Drinking Deeply

Friday, August 27, 2010 at 2:18 PM

Greek is fun!

An interesting passage that came up today. Greek is surprisingly helpful... if you have the habit (like I do) of skipping those helpful footnotes.

2 Corinthians 8:1-7

8:1 We want you to know, brothers, [1] about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, 2 for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. 3 For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, 4 begging us earnestly for the favor [2] of taking part in the relief of the saints— 5 and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. 6 Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace. 7 But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you [3]—see that you excel in this act of grace also.

What does Paul mean when he says, "he should complete among you this act of grace" and "you should excel in this act of grace also" ?

The only other mention of grace is grace given to the Macedonians... that is if you don't read the footnotes! It turns out that the Macedonians begged for the grace of taking part in the relief of the saints (per footnote 2). In Greek, the translation of v.4 is literally -

"Asking us for the grace and fellowship of the ministry of the saints."

Interestingly enough, the ESV changes this to, "the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints." (Taking part/relief and fellowship/ministry are fine equivalents, mine is probably more wooden because I don't know the range of the words).

But anyway, I think when Paul is saying "complete this grace also," he's asking that the Corinthians to complete what the Macedonians began - the grace and partnership of ministry. Obviously the general gist of the passage is clear (especially from the passage heading), but it's interesting to see something come out in the Greek.


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Blogger Lloyd said...

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