1 John 4:13 translation questioned
LGOberean at aol.com
LGOberean at aol.com
Sun Feb 28 18:42:36 EST 1999
Well, thanks for the words of welcome, Jonathan, and thanks for the prompt
response to my post. If you don't mind, I would like to continue discussing
the passage in question.
Most translators seem to view the use of EK in 1 John 4:13 to be partitive.
Robertson cites this passage as an illustration of the partitive use (p. 599).
Furthermore, when I stated that the implication of most translations of this
phrase was that we have been given a measured portion of His Spirit, I was
not simply expressing my own impressions. Quite a few English versions of
this passage reflect a partitive understanding of this prepositional phrase,
even to the point of using such terms as some, measure, share, and
portion in their translations. In fact, 25 out of the 36 English versions
that I consulted render this phrase in a partitive manner.
because he hath given us of his Spirit (Tyndale, Geneva, KJV, Wesley, Webster,
that he has given to us of his Spirit (Darby)
by his having given us some measure of his Spirit (TCNT)
by the fact that He has given us a portion of His Spirit (Weymouth)
because he has given us a share in his own Spirit (Moffatt)
because he has given us some of his Spirit (Goodspeed)
By the fact that He has given us a portion of His Spirit. . . (Williams)
because He has given us of His Spirit (Confraternity NT, Lamsa, NASB, NIV,
because he has given us of his own Spirit (RSV)
the share of his own Spirit which he gives us (Phillips)
He has given us some of His Spirit. . . (Beck)
because He has given (imparted) to us of His (Holy) Spirit (TAB)
The proof. . .is to be found in the share of the Spirit which he has given us.
that he has given us of his Spirit (NAB)
As for your reading of this phrase, I do understand that the preposition EK
can indeed be translated from, carrying the idea of source or origin (BAGD
and Robertson). Your rendering "from his spirit he has given to us" leaves me
with some questions, though.
1) Assuming that from is your translation of EK, what about the conjunction
hOTI? I did not see an English counterpart to hOTI in your rendering "from
his spirit he has given to us".
2) If the Spirit is the source of what he has given to us, then what has God
actually given to us, in your view, that serves to provide us the assurance
that we abide in Him and He in us?
3) And what about the comparison to 3:24, where the same prepositional phrase
(EK TOU PNEUMATOS) is rendered so differently? Not all of the English
versions I consulted did translate these phrases differently, by the way.
Eleven of the 36 render the phrase in 4:13 with the same sense found in 3:24.
because of His Spirit He hath given us (Young)
And his Spirit which he has given us. . . (BBE)
because He has imparted His Spirit to us (NEB, Berkeley, NWT, REB)
because he has given us his Spirit (TEV)
And he has put his own Holy Spirit into our hearts as a proof. . . (TLB)
because God gave us his Spirit (NCV)
God has given us his Spirit. (CEV)
He has given us his Holy Spirit (NIrV)
Maybe Im just dense, but I still dont see a reason for the two different
renderings of EK TOU PNEUMATOS. If I am missing something here, can you point
it out to me? Thanks.
In a message dated 2/27/99 6:28:50 PM CST, jonathan at texcel.no writes:
<< Subj: Re: 1 John 4:13 translation questioned
Date: 2/27/99 6:28:50 PM CST
From: jonathan at texcel.no (Jonathan Robie)
Reply-to: <A HREF="mailto:jonathan at texcel.no">jonathan at texcel.no</A>
To: b-greek at franklin.oit.unc.edu (Biblical Greek)
CC: b-greek at franklin.oit.unc.edu (Biblical Greek)
At 04:52 PM 2/27/99 EST, LGOberean at aol.com wrote:
>I have been lurking on this list for some time. I am a little Greek, and a
>rusty one at that. I was a first year student of Greek a quarter of a
>ago. Consequently, I have believed that I should listen a great deal more
>than I speak on this list, and so Ive been lurking for months. However, a
>question concerning the translation of the last phrase of 1 John 4:13 has
>puzzled me for almost a year, so much so that it has brought me out of
Well, that in itself may be justification for the verse!
>In 1 John 4:13, hOTI EK TOU PNEUMATOS AUTOU DEDWKEN hHMIN, with few
>exceptions, is rendered because he has given us of his Spirit. The
>implication of this translation seems to be that what we have been given is
>measured portion of His Spirit.
I read this as "from his spirit he has given to us", not that he has given
us a measured portion, but that his spirit is the source of what he has
given to us, and the nature of what he has given to us.
>By the way, I am truly seeking help in understanding this. I doubt that a
>little Greek like myself could pick up on a translation error that scholars
>for centuries have missed. (That is theoretically possible, of course, but
>not probable in this case.) Im just hoping that some of you can point
>me what Im missing here. Thanks in advance.
I think that's generally a safe assumption. Most translations are pretty
good. But every once in a while we bump into something....
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