Phil 1:28 hHTIS

Iver Larsen iver_larsen at sil.org
Wed Jan 9 03:31:37 EST 2002


> >
> >Phil 1:27-18 hOTI STHKETE EN hENI PNEUMATI, MIAi YUCHi SUNAQLOUNTES THi
> >PISTEI TOU EUAGGELIOU KAI MH PTUROMENOI EN MHDENI hUPO TWN ANTIKEIMENWN,
> >hHTIS ESTIN AUTOIS ENDEIXIS APWLEIAS
> >
> >Does hHTIS refer back to the feminine PISTIS or can it possibly refer
> >forward to ENDEIXIS?

Carl responded:
> While upon first overview the idea that hHTIS refers back to
> PISTEI appears
> conceivable, the objection arise immediately to the very idea that the
> faith or faithfulness of one person or group should itself be
> demonstrative
> of another person's or group's perdition--I suppose there may be some to
> whom such a notion doesn't seem objectionable, but I find it impossible to
> take seriously.

I am afraid you have discounted this possibility too quickly by assuming
that PISTIS here has the sense of faith or faithfulness, which I don't think
it has. It is rather sense number 3 in BAGD  "That which is believed, body
of faith or belief, doctrine" or in Louw and Nida sense number 5:
31.104 the content of what Christians believe - ‘the faith, beliefs,
doctrine.’
This is supported by the only other use of SUNAQLEW in the GNT - Phil 4:3 -
where it is also a matter of fighting together or contending for the gospel.
In 1:28 it is PISTIS TOU EUAGGELIOU, but this refers to the doctrine of the
gospel or content of the gospel and is not significantly different from "the
gospel" alone in 4:3. Both of these places by using the word EUAGGELION
imply the activity of proclaiming the doctrine contained in the gospel.

Concerning the idea that the content of the gospel should be a pointer to
the opponents - AUTOIS ENDEIXIS - that those who do not obey it are lost and
those who obey it are saved, I see no problem. In fact, this is a key
element of the Christian doctrine as it is proclaimed by Paul. And he adds
in 1:28 KAI TOUTO hUPO QEOU. That the proclamation of the gospel shows that
the opponents are destined for destruction while the believers in Philippi
are destined for salvation is not just Paul's idea, but the content of the
gospel that comes from God.

Carl continued:
> I think that hHTIS must rather, as Iver suggests in his
> question, refer forward to ENDEIXIS. In affirming that, however, I think
> we'd have to see an elliptical construction here, such that hHTIS is
> attracted into or takes its number, gender and case from ENDEIXIS, its
> predicate noun, but that it represents what grammatically ought rather to
> be a hO TI (the neuter indefinite pronoun, not the conjunction)
> which would have as its antecedent MH PTUROMENOI EN MHDENI hUPO TWN
ANTIKEIMENWN, "not
> letting yourselves be tripped up in any way by your opponents." That might
> still make it look like the steadfastness (PISTIS) of the Philippians is
> demonstrative of the perdition of their opponents, but it seems to me that
> it's the combination implicit in the present participles MH PTUROMENOI and
> ANTIKEIMENWN: the ongoing efforts of the opponents in the face of the
> ongoing persistence of the Philippians in steadfastness.

I suggested that hHTIS might possibly refer forward to ENDEIXIS because I
had seen that claim by some people. But having read your explanation it
seems even more unlikely to me that this is possible. It just does not fit
with how hOSTIS is used in the GNT. It is the kind if desperate conjecture
that ought to be the last resort when everything more reasonable fails.

The two relevant senses of hOSTIS are number 2 and 3 in BAGD.:

2b. "to emphasize a characteristic quality, by which a preceding statement
is to be confirmed"

3. "Quite oft. hOSTIS takes the place of the simple rel.  this occurs rarely
in class. usage (but s. Hdt. 4, 8, 1 and oft.; Thu. 6, 3, 1; Demosth. 38, 6;
17; Kühner—G. II 399f), but much more freq. in later Gk."
These two are often difficult to differentiate as Bauer himself admits under
section 2b: "Yet many of the passages already mentioned may be classed under
the following head (3), and some that are classed there may fit better in
this one (2)."

If we set aside the somewhat idiomatic use of the genitive form in hEWS
hOTOU which occurs five times in the NT, hOSTIS only occurs in the
nominative in the GNT and never in the singular neuter. (The few potential
cases of a neuter indefinite rel. hO TI are highly disputed and can better
be explained as hOTI). The plural neuter hATINA occurs 5 times out of the
129 nominative instances of hOSTIS.
As far as I can tell hOSTIS always refers back to a preceding noun of the
same gender, and it may skip a number of intervening words, e.g. in Luk 8:43
7 words, Rom 16:7 6 words and Heb 10:8 11 words. Therefore, I see no problem
in having hHTIS refer back to THi PISTEI TOU EUAGGELIOU and thereby skipping
over a parenthetical comment of 6 words.

The reason I raised the issue is that I am translating Philippians at the
moment, and I seem to disagree with most English translations and
commentators on 1:28. So I would like to be proved wrong if I am wrong, in
order to produce a faithful translation.

Thanks,
Iver Larsen




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