[b-greek] Re: pistis + noun(genitive)

From: Iver Larsen (alice-iver_larsen@wycliffe.org)
Date: Sun Feb 25 2001 - 16:10:30 EST

Thank you, Bryan, for adding a couple of instances to the list. I have looked at
the data again and included the few new instances you brought up.
The first time I only looked at PISTIS + X-genitive against PISTIS +
preposition, and there are a couple of instances where the PP does not
immediately follow PISTIS. These should be included in the data set.

I also think one should look at the verbs, too. I just didn't take the time to
do it. Well, I have done it now, and it was interesting (One can actually find
most of this information by looking up in BDAG under PISTEUW):

Where do we find EIS together with PISTEUW? - Answer: the Gospel of John and 1
John. It is very frequent in John, but also found in other books of the NT,
although not so common: Mat 18:6, Acts 10:43, 14:23, 19:4. Rom 14a, Gal 2:16,
Phil 1:29, and 1 Pet 1:8.

Who uses EPI together with PISTEUW? - Matthew, Luke, Paul, Peter, never John.

Who uses EN together with PISTEUW? - Actually EN never occurs in the Greek NT
when the object of PISTEUW is a person. The only undisputed occurrence in the NT
is in Mark 1:15 "believe in the good news."

John 3:15 reads as follows in NA 27 and UBS4: PAS hO PISTEUWN EN AUTWi. The
manuscripts do not agree here. A few MSS read EPI, most read EIS, some read EN.
From internal evidence alone I think it is safe to conclude that the original
reading was EIS AUTON, since John never used either EPI or EN with PISTEUW.

PISTEUW also takes an object in the dative - and in the accusative, but rarely
so - but the meaning then seems to lean towards accepting something as true or a
person as trustworthy in what he says. There is probably a difference between to
believe God (dative) and to believe in (EIS/EPI) God.

To sum up, John always uses EIS, the other authors may use EIS or EPI, but never
EN, if the object for faith is a person.

In order to comment on the rest, I have deleted most of the message for the sake
of brevity:

> Looking at only nouns is fine, if you like, but I was
> hoping that my example from John 14 (with a verb) would
> indicate that I would not limit cases for examination to any
> particular word order, whether using noun or verb, as you
> did. The preposition may precede PISTIS or a word such as a
> pronoun may come
> between PISTIS and the preposition. Apparently your search
> missed such cases.
> You quote the NRSV, so I'll stick with it. The NRSV speaks
> of having "faith in x" in the following cases:
> Mark 11:22 Acts 3 16, 24:24, 27:25, Rom 3:26, Gal 2:16,
> 2:20, 3:22, Eph 1:15, 3:12, Phi 3:9, Col 1:4, 2:5, 2:12, 1Th
> 1:8, 2Ti 3:15
> Acts 27:25 uses PISTEUW, so we'll dump it.
> Of the remaining cases, the following seven cases have
> PISTIS and the genitive without a preposition: Mar 11:22,
> Acts 3:16, Gal 2:16, 3:22, Eph 3:12, Phi 3:9, Col 2:12,
> The following eight cases have PISTIS with a preposition(al
> phrase), although not necesarily in that order: Acts 24:24,
> Rom 3:26, Gal 2:20, Eph 1:15, Col 1:4, 2:5, 1Th 1:8, 2Ti
> 3:15
> Note that a couple of your examples of PISTIS + pp do not
> show up here. Their absence is due to my generating the
> list using the NRSV rather than the Gk.

Yes, because NRSV often translates PISTIS + EIS as "faith towards".

Of your examples above Rom 3:26 says PISTEWS IHSOU, so that one counts on the
other side of the scale.
Gal 2:20 says EN PISTEI ZW THi TOU hUIOU TOU QEOU I live in faith, the faith
in/of the son of God. Again we have PISTIS + genitive, so put that one on the
other side of the scale, too.
1 Th 1:8 has hH PISTIS hUMWN hH PROS TON QEON, so it is different from our
EIS/EPI/EN cases

The rest I'll include below.
> You mention 5 examples of PISTIS + pp, a couple of which are
> in my list and a couple of which are not, that you say are
> probably not bona fide examples of a "faith in x" notion.
> For instance, you say Eph 1:5 is uncertain. I don't
> understand your justification for doing so. They look like
> "faith in x's" to me.
> In short, I still maintain that PISTIN + pp is common for
> the "faith in x" notion.

I accept that PISTIN + EIS/EN/EPI X can mean "faith in X". If I add those you
have found to those I found I get the following cases where PISTIS + EIS
probably means "faith in":
Acts 20:21, 24:24, 26:18, Col 2:5.

Probable cases with PISTIS + EN meaning "faith in":
Eph 1:15, Col 1:4, 2 Tim 3:15.

To look at what is most common, we may compare with the number of cases of
PISTIS + Genitive noun which probably mean "faith in X":
1) When X is power, truth or Name: Col 2:12, 2 Th 2:13, Acts 3:16
2) When X is him (Jesus): Eph 3:12
3) When X is Jesus: Rom 3:22, 26, Gal 2:16 (twice), 2:20, 3:22, Phil 3:9, James
2:1, Rev 14:12
4) When X is God: Mark 11:22

As far as I can see, "faith in X" is more commonly expressed with a genitive
object than with a prepositional object. Since both are possible, one will have
to let the context decide, and there are cases where the context is not clear,
and I am sure some people will disagree that the references above with PISTIS +
Gen noun can mean "faith in X". My main contention is that we should not jump to
the conclusion that because "faith of Jesus" in English cannot mean
"faith in Jesus", then PISTIS IHSOU in Greek cannot mean "faith in Jesus", but
has to mean "faithfulness of Jesus" or "Jesus' faith".

Best wishes,
Iver Larsen

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