[b-greek]: Response (1) re PNEUMATIKOS

David Thiele thielogian at yahoo.com
Thu Oct 4 18:08:36 EDT 2001

Dear Ward,

I do not usually get invovled in these discussions, as
I find it pretty easy to find myself in over my head. 
However, I have a couple of questions relating
particularly to your response to Wayne Leman.  

You suggest that to establish the meaning of
PNEUMAKIOS we must "move outside the circle" (I Cor
12-14).  But wouldn't you have to go through the same
process in every setting?  Can you (theoretically)
establish the meaning of PNEUMAKICOS as "spiritual
gifts" elsewhere, if you can't do it in I Cor?  What
sort of approach could you take it PNEUMAKICOS only
occured in I Cor and nowhere else in the NT.  Some
words are extremely rare.

My other question is this.  PNEUMATICOS is an
adjective functioning as a substantive in I Cor.  To
my understanding of grammar, that means there is a
noun understood--a neuter plural in this case.  You
have opted for the most general term "things".  The
context as you have outlined contains references to
"working" and "ministries", etc.  However, of the
words you highlight in I Cor 12:1-7 only one is a
neuter plural.  Why is it necessary to by-pass a
perfectly suitable specific neuter plural noun in the
context in favour of something more general?  That
strikes me as the wrong approach.  Seeing as this form
of PNEUMATICOS can qualify any neuter plural noun
(providing sense results) why go past
CARISMATA--especially seeing as using linking these
two words does provided for a plausable exegisis of
the entire chapter?


David Thiele
Pacific Adventist University
Papua New Guinea

--- "B. Ward Powers" <bwpowers at optusnet.com.au> wrote:
> Friends all:
> I plan, in this and a subsequent posting, to
> interact with some of the 
> responses received (on list and off) to the question
> I raised about what to 
> do with PNEUMATIKOS in 1 Corinthians 12:1 and 14:1:
> I respect the scholarship and integrity of these
> people whose comments I 
> respond to, and in no way is this a criticism of
> them. Quite the contrary: 
> I consider what they have said has such value that
> it merits a careful 
> response. But I do disagree quite markedly with
> their premises and their 
> conclusions, and I believe these issues should be
> discussed further, 
> because this is not an unimportant issue. That is
> how progress is made in 
> matters where scholars disagree: we discuss. And if
> my understanding of the 
> Greek can be shown to be in error, then I am willing
> and open to be persuaded.
> Firstly, at 10:20 PM 011002 -0600, Wayne Leman
> wrote:
> >From: "B. Ward Powers" <bwpowers at optusnet.com.au>
> >
> > > Fellow b-greekers:
> > >
> > > A couple of questions about what to do with
> >
> ><snip>
> >
> > >
> > > The standard lexica give as one of its meanings,
> "spiritual gift". Is this
> > > a case of circular reasoning?
> >
> >No, not necessarily.
> Ah, but there IS circular reasoning going on in the
> situation that I 
> outlined in my initial posting. It had the basic
> structure: A, therefore B. 
> and B, therefore A. That is circularity. And
> logically invalid as a way of 
> arguing a case. The conclusion is not necessarily
> invalid, but it has to be 
> established on other grounds. That is what my
> b-greek enquiry is all about: 
> to look at what other grounds there may be.
> Wayne continues:
> >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.
> Right:
> For now we are moving OUTSIDE the circle to see if
> we can anchor it 
> someplace. If so, we can draw a valid conclusion.
> And the only place it can 
> be anchored (that is, the only basis for regarding
> here having the meaning "spiritual gifts") is if
> this is clearly shown to 
> be the case by the context. At this point Wayne and
> I are in agreement.
> Now Wayne quotes, and responds to, part of my
> statement of the circular 
> argument:
> >  (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
> I comment:
> In 1 Corinthians 12, does PNEUMATIKOS imply
> CARISMATA? And vice versa?
> Lots of people are saying so. Several responses (on
> and off list) even 
> equate PNEUMATIKOS and CARISMA as synonyms. Indeed,
> the first edition of 
> the NIV actually "translated" CARISMATA in 1
> Corinthians 12:4 as "spiritual 
> gifts" - there were strong objections to this, and
> it was changed (current 
> editions of the NIV just translate it as "gifts";
> the same initial 
> rendering of CARISMATA as "spiritual gifts" and
> subsequent modification to 
> "gifts" occurred in 1 Peter 4:10 also).
> But, leaving aside 1 Corinthians 12-14 (because it
> is the passage we are 
> examining) and with the exception of Romans 1:11
> (where, as noted in my 
> original email, both words are used, CARISMA
> PNEUMATIKON) there is no 
> occurrence of CARISMA in the GNT which implies
> SPIRITUAL gifts. Unless you 
> are to "read in" this meaning from what you think of
> its meaning in 1 
> Corinthians 12-14 (into Romans 12:6 and 1 Peter
> 4:10).
> So: is the discussion in 1 Corinthians 12 all about
> CARISMATA, so that 
> references to the one are to be interpreted as
> implying the other, and this 
> thus validates the treatment of PNEUMATIKOS as
> meaning "spiritual gifts"? 
> Now, this indeed is the crux of the matter. This is
> the question of 
> context. But is the discussion in 1 Corinthians 12
> really all about CARISMATA?
> If we carefully examine this chapter we will see
> that, No, it most 
> definitely is not. After Paul's introduction in
> which he emphasizes that no 
> one is able to affirm "Jesus is Lord" except through
> the Holy Spirit, he 
> lists three ways in which the Spirit manifests
> himself:
> 12:4  There are diversities of gifts (CARISMATWN),
> but the same Spirit;
> 12:5  there are diversities of ways of serving
> (DIAKONIWN) , but the same 
> Lord [who is being served];
> 12:6  there are diversities of energizings (
> ENERGHMATWN) but it is the 
> same God who is working (ENERGWN) in them all in all
> people -
> 12:7  and to each person is given the manifestation
> of the Spirit for the 
> common good.
> [I note that Frank Gee, in his posting, has the same
> understanding of these 
> verses as I do.]
> Thus we see that the manifestation of the Spirit is
> given to various people 
> in three ways which are separately identified by
> DIAKONIAI, and ENERGHMATA. These are to be equated,
> I consider, with those 
> areas of ministry which he has set out in 12:28-29,
> thusly:
> (a) the special endowments for "up-front" ministry
> (12:28a, the CARISMATA 
> of 12:4);
> (b) the "ministries of helping others" [ANTILHYEIS
> of 12:28b), the 
> "serving" areas of ministry (the DIAKONIAI of 12:5 -
> bearing in mind that 
> this word originally related to domestic service, as
> in Acts 6:1, and the 
> DIAKONOI of John 2:1-11) - this would range, in
> today's church, from 
> referring to those who serve the tea and coffee
> after the worship service 
> to those who go out onto the streets to help the
> needy, and lots more 
> service of this practical "helping" kind;
> (c) the "energizers" (the ENERGHMATA of 12:6, the
> KUBERNHSEIS of 12:28): 
> the activators, the initiators, the entrepreneurs,
> the administrators, the 
=== message truncated === 

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