[B-Greek] B-Greek Digest, Matt 28:19 and "disciple."

Iver Larsen iver_larsen at sil.org
Thu Dec 23 03:06:04 EST 2010

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Blue Meeksbay" <bluemeeksbay at yahoo.com>
To: "cwconrad2" <cwconrad2 at mac.com>
Cc: <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: 23. december 2010 01:22
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] B-Greek Digest, Matt 28:19 and "disciple."

>I am sorry, I am under the weather and so will not be able to follow through
> with this thread, but I just wanted to briefly add my two cents.

The two present participles explain more of what is involved in MAQHTEUSATE. The 
first one is BAPTIZONTES. It is followed by διδάσκοντες DIDASKONTES in v. 20. If 
we add εὐαγγελίζω EUAGGELIZW, I would say we have three ordered components to 
the meaning of μαθητεύω MAQHTEUW: Evangelize, baptize, teach. How this is done 
is a different matter.

However, what has not been mentioned and which is of interest to me is the 
object for the verb. Grammatically it is all the ethnic groups - PANTA TA EQNH. 
But can a whole ethnic group be "discipled" or evangelized or baptized or 
taught? Well, the next clause refers to them as AUTOUS rather than AUTA, so it 
does not refer back to the nations as a whole, but to individuals - people - 
within those nations. One of the first kings of Denmark, Harold Bluetooth, 
bragged in an inscription from 958 on the famous Jelling stone that it was him 
who "made the Danes Christians". In what sense he thought he had done that is 
not clear to me.

Iver Larsen

> Friberg’s Lexicon says: μαθητεύω1aor. ἐμαθήτευσα; 1aor. pass. ἐμαθητεύθην; (1)
> intransitively, active be or become a disciple of someone (MT 27.57); passive
> become a disciple, be a follower (MT 27.57); be instructed, be trained (MT
> 13.52); (2) transitively make a disciple of someone, instruct, cause someone 
> to
> become a follower (MT 28.19)
> I always understood this verb in the sense of Stephen Carlson’s example –
> "Tomake a disciple of; to convert to the doctrine of another, or Friberg’s
> definition of causing “someone to become a follower.”
> And now Carl Conrad's latest post – (Thank you Dr. Conrad for taking us back 
> to
> the essence of the matter). I really like your statement: *The verb μαθητεύω
> [MAQHTEUW] is a transitive verb and means to turn its accusative object into a
> μαθητής [MAQHTHS].* I think Dr. Conrad got to the essence of the meaning by
> reminding us of Matthew's context of Jesus as the new Rabbi in the New 
> Covenant
> as Moses was the Rabbi of the Old Covenant – cf. John 9:28, *disciples of
> Moses.*
> It also seems making a disciple, or, in other words, making a convert to
> Jesus, fits in better with the context and especially the aorist tense of this
> verb. I think Matthew is talking about a punctiliar action, which fits in 
> nicely
> with the idea of making a convert.
> If the verb was in the *present* tense, then it might be better understood to
> carry the connotation of *discipling* someone as was used in the example of 
> the
> junior pastor in Terry Cook’s example.
> It seems Jesus is just saying the same thing he said in the other gospel, 
> albeit
> in a different way: "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all
> creation.” Mk. 16:15
> Just as a disclaimer. I know this idea of the aorist is many times used too
> simplistically, as Wallace says below regarding the *Abused Aorist:*
> “There are two errors to avoid in treating the aorist: saying too little and
> saying too much. First, some have said too little by assuming that nothing 
> more
> than the unaffected meaning can ever be seen when the aorist is used. This 
> view
> fails to recognize that the aorist tense (like other tenses) does not exist in 
> a
> vacuum. Categories of usage are legitimate because the tenses combine with 
> other
> linguistic features to form var­ious fields of meaning.
> Second, many NT students see a particular category of usage (Aktionsart) as
> under­lying the entire tense usage (aspect). This is the error of saying too
> much. Statements such as “the aorist means once-for-all action” are of this
> sort. It is true that the aorist may, under certain circumstances, describe an
> event that is, in reality, momentary. But we run into danger when we say that
> this is the aorist’s unaffected meaning, for then we force it on the text in 
> an
> artificial way. We then tend to ignore such aorists that disprove our view 
> (and
> they can be found in every chapter of the NT) and pro­claim loudly the
> “once-for-all” aorists when they suit us. Greek Grammar Beyond the Basicsby
> Daniel B. WallacePrinted Edition:Zondervan Publishing HouseGrand Rapids,
> Michigan 49530Copyright © 1996 by Daniel B. Wallace (pg. 557)
> But in this case, I view this verse as fitting in nicely with Wallace’s
> statement, *It is true that the aorist may, under certain circumstances,
> describe an event that is, in reality, momentary.*
> In addition, the punctiliar thought of becoming a disciple or convert fits in
> better with the same verb used in Matt. 27:54 and also the participles in 
> Matt.
> 13:52 and Acts 14:21.
> For example, if the participle in Acts 14:21 was being used in the sense of
> *discipling* or *mentoring* someone, then it seems it would have been better
> used in a place where Paul stayed for a year or two like Corinth or Ephesus, 
> but
> it is used here of a place where he and Barnabas stayed for a very short time,
> therefore, it seems Luke is also using it in the sense of making a convert. In
> this case it seems the participle MAQHTEUSANTES is completing the thought of 
> the
> participle EUAGGELISAMENOI. In other words, Luke is saying they preached the
> gospel and people responded and believed, thereby becoming a disciple of the 
> new
> Rabbi, Jesus.
> So anyway, there is my two cents. Like two cents, it may not be worth much.
> Blue Harris
> ________________________________
> From: cwconrad2 <cwconrad2 at mac.com>
> To: Delwyn Campbell <dxcj4life at hotmail.com>
> Cc: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
> Sent: Wed, December 22, 2010 1:25:43 PM
> Subject: Re: [B-Greek] B-Greek Digest, Matt 28:19 and "disciple."
> I'm sorry if I've been the cause of confusion regarding this passage with my
> objection to use of the English "disciple"
> as a verb to convey the sense of the Greek imperative μαθητεύσατε 
> I do think that it's probably
> only those who use "disciple" in English to represent this particular verb in
> this particular GNT text who are likely to
> use "disciple" in English as a verb. But whether or not that may be the case,
> our focus in this discussion group is
> really not upon how to convey the words of a Greek text into English but first
> and foremost on how best to understand
> the Greek words and text in themselves.
> The verb μαθητεύω [MAQHTEUW] is a transitive verb and means to turn its
> accusative object into a μαθητής [MAQHTHS].
> I think that this noun -- MAQHTHS -- is a very distinct item of Matthew's
> vocabulary and is closely associated with the image
> of Jesus as a rabbi and new Moses laying down a new Torah for those who sit at
> the rabbi's feet and take to heart his instruction.
> I wonder how often these particular associations of Matthew's usage of the 
> word
> are in mind when one uses either "make disciples of" or "disciple" or "mentor"
> are used. Insofar as the question is fundamentally how MAQHTEUSATE ought best 
> to
> be rendered in
> English, the question I would ask is, "How can one best convey the wealth of
> implication in Matthew's usage of the noun MAQHTHS?"
> Ultimately the question is not, I think, "How is this verb best conveyed in
> English?" but "What all should we understand this verb to mean in Matthew's
> Greek usage?"
> Carl W. Conrad
> Department of Classics, Washington University (ret)
> On Dec 22, 2010, at 04:13 PM, Delwyn Campbell <dxcj4life at hotmail.com> wrote:
>> Would it be possible to use "mentor all the Gentiles,...teaching them to
>> observe..." as a translation of the passage?
>> Delwyn X. Campbell

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