Wayne Leman wayne_leman at sil.org
Wed Oct 3 00:20:22 EDT 2001

From: "B. Ward Powers" <bwpowers at optusnet.com.au>

> Fellow b-greekers:
> A couple of questions about what to do with PNEUMATIKOS.


> The standard lexica give as one of its meanings, "spiritual gift". Is this
> a case of circular reasoning?

No, not necessarily. It may just be a case of applying the principle of
context-determined meaning. The core lexical gloss for PNEUMATIKOS is simply
'spiritual (something)'. But like any other lexical form, the referential
meaning (as opposed to simply lexical gloss) is filled out in specific
contexts, and all words of all utterances we ever say or write are given in
contexts of some kind.

 (Thusly: In 1 Corinthians 12:1 and 14:1 the
> word PNEUMATIKOS is being used to mean "spiritual gift". Therefore
> "spiritual gift" is part of its area of meaning.

It depends on what we mean by meaning here. It is a part of the extended
referential, implicit, and associative meaning of the lexical meaning of
PNEUMATIKOS in the context of discussion about the CARISMATA.

> That is how we know it is
> valid to translate it in 12:1 and 14:1 as "spiritual gift".)
> Which leads to my first question:
> Is there any use of the word PNEUMATIKOS (of course, outside of 1
> Corinthians 12:1 and 14:1) where it clearly has the meaning "spiritual
> gift"?

I'll leave this for others who might be able to find the answer more quickly
with one of the Bible reference programs. Or I'll get back to you later on
this. My bedtime hour is rapidly approaching.

> In this connection one will need to note that when Paul wanted to
> express the meaning "spiritual gift" he explicitly added in the word
> As noted above, almost all translations give "spiritual gifts" as its
> translation in 1 Corinthians 12:1 and 14:1. Those that insert section
> headings then almost all go further and insert here also "Spiritual Gifts"
> as the heading at the top of chapter 12. I am aware of only two exceptions
> to this pattern.
> J B Phillips's version translates in 12:1 as "in spiritual matters"
> in 14:1 he has "gifts of the Spirit").
> Richmond Lattimore, the renowned Classical scholar, renders 12:1 thusly:
> "But concerning matters of the spirit, brothers, I would not have you
> ignorant"; and for 14:1: "Pursue love, aspire to things spiritual".
> Here then is my second question:
> Are any b-greekers able to point me to any other translations which do NOT
> render PNEUMATIKOS in either 12:1 or 14:1 as "spiritual gifts"?

J.B. Phillips: Now I want to give you some further information in some
spiritual matters.

Both NASB and NKJV put "gifts" in italics, indicating that that word is not
there in the original Greek.

NET footnote: Grk "spiritual things."

LITV (=KJV21, I believe): But concerning the spiritual matters, brothers, I
do not wish you to be ignorant.

YLT: And concerning the spiritual things, brethren, I do not  wish you to be

Wayne Leman
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