Tuesday, June 23, 2009

2 Cor 8:7-15

8:7 Paul does one of those nice things in Greek we cannot do in English. We must translate his phrase regarding love something like this: The love in us for you. More literally it is "the of you in us love." The "us" and "you" are enveloped into the word love almost!

8:7 Paul just uses the word "grace" (charis) here to reference the act of kindness/financial giving. "This grace" is what he calls it!

8:8 Again Paul has some odd constructions possible in Greek. He literally writes: "The the of love sincerity to test." In other words, the object of the testing is not the love, but it is the sincerity...

8:9 Here we see how Paul again is connecting grace and money: Paul talks about the grace of Jesus Christ showing how he became impoverished (listerally, one who begs, ptoocheia)

8:10 With this sentence I may have reached my limits of understanding Greek grammar; This verse has a bunch of translations which basically boil down to where you put the punctuation in the Greek, which wasn't there in the beginning anyway. The question is, what is Paul trying to highlight: The will to give or the completion of the giving. In either case, Paul is making the point: You gave, you even wanted to give, so go ahead and finish it up. What is the advantage of those three? Unclear...

8:11 Paul is using a bunch of articular infinitives here...the last of which is "ek tou echein" which means "from the having..." The sentence literally reads: "Complete the doing in order that just as the desire of willing, so likewise the completeing from the having." I would argue that this goofy construction in Greek emphasizes the verbal nature of the having; in short, it is not "from your means" as in your are drawing a from a storage chest, but rather, it is from your having, your constant action of having.

8:12 I may really be afar here, but Paul spells it out a bit differently than the translators want to make it. Paul never says "What you have" Paul simply says, "if the desire is there, as much as one is having acceptably, and not as one does not have." I think like most parts of 2 Cor, this passage probably demands more thorough attention, but I think it is fair to say that Paul emphasizes the act of having rather then the possession they actually own. I think by doing this, he moves from the gift to the giver.

8:14 Paul here uses the word abundance as a noun (perisseuma); he uses this as a verb in the beginning of the section (vs. 7). His appeal, then, is bracketed by abundance.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

2 Cor 5:14-17

5:14 The phrase here "love of Christ" is more complex than we first realize. Not simply because the word "agape" or "Christos" are in themselves wordfields more than words, but because we have an unclear (as always) genitive. Is it objective gen, ie, the love which has as its object Christ, love for Christ; it is possessive, ie, the love which belongs to Christ, the love belonging to Christ; it is subjective, as in Christ is the subject who does the love, the loving of Christ. Part of what determines the translation of this is figuring out what the verb, "synech-oo" means. This verb means just about anything that relates to stress or dealing with stress: compel, contrain, oppress, torn, closed in, hold together. I think in the context of 2 Cor 5, a more therapeutic translation is helpful: The love from Christ holds us together, we have decided that one died for all (even the proud jerks who make our lives tough), therefore all have died.

5.15 (Note: Paul uses the same words here of living and dying and rising in Romans 6; here though it is without reference to Baptism, but rather the reality of suffering for the believers)

5.16 The translations cover up the dreaded "sarx" here; the "world" or "human" point of view here is simply: kata sarx. Although such language in an individual reading probably confuses the issue, it allows one to see that Paul is not making an isolated argument here, but trying into core concepts he develops perhaps most fully in Romans.

5.17 The word for "pass away," parerchomai, is what is used in "heaven and earth will pass away, but my word shall remain."

5.17 The word for old here is "archaios," ie, archaic.

5.17 The NRSV does funky things with the Greek here. It literally reads: "The old-s (or old things) have passed away. Behold new things have become. In short, it does not really say everything...which may not be a big deal, but Paul is intentional in other places in this section to repeated use the "pas" (he uses this word, which means "all" five times in chapter 5). Saying everything has become new sounds like God did a home improvement project on creation; saying "Behold new things" says God did a new creation.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Romans 8:12-17

8.13 Interestingly, the verb for "going to die" here is in the present (not just going to, but "die" itself) Try reading: Going to continually die. Furthermore, the second half of the verse is just as much a "since" clause as an "if" clause; since the Spirit is putting to death (also in the present tense!!), you will keep living. In short, the emphases here is not simply on God's activity, but the present and continual engagement of the Spirit against the flesh.

8.15 The emphasis here on the term "adoption" (huiothesia) is on the legal establishment of rights for the child. Hence, why Paul moves into terms like inheritance in vs. 17

8.16-17 There are four verbs here that all have the prefix "syn" (Latin: con; English: with) Co-testifiers, co-inheritors, co-sufferers, co-glorifieder)

8.17 Again, there are no true "ifs" in this section: Since we are inheritors...