[B-Greek] 1 John 4:2 and 2 John 7
leonardj at live.com
Fri Dec 31 04:37:22 EST 2010
> From: iver_larsen at sil.org
> To: leonardj at live.com; nebarry at verizon.net
> CC: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
> Subject: Re: [B-Greek] 1 John 4:2 and 2 John 7
> Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2010 16:21:31 +0300
> 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.
LJ: You have not read what I wrote carefully. I am not "overstating." I was correcting something that Barry H. had written, which you have omitted, and saying that, if the various constituents of the verse are taken in that particular syntactical relationship, then the meaning of the words must be "Every spirit which confesses that Jesus is (or 'as') Christ come in the flesh, is from God." I was not excluding other possibilities of translation above.
> 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,
> and others).
> (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.
LJ: Please clarify the last sentence (though it is academic since you do not advocate option ). If with hOTI, should the verse read as PAN PNEUMA hO hOMOLEGEI hOTI IHSOUN CRISTON EN SARKI ELHLUQOTA? And the form of the verse with an 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.
LJ: "(3) does not fit the context of 1 John"? You might as well have said something like "There is no proof that the earth is round." The whole burden and recurrent theme of 1 John is that Jesus is the Christ (= the son of God) and that believing in that truth, one has eternal life (provided, of course, one lives the kind of life which that belief requires), and the corollary, that if you do not believe that, you have no life. Jesus as the Christ is introduced in 1:3-- "[O]ur fellowship is with the father and with his son Jesus Christ." The expressions "his son," "the son" or "the son of God" throughout this episle are equal to the expression "Christ" (1:3, 7; 2:22, 23 [dis], 24; 3:8, 23; 4:9, 10, 14, 15; 5:5, 10 [dis], 11, 12, 13, 20). To say that "Jesus is the Christ" is the same as saying that "Jesus is the son of God" (compare, for example, 5:1 with 5:5). The epistle fittingly ends with the affirmation that the writer and those whom he addressed "know that the son of God has come" and that they are "in the truth, in his son Jesus Christ" (5:20). Such repeated stress on the fact that Jesus is the Christ would not have made any sense if the denial of that fact (see e.g., 2:22) had not become a serious concern for the writer. It is in that context that we are to understand 4:2.
On the other hand, there is not an iota of evidence in this letter that docetism was a concern for the writer and his audience, unless, of course, the evidence for it be found in 4:2 as you understand it. As Oun Kwon correctly pointed out, the writer was warning his readers against "the spirit of Antichrist," not "the spirit of docetism" (4:3).
> 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
> (Logos) occurs".
> 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.
LJ: On the contrary, I think that that comment does have much merit. The interpretation "Every spirit that confesses Jesus Christ as come in the flesh, is of God," does suggest that Jesus Christ had a pre-incarnate existence as "Jesus Christ." In the way I understand 4:2, "Every spirit that confesses Jesus as Christ come in the flesh, is of God," Christ pre-exists Jesus and become incarnate in him. As I explained in a previous post, Christ existed in the minds of the people of God as their eagerly awaited saviour and in their scriptures and that Christ "came" to this world as Jesus. Compare 5:20: OIDAMEN DE hOTI hO hUIOS TOU QEOU hHKEI ...." ("We know that the son of God [= the Christ] has come ..."). Compare with also Christ' statement in Mt. 17:12, LEGW DE hUMIN hOTI HLIAS HDH HLQEN KAI OUK EPEGNWSAN AUTON, referring to John the Baptist. The Elijah in question existed in the OT prophecies (Malachi 4:5) and he "came" (HLQEN, the same verb as in 1 John 4:2 and 2 John 7) in the form of John the Baptist. The Elijah of OT prophecies pre-existed John the Baptist. Consider also John 1:14, KAI hO LOGOS SARX EGENETO KAI ESKHNWSEN EN hHMIN, from the same pen as 1 John 4:2. However you choose to understand hO LOGOS in John 1:14, clearly it (or he) pre-existed Jesus and became incarnate in him. Similarly, the pre-existent Christ became enfleshed in Jesus, i.e., Jesus is Christ who has come in the flesh. That is all what 1 John 4:2 says.
> > 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
> > XRISTON)
> > 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.
LJ: You may have "overshot" here. The note is only "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 material following being my own writing.
>It is not "the author's failure to
> repeat". It is simply a common Greek ellipsis.
LJ: Yes, the words "the author's failure to repeat" are somewhat unfortunate. The "author's omission of the words ..." would have been better.
>Let us look again at the text here:
> 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.
> Iver Larsen
LJ: TOUTO certainly would have helped your case, but not TON IHSOUN, the original reading. How hOMOLEGEI TON TON IHSOUN can be an ellipsis for hOMOLEGEI IHSOUN CRISTON EN SARKI ELHLUQOTA only you can understand. To "confess Jesus" most naturally means to confess Jesus in some capacity or office, i.e., as the Messiah, not that "Jesus Christ came in the flesh."
I hope that John 2:22-23 helps you see that "to confess Jesus" means to "confess that Jesus is the Christ," though the word involved in that passage is "son" rather than "Jesus."
TIS ESTIN hO YEUSTHS EI MH hO ARNOUMENOS hOTI IHSOUS OUK ESTIN hO CRISTOS; hOUTOS ESTIN hO ANTICRISTOS, hO ARNOUMENOS TON PATERA KAI TON hUION. PAS hO ARNOUMENOS TON hUION OUDE TON PATERA ECEI. hO hOMOLWN TON hUION KAI TON PATERA ECEI.
One who denies that Jesus is the son of God does not have the father too. This is because the father was in Jesus (and vice versa). Note that, as the preceding context shows, to deny "the son" here means to deny that Jesus is the Christ. Conversely, to confess "the son" is to confess that Jesus is the Christ.
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