From: Iver Larsen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sat Feb 24 2001 - 11:16:37 EST
> Given the common pattern PISTIS/PISTEUW + EIS,EN, EPI (e.g.
> John 14:1 EIS EME PISTEUETE), shouldn't we consider a
> hypothetical EXETE PISTIN EIS QEON as probably distinct from
> PISTIN QEOU ? Yet, many English translations, including
> most modern translations would express no distinction, QEOU
> being labeled an objective genitive. It seems to me we
> ought to think of them (PISTIN EIS QEON/PISTIN QEOU) as
> *likely* distinct until presented with conclusive evidence
> that they are synonymous expressions.
As a mathematician by training I am used to testing hypotheses. Bryan states a
hypothesis which I wanted to test. He said that PISTIS/PISTEUW + EIS, EN, EPI is
a common pattern.
First, we need to keep the variables down and look at one thing at a time. So,
let's look at the verb form plus a prepositional phrase (PP) separately from the
noun form plus a PP. Since we are looking at the noun form in the current
discussion, I'll only looked at noun forms.
So, I did a search in the GNT for all forms of the noun PISTIS following by any
preposition, not just EIS, EN and EPI. (I can't easily search beyond the GNT in
The following results were obtained:
I found 30 occurrences of PISTIS followed by a preposition. 25 times the noun
PISTIS occurred without an object. The following PP was not the object of
PISTIS. Two of these 25 were in the gospels:
Mat 8:10 PAR' OUDENI TOSAUTHN PISTIN EN TWi ISRAHL hEURON
such faith I did not find in anyone in Israel
Lk 18:8 ARA hEURHSEI THN PISTIN EPI THS GHS
Will he then find faith on the earth
There were a good number of occurrences of PISTIN followed by EIS or EN.
There were only five instances with EIS, EPI or EN where the PP could possibly
be understood as the object for PISTIN, and these few cases are questionable.
I found only ONE instance in the whole GNT where an EIS phrase could possibly be
the object for PISTIS. And here PISTIN is joined with another noun, which makes
it rather special:
Acts 20:21 THN EIS TON QEON METANOIAN KAI PISTIN EIS TON KURION hHMWN IHSOUN
the repentance towards God and faith towards our Lord, Jesus.
One could explain this by saying that the PP is not really the object, but
PISTIS is still used absolutely and then a prepositional phrase is added to show
direction, just as repentance is directed towards God. One is not "repenting of
God" but repenting and turning towards God.
There was again only one instance of an EPI phrase following PISTIN which was a
possible candidate for an object:
Heb 6:1 MH PALIN QEMELION KATABALLOMENAI APO NEKRWN ERGWN KAI PISTEWS EPI QEOU
not again laying a foundation of repentance away from dead works and faith
towards/based on God
There were one instance of EN following PISTIN as a probable, but somewhat
Eph 1:15 AKOUSAS THN KAQ' hUMAS PISTIN EN TWi KURIWi IHSOU KAI THN AGAPHN THN
EIS PANTAS TOUS hAGIOUS. the faith among you in (by/through?) the Lord Jesus and
the love towards all the saints
Then there were two instances of unlikely, but maybe possible candidates:
Rom 3:25 hILASTHRION DIA [THS] PISTEWS EN TWi AUTOU hAIMATI EIS ENDEIXIN
a sacrifice of atonement by his blood effective through faith (NRSV)
(probably not: through faith in his blood)
Gal 3:26 PANTES GAR hUIOI QEOU ESTE DIA THS PISTEWS EN CRISTWi IHSOU
for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith (NRSV)
(probably not: through faith in Christ Jesus.)
In this last instance the faith in Christ Jesus would make good sense, but the
other option is taken by NRSV because it is quite exceptional for PISTIS + a
prepositional phrase with EIS, EN or EPI to mean faith in X. It looks as if it
may be possible with EN, but not with EIS or EPI.
The result is that PISTIS + EIS/EN/EPI X rarely, if at all, means "faith in X",
so the initial assumption could not be supported by the data.
However, it is still a good hypothesis that PISTIS EIS/EN/EPI X has a different
meaning from PISTIS of-X. In fact, the NRSV has taken the position that only
PISTIS of-X can be taken to mean "faith in X" (with the exception of Eph 1:15
where PISTIS EN is translated as faith in). The NRSV position is certainly well
supported by the data, if we look at it objectively (excuse the pun).
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