[B-Greek] 1 John 4:2 and 2 John 7
iver_larsen at sil.org
Wed Dec 29 08:21:31 EST 2010
A few comments below:
----- Original Message -----
From: "Leonard Jayawardena" <leonardj at live.com>
To: <nebarry at verizon.net>
Cc: <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: 29. december 2010 11:24
> LJ: If IHSOUN is the direct object of hOMOLOGEW, CRISTON is the complement of
> IHSOUN and EN SARKI ELHLUQOTA qualifies CRISTON, then the meaning can only be
> "Every spirit which confesses that Jesus is (or 'as') Christ come in the
> flesh, is from God."
IL: You are overstating your case. hOMOLOGEW may take as object a whole clause,
but in that case it should be introduced by hOTI or be an infinitive (with
accusative). Neither is the case here. But the verb can also be construed with a
double accusative. The problem in 4:2 is that we have three accusatives: IHSOUN,
CRISTON and ELHLUQOTA. The majority opinion is that IHSOUN CRISTON is a unit and
what is in focus about Jesus Christ here is that he has come in the flesh, as a
being. You have taken the minority opinion which is also found in the NET.
The NET lists the three options:
(1) the entire phrase “Jesus Christ come in the flesh” may be considered the
single object of the verb homologei; (so B. F. Westcott, A. Brooke, J.
Bonsirven, R. E. Brown, S. Smalley, and others);
(2) the verb hOMOLOGEW may be followed by a double accusative, so that both
“Jesus Christ” and “come in the flesh” are objects of the verb; the meaning
would be “confess Jesus Christ as come in the flesh” (so B. Weiss, J. Chaine,
(3) Another possibility is to see the verb as followed by a double accusative as
in (2), but in this case the first object is “Jesus” and the second is “the
Christ come in the flesh,” so that what is being confessed is “Jesus as the
Christ come in the flesh” (so N. Alexander, J. Stott, J. Houlden, and others).
I would rule out (1) since there is no hOTI nor infinitive.
(3) does not fit the context of 1 John. Chapter 4 talks about evaluating false
teaching. None of the intended audience would be duped if someone claimed that
Jesus was not the Christ. Those who say that are the non-Christians, and they
are clearly liars (2:22). Every Christian knew and would confess that Jesus was
both the Messiah and the Son of God (4:15 and 5:5). The Christians only needed
to "test the spirit" if it was not obviously false what the person was saying.
The idea that Christ somehow entered the man Jesus after his birth and left
before his death, was promoted by certain false teachers within the church. John
counters this idea in 4:2, 2 John 7, but also in 5:6 where the phrase "come
through water" refers to his physical birth as a human being. The phrase
"through blood" refers to his death as a real human being of flesh and blood.
The false teachers would say that this was not the Christ, only the man Jesus.
Concerning (2), NET comments: "option (2) makes “Jesus Christ” the name of the
preincarnate second Person of the Trinity, and this would be the only place in
the Johannine literature where such a designation for the preincarnate LOGOS
That kind of comment makes no sense to me. The text does not talk about the
preincarnate Jesus, but Jesus Christ as he has already come into this world. The
participle is a perfect participle.
> In the UBS GNT text, 4:3 reads: KAI PAN PNEUMA hO MH hOMOLOGEI TON IHSOUN EK
> TOU QEOU OUK ESTIN. The following variant readings are listed in the critical
> apparatus of the UBS GNT:
> 1. IHSOUN CRISTON
> 2. TON IHSOUN EN SARKI ELHLUQOTA (with some mss. in this group substituting
> ELHLUQENAI for ELHLUQOTA)
> 3. IHSOUN KURION EN SARKI ELHLUQOTA
> 4. IHSOUN CRISTON EN SARKI ELHLUQOTA (some mss. TON IHSOUN CRISTON, others TON
> You can see from this that TON IHSOUN must have been the original reading that
> gave rise to the others. As the NET Bible note I reproduced in my last post
> says, "The author's failure to repeat ... [CRISTON EN SARKI ELHLUQOTA] in the
> negative repetition in 4:3a actually suggests that the stress is on Jesus as
> the confession the opponents could not or would not take." The shorter reading
> TON IHSOUN does not make any sense in 4:3 if 4:2 is understood as saying that
> "Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, is of
> God," which is why some scribes felt it necessary to add the words EN SARKI
> ELHLUQOTA to make 4:3 harmonise with their (erroneous) understanding of 4:2,
> with some wishing to further "improve" upon it by adding ELHLUQENAI, not
> content with just EN SARKI ELHLUQOTA. It must have been these same "culprits"
> who introduced ELHLUQENAI in 4:2 in the first place. One can imagine a time
> when docetism became a concern for these scribes, who saw in 4:2, as
> traditionally translated, an effective scriptural counter to that heresy.
IL: I could not find such a NET note at 4:3. It is not "the author's failure to
repeat". It is simply a common Greek ellipsis. Let us look again at the text
ἐν τούτῳ γινώσκετε τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ θεοῦ· πᾶν πνεῦμα ὃ ὁμολογεῖ Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν ἐν
σαρκὶ ἐληλυθότα ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ ἐστιν, 3 καὶ πᾶν πνεῦμα ὃ μὴ ὁμολογεῖ τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἐκ
τοῦ θεοῦ οὐκ ἔστιν·
EN TOUTWi GINWSKETE TO PNEUMA TOU QEOU: PAN PNEUMA hO hOMOLOGEI IHSOUN CRISTON
EN SARKI ELHLUQOTA EK TOU QEOU ESTIN, KAI PAN PNEUMA hO MH hOMOLOGEI TON IHSOUN
EK TOU QEOU OUK ESTIN.
The first sentence has the full statement: "Every spirit who acknowledges that
Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God." It would be bad Greek to repeat
everything in the next statement. The contrast is between every spirit who does
A and every spirit who does not do A. For the second A, the author could have
simply said TOUTO, but he chose to be more specific and repeat Jesus. That the
rest is left unstated to be supplied from context does not tell you anything
about the intended meaning of verse 2. I have no problem with accepting the UBS
text as original, since it has the best mss support and makes perfect sense in
context, once you understand how the Greek language employs ellipsis: Every
spirit who does not acknowledge Jesus (in this way/as I have just said/as a
human being of flesh and blood) is not of God.
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