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Contains the archives of the N.T.Wrong blog, April 2008-January 2009

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Reason No. 33: Galatians 3.22 – 100 Reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive

Posted by NT Wrong on December 23, 2008

pistis_christouThe following post is an abridged version of one of the 100 reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive included in my forthcoming book:

100 Reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive


Reason No. 33: Galatians 3.22

In Galatians 3.22, Paul refers to ἐκ πίστεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ (”by faith[/fulness] in [/of] Jesus Christ”). He refers to this phrase in the context of his discussion of how the law had imprisoned all things under the power of sin.

Paul’s argument in Galatians 3.22 continues into chapter 5, and is explored in his intervening analogy concerning Abraham and his seed.

Morna Hooker argues that the passage demonstrates that the promise to Abraham came to the Gentiles by their incorporation into Christ, the faithful one (1989:327-331). Her argument is that believers are the descendants of Abraham (3.6-9), yet as Christ is the only seed of Abraham (3.15-16), and faith came in Christ who shared Abraham’s faith (3.22-25), the promise must therefore be given to those who have faith through participating in Christ’s faith (3.22).

But Dunn queries why, if this was really Paul’s argument, Paul did not bring it out more clearly, by explicitly stating that Christ believed as Abraham believed (1991: 738). Dunn has more regard to the context of Paul’s argument, the central concern of which is how non-Jews could be considered Abraham’s children by sharing Abraham’s faith. As argued in Reason No. 81, Gal 3.8 refers to the faith of believers, and this is so right through to Gal 3.14, where the promise of the Spirit is declared to be received through faith, recalling the believers’ receipt of the Spirit through “believing what [they] heard” in 3.2 & 5. In Gal 3.15ff, Paul introduces a further argument, from the premise that Christ is the sole seed of Abraham in whom the promise was fulfilled. And as a result of this argument, the faith that justifies in 3.6-9 is understood in 3.22 as faith in Jesus Christ. Dunn rightly concludes that Hooker has “merged the two strands of Paul’s argument [3.5-14 and 3.15-25], and her thesis arises from the resulting confusion” (191: 738).

References:

  • Morna D. Hooker, “ΠΙΣΤΙΣ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ.” New Testament Studies 35 (1989): 321-42.
  • James D. G. Dunn, “Once More, ΠΙΣΤΙΣ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ.” Society of Biblical Literature Seminar Papers, 1991: 730-44.
  • Posted in Faith, Greek, Jesus & Christ, Paul, Soteriology | Leave a Comment »

    Reason No. 81: Salvation by faith not law in Galatians 2-3 – 100 Reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive

    Posted by NT Wrong on December 23, 2008

    pistis_christouThe following post is an abridged version of one of the 100 reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive included in my forthcoming book:

    100 Reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive


    Reason No. 81: Salvation by faith not law in Galatians 2-3

    Paul makes an argument for salvation by faith versus law by utilising the example of Abraham in Gal 3.6ff. But before he does this, Paul makes an initial argument for salvation by faith not law from the Galatians’ receipt of the Spirit in 3.2-5.

    This initial argument from the receipt of the Spirit is bracketed by two clear contrasts of (i) human works of the law and (ii) human faith through hearing:

    - Gal 3.2: “Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard?”
    - Gal 3.5: “does God supply you with the Spirit and work miracles among you by your doing the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?”

    The ensuing example of Abraham’s justification by faith in Gal 3.6ff is introduced as something the Galatians know (Γινώσκετε) as a result of (ἄρα) Paul’s prior words. So the justification ἐκ πίστεως in this section (Gal 3.8), which is also contrasted with works of the law, would likewise refer to the faith of believers.

    So we have two successive and related sections in which Paul contrasts human faith and human works of the Law. So how should we read the earlier section in Gal 2.16.20, which makes the same contrast?

    The shared context of these three connected passages strongly suggests that πίστεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ and πίστει … τῇ τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ in Gal 2.20 concerns human faith.

    Thus πίστις Χριστοῦ is an objective genitive: the faith of humans in Christ.

    Posted in Faith, Greek, Jesus & Christ, Paul, Soteriology | Leave a Comment »

    Reason No. 76: Faith versus Works – 100 Reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive

    Posted by NT Wrong on December 22, 2008

    pistis_christouThe following post is an abridged version of one of the 100 reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive included in my forthcoming book:

    100 Reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive


    Reason No. 76: Faith versus Works

    Proponents of the objective genitive have pointed out that πίστις Χριστοῦ is used in contexts where works are being contrasted with faith. As the natural contrast to human works is human faith, this supports the objective genitive translation. The interpretation is also supported by other similar passages such as Rom 9.30—10.8 and Phil 3.2-11 (Schreiner 2001: 213-14).

    However, it is countered by Cousar (1996: 130) that it makes more sense to read Paul as pitting a human activity (works) against a divine activity (Christ’s faithful obedience). This rather misses the point of the passages. While Cousar’s suggestion may indeed be a “more powerful contrast” (Matera 1992), the question remains: is it the actual contrast being made in the text? Probably not. This contrast is not in fact Paul’s own contrast.

    Matlock (2000: 12) provides an argument showing that this is not a good interpretation of Paul’s contrast. He points out that, if Paul’s antithesis were focused on divine versus human actions, it is unusual that Paul does not directly contrast ἔργα νόμου and ἔργα Χριστοῦ.

    Accepting the governing context of Paul’s contrast between human faith and works, and between Abraham’s faith (Gen 15) and Abraham’s observance of God’s command (Gen 17), Paul’s antithetical worldview is a significant piece of evidence in favour of the objective genitive interpretation.

    Hays’ theological objection that this places human faith at the basis of the promise (2002: 150-151) would only be true if human faith were the ultimate basis in any of these passages. But it is never is. Human faith is always made possible by the grace of God through Christ, and functions merely as the explanation of how humans are to appropriate this gift.

    References:

  • Richard B. Hays, The Faith of Jesus Christ: The Narrative Substructure of Galatians 3.1—4.11. Rev. Ed. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002.
  • Thomas R. Schreiner, Paul, Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ: A Pauline Theology. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2001.
  • C. B. Cousar, The Letters of Paul. Interpreting Biblical Texts. Nashville: Abingdon, 1996.
  • R. Barry Matlock, “Detheologizing the ΠΙΣΤΙΣ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ Debate: Cautionary Remarks from a Lexical Semantic Perspective.” Novum Testamentum 42.1 (2000): 1-23.
  • Frank J. Matera, Galatians. Sacra Pagina 9. Collegeville: Liturgical, 1992.
  • Posted in Faith, Greek, Jesus & Christ, Paul, Soteriology | 4 Comments »

    Reason No. 64: P46 Reads Paul that way – 100 Reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive

    Posted by NT Wrong on December 22, 2008

    pistis_christouThe following post is an abridged version of one of the 100 reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive included in my forthcoming book:

    100 Reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive


    Reason No. 64: P46 Reads Paul that way

    A plausible further early witness to the objective genitive intepretation is provided by the scribe of P46, who altered the text of Galatians 3.26 from διὰ τῆς πίστεως ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ to διὰ τῆς πίστεως Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ (Matlock 2003).

    P46 removes the ambiguity of the majority reading, and brings it in line with Gal 2.16 and 3.22, and is thus the less difficult and later variant (Matlock 2003: 435). So, the manuscript provides an early example of a scribe who made an interpretive amendment of Paul. Matlock argues that it can reasonably be assumed that the scribe made the change because he incorrectly read πίστεως and ἐν Χριστῷ together and, knowing the phrase appeared nowhere else in Paul’s letters, sought to substitute an equivalent Pauline expression for “faith in Christ”, thereby demonstrating that the scribe considered Paul’s phrase πίστεως Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ to have an objective genitive meaning (2003: 437).

    References:

  • R. Barry Matlock, “ΠΙΣΤΙΣ in Galatians 3.26: Neglected Evidence for ‘Faith in Christ’?” New Testament Studies 49 (2003): 433-439
  • Posted in Faith, Greek, Jesus & Christ, Paul, Soteriology | Leave a Comment »

    Reason No. 94: Exchanging a Lutheran Paul for a Calvinistic Paul – 100 Reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive

    Posted by NT Wrong on December 21, 2008

    pistis_christouThe following post is an abridged version of one of the 100 reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive included in my forthcoming book:

    100 Reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive


    Reason No. 94: Exchanging a Lutheran Paul for a Calvinistic Paul

    Many writers within the movement now known as ‘the Wrong Turn on Paul’ (sometimes known as ‘the New Perspective on Paul’) consider that they have escaped the Lutheran bias which overemphasised so-called (Jewish) legalism. Such a view of Paul is considered to overemphasize the importance of Paul’s contrast between justification by faith and justification by law, and also to reflect an unrealistic and polemical sixteenth-century view of Judaism. However, in giving up the ‘Lutheran Paul’, those writers who have accepted the Wrong Turn on Paul have not turned to the words of Paul himself. If they had, they might well have discarded the polemics concerning Jewish ‘legalism’, and had more regard to the importance of Paul’s emphasis on justification by faith (versus law), by being-in-Christ (versus being-Jewish).

    But the New Perspective has exchanged a Lutheran conception of Paul for a Calvinistic conception of Paul. Or, if you like, their views now resemble that of an Über-Luther. They discard an overemphasis on Law for an overemphasis on the sovereignty of God and complete and utter insufficiency of human works. Proponents of the subjective genitive interpretation have argued that such an interpretation shifts the emphasis in Paul’s theology to the role of God’s grace over that of humanity’s faith, and overcomes the post-Lutheran tendency to consider human belief a work in itself, rather than only a response to God’s grace. For them, the shift of emphasis triggered by a subjective genitive interpretation makes conversion less of a human summoning up of boldness and courage to make a decision for Christ, than a response to a call made already by God.

    It is interesting how pervasive this Reformed (non-Pauline) way of thinking can be. Even Dunn, who defends the objective genitive, finds the theological implications of the subjective genitive attractive, and “wholly compatible” with Paul’s theology. Although Dunn correctly notes that the real question to be addressed is ‘what did Paul in fact intend?’, he has a sympathy with the theology Paul did not intend — to the extent that he finds it “wholly compatible” with Paul’s theology!

    Dunn’s question is correct, but raises a dilemma for him and those with a Reformed bias. For, if the subjective genitive intepretation increases the emphasis on God’s sovereignty and the necessity of grace beyond Paul’s intended meaning, and this occurs in Paul’s key passages summarising the Gospel – can the result still be “wholly compatible” with Paul’s theology?

    A shift in emphasis in these key, theologically compact passages is inevitably also a shift away from Paul’s theology. And given the direction of the emphasis, the shift is more “wholly compatible” with the Augustinian-Calvinist-Barthian emphasis on monergistic faith, than Paul’s own theological emphasis. And that is most probably why such a theology is perceived as “attractive” — not because it correctly interprets Paul.

    The proponents of the subjective genitive appear to have more concern to deny works and affirm grace than Paul himself does, who, more in tune with the Judaism of his day, allows more place for the paradox and tension of human versus divine will, rather than insisting on monergistic grace.

    Matlock, who seems to have commented on everything concerning this topic, identifies the modern interpretation as “a sort of hyper-Protestantism” (2002: 312).

    Paul, like most Jews, was to some extent a synergist. So his theology should not be artificially aligned with some modern theology, and certainly not with Calvinistic-Reformed-Barthian theology. But this realignment of Paul’s thought is exactly the tendency amongst proponents of the subjective genitive and the New Perspective in general.

    References:

  • R. Barry Matlock, “’Even the Demons Believe’: Paul and ΠΙΣΤΙΣ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ.” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 49.3 (2002): 300-318.
  • Posted in Faith, Greek, Jesus & Christ, Paul, Soteriology | 1 Comment »

    Reason No. 63: James interprets Paul that way – 100 Reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive

    Posted by NT Wrong on December 21, 2008

    pistis_christouThe following post is an abridged version of one of the 100 reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive included in my forthcoming book:

    100 Reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive


    Reason No. 16: Straining after the Subjective Genitive Gnat

    Many commentators have taken James 2.24 as a deliberate response to Paul, qualifying Paul’s approach to justification by faith. James 2.17-24 employs the same example of Abraham as Paul does in Romans 4:

    “So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe–and shudder. Do you want to be shown, you senseless person, that faith apart from works is barren? Was not our ancestor Abraham justified by works when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was brought to completion by the works. Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. (24) You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.”

    From this passage, we see that James interprets “faith” as “faith in (Christ)” and argues against those (Paul) who proclaim salvation is by ‘faith in’ alone. So, as Barry Matlock argues, if Paul is the target, the passage provides corroboration for an objective genitive interpretation of Paul’s words.

    References:

  • R. Barry Matlock. “’Even the Demons Believe’: Paul and ΠΙΣΤΙΣ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ.” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 49.3 (2002): 300-318.
  • Posted in Faith, Greek, Jesus & Christ, Paul, Soteriology | 4 Comments »

    Reason No. 47: The Evidence of the Church Fathers – 100 Reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive

    Posted by NT Wrong on December 21, 2008

    pistis_christouThe following post is an abridged version of one of the 100 reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive included in my forthcoming book:

    100 Reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive


    Reason No. 47: The Evidence of the Church Fathers

    Harrisville’s survey of the Church Fathers (1994) shows that native Greek speakers Origen and Chrysostom interpreted πίστις Χριστοῦ in the objective genitive sense (cf. Silva 1988). Undoubtedly, Origen and Chrysostum also made statements about “the role of Christ in making faith available” in the wider context of their commentaries. But this does not alter the fact that the phrase πίστις Χριστοῦ was interpreted as an objective genitive (contra Hays 2002: il).

    Moreover, Harrisville finds no examples of the subjective genitive interpretation in any commentaries of the Fathers.

    Furthermore, he finds no discussion of the phrase’s possible ambiguity. Interpretation of the phrase is just not an issue.

    It should be remembered that the Fathers’ interpretations follow a period of theological development after Paul, in different social contexts. But nevertheless, the complete absence of interpretational support amongst the early Church Fathers (including native Greek speakers), or even any recognition of its possible ambiguity, is a significant piece of evidence for the objective genitive interpretation.

    References:

  • Roy A. Harrisville, “ΠΙΣΤΙΣ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ: Witness of the Fathers” Novum Testamentum 36 (1994): 233-41.
  • Moisés Silva, Philippians (WEC: Chicago: Moody, 1988).
  • Posted in Faith, Greek, Jesus & Christ, Paul, Soteriology | 2 Comments »

    Reason No. 22: The Example of Christ’s Faithfulness as Conspicuous Silence – 100 Reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive

    Posted by NT Wrong on December 20, 2008

    pistis_christouThe following post is an abridged version of one of the 100 reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive included in my forthcoming book:

    100 Reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive


    Reason No. 22: The Example of Christ’s Faithfulness as Conspicuous Silence

    Proponents of the objective genitive interpretation have argued that there are passages where Paul would have been expected to discuss Christ’s faithfulness if he had intended πίστις Χριστοῦ to be understood as a subjective genitive. But as Paul does not, this constitutes a persuasive argument from silence.

    It is unusual that Paul doesn’t develop specific examples of Christ’s own faithfulness if he had the concept in mind when he wrote the phrase πίστις Χριστοῦ. After all, Paul does manage to repeat himself easily and develop his thoughts in various ways, with many practical examples.

    Leon Morris (1993: 288 ) gives the example of Romans 4, where, after the mention of πίστις Χριστοῦ in Rom 3.22 & 26, Paul gives the example of the faith(fulness) of Abraham, rather than the faith(fulness) of Christ. Once Paul had delivered his reasoned argument in Romans 3 — and if he was referring to the faithfulness of Christ with the phrase πίστις Χριστοῦ — one might have thought that an example from Christ’s own life would have been most appropriate.

    But, as with all arguments from silence, contrary arguments can be raised. Proponents of the subjective genitive interpretation have provided possible reasons for making Abraham the example here. In the first place, Abraham acts as the representative and model for all humans in being reckoned righteous, while Christ was not reckoned but was righteous from the very beginning (Hooker 1989: 325; Hays 2002: 723). Secondly, in providing Abraham as the example here, Paul demonstrates that justification by faith (now defined in Christ) was God’s original plan for his chosen people, which makes the selection of Abraham a deliberately selected counter-reading to the dominant Jewish interpretation of Abraham as being justified by his faithfulness to the command of God (Hooker 1989: 325; Hays 2002: 722).

    While the example of Christ’s own faithfulness on the cross seems like the most powerful example to provide when Romans 4 commences, it is also hard to discount other purposes Paul may have had in providing Abraham as an example. So, while it is unusual that Paul never provides an example of Christ’s own faithfulness, a factor which points in the direction of an objective genitive interpretation, this doesn’t provide an open-and-shut basis for the interpretation.

    References:

  • Richard B. Hays, The Faith of Jesus Christ: The Narrative Substructure of Galatians 3.1—4.11. Rev. Ed. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002.
  • Morna D. Hooker, “ΠΙΣΤΙΣ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ.” New Testament Studies 35 (1989): 321-42.
  • Leon Morris, “Faith”, in Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin & Daniel G. Reid, eds, Dictionary of Paul and his Letters (Downers Grove and Leicester: InterVarsity, 1993), 285-291.
  • Posted in Faith, Greek, Jesus & Christ, Paul, Soteriology | 1 Comment »

    Reason No. 16: Straining after the Subjective Genitive Gnat – 100 Reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive

    Posted by NT Wrong on December 20, 2008

    pistis_christouThe following post is an abridged version of one of the 100 reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive included in my forthcoming book:

    100 Reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive


    Reason No. 16: Straining after the Subjective Genitive Gnat

    Given the absence of any explicit reference to the “faithfulness” of Christ outside of the disputed phrases, we would expect Paul to refer to the faithfulness of Christ in some other way for the subjective genitive intepretation to have a sound foundation. But there aren’t any such examples. This forces the proponents of the subjective genitive interpretation to strain after a gnats, in their attempt to manufacture a “faith of Christ” meaning elsewhere. The very tendentiousness of the attempt is testimony to the superiority of the objective genitive interpretation.

    For Hays, Jesus’ faithfulness is his obedience to God, pre-eminently in his death on the cross. Hays argues that Christ’s obedience has saving significance in Rom 5.19, that obedience and faith are linked in Rom 1.5, and therefore that faith has soteriological consequences (2002: 51). Although such explanations provide a theoretical corroboration for the subjective meaning of πίστις Χριστοῦ, Barry Matlock contends that proponents of the subjective genitive interpretation are using their ingenuity to find a sense for the phrase, rather than methodologically beginning from first principles in asking what the link is between πίστις and Jesus’ death that signals the selection of a particular sense of πίστις (“faithfulness”) and a particular relation to Χριστοῦ (“subjective”) (2000: 12).

    It is probably correct that ὑπακοὴν πίστεως (Rom 1.5) is to be interpreted epexegetically as the “obedience which consists of faith” (Wright 2002: 420). But it is much more doubtful whether a description of obedient faith occurring among the Gentiles can be used to support the strong identification of obedience and faith required to interpret Christ’s obedience as “faithfulness”, without a more explicit unpacking or exposition of the idea elsewhere in relation to Christ. Although Christ’s obedience is a prominent theme in Paul’s epistles (e.g. Rom 5; Phil 2), the doubt surrounding Paul’s association of obedience with the idea of Christ’s “faithfulness” makes it quite unwarranted to conclude that there is a “prima facie expectation of subjective genitive” where the word πίστις appears in a genitival phrase with Χριστοῦ (contra Hooker 1989: 324). The same conclusion applies to the ‘Christ Hymn’ in Phil 2, where “obedience” is described, but is not equated with “fathfulness” to God here or elsewhere in Paul’s writings.

    The issue is not resolved by referring to Paul’s explicit recognition of the faithfulness of God (Rom 3.3). As Hultgren notes, the issue concerns whether there is evidence for the faithfulness of Christ (to the Father), not the faithfulness of God (to humankind) (Hultgren 1980). In the first century AD, in Paul’s letters, these are not the same thing.

    References:

  • Richard B. Hays, The Faith of Jesus Christ: The Narrative Substructure of Galatians 3.1—4.11. Rev. Ed. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002.
  • Morna D. Hooker, “ΠΙΣΤΙΣ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ.” New Testament Studies 35 (1989): 321-42.
  • Arland J. Hultgren, “The Pistis Christou Formulations in Paul.” Novum Testamentum 22.3 (1980): 248-63.
  • R. Barry Matlock, “Detheologizing the ΠΙΣΤΙΣ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ Debate: Cautionary Remarks from a Lexical Semantic Perspective.” Novum Testamentum 42.1 (2000): 1-23.
  • N. T. Wright, “The Letter to the Romans: Introduction, Commentary, and Reflections.” In The New Interpreter’s Bible, Vol 10, Leander E. Keck, et al, eds. (Nashville: Abingdon, 2002), 420
  • Posted in Faith, Greek, Jesus & Christ, Paul, Soteriology | 1 Comment »

    Reason No. 19: The πίστις – πιστεύω Disparity Effect – 100 Reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive

    Posted by NT Wrong on December 19, 2008

    pistis_christouThe following post is an abridged version of one of the 100 reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive included in my forthcoming book:

    100 Reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive


    Reason No. 19: The πίστις – πιστεύω Disparity Effect

    If the subjective genitive interpretation were adopted for the phrase πίστις Χριστοῦ, it would result in the highly unusual disparity that the noun πίστις would be assigned to Christ, while all occurrences of the verb πιστεύω are attributed to human believers.

    Campbell argues that such an argument relies on fallacious etymology (1997: 713-719). But he’s wrong. Barry Matlock (2002: 13) rightly counters that:

      1. Paul uses the noun and verb interchangeably in his paraphrase in Rom 4.9 (“We say, ‘Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness.’”) of his earlier quote of Gen 15.6 in Rom 4.3 (“Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.”);
      2. E. A. Nida and J. P. Louw’s, Lexical Semantics of the Greek New Testament Based on Semantic Domains treats the noun πίστις (“trust”) and verb πιστεύω (“I trust”) as a single entry;
      3. The fallacy of etymology involves historical development not semantic classifications; and
      4. Paul’s choice of verb or noun is one of syntactic structure and stylistic features, and it’s overinterpreting his letters to treat the stylistic difference as having theological import.

    So the subjective genitive translation results in an implausible disparity between the meaning of the noun πίστις and the verb πιστεύω. Given these unlikely semantic consequences, the objective genitive is to be preferred.

    References:

  • Campbell, Douglas. “False Presuppositions in the ΠΙΣΤΙΣ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ Debate: A Response to Brian Dodd.” Journal of Biblical Literature 116 (1997):713-19.
  • R. Barry Matlock, “Detheologizing the ΠΙΣΤΙΣ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ Debate: Cautionary Remarks from a Lexical Semantic Perspective.” Novum Testamentum 42.1 (2000): 1-23.
  • Posted in Faith, Greek, Jesus & Christ, Paul, Soteriology | 4 Comments »

     
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