B. Ward Powers
bwpowers at optusnet.com.au
Mon Aug 6 11:54:57 EDT 2001
Interesting question arose tonight in my Bible Study Group on the Greek text.
We are reading Acts, and in 3:7 we find: KAI PIASAS AUTON THS DEXIAS CEIROS
Peter is healing the man lame from birth at the Beautiful Gate of the
Temple. And he takes him by the right hand and raises him up. Now here is
the question: whose right hand was involved? Peter's? Or
This is a safe question to ask on b-greek, because (as far as I am aware)
no significant doctrinal issue hangs in the balance here. But we are all
rather curious about it in my group. Before tonight, I rather assumed that
it was the healed man's right hand which was referred to. After our
classroom discussion I am inclined the other way now. I.e., that the
reference is to Peter's right hand.
When I got home, I checked it out in various versions. The translations I
have looked at all either indicate or imply that it was the man's hand. E.g.:
NIV Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up.
JB Peter then took him by the hand and helped him to stand up.
NEB Then he grasped him by the right hand and pulled him up.
NRSV And he took him by the right hand and raised him up.
Can't seem to find a translation that takes it to be Peter's hand.
Now the thing is, it wouldn't much matter, in the total cosmic order of
things, whether Peter took the man's left hand or right hand, would it? So
why mention it at all? (And I notice that several versions omit the word
"right" e.g., the JB, above.) But if it was PETER'S right hand ... Why
then, the right hand is the action hand, the sword hand, the powerful hand.
Allusions to all sorts of passages which mention the significance of the
right hand fall into place as background here.
So I am now inclined to go with:
"So taking hold of him with his right hand, he [Peter] lifted him up."
A couple of points which MAY be relevant:
(a) The presence of the article: THS DEXIAS CEIROS
(b) The fact that this is Genitive (and not, for example, Dative).
Do these have any bearing on whose hand it was?
Can the issue as to whose right hand it was be decided from the Greek?
To what extent can other issues, other background factors, other passages,
throw any light on our verse?
Be interested to know what you think.
Rev Dr B. Ward Powers Phone (International): 61-2-8714-7255
259A Trafalgar Street Phone (Australia): (02) 8714-7255
PETERSHAM NSW 2049 email: bwpowers at optusnet.com.au
AUSTRALIA. Director, Tyndale College
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