[B-Greek] Phil 2:17 genitive PISTEWS

virgil newkirk virgilsalvage1 at msn.com
Fri Mar 3 00:08:34 EST 2006

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Mitch Larramore" <mitchlarramore at yahoo.com>
To: "B Greek" <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Monday, February 27, 2006 4:38 PM
Subject: [B-Greek] Phil 2:17 genitive PISTEWS

> I guess this is some kind of analogy or metaphor, but
> I wonder what are the genitive semantic options for
> THS PISTEWS hUMWN in relation to LEITOURGIAi? The
> "service of your faith" seems like a pretty
> straightforward translation, but it doesn't seem to
> convey much meaning. Can anyone offer other options
> for how this genitive might be translated?
> Mitch Larramore
> Sugar Land, Texas

Dear Mitch,

You wonder and have made many of us wonder with you; what are the genitive 
semantic options for THS PISTEWS hUMWN in relation to LEITOURGIAi ?

Allow me to mention first something that bears repeating concerning the 
genitive case:

A word in the genitive case limits (gives classification to, from the 
writers perspective) the substantive nearby. The writer is signaling us by 
use of the genitive case in particular that they have the perception that 
something substantial has occurred (in a relational way) between the reality 
of that word in the genitive case and that other "something" nearby. In 
Phillipians 2:17 that "something" that you've pointed to is LEITOURGIAi; we 
can't tell from the Greek what the service entails, only that there is some 
kind of service that has been being exercised by the Phillipians. What the 
use of the genitive case indicates though is that this service has a certain 
characteristic; at least that's what the writer is saying to them (the 
Phillipians) that he realizes and he wants them to know that he is accutely 
aware of it. He writes that their service that has been shown openly is THS 
PISTEWS hUMWN. I would suggest as a semantic option: persausion, perhaps 
deep and continuing conviction; and then to follow the word order and the 
writers use of hUMWN, that he sees this service from the Phillipians not 
only characterized by a deep and continuing conviction (THS PISTEWS) but 
that this deep and continuing conviction is not something that is "theirs" 
but truly hUMWN...them. It has become something of their very 
fiber..being..and constitution: hUMWN. The use here of hUMWN, to me, doesn't 
indicate just something they are possessing,(as in "theirs") but that it is 
something now "of"(they themselves..their persons.)

Could it be that this portion of the Greek text of Phillipians 2:17 is 
referring to Paul's concept of their service (whatever it was) that it has 
as a real and vital characteristic, a persuasion and conviction about issues 
related to this service and that this persuasion (PISTIS) is something that 
is now part and parcel...not just of them but is..."them?"...in a real 

LEITOURGIAi THS PISTEWS hUMWN...service characterized by conviction 
concerning things and this conviction is now you...you Phillipians who have 
done this service...this sacrifice having the very same characteristics.

Virgil Newkirk
Salt Lake City, Utah 

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