[B-Greek] Titus 3:5b

Iver Larsen iver_larsen at sil.org
Fri May 16 01:57:20 EDT 2008

>> Titus 3:5b reads:
>> same
>> event or does LOUTROU PALIGGENESIAS refer to baptism while ANAKAINWSEWS
>> PNEUMATOS hAGIOU refer to the work of the HS in regeneration?  Is it
>> incorrect to infer a parallelism akin to Hebrew poetry here and so read
>> these as the same thing?  Thanks.
> οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων τῶν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ ἃ ἐποιήσαμεν ἡμεῖς ἀλλὰ κατὰ τὸ αὐτοῦ ἔλεος
> ἔσωσεν ἡμᾶς διὰ λουτροῦ παλιγγενεσίας καὶ ἀνακαινώσεως πνεύματος ἁγίου...
> You have the key text above so I won't repeat it in b-Greek here.  I am not
> sure there is anything in the specific grammar of the text which would
> really nail this down.  Until your question, I have usually assumed that it
> was two separate events, and saw it similarly to John 3:5 (and yes, I know
> that there is more than one interpretation of that passage as well).  I
> wouldn't call it Hebrew parallelism, but rather a species of apposition,
> which would make KAI epexegetical, "the washing of regeneration, even the
> renewal of the Holy Spirit."  It occurred to me that the presence of the
> article before ANAKAINWSEWS might imply a distinction between the two, but
> since it is frequent to omit the article in prepositional phrases used
> adverbially, as here, I don't know if that's really helpful or not.  I
> suspect this is something that has to be determined on a broader contextual
> basis, if it can be determined at all.

I would consider the two genitive phrases as complementary, describing the same event. KAI is 
basically additive, so one aspect can be added to another in order to give a fuller description of 
the topic. The topic is specified by ἔσωσεν ἡμᾶς. This salvation did not come about through "the 
righteous works we might have done" but through "his own mercy". It happened through λουτροῦ 
παλιγγενεσίας καὶ ἀνακαινώσεως πνεύματος ἁγίου. Because the two nouns ἀνακαίνωσις (renewal) and 
παλιγγενεσία (regeneration) are synonyms, it seems likely that the same event is being described. 
The second genitive indicates that the Holy Spirit is the agent for this renewal, and the 
regeneration is further described by the word λουτρόν (cleansing/bath). I think the focus of this 
last word is the change of state from being "dirty" to being "clean". Since it is a spiritual 
cleansing, it does not have to involve water or refer to baptism, but if it does it would be as a 
symbol or metaphor. The word only occurs one other place in the NT, namely Eph 5:26, a place that is 
also theologically significant and open to several interpretations.

Iver Larsen 

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