[B-Greek] use of EK in 1 John 4.13 & EN in v16

Iver Larsen iver_larsen at sil.org
Sun Feb 23 07:05:45 EST 2003

Hi, Anthony

In order to make a reasonably helpful response (I hope), I am taking a bit
more space than I usually would to answer your questions of methodology:

> I'm struggling with a couple of preposition usages in 1 John that I
> hoped a few of you might help me with.
> Firstly, EK in 4:13.  BAGD lists this as an equivalent of a partitive
> genitive. Does that imply that part of the Spirit is given?  What
> theological implications does that have practically (if that is within
> the scope of this list)? And would EK not be more naturally considered
> to be referring to the "source" of the gift/giving or the "means" by
> which it was given?

I would say you can approach the quest for an answer in different ways. The
more ways the better, especially if they give the same result.

1: Check BAGD which you have done. They list this instance under partitive
genitive with a verb of giving under 4e. They give similar examples like
Matt 25:8 and John 6:11. If you look up these places, you will see that the
partitive idea fits well in these cases. The ladies ask for some of the oil,
and Jesus gives out fish pieces from his supply of fish. In the same way in
1Jn 4:13 God gives out of his supply of the Spirit. "Giving" here of course
does not mean that other people cannot also be given the Spirit. Maybe it is
easier to think of "anointing"?

2: Check L&N: They give the following senses for EK:
a out of (extension): ek#84.4
b because of (reason): ek#89.25
c by (means): ek#89.77
d with (instrument): ek#90.12
e with (manner): ek#89.85
f from (source): ek#90.16
g from (dissociation): ek#89.121
h from (derivation): ek#89.3
i one of (part-whole): ek#63.20
j from (cessation): ek#68.54
k when (time): ek#67.33
l since (time): ek#67.131
m with (price): ek#57.163
n of (substance): ek#89.142

L&N does not include a reference to 1 John 4:13, so we don't know under
which number they would have classified this verse. Actually, none of them
fit very well, but i and n are the closest.

3. Check commentaries. Now, some of us do not have access to a library where
we can check dozens of commentaries, so I would consult the Exegetical
Summary on 1 John (published by SIL) which gives the following:
"QUESTION—What relationship is indicated by EK `from'?
1. It indicates that they have a share of the Spirit [AB, Alf, BAGD, Brd,
My, NIC, WBC; NJB]: he has given us from his Spirit. (Inside square brackets
are commentaries, and what comes after the semicolon are English
The Spirit has been given to the church in fullness, each individual member
having a share of that fullness [My, WBC].
 All have the indwelling Spirit, but each according to the measure given him
 Only Christ had the Spirit without measure (John 3:34) [Alf, Brd].
2. It carries no special significance but is a stylistic variant of 3:24 `he
gave us his spirit' [Br, EBC, TH; REB, TEV]: he has given us his Spirit.
3. It indicates that the Spirit is the source of the gift [Ln]: he has given
us gifts from the Spirit.
The gifts are those listed in the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22),
especially love [Ln]."

Notice how the vast majority of commentaries take it as partitive, that God
has given us a share of his Holy Spirit. Lenski is the only commentary of
those this book has looked at, that has a different opinion. (Lenski often
does not give arguments for his conclusions and unorthodox opinions. IMO, it
is one of the least reliable commentaries.)

4. Check Greek Grammars. (I didn't)

5. Check how various translations have done. Often you will not get a clear
answer from the more literal versions like NIV, RSV, NASB etc. NIV says "of
his Spirit" which to me points to partitive rather than source (from). Most
of the idiomatic translations make the word implicit in line with option 2
in the Exegetical Summary.

5. Do your own research. Let me come back to that later.
> Secondly, EN in 4:16.  Here BAGD has this usage under "close personal
> association" - that does not get me any closer to understanding what
> John meant by "the love which God has in us".  Is there any validity to
> this meaning "with reference to"?  And what that, semantically speaking,
> be the equivalent of (or similar to) a "dative of advantage" (i.e the
> love He has for us)?

Let's look at the same ways as above:
1: BAGD: You seem to refer to the following:
5: d. esp. in Paul. or Joh. usage, to designate a close personal relation -
of Christ EINAI, MENEIN EN TWi PATRI (EN TWI QEWi) J 10:38; 14:10f; and of
Christians 1J 3:24; 4:13, 15f; be or abide in Christ J 14:20; 15:4f; MENEIN
Since these instances talk about abiding in, I don't think they intended to
include the EN in 4:16a under this heading. The 4:13,15f refers to the
continued occurrence of EN in this sense in 4:13,15,16b. So, I think you
misinterpreted BAGD here.

2: L&N give a Huge number of senses for EN as can be expected. Again, they
do not cite this particular place, but my database points to number m:
a in (location): en#83.13
b among (location): en#83.9
c on (location): en#83.47
d at (location): en#83.23
e in (state): en#13.8
f into (extension): en#84.22
g in union with (association): en#89.119
h with (attendant circumstances): en#89.80
i with (instrument): en#90.10
j with (manner): en#89.84
k with regard to (specification): en#89.5
l of (substance): en#89.141
m to (experiencer): en#90.56
n by (agent): en#90.6
o by (guarantor): en#90.30
p by (means): en#89.76
q because (reason): en#89.26
r so that (result): en#89.48
s when (time): en#67.33
t during (time): en#67.136
u in (content): en#90.23

3: The exegetical summary says:
"QUESTION—What relationship is indicated by EN `for/in' in the phrase `love
for/in us'?
1. It means `for' and indicates that we are the object of God's love [EBC,
Herm, HNTC, ICC, My, NTC, WBC; all translations]: the love which God has for
2. It means `in' and refers to the love from God in us towards others [Br,
Brd, Ws]: the love which God has put in us for others.
3. It means `in' and refers to a personal experience of God's love for us
made real by the Spirit [NIC]."

So, NIC takes the experience option, but that is not essentially different
from the object option in 1. Option 2 may well be influenced by the limited
semantic range of English "in" and the tradition of literal translations.

4. Grammars (I didn't check)

5. Translations: All take the option of either a direct object as in "God
loves us" or a more indirect object as in "the love of God for us". In any
case, "we" are the experiencers of God's love.
> As well as knowing what you folks consider the answers to be, I ma
> probably even more interested in knowing why.  Am I simply choosing
> "category headings" that "fit" into what I think the passage means, or
> is there validity to these meanings "being more natural"?
> Maybe what I am really asking here is if I check the usage of a word in
> BAGD (or equiv.), and if their conclusion does not "fit" in my mind, how
> do I go about establishing why that option was chosen and why my option
> is right or wrong (more likely!)
> I  want to be a good and faithful exegete of the Greek NT, but I fear
> that I am often a significantly better "eisegete"...

Well, I would say that if you take the time to use all of the ways above,
you are more likely not to jump to conclusions.

Concerning doing your own research, I can tell you what I often do, as an
example without claiming this is the only way.
First I would try to find similar grammatical and/or semantic expressions in
the same book. If there are not sufficient such examples, I would expand the
search to cover a widening circle, first books by the same author, then
other books of the NT, then the LXX, then any other references I can find.

For your first question "EK TOU PNEUMATOS AUTOU DEDWKEN" I would look for
other expressions in 1 John involving EK, or PNEUMA or DIDWMI (or related
words like get, receive, have). 3:24 has already been mentioned. There are
34 EKs in 1 John which you could start looking at to get a feel for the
semantic range of EK in 1 John. There are several partitive and source ones.
"Belonging to" could be a kind of partitive. But none of the other EK
constructions are parallel to 4:13. Then I would look at PNEUMA in 1 John:
12 instances. The first of these is 3:24 which also includes DIDWMI, so that
is a good candidate for a parallel thought. There is no other parallel. Then
I looked at occurrences of DIDWMI, but did not get further relevant data.
But doesn't John talk about "anointing" which would be related to the giving
of the Spirit? So, I look up CRISMA which is unique in the NT to 1 John
2:20 says "You have an anointing from (APO) the Holy One" and
2:27: "the anointing which you received from him (AP' AUTOU).

I take these as semantically parallel, because if God *gives* we *receive*
and then we *have*. I also understand the anointing here as equivalent to
the Holy Spirit being given. Furthermore, I notice that the source is
expressed by APO, which makes is less likely that EK would be source in
4:13. Taking all this together, it seems most likely that God is the agent
and source who gives of his Spirit to believers who then have received an
anointing that can further teach them, as 2:27 goes on to say.

For your second question EN in 4:16 it is probably too much to look at all
the 79 occurrences of EN in 1 John. I searched for either AGAPH or AGAPAW
within 5 words of EN in 1 John. 22 hits. A couple of these had EN in a
clearly locative sense "in him" as in 2:15, 3:17 and 4:12, so they do not
bring us forward. Then there is 4:9: "In this was the love of God manifested
EN hUMIN that God sent his only son..." Both here and in 4:16 it seems
likely that the EN indicates the recipients or experiencers of God's love,
although in 4:9 the sense "among us" is also possible. At this point you may
want to explore the possibility that EN can be used to refer to the
recipients of a mental event. To do that, you could revisit L&N domain 90:56
which I quote here:
"M  Experiencer 930 (90.56-90.84)
90.56  EN: a marker of an experiencer of an event - ‘in relation to, with
respect to, to.’ EPOIHSAN EN AUTWi hOSA EQELHSAN ‘they did to him as they
pleased’ Matthew 17:12; KALON ERGON HRGASATO EN EMOI ‘she has done a fine
‘I have not written these things in order that this might happen to me’ 1
Corinthians 9:15; APOKALUYAI TON hUOIN AUTOU EN EMOI 'to reveal his son to
me' ..."
BAGD is less helpful here, I feel, but it does say that EN plus dative can
stand for the ordinary dative, which is the normal case for the experiencer.

Iver Larsen

More information about the B-Greek mailing list