[B-Greek] 2 Tim 1:3 APO

virgil newkirk virgilsalvage1 at msn.com
Mon Mar 13 04:12:41 EST 2006


Thanks for the comments.
Also by means of your post I notice I mis-spelled OCLOU by using X.

In response I would say that for what you suggest with respect to the crowd 
and the forefathers, a dative phrase would carry that idea and communicate 
what you've indicated quite well. Like EPI OCLWi or EPI PROGONWi I would 
only suggest again that every word that a writer puts into the genitive 
case, indicates that they are looking into the matter and the relationship 
between that word in the genitive case and whatever it is limiting, that 
is... giving actual classification to, that their considerations are of 
something  beyond just the surface appearance or occasion of that something 
and are more significant than can be described by the dative case. We need 
to believe and have our attention caught by the fact the Greeks are the ones 
that brought into their language...the genitive case, and that there is a 
significant reason for it.

You wrote:

I am also prepared to accept that there might be all sorts of factors that 
result in such a cause. (clause ?)
The phrase does not "contain" all of these things, however, but merely 
alludes to them in hopes that the reader will select those that are 
optimally relevant.


I would say it is difficult for us to determine what, back then, when this 
was a living language, how many of these items a phrase like this might have 
meant to the speakers and the hearers. But, I do appreciate how you point 
out that the reader/hearer would surely be selecting those things (concrete 
substances (if I may)) that would have been optimally relevant. I must say 
that when I come to words in the genitive case that right away I attempt to 
do just that by first of all asking myself; what is that substantive, 
adjective, adverb or verb that is now going to receive limitation by the 
writer. Then to focus on "all" the words in the genitive case so that I 
might fully come to know what characteristics are being assigned by the 
writer to that "something" nearby. Take the case of LATREUW; I not only want 
to focus on the fact that this current service is characterized by being 
"from" but also that it has as a characteristic something, that is; "of 
fathers"; it is the writer signaling me that there is something more 
significant, than for instance, can be indicated by the dative case. I allow 
myself more careful attention to a word in the genitive case because of 

In a grammar that is highly regarded by many on this list:

A Beginning-Intermediate Grammar of Hellenistic Greek by Robert Funk...Funk 
in the very first paragraph of the section entitled "A Personal Word to the 
Teacher and Student" says,

"The aim of this grammar is to introduce the student to the structure of the 
Greek language in the briefest period of time. Notice that structure and 
Greek language are being emphasized. It is the language itself and not a 
grammar about that language that the student who wishes to learn to read 
Greek needs to confront. For that reason, the grammar itself is suppressed 
wherever possible. And, if modern linguistics is correct in its fundamental 
affirmations, the one needful thing in learning a new language is 
familiarity with its grammatical structure. Such familiarity need not be 
explicit; the learner needs to "know" the structure and structure signals 
only in the sense that he is able, immediately and without deliberation, to 
respond to them."


I'm mentioning this in regards especiallly to the cases. They are strong and 
clear structure signals. They indicate so very specifically the writers 
perspective and how deep or far it does or does not go. 
Nominative...straightforwardly signals the subject generally speaking. 
Accusative case...(as was said recently on this list); the item being dealt 
with. The dative case...now we're going to something more significant. 
Robertson says it is that of personal interest. It is sometimes used of 
things, but of things personified...he goes on to say the dative has a 
distinctive personal touch. Yancy, I would say it is the case where we're 
taking a closer and more careful look at or drawing closer and more careful 
attention to. It, like the other cases is a signal to us of something 
specific. Then the genitive case; another structure signal to gain our 
attention, but to what ? To some of the most distinctive concrete substances 
that substantives, adjectives, adverbs and sometimes verbs are indicated (by 
use of the writer employing the genitive case) to be characterized by 
whatever that something is in the genitive case. Is it not one of the more 
significant issues concerning existence that one thing can become 
characterized by something else ? It speaks of significant relational 
matters, I believe. As Robertson says in a most significant way:

"It is the specifying case...the case of appertenance."

My ! Appertenance..."something added to!"

For example,it's one thing to be serving God; it is significantly more of 
something to be serving God APO PROGONWN and as you said, Yancy, with 
regards to the elements that may be found in a genitive cased phrase that 
one hopes that:

 "the reader will select those that are optimally relevant."

Funk goes on in the section, "Personal Word" to say on page 29 under (5):

The student is advised to take every conceivable shortcut in reading the 
signals of the language: explicit, full grammatical knowledge is no 
substitute for native response where reading ability and comprehension are 

(6) The student is urged to believe in the linguistic "signposts," like 
those on a complicated Interstate, and to trust his own reading of the 
markers. There will be fewer traffic jams and slowups if the student allows 
himself to be guided by the markers he sees and leaves a blank here, and a 
guess there.

(7) A wrong turn is no disgrace: if the student makes a misreads a sign, the 
teacher will direct the way back to the highway, provided the student has 
not already discovered his error. A wrong turn is better than an idle wait 
on the shoulder studying the map.


I imagine you're asking, "What's your point?"

The point is that when we see the genitive case in use it is like a roadside 
sign that says pull in here, there's something more significant I want you 
to take a look at. It's not something that can be appreciated and profited 
from by just driving by and making a notation of..."Oh, look, there's that 
thing!" No, there's a plaque over here with some specifics on it that you 
must read to fully appreciate what is over there...just out of the normal 
line of sight.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Yancy Smith" <Y.W.Smith at tcu.edu>
To: <virgilsalvage1 at msn.com>
Cc: <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Sunday, March 12, 2006 10:55 PM
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] 2 Tim 1:3 APO

> Virgil,
> You wrote:
> > 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.
> Now, I am with you so far. I accept that APO OCLOU means, in English,
> "because of the crowd." I am also prepared to accept that there might
> be all sorts of factors that result in such a cause. The phrase does
> not "contain" all of these things, however, but merely alludes to
> them in hopes that the reader will select those that are optimally
> relevant. Our brains seem to be wired to work like that, and when
> they find the first meaning that meets the principle of relevance,
> they generally stop working on the problem and go on to the next
> unless unsolved problems continue to vex. I am prepared to accept as
> well that some of the factors that create the cause alluded to in the
> grammar may be more or less implicated and that one could see a whole
> host of more or less faintly indicated factors to which the phrase
> directs the reader's minds. But I think surely you are over
> interpreting by separating "the meaning" of APO and the genitive
> cased OCLOU and packing each one with all the meaning you possible can.
> > 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.

Yancy, you commented:

> Is this the way natural language works? Isn't it more natural to take
> APO OCLOU as a semantic unit which indicates cause and be done with
> it, as far as grammatical analysis is concerned.

VN: Again I would say the writers use of the genitive case is requesting us 
to slow down and have a closer and more careful look so we can possibly be 
transported  farther into his view of things. I think it's the writer 
wishing that we would not just count it as a semantic unit which indicates 
this or that and be done with it, but that we would look beyond what appears 
on the surface and get ourselves familiar with more of the specifics. For me 
it is like standing on the beach and saying, yes, that is the ocean, but 
preferring to swim out perhaps 50 feet or more and dive down into it and 
have a look at what's there also. That's the genitive case for me.


This is not your fault, but I don't understand the terminology here in this 
next statement...sorry; my lack, not yours.

The kind of thing you are describing here looks like inference based on 
context according to the principle of relevance not what kind of freight the 
genitive does or does not carry.

Yancy, you wrote:

> When you quote:
> > 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

VN: First of all, I mis-copied ( c ); it should have read: to indicate: 
motive or reason for, from, with

> I am curious to know what the criterion is for selecting this meaning
> for the phrase APO PROGONWN? What makes a causal, means, or
> instrumental meaning more probable than, say, a temporal one?

As I offered before; I don't take LATREUW to be a progressive present 
indicating present as well as past action because of the lack of adverb or 
adjunct (as Robertson suggests)as well as Smyth who says of the present 
indicative and the present of past and present combined,

"The present represents a present state, or an action going on at the 
present time and,

the present "when accompanied by a definite or indefinite expression of past 
time," is used to express an action begun in the past and continued in the 

I take Paul saying that his present ongoing experience at that time has as 
it's characteristics something APO PROGONWN. He does not state (by use of 
the Present Indicative Active...LATREUW) that it has necessarily been 
characterized by this for a period of time that extends back to the distant 
past. He could have easily said this in many different ways with different 
adverbs..adjuncts or by definite or indefinite expressions of past 
time....he just did not ! He, wanting us (I believe) to look through the 
window of his present and see some things in his service that are concrete 
and specific at this time in his life. Not to mention that there is by 
Paul's clear acknowledgement and what we can see was in his life before that 
there was in fact a period of time when he was not serving God, and that 
that service was not characterized by what was APO PROGONWN no more that the 
Jews were serving by means of what was (what they thought was their father 
Abraham) when they were trying to kill Jesus. They were in fact serving the 
god of this world and their service was characterized by what was not just 

 I can
> see the example given in BDAG in Rev 18:15, hOI PLOUTHSANTES AP'
> AUTHS (those who became wealthy with her help/by her/from [dealing
> with] her). But the definition you are suggestion for APO give the
> result, in 2 Tim 1:3,  "whom I serve with the help of my ancestors"?

VN:Well, this would be OK except I would have to word it...whom I am serving 
with the help of what is "characterized by" my ancestors; which is a lot 
different from what you suggested, Yancy; and what would, istm, represent 
what the genitive case indicates.

> Theoretically, this type of meaning might be germane, but, does it
> accord with Greek usage? Why reject the suggestion in BDAG under
> PROGONWN? Is the evidence cited inadequate? BDAG, under PROGONWN
> refer to incriptional evidence in support of their definition of the
> phrase as "from my ancestors" = "as my ancestors did." [It is
> unfortunate that  the Packard Humanities Greek Epigraphy Project
> http://epigraphy.packhum.org/inscriptions/ does not yet contain OGI
> 485, 529, IMagnMai 163, 164].

VN: Again, Yancy, it doesn't seem to me that the editors have noted what the 
genitive case indicates. It is as if the phrase they are talking about is 
APO PROGONWi which the Greek does not do, and for good reason; at least not 
APO hELLHNOS writers point of view.

This, I would contend, is why our Greek grammar books are so full of all 
these "so called" categories of the gentive. If the genitive case were 
understood it would be as Funk states concerning the structure signals that:

" one should be able to immediately and without deliberation to respond to 

CARIN ECW with regards to this that I am in the habit of attempting to do 
this very thing each time that I see any of the cases... (particularly in 
regard to the genitive case) which I believe delivers to us some of the most 
significant thoughts found in the GNT.

  You, however, refer to BDAG on APO.
> Ultimately, the dictionary cannot define words. Usage in context
> does. Outside of this text I can see examples of using APO PROGONWN
> describing an adverbial relation of source, i.e. "from parents/
> grandparents/ancestors" (living or dead), a temporal relationship,
> i.e. "since the time of parents/grandparents/ancestors" (living or
> dead), which, in 2 Tim 1:3, would imply, among other things, "without
> wavering" or "as they did" (as given in BDAG). I would suggest that
> this last usage is idiomatic and that its appearance in funerary
> inscriptions and a letter like 2 Tim looking forward to death is to
> be expected. On the other hand, I have found no evidence to support
> your interpretation of the phrase. This does not make it impossible,
> only improbable. For this usage to be more than a distant
> possibility, more evidence to support it than a wistful reference to
> BDAG is necessary.
> The writer pictures Paul as  affirming "here a continuity with the
> true faith of his Jewish ancestors, i.e., that he has not left ...
> [his heritage] to worship and serve another God, but, in recongnizing
> Jesus as the promised Messiah, has continued to serve the God of
> Abraham (Acts 23:1; 24:14; 26:6)." (See G. Knight, NIGNT on the
> Pastoral Epistles, after citing BDAG on PROGONWN).


Yancy, but this is in direct contradistinction to what Paul stated in 
Phillipians 3....is it not ?

 And that is another reason why it is not The Fathers as in some of Paul's 
fathers whoever that might have been; but it is a matter of the realities 
that are "Of Fathers" (anarthrous)... ones that were before. As I suggested 
before that many of which can be found in Hebrews 11....they are the ones of 
whom it is said, "seeing how we are surrounded by."


Virgil Newkirk
Salt Lake City, Utah

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