Daniel L Christiansen dlc at
Tue Nov 30 20:29:53 EST 1999

I would tend to agree with Carl on this one: instead of "bear" or
"birth", "generate" might cover more of the bases in English which are
covered in Greek by GENNAW.  However, I actually have for some time
preferred a word which Carl used in his definition of "generate": it
seems to me that the English verb "produce" fits GENNAW admirably well.

    The trouble with using "father" as a rendering for GENNAW is
three-fold.  First, you can't use the same verb for male and female
sources: that is, GENNAW may indicate a father-child relationship, but
it may also indicate a mother-child relationship.  Second, it seems that
GENNAW is sometimes used in reference to non-adjacent generational ties:
father-child may not be indicated, but rather a
greatgrandfather-greatgrandchild (this from a comparison of genealogical
lists, with the assumption that the writers were aware of the "gaps" in
their genealogies, and still used GENNAW.)  Third, the Greek term is
used from time to time in reference to conceptual cause-and-effect
relationships such as the "production of quarrels" in 2Tim 2:23.  It
seems that I have seen the word used in reference to the production of
fruit, as well, but I can't think of where. . .  That would be a great
reason for using "produce," but I won't rest on that argument, since I
can't back it up with a text right now :)

    Certainly, there are times when "born" or "give birth" will be the
best translation for GENNAW.  And we never should try for a one-to-one
lexical correspondence between languages (apart from purely technical
terminology).  But, if I *had to* choose one rendering, I would opt for

    At least, today that's how I feel . . .

Daniel L. Christiansen
Department of Bible
Multnomah Bible College
8435 NE Glisan Street
Portland, OR  97220
(Also Portland Bible College, Prof of Biblical Languages)
e-mail: dlc at

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