1 Cor. 14:28

Tom Belt tgbelt at compuserve.com
Thu Sep 14 10:06:44 EDT 2000


In 1 Cor. 14:28, Paul directs EAN DE MH hH DIERMHNEUTHS ("If there is no interpreter, let him keep quite"). Most seem to translate this: "If there is no interpreter." It is ambiguous, however (so claim a couple of commentators I've run across), and could be understood to mean "If he [the tongue-speaker of v. 27] is not an interpreter..." Exactly why (grammatically speaking) is it ambiguous, and just how ambiguous is it?

Secondly, in the event there is no interpreter (or the tongue-speaker is not an interpreter), the speaker is to keep silent in the church and speak hEAUTW KAI TW QEW ("to himself and to God"). In English this appears to be straightforward enough, but in Greek the two datives are different. Purely a matter of style? Or are we to understand the first dative heEAUTW as a dative of advantage and understand Paul to be saying, "...let him speak to God for his own benefit." I'm having trouble picturing how one would meaningfully "speak to himself" (i.e. "address himself") in a tongue. The dative of advantage explains this.


I was a member of B-Greek for a while several years ago but withdrew because I simply had not the time to follow up on the posts. It's good to be back, and I look forward to learning again.


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