Gal. 4:18 KALWi

Iver Larsen iver_larsen at sil.org
Sat Oct 6 04:18:09 EDT 2001


>
> 1. KALOS seems to be applied in NT occasionally to people, but only
> ex officio:  the good shepherd, the good servant, etc;  whereas
> AGATHOS is (occasionally) used of persons as such.  (BAG's
> treatment confirms, though less explicit.)  But see #2.
>

It is an interesting distinction. I think it is comparable to the
distinction in English between evil and bad.
A bad teacher is a teacher who does not do his job properly, but an evil
teacher is a person who is evil and does evil things. A mean one.

So, AGAQOS relates to ethically good people and good deeds
while KALOS relates more to what is good value, efficient, nice, well done,
someone highly capable.

Let me compare
MAT 7:17 PAN DENDRON AGAQON KARPOUS KALOUS POIEI

LUK 6:43 OU GAR ESTIN DENDRON KALON POIOUN KARPON SAPRON

My guess is that when Matthew uses AGAQON he is thinking of the person that
the tree is an illustration for, a good or evil person, whereas Luke is
thinking more of the tree and its qualities, a rotten tree or a good tree.

The slave in Matthew 25;21 is called DOULE AGAQE KAI PISTE. AGAQOS seems to
indicate that he was a good person with good intentions and deeds. PISTOS
then describes his faithfulness. The two words are not synonyms.

A good servant is mentioned in 1 Tim 4:6 KALOS DIAKONOS. I could not find
any examples of KALOS with DOULOS, which is understandable. Slaves have no
choice like servants do.

When Jesus is addressed as DIDASKALE AGAQE rather than the normal DIDASKALE
alone, it is not a matter of evaluating him as a teacher, good or bad, but
as a person, good or evil.

There are probably situations where the distinction is hard to draw and it
may not be significant, just as there are cases where it is hard to
distinguish between bad and evil in English.

Luk 8:8 KAI hETERON EPESEN EIS THN GHN THN AGAQHN
LUK 8:15 TO DE EN THi KALHi GHi, hOUTOI EISIN hOITINES EN KARDIAi KALHi KAI
AGAQHi...

I don't know why Luke uses AGAQH in v. 8 and KALH in v. 15, but the heart is
both KALH and AGAQH. This may reflect that the Hebrew concept of "heart"
covers both "heart" and "mind" in English. In my thinking AGAQOS relates to
a good heart and KALOS to a good mind.

When John talks about Jesus as hO POIMHN hO KALOS he may be thinking of a
capable shepherd. In any case, Jesus is a shepherd who is both KALOS and
AGAQOS.

Thanks for an interesting lexical study,

Iver Larsen




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