Phillipians 2:1 PNEUMATOS - Big S or little S?

Daniel E. Buck dbuck at
Thu Oct 1 16:56:56 EDT 1998

At 08:18 28/09/98 +0000, Steve Long wrote:

>I'm wondering why it has to be one or the other and not all of the above.
>If we translate it as "spiritual fellowship", it need not be one or the
>other. Through our spirit we have fellowship with one another in the Holy
>Spirit and with the Holy Spirit. Maybe we should look at the lack of an
>article as inclusive rather exclusive. A commonality of our spirits with
>the Spirit of God. Making the noun PNEUMATOS into an adjective puts the
>focus back on the fellowship where it belongs.
I would agree with your understanding of  PNEUMATOS as an adjective (an
Attributed Genitive, se Wallace, Greek Grammar, p. 88) which would render
the phrase as "spiritual fellowship" so as to ascribe a certain quality to
the fellowship to which Paul is referring. The preceding phrase PARAMUQION
AGAPHS calls for the same discussion. Would we argue for an inclusiveness
of "loving consolation," "love produced by consolation," and "consolation
from love." Likely not.

Yet the question still would remain as to whether Paul is focusing on the
human side of the equation or the divine investment into the believer and
the community. It would seem that the primary interest of Paul in the
passage is to exhort the outworking of an assumed theology which stands
behind the statement. Though this is close to saying "all of the above
options"  it is an attempt to understand Paul's address as one of practical
theology or doctrinal instruction.

In His Service

The certainty of the choice between the three options is difficult though I
am not sure the  amalgamation option is the best. 
Daniel E. Buck
Assistant Professor, Biblical Studies
Briercrest Bible College
Caronport, SK CANADA
dbuck at

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