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Phil 4:13 - some insight here, please


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#1 Julie Falling

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 05:16 PM

Hey -

In 2nd year Greek we translated the entire book. What has continued to puzzle me ever since is why so many translations read the way they do. Panta is an accusative of reference, and in this sentence it is the only possibility because the verb, ischuo is intransitive. There is no do anywhere in this verse. The verb ischuo is used 28X in the NT and I can't find a single instance where it has a direct object. Redefining ischuo as "I can do" makes panta the direct object, not an accusative of reference. A look at the context of vs 13 indicates this passage (11-13) is all about being, coping, spiritual state of mind, not about doing. The renderings in Darby, Young, and the Amplified seem to be faithful to the Greek.

Darby: I have strength for all things in him that gives me power.

Young: For all things I have strength, in Christ’s strengthening me;

Amplified: I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].

What's going on here? Am I completely off-base? Now I know that no one is going to fall into some kind of heresy over this. I would still like to have some help in understanding the reasoning behind this. Is this just a tipping of the hat at the KJV, trying not to upset the apple cart?

Thanks

Edited by Julie Falling, 08 January 2012 - 09:17 PM.

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#2 Joe Weaks

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 07:18 PM

First off, let me refer you to http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/forum/ for translation discussions. B-Greek discussion forum is the best place for this kind of posting.
I'll still venture a translation comment: Yes. there is much hat-tipping to those bumper-sticker sound-bites with translation origins in the KJV that quite-good contemporary translations shy away from changing their syntax, including the most recent CEB. There is no way John 3:16 translated today without that history would begin "For God so loved the world…"
But, I think "I am able to do all these things" is still a fine translation for this Accusative of Respect application of παντα. And as for the transitive properties of ισχυω, the fact that it lacks other direct objects in the NT isn't a broad enough look. Be sure to check broader Greek lexicons (Liddell&Scott, Kittel, LEH) to get a broader conclusion towards its use in other Greek literature. What do these say? Even still, the verb has a clear transitive meaning in the LXX and well as in Luke where it takes an infinitive object ("they won't be able to enter in").
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#3 Julie Falling

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 07:52 PM

Thanks for the link. Is not an accusative noun (or substantive) as a direct object grammatically distinct from an infinitive as a verbal complement to a another verb (like dunamai) that often takes one?

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#4 James Tucker

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 09:51 PM

Thanks for the link. Is not an accusative noun (or substantive) as a direct object grammatically distinct from an infinitive as a verbal complement to a another verb (like dunamai) that often takes one?


Julie:

Your question about "grammatically distinct" is corollary to one's view of linguistic theory. If you've not already purchased the Syntax add-on's I highly recommend them, as their usefulness is apropos to a question of this nature. Whether or not ἰσχύω has a "clear transitive meaning" is only as clear as one can elucidate the meaning of transitivity regarding a complements relationship to a given verbal lexeme—which certainly reaches beyonds the bounds of this forum.

#5 Julie Falling

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 10:05 PM

Thanks. I have the GNT add-on, but it goes only as far as Acts at this point. I've had all the Greek offered at a local Christian college, 3 years, and am sitting in on Greek 3 again this year because there are different professors than I had last year. It's been a lot of fun, and a lot of work, too. We start back on Thursday. The professors have been very gracious in answering my questions both in class and in emails. Often the email questions are discussed in class for everybody. I think I'll bring this one up.

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#6 JonathanHuber

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 10:43 PM

I (like you) consider myself a serious student rather than a scholar, but here are a couple of thoughts. First, although your point is not clearly reflected in many English translations, it is raised by a variety of commentators. Second, even if the clause could be rendered "I have strength for all things", the meaning still seems to be that Paul has strength to "do" the things he has just described. Thus, the common translation still seems to be a fair representation of the Greek text. Finally, consider also Galatians 5:6, where τι ἰσχύει looks like a transitive usage.

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#7 Outis

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 06:49 AM

If you'd like to consider this passage further, one of my professors walked through this passage in an exegetical brief in our Quarterly:

http://www.wlsessays.net/node/2216

I thought it was useful.
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#8 Julie Falling

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 01:55 PM

Thank you - all of you - for taking the time to reply.

Jonathan, I'm inclined to see τι in Gal 5:6 as another accusative of reference/respect. Several of the translations render τι ἰσχύει as counts for anything - counts seems to be less of a stretch for ἰσχύw than means. I'll ask my professor about it this week.

Outis - the exegetical brief by Professor Zell is excellent. Not only did it clear up the grammar for me, but it was such a wonderful reminder of how overwhelmingly gracious our God is. I sent it to my pastor and to my Sunday school students.

Julie

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#9 Rick Bennett

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 02:56 PM

Thank you - all of you - for taking the time to reply. Jonathan, I'm inclined to see τι in Gal 5:6 as another accusative of reference/respect. Several of the translations render τι ἰσχύει as counts for anything - counts seems to be less of a stretch for ἰσχύw than means. I'll ask my professor about it this week. Outis - the exegetical brief by Professor Zell is excellent. Not only did it clear up the grammar for me, but it was such a wonderful reminder of how overwhelmingly gracious our God is. I sent it to my pastor and to my Sunday school students. Julie


re: 'counts' in Gal 5.6, cf. 6.15.

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#10 Julie Falling

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 03:19 PM

Rick - Interesting. There τι is a predicate nominative, but the same truth is conveyed. Thanks.

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