Mike Sangrey mike at sojurn.lns.pa.us
Mon Jul 26 10:35:11 EDT 1999

On Sat 24 Jul 99 (15:44:43), dpreznik at usa.net wrote:
> What can AKOH PISTEWS mean: hearing with faith, or preaching about
> faith, or anything else?

This is one of those discussions which bumps up against the borders
of the B-Greek charter.  At the risk of overstepping that (somewhat, I
hope) elastic boundary, I'd like to offer a thought or two.

As we are all aware Greek 101 tells us that the genitive indicates
'kind', so we have a "faith kind of hearing."  That, on the
surface, does not seem very helpful.  I think, however, when that
simple concept is applied here, it turns out to be educational to
understanding Greek; maybe only to those of us who are at an early
stage of our Greek knowledge.  Perhaps, maybe, it's a reminder to
those who are advanced--I wouldn't know, I'm not there.

EX ERGWN NOMOU -->  "out of a law kind of work".  Peter in Galatians 2
illustrates the Galatian heresy which Paul is dealing with here:
a law-centric life.  In other words, there was a specific rule which
Peter did; this performance conveyed to those at the tables a form of
righteousness but denied the power of the Spirit.  Simplistically,
there was a 'do' that he 'did'.  The key here is to understand
that Paul is speaking of a 'law based kind of performance.'
Did the Galatians receive the Spirit by performance on their part?
That is the question.

Now, EX AKOHS PISTEWS --> "out of a faith kind of hearing".
This speaks from the very heart of the Gospel.  And, in fact, is
the pivotal question around which Galatians is written.  For the
Gospel message (that which was heard) contains no 'do', only a
'done'.  Christ has performed it all--TETELESTAI.  Paul is speaking
of a particular kind of hearing: a hearing characterized by and
limited to faith--'a faith kind of hearing.'  It is not an EX
AKOHS ERGWN.  There is no 'do' here.  Faith, by its very nature, is
an empty container.  The 'do' is done by someone else.  The Spirit
is received by a whole-being trust in the performance by another
and that performance we have heard in the message of the Gospel.
It is a faith kind of hearing, nothing more and nothing less.  That
is the truth taught in Galatians.

Galatian 3:2 is beautifully worded.  The genitive, ironically!, in
its breadth of semantic potential, suits Biblical theology precisely.
If we try to force more keen semantics, then the nature of faith is
clouded and the Gospel is robbed of its grace.  This Little Greek
thinks this is a case (no pun intended) where the genitive needs to
be understood simplistically--it simply indicates 'kind'.

Mike Sangrey
mike at sojurn.lns.pa.us

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