[B-Greek] Philemon 6

Iver Larsen iver_larsen at sil.org
Wed Jun 1 01:15:06 EDT 2011

Hi, David,

Fronting the SOU would put a contrastive spotlight on YOUR fellowship of faith 
as opposed to Paul's or somebody else's. Such is spotlight seems quite 
irrelevant to the context. The key part of the noun phrase (head noun) and the 
subject for the later verb is KOINWNIA. It is this fellowship that Paul prays 
will become strong (ENERGHS), be energized. It ought to come first. PISTEWS 
limits the fellowship to the kind of fellowship that is built around a common 
faith, since there can be many possible kinds of fellowships. The SOU further 
limits the faith fellowship to the one which Philemon is part of. Presumably 
Paul is not part of that fellowship, or I would have expected "our" rather than 

Similarly, fronting THS PISTEWS would put a spotlight on FAITH and thereby 
remove the natural focus from FELLOWSHIP. I don't think that would fit what Paul 
wanted to say. Ambiguities are not resolved by playing around with word order, 
but by context and the background information that is shared by the writer and 
reader. The main reason that we have a hard time dealing with grammatical 
ambiguities is that we lack much of the shared background information, in this 
case between Paul and Philemon and the situation that Philemon found himself in, 
including the local saints that he has shown such love towards. Later Paul 
appeals to Philemon to accept Onesimus into his fellowship of faith. V. 16 
describes Onesmus as no longer a slave, but a beloved brother in the Lord. Paul 
appeals to Philemon to show love (including forgiveness/compassion) to Onesimus 
both as a human being (EN SARKI) and as a brother in the faith (EN KURIWi). 
After all, he has already shown his love to other brothers that he has 
fellowship with as indicated in verse 5 and 7. It is these verses that seem to 
be the most crucial part of the context. The immediately surronding verses (5,7) 
are always the most important.

Iver Larsen

----- Original Message ----- 
From: =)
To: Iver Larsen ; B-Greek List
Sent: 1. juni 2011 04:57
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] Philemon 6

Dear Iver,

The ambiguity is not resolved that easily. To front the SOU would give a 
different meaning altogether, and that is not what the author wanted to say.

Can I also ask you, why do you say that "SOU H KOINWNIA THS PISTEWS" would give 
a very different meaning? I thought it would mean "your ( communion of the 
faith )" (which would imply "your faith-communion") or "( your communion ) of 
the faith" (which would imply "your communion that is of the faith"), both of 
which seem to be almost the same. Anyway how about "H THS PISTEWS KOINWNIA SOU"? 
Would this unambiguously mean "your faith-communion"?

Thanks a lot,

David Lim

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