[b-greek] ELLHNISTAS

From: virgil newkirk (virgilsalvage1@email.msn.com)
Date: Sun Feb 11 2001 - 05:11:42 EST

On Sat Feb 10nth, 2001 at 10:53 Walt Seevers wrote...

   My question pertains to the usage in Acts 11:20. It is my understanding
that ELLHNISTAS means any one who observes Greek customs or uses the
Greek language. It is used in Acts 6:1 and 9:29, referring to Jews.
Of course there is a variation in Acts 11:20. Is this, perhaps, because
ELLHNISTAS was understood to refer to Jews?
Does this word have a broad definition, one that includes both native and
non-native speakers of Greek? Could it refer to any ethnic group overcome
by Greek culture? Did the native inhabitants of Antioch come under Greek
influence and adopt the Greek language to a limited degree?
BAGD says it is a Greek speaking Jew. Liddell gives the broad definition
but says that in the N. T. it is used to refer to Greek speaking Jews.
Thanks for your assistance.

Hello Walt,

    How privileged we are to have a resource such as Kittel's Theological
Dictionary of the New Testament. In volume 2, there is a significant
description that goes beyond the simple answer to your above asked
questions, although to answer them simply would be to say, yes, ELLHNISTAS
refers to Greek speaking Jews. However as you indicated there is a broader
implication to be realized that makes what is happening here in Acts 11:20
take on added significance, both by what ELLHNISTAS means and by the word
EUAGGELIZOMENOI, in that it is in the aspect of (present passive/middle
participle) They are related.

    Yes they were Greek speaking Jews, but there is more significance. They
would have been Jews that had been absorbed into, and that would have
absorbed Greek culture, custom, and religion. Apparently there were also
restrictions that were placed on them as regards issues such as Sabbath
observance, circumcision, etc. It could mean that there had been an
abandonment of Judaism resulting in an apostasy to Hellenism.

   This is where EUAGGELIZOMENOI shows the care, grace and directing of the
Lord's will towards His chosen ones....via....the Cyprus and Cyrenian men
who were having something to announce concerning the Lord Jesus. Present

Middle/Passive Participle. The Lord Jesus...what a personal way of stating
his name and for good purpose here. Their announcing the triumph of the Lord
Jesus to ones who could have very easily been thrown aside as outsiders, the
apostate ones, the ELLHNISTAS, couldn't help but happen because out of the
men was coming an announcing (middle voice) that was absolutely in a clear
way happening inside them (passive voice) I believe the grammar here shows
us the Lord Himself in pursuit of those that are His and in the process the
ones that are going after them for Him are also receiving Him. Marvelous !
And their outward situation both of their physical surroundings and
environment and the fact that they may have been far from the Lord did not
hinder the aforementioned pursuit, nor could it restrict the hearts of the
brothers. Marvelous !

Virgil Newkirk '
Salt Lake City, Utah

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