[B-Greek] Philemon 6

=) p1234567891 at gmail.com
Wed Jun 1 03:55:05 EDT 2011


Dear Iver,


On 1 June 2011 13:15, Iver Larsen <iver_larsen at sil.org> wrote:

> 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 "your".
>
> 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.
>
> I agree that the emphasis would be different, but the meaning of "the
communion [which is] of your faith" is the same in this context because
Philemon's faith is precisely the reason and foundation of the communion
that he has. Others may place their faith in different things but Philemon's
faith (not Paul's faith or their common faith) is specifically mentioned in
verse 5, which is "THN PISTIN HN ECEIS PROS TON KURION IHSOUN KAI EIS PANTAS
TOUS AGIOUS" = "the faith that you have towards the lord Jesus and for all
the holy [ones]". This faith that Philemon has results in the communion that
he has, therefore I believe verse 6 likewise is referring to his faith and
the communion which is of his faith.

Also, verse 5 mentions both Philemon's love and his faith, "SOU THN AGAPHN
KAI THN PISTIN", and I find it natural that verse 6 is about his faith, "THS
PISTEWS SOU" just as verse 7 is about his love, "TH AGAPH SOU". Just as
verse 7 says that Paul has much grace and comfort upon (based on) Philemon's
love because; "CARIN GAR ECOMEN POLLHN KAI PARAKLHSIN EPI TH AGAPH SOU"; so
also it seems to me that verse 6 implies that Paul prays that the communion
based on Philemon's faith might come to be operative in recognition of every
good thing in them for Christ Jesus; "H KOINWNIA THS PISTEWS SOU ENERGHS
GENHTAI EN EPIGNWSEI PANTOS AGAQOU TOU EN HMIN EIS CRISTON IHSOUN".

So while I agree that the phrase is still ambiguous, I wish to ask if my
interpretation of the grammatical structure is a valid possibility, since I
see no reason why the phrase cannot refer to Philemon's faith.


Best regards,

David Lim


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