Philippians 3:14

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at
Tue Oct 20 08:34:56 EDT 1998

At 8:29 AM -0500 10/19/98, John M. Sweigart wrote:
>(1) Forgive my grammatical lack of expertise, but could you further
>elaborate on the difference between the partitive and the limiting
>In my view there are two other problems in this verse.
>(2) In what sense should we understand KLHSIS?  In most theological
>reading it seems to be discussed almost as a technical term.  The lexicons
>do not agree. The choices seem to be (a) understanding it in a salvific
>sense; (b) understanding it in an eschatological sense.(c) ???
>(3) Should the phrase KATA SKOPON be "towards the mark" with the cultural
>referent being the various games of the Greek world or "in accordance with
>the model, form" with a reference back to Phil. 2:7.

(1) The partitive appears originally to have been a distinct IE case that
was absorbed into the genitive in many IE languages; its sense is "some of"
or "a part of"; it can be used, when needed, as a subject or an object of a
verb (object especially of a verb of sensation like AKOUW, AISQANOMAI,
hAPTOMAI or of eating and drinking like ESQIW, PINW), while the "limiting"
genitive is the catch-all terms for all nouns whose genitive case indicates
attachment to another noun in one way or another (including "possessive,"
"subjective/objective," and "definition" or "apposition," etc.). Both
should be distinguished from ablatival usages which clearly indicate or
extend the notion of separation.

(2) Here's what I find in Accordance: instances of KLHSIS and Louw and
Nida; you can do your own choosing (I will say that I don't think it is
eschatological in a fundamental sense but only in the sense that the
invitation has an eschatological implication):

Rom. 11:29; 1Cor. 1:26; Eph. 1:18; Eph. 4:1; Eph. 4:4; Phil. 3:14; 2Th. 1:11;
2Tim. 1:9; Heb. 3:1; 2Pet. 1:10

33.312 KALEW ; KLHSIS , EWS f; PROSKALEOMAI : to urgently invite someone to
accept responsibilities for a particular task, implying a new relationship
to the one who does the calling - 'to call, to call to a task.'56
33.313 KLHSIS , EWS f: the state of having been called to a particular task
and/or relation - 'calling.' PARAKALW OUN hUMAS ... AXIWS PERIPATHSAI THS
KLHSEWS hHS EKLHQHTE 'I ask you then Š live worthy of your calling to which
(God) has called you' Eph 4:1. As in the case of KALEW, KLHSIS , and
PROSKALEOMAI  (33.312), it may be entirely impossible to use a term in a
receptor language which means literally 'to call.' Therefore, it may be
necessary to translate Eph 4:1 as 'I ask you then Š live worthy of the
responsibility which God has urgently invited you to accept' or 'Š live
worthy of the task which God has given you to do.'
87.2 KLHSIS,EWS f: the station in life or social role which one has -
'everyone should remain in the station of life in which he was called' 1Cor
7:20. In this context, KLHSIS refers to the status or role of being either
a slave or a free person. In a number of languages this expression in 1Cor
7:20 can be best translated as 'everyone should continue to be the same
kind of person that he was when he was called.' Such an expression must, of
course, refer to one's position in society and in the total social
structure, not to particular aspects of moral or immoral behavior.

(3) KATA SKOPON should, I think, be understood in terms of the athletic
metaphor of racing that Paul uses so effectively in Philippians more than
once. I'd take it as an adverbial expression--"goalwise," or "in terms of
goal"--of a type formed with KATA + acc. so regularly in Koine Greek much
like more recent English adverbs coined by adding "wise" to a noun (as in
"That's the way it crumbles, cookiewise.").
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649
cwconrad at OR cconrad at
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