John 4:29

Clwinbery at Clwinbery at
Sat Jan 4 21:25:11 EST 2003

In a message dated 1/4/03 8:16:26 PM, bertdehaan at writes:

>Hi everyone;
>The Samaritan woman in John 4:29 asked the men of the town:MHTI hOUTOS
>ESTIN hO XRISTOS? It is my understanding that a question beginning with
>MH indicates that the one asking the question assumes the answer to be
>negative;"This is not the Christ is it?" Context shows that the woman 
>him to be the Christ.Initially the men believed, based on her testimony.
>Could we not have expected her to ask;"This is the Christ is it not?"
>Is my understanding of the Greek text wrong, or is it my interpretation
>that is wrong?
>Bert de Haan
>Arthur Ontario
Here is the entry from Louw and Nida. I think the Samaritan woman is seen in 
John as a meek person. Thus she expressed her openion very carefully so as 
not to appear too forward.

MHTI OUTOS ESTIN hO CRISTOS; ‘he couldn’t be the Messiah, could he?’ Jn 
4:29. Some persons have argued that the occurrence of mh/ti in Jn 4:29 is 
contradictory, since it would appear from the context that the individuals 
posing the question regarded Jesus as a possible Messiah. On the other hand, 
asking the question in this form would have certainly fit the circumstances 
in which there was strong opposition to anyone claiming that Jesus was the 
Messiah. This form of the question would have avoided an overt commitment, 
while at the same time indicating people’s evident interest and concern.

Carlton Winbery
Louisiana College

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