1 Timothy 4:10

Iver Larsen iver_larsen at sil.org
Sun Mar 10 09:24:49 EST 2002

Most of this discussion has been theological (soteriological) from two
opposite viewpoints, so I will only comment on one little linguistic part
> Steven: You seem to be saying that  MALISTA qualifies PISTWN, and PISTWN
> MALISTA, in contrast to PANTWN ANQRWPWN, who are not MALISTA. The fact is
> that MALISTA does not qualify PISTWN. It complements implied ESTIN, and
> indicates that God is in a special way Savior of believers, not that
> believers are special vis a vis unbelievers! MALISTA, as an
> adverb, modifies or complements verbs, not substantives.


If we want to fill out the ellipsis in the second part from the first, we
would get something like hOS/QEOS ESTIN MALISTA SWTHR PISTWN.

It is matter of interpretation whether MALISTA qualifies ESTIN or the
implied event in SWTHR or even PISTWN. Although grammatically speaking
adverbs do not modify substantives, I believe they can modify the event
implied in a substantive. This may not be standard Greek grammar, but it
makes good sense to me.

If we take the suggestion that an adverb in English is positioned before the
word it modifies, should we translate it
1) "God is the savior of all people, and he especially is the savior of
believers" or
2) "God is the savior of all people, and he is especially the savior of
believers" or
3) "God is the savior of all people, and he is the savior of especially the

The grammar alone won't settle this issue.

Iver Larsen

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