James Ernest james.ernest at gmail.com
Tue Apr 20 23:17:03 EDT 2010

Is it not the case that the only way to know what qualities Paul (or
"Paul") posits in GRAFH QEOPNEUSTOS is to read 1 Timothy, just as the
only way to know what qualities are possessed by those who are
QEODIDAKTOI  is to read 1 Thess 4:9? Paul says that his QEODIDAKTOI
know how to love one another. As to whether they, being God-taught,
are necessarily so perfectly trained that they could ever make
mistakes of any kind--well, that's a further question that he does not
take up. QEOPNEUSTOS in 1 Tim 3:16 is not precisely analogous: you can
find evidence that the writer of 1 Thessalonians finds his recipients
to be imperfect, while I'm not aware of evidence that the writer of 1
Timothy considers the scriptures imperfect. But it is not obvious that
1 Timothy 3:16 addresses the questions entailed in modern discussions
of inerrancy. Pressing those further questions is a task for
theologians who want to pursue them; it goes beyond lexicography and
beyond the exegesis of 1 Timothy 3:16, which finds that all GRAFH
QEOPNEUSTOS is useful or profitable in several specific ways.

At any rate, the answer to your question--"Is there anything in the
etymology of this word that requires the conclusion that a text that
is partly (man was involved too) the result of QEOPNEUSTOS is
perfection in all respects?"--has to be: No. Etymology cannot carry
that weight. Getting from that point A to that point B requires the
operation of a different scientia.

James Ernest

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