[b-greek] Re: What To Do With PNEUMATIKOS

From: Paul Schmehl (p.l.schmehl@worldnet.att.net)
Date: Thu Oct 04 2001 - 21:42:11 EDT

It seems to me that in all this discussion about the context surrounding
PNEUMATIKOS that we have ignored one essential point. Paul begins his
discussion with PERI DE.

I think it's safe to say that we would all agree that I Corinthians is not
exactly a book of praise for the Corinthian church's good works. For the
sake of brevity, and without implying anything about the accuracy of the
information, I will provide the headings that are given in the UBS 4th for

the book, preceeding chapter 12.

1:1 Greeting and Thanksgiving
1:10 Divisions in the Church
1:18 Christ the Power and Wisdom of God
2:1 Proclaiming Christ Crucified
2:6 The Revelation of God's Spirit
3:1 Fellow Workmen for God
4:1 The Ministry of the Apostles
5:1 Judgment against Immorality
6:1 Going to Law before Unbelievers
6:12 Glorify God in Your Body
7:1 Problems concerning Marriage
7:17 The Life Which the Lord Has Assigned
7:25 The Unmarried and Widows
8:1 Food Offered to Idols
9:1 The Rights of an Apostle
10:1 Warning against Idolatry
10:23 Do All to the Glory of God
11:1 Covering the Head in Worship
11:17 Abuses at the Lord's Supper
11:23 The Institution of the Lord's Supper
11:27 Partaking of the Supper Unworthily

And then we come to PERI DE TWN PNEUMATIKWN. Paul's entire treatise, prior
to chapter 12 concerns *primarily* fleshly matters, if you will. Divisions
amongst the brethren, using the courts to settle disputes, misusing
communion, living immorally or in an idolatrous manner, handling marriage
and sex improperly, etc., etc., etc. Now we come to chapter 12, and Paul
makes an abrupt change of subject. It's as if he says, "Whew!! Now that
we've finally gotten all that sense knowledge crap out of the way, let's
discuss spiritual matters."

He goes on to discuss how they used to behave when they were pagans (2),
assures them that no one who speaks in tongues can curse God (3), discusses
gifts (4, XARISMATWN) for a few verses, points out that all these gifts have
one origin (11), begins an analogy describing the church as parts of the
body with Christ as the head (12), and argues some logical conclusions based
on that analogy (14ff), states that the church is Christ's body (27), and
argues that each has a different purpose in that body (28ff), makes a
lengthy argument of why love is the most important attribute of a Christian
(13:1ff), then returns to PNEUMATIKWN (14:1), and so forth.

It seems to me that the context argues strongly for understanding
PNEUMATIKWN to refer to spiritual matters, or things of the spirit. The
context is certainly not gifts. It's a wide range of things that relate to
spiritual matters as opposed to fleshy matters, which is what Paul had to
address for 11 chapters in order to get to his goal, to discuss "higher"
things, if you will.

I think sometimes we let our theology get in the way of our Greek, and we
fail to see with clarity what is written on the page. Especially when it's
"always been done that way". I think Lattimore translates it as he does
simply because he has no theological presuppositions. He's simply
translating Greek. And isn't that the purpose of this list?

Paul Schmehl pauls@utdallas.edu

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