2 Tim 1.12--subjective or objective genitive?

Carlton Winbery winberyc at popalex1.linknet.net
Mon Jan 4 08:44:34 EST 1999

Carl Conrad responded to Perry Stepp:

>At 12:26 PM -0500 1/2/99, Perry L. Stepp wrote:
>>Re. the phrase THN PARAQHKHN MOU in 2 Tim 1.12: what are the ins and outs of
>>translating it as an objective genitive ("he is able to keep the things
>>entrusted to me") rather than a subjective genitive ("he is able to keep the
>>things I've entrusted to him")?  I've seen it translated both ways in
>>English Bibles, usually with a footnote offering the other translation as an
>I'm not sure that this question is decidable in any absolute terms: you
>have to make your own judgment in terms of the context. Grammatically
>speaking, "subjective genitive" and "objective genitive" are just the names
>we give to ordinary adnominal genitives attached to nouns of verbal sense.
>I would only add that I personally think the "subjective" reading of a
>postpositive genitive personal pronoun is more common and perhaps more
>natural: "what I have entrusted" rather than "what has been entrusted to

Carl is right on all counts, context, postpositive use of gen. pronoun, &
the difficulty of making a clear decision.

I would just add that I tend to emphasize the immediate context in dealing
with this verse, keeping in mind that the major translations disagree here.

The context focuses our attention on the word PARAQHKH and its verb
PARATIQHMI. The verses are I Tim. 6:20, the noun clearly referring to what
had been deposited with Timothy; II Tim. 1:12; II Tim. 1:14, clearly what
had been deposited with Timothy; II Tim. 2:2, using the verb for depositing
to "PISTOIS ANQRWPOIS what you heard from me through many witnesses." Given
the interest of the Pastorals in this body of teaching, I tend to take the
less common interp. of the pron. MOU as being objective, as does the ASV,
RSV, but not the KJV & NRSV.

Carlton L. Winbery
Fogleman Professor of Religion
Louisiana College
Pineville, LA 71359
winberyc at popalex1.linknet.net
winbery at andria.lacollege.edu

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