[b-greek] Re: Acts 6:2 and 6:5

From: Steven Lo Vullo (slovullo@mac.com)
Date: Mon Mar 04 2002 - 21:21:56 EST

on 3/4/02 6:53 PM, B. Ward Powers at bwpowers@optusnet.com.au wrote:

> B-greekers all,
> Last evening my Greek group was studying Acts 6, and in the story of the
> appointment of the first deacons there were two queries which arose. I
> would invite comments upon these two points that I can share with the group
> next week.
> The usual way of rendering this is "leaving the word of God to serve (on)
> tables", taking DIAKONEIN with TRAPEZAIS. But the NIV renders it "to
> neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables" - this
> appears to be taking TON LOGON TOU QEOU as the direct object not of
> KATALEIYANTAS but of DIAKONEIN, and "to wait on tables" as all implied in
> TRAPEZAIS. Whether or not this is how the NIV has taken it, can DIAKONEIN
> be construed with TON LOGON TOU QEOU? There are two indications that this
> may be the right understanding: firstly, that the direct object very often
> comes in front of its verb (as here, on this view); and secondly the
> parallel thought of 6:4, immediate context, which speaks of THi DIAKONIAi
> TOU LOGOU, "the ministry of the word", using the noun form of the same verb.

Dr. Powers:

I think the NIV has simply given an expanded translation of TON LOGON TOU
QEOU to make more explicit what is meant by it, since some might take it to
mean "the study of the word." This expansion was probably INFORMED by THi
DIAKONIAi TOU LOGOU in v. 4. To "wait on" is a common understanding of
DIAKONEW in v. 2. Note, e.g., the translation of the NRSV, which follows
closely that of the NIV, but without the expanded rendering of TON LOGON TOU
QEOU: "It is not right that we should neglect the word of God in order to
wait on tables." Note also how the RSV, instead of saying "the ministry of
the word of God" has "preaching the word of God," again an expansion to
bring out the sense.

I do not think there is any way to take TON LOGON as the direct object of
DIAKONEIN, since DIAKONEW takes a dative direct object and TRAPEZAIS, being
a dative, is most naturally the object. For the other instances of DIAKONEW
with a direct object in Luke-Acts see Luke 4.39; 8.3; 12.37; 17.8; Acts

BTW, you may want to take a look at Louw-Nida (57.230) on the meaning of
DIAKONEIN TRAPEZAIS. Very interesting suggestion, contrary to the
traditional understanding.

Steven Lo Vullo
Madison, WI

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