[B-Greek] Eph. 2.8-10

Yancy Smith Y.W.Smith at tcu.edu
Fri Nov 11 01:55:34 EST 2005

Adam:> The second question is from verse 10, in which EPI ERGOIS  
AGAQOIS is always
 > translated "for good works" or "unto good works." BDAG does list  
 > dative as indicating object or purpose.but not until def. 16.  
Wallace (in
 > "Basics of New Testament Syntax") & BDAG def. 6 show EPI + dative as
 > indicating "basis for a state of being, action or result. Would it  
be wrong
 > to translate this as "created in Christ Jesus on the basis of good  
 > This seems to fit the context of the book if we view the "good  
works" as
 > having been done by God, not us.

In learning languages, the use of the preposition is one of the most  
challenging. Greek is no exception. It is important in any case to  
determine what the adverbial idea of the prepositional phrase is, and  
what whole phrase modifies. In this case it modifies KTISQENTES by  
clarifying why (for what purpose) we were "created in Christ Jesus"

It is a farily widespread use of EPI + Dative in the sense of "an  
end" or "purpose" (See LSJ, s.v. "EPI") in Classical as well as Koine  
Greek. Examples range from the Oddessy EPI DORWi "for supper," to  
Herodotus EPI KAKWi "for mischief," as well as Xenophon who has DHSAI  
EPI QANATWi "to put in bonds for death," to Herodotus, EP' EXAGWGHi.  
In the New Testament, besides Eph. 2:10, this usage persists (Gal  
5:13; 1 Th 4:7; 2 Tim 2:14), all of which, along with Eph 2:10 are  
listed in BDAG as a "marker of object or purpose."

Yancy Smith
Y.W.Smith at tcu.edu
Brite Divinity School
Texas Christian University

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