[B-Greek] 2 Tim 1:3 APO

virgil newkirk virgilsalvage1 at msn.com
Sun Mar 12 19:32:08 EST 2006

Dear Yancy,

Excuse the delay in my responding to your comments which I appreciate and 
have carefully considered. I've puzzled over how to respond because there 
are so many different issues here, however, I must start somewhere or 
forever be at a standstill.

You wrote:

  The phrase APO PROGONWN is used in Greek either to describe a time
  from which something happened or the source from which something came.


I would beg your consideration that this may be too limiting a conclusion. 
Consider for example #5 from BDAG under APO: (a)

..to indicate cause, means, or outcome. Generally to show the reason for 
something, "because of, as a result of, for.

For example Luke 19:3...Zacchaeus was not able to be seeing Jesus. His not 
being able was APO OXLOU. Not only "from" in the genitive case, but also 
"crowd" in the genitive case. This is the writer thinking and writing 
Greekly that he is not only thinking and writing about the OXLWi (which he 
can't with APO), but about the OXLOU. That is, what characterizes the 
crowd... and the genitive case is the vehicle that for a Greek speaker 
contains and carries those characteristics and is recommending them to his 
hearers/readers. Now if we aren't attuned to that it is not the fault of the 
speaker/writer; it is our responsibility. Zacchaeus' not being able to be 
seeing Jesus was a hindering of his ability to be seeing because of what was 
"of" the crowd. The writer is intimating to us to consider not just "a 
crowd" but to be pointed to the writer's perspective of seeing what is "of" 
the crowd. The numbers...the density...the heighth...perhaps even suggesting 
a crowd's indifference to someone(short)that really didn't matter to them. 
TOU OXLOU... there could even be more to this but it is not made any more 
explicit here than what one might know about being in or behind a crowd; we 
should at least consider it up to our capacity of understanding though. The 
genitive case begs this when one understands the baggage it carries and the 
unpacking of the contents of the same, I would say.

BDAG goes on for APO under #5 at (b)

..to indicate: means; with the help of, with

And under ( c )...to indicate: motive of, reason for, from, with

  So too in the text we are discussing where in 2Tim 1:3 we find something 
someone is presently not only able to do, but is doing...that is: rendering 
service. LATREUW APO PROGONWS...that is: I am serving (God) with what is 
from, what is "of" fathers. I am serving (APO) by means of or I am serving 
God "with" and, or, with the help of what one can find in fathers. What has 
been experienced by fathers...what has been revealed in fathers...with what 
one can understand from fathers (concerning service to God). That is to say 
(unpacking the genitive cased PROGONWN) is there something we can discover 
APO  ADAM that we can translate and transport to our comtemporary experience 
as involves serving God ? Is there something APO MWUSEWS that we can see is 
TOU CHRISTOU and affect and characterize our experience of LATREUW ? I think 
Paul here in 2 Tim is pointing both Timothy and anyone that would read hWi 
LATREUW APO PROGONWN to just that and makes it even more specific by saying 
that he (Paul) is carrying it out with a "clean" conscience. There are 
specific realities...concrete substances APO PROGONWN that comfort and 
confirm themselves in his conscience that he is indeed serving God and not 
just "offering just anything on some high place !" ...as in Deutoronomy 
12:8; You must not do like we are doing here today, with everyone doing what 
seems best to him, for you have not come to the final stop and inheritance 
the Lord your God is giving you. (NET)

   This seems to me what Paul was doing in Phillipians 3:5-7 where in fact 
he discards his natural heritage EPI TWi PROGONWi or some other 
configuration that would represent that and in discarding that says that he 
is not stopping...he is not at the final stop so he is going on...reaching 
for the more; some of which I'm confident he finds and will find in that 
which is APO PROGONWN ! Phillipians 3:8 (NET)..

More than that, I now regard all "things" as liabilities compared to the far 
greater value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the 
loss of all "things"; indeed, I regard them as dung(something to be 
discarded..not NET) that I may gain Christ !

May I suggest that the substantial content of APO PROGONWN to Timothy, would 
have signified The Christ that is so much characterized APO PROGONWN.


You summarized by saying,

"In other words, he uses the verse simply to assert that Paul's Jewish
 heritage in his ancestors or parents."

(Hebrews 11 would be a good addedum to what follows; istm)

 I would say, rather, that: APO PROGONWN is the genitive cased phrase that 
gives qualification to Paul's current (in his experience) service to God in 
that it is characterized by what is from, that is to say, what is because of 
and by what is a result of and what is with the help of....what is "of" the 
ones that have been and gone before: fathers.

Thanks ahead of time for your consideration.

Virgil Newkirk
Salt Lake City, Utah

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Yancy Smith" <Y.W.Smith at tcu.edu>
To: <virgilsalvage1 at msn.com>
Cc: <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Wednesday, March 08, 2006 7:50 PM
Subject: [B-Greek] 2 Tim 1:3 APO

> Virgil,
> The phrase APO PROGONWN is used in Greek either to describe a time
> from which something happened or the source from which something
> came. Ultimately  your understanding of APO PROGONWN is unconvincing
> to me.  It seems you take it neither as a temporal adverbial phrase
> "from [the time of one's] parents or ancestors" or as an adverbial
> phrase of source, but as "from (on the basis of) [the things
> associated with the] acestors".  "From" in that sense would better be
> expressed by the preposition "EPI". There may be other possibilities,
> but before the time of the New Testament, the two I mention here are
> basically it.  The way you seem to be arguing seems to be an extreme
> over-interpretation. After looking at the phrase in other contexts,
> you might want to dial down the amount of stuff you are packing into
> that little phrase.  As Carl says, that one would expect the definite
> article TA to refer to such undefined things. No matter that we call
> this the definite article, still the "things" to which it refers are
> ONLY necessarily defined by their relation to the fathers.  The
> phrase APO PROGONWN is used elsewhere in Greek literature simply as
> "from (or from the time of) one's ancestors/parents". The adjective
> PATRWOS is functionally equivalent. For example, Polybius, referring
> to Mithridates, says he "maintained the sovereignty handed down from
> his ancestors (APO PROGONWN), as it had been originally given to them
> by Darius" (Polybius, Hist. 5.43.2). A second example of the use of
> the phrase is found in Ptolemaeus, On the Difference of Words, 51.2,
> who defines a BASILEUS (king) from a KOIRANOS (ruler, commander) as
> "one who has his authority to rule from ancestors (APO PROGONWN).
> This example seems clearly to refer to source. It is instructive to
> note how Origen interprets the meaning of this phrase in an aside, in
> which he is affirming the common heritage of Christians and Jews, he
> supports the argument  by a reference to 2 Tim 1:3 "even as Paul
> himself indicates clearly, having come from the Jews to Christianity,
> "I thank my God, whom I serve APO PROGONWN with a clear conscience."
> In other words, he uses the verse simply to assert that Paul's Jewish
> heritage in his ancestors or parents.
> Yancy Smith
> Y.W.Smith at tcu.edu
> Brite Divinity School
> Texas Christian University

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