[b-greek] RE: 1 Corinthians 2:13 PNEUMATIKOS vs. PNEUMATIKA

From: Iver Larsen (iver_larsen@sil.org)
Date: Wed Apr 11 2001 - 01:55:21 EDT

From: Iver Larsen (if this is delayed, the reason is my resubscription under a new
To: Joe Divine

> I have a question regarding the apparent differentiation between the two
> forms of PNEUMATIKOS in this verse. It seems that, in the context of
> Paul's discourse on how mankind gets spiritual wisdom, he refers to some
> differentiation between PNEUMATIKOS and PNEUMATIKA. (Otherwise, why would
> he use the mechanistic term SUGKRINW to link the two?) Apparently he uses
> the picture of SUGKRINONTES (SUG- with KRINONTES) as the relationship
> between the two, explaining how God effects communication of spiritual
> truths to mankind. The whole of the two appear very mechanistic an
> analogy would be two gears enmeshed together with the source & force of
> energy/content coming from one, being transferred thru the other.
> Questions:
> 1. Does this initial interpretation do justice to the Greek text or not?
> 2. What sort of usage does PNUEMATIKA have in Greek lit. & what, if any,
> differentiation does it have with PNEUMATIKOS?
> 3. Does the neuter form imply a more "nebulous" form of communication
> than the masc.? (If so, then could these terms possibly be analogous to
> "intuition" & "intellect" respectively?)
> 4. Is there a correlation to LOGOS & hREMA? (LOGOS being the clearly
> enumerated word residing in the intellect (or physical senses); hREMA
> being the intuitive initial communication of God's word to man, Spirit to
> spirit, that MUST find its final form in language; i.e., LOGOS? [The Holy
> Spirit is most definitely the translating Agent as stated in the previous
> phrase & by our Lord when He said, "He will guide you into all truth."]
> My main concern is if there is any historical evidence of the usage of
> PNEUMATIKA in ancient Greek & how it was used together with PNEUMATIKOS.
> Thank you for your responses.
> Joe Divine
> I have added the text whence the question and a full name signature
> as required by the faq. Carlton Winbery

I am inclined to say "no" or "hardly" to all four questions. I think it is important to
look at the whole context of chapter 2, because the whole chapter revolves around the same
question. As far as I can see Paul talks about the human knowledge as limited to one
dimension - the human dimension which every human being share in. He then compares this to
a kind of knowledge or wisdom which has two dimensions, both the human - because he is
human - and the spiritual - because he has the Spirit of God and therefore understands
"the mind of Christ" (v. 16). If someone has only one dimension he cannot understand,
receive or operate in the second dimension. He will look at everything from the standpoint
of his one and only dimension. But someone who has two dimensions can understand, receive
and operate in both and can compare something in one dimension with something in the other
dimension. One should mix dimensions, though, just as one should not compare apples with

Paul is teaching about the spiritual gifts, given by God through the gift of the Holy
Spirit. (v. 12). When he speaks about these things - LALOUMEN - he is using words and
insight that do no come from or are taught by human wisdom/insight (dimension one), but
come from or are taught by the Spirit (dimension two) - OUK EN DIDAKTOIS ANQRWPINHS SOFIAS
LOGOIS ALL' EN DIDAKTOIS PNEUMATOS. The main verb "we speak" is then further clarified by
the present participle of SUGKRINW. Since this word is a combination of SUN which takes
dative and KRINW which would take an accusative object, it is expected that the combined
verb will take two objects, one in the accusative and one in the dative. (Compare with 2
Cor 10:12). The meaning seems to be that you compare something (accusative) with something
else (dative), or you evaluate something on the basis of something else.

The accusative object is PNEUMATIKA "spiritual things/gifts". This is compared with or
evaluated on the basis of PNEUMATIKOIS "spiritual things/words/insights". It seems best to
me to take both forms as neuter adjectives with an implied general object: thing. So,
spiritual gifts belong to the second dimension as does spiritual insight. One cannot
understand, receive, talk about properly or teach about spiritual things/gifts if this is
not done from a spiritual perspective, based on spiritual insights taught by the Spirit of

Iver Larsen
please note change of address from alice-iver_larsen to iver_larsen@sil.org

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