IHSOU CRISTOU, hO PATHR THS DOXHS, DWHi
> hUMIN PNEUMA SOFIAS KAI APOKALUPSEWS EN EPIGNWSEI AUTOU
> While a number of options seem possible to me (e.g. reference: "with
> regards to knowing him", reason: "because you know him"), I was suprised
> to find two translations that treat this as indicating purpose or
> NIV: "so that you might know him better"
> TEV: "so that you will know him"
> I was not aware that EN could indicate purpose or result. Is this
> Jim Murray
> Racine, WI
More than two translations have taken that option, but I find it hard to justify
from a syntactical point of view. I would offer three reasons.
1) The normal purpose/result preposition is EIS and this even occurs in the
Eph 1:18 EIS TO EIDENAI hUMAS TIS ESTIN hH ELPIS.
2) The phrase EN EPIGNWSEI occurs several other places (Rom 1:28, Phil 1:9,
Philemon 6, 2 Pet 1:2, 2:20) but in none of these places is a purpose/result
3) The word EPIGNWSIS suggests a growing knowledge like a process from basic
knowledge to deeper knowledge as well as experience. In that process wisdom and
revelation from the Holy Spirit is vital. It therefore makes good sense to me if
Paul is praying that in their quest for deeper knowledge God will give them both
wisdom and revelation from the Spirit.
I would therefore suggest that something like the NRSV rendering would be
I pray that [God] may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to
My guess is that the result option comes in not so much through the EN but
through the EPIGNWSIS and the whole context. Since arriving at EPIGNWSIS is a
process, one could justify a focus on the end result rather than the process.
The goal and purpose of Paul's prayer is that the wisdom and revelation they
receive from the Spirit will result in a deeper knowledge of God. So NIV is not
as far away from the intended meaning as it looks at first sight:
"I keep asking that [God] may give you (the) Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so
that you may know him better."
I will not recommend the NIV here, but I can half-heartedly defend it.
Among those translations that indicate a result relationship I prefer the New
"give you spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you might grow in your
knowledge of God."
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