Eph 2:8; Question for those skilled in the greek

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by kyredneck, Mar 24, 2010.

  1. kyredneck

    kyredneck
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    'for by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;'

    I believe Paul is saying that faith, because it is a fruit of the Spirit, is the gift of God. Does the greek support or refute that?

    May sound odd, but I don't intend this to be a C/A debate, and I wish that it wouldn't turn out to be. Please try to confine the focus to the greek in this verse.
     
    #1 kyredneck, Mar 24, 2010
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  2. Skandelon

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    Even when I was a Calvinist I acknowledged, as do some other Calvinistic scholars, that the phrase, "that not of yourselves" is referencing salvation as a whole and not specifically to "faith." Calvin himself even affirms this when he wrote, "Many persons restrict the word gift to faith alone. But Paul is only repeating in other words the former sentiment. His meaning is, not that faith is the gift of God, but that salvation is given to us by God, or, that we obtain it by the gift of God."

    However, as a non-Calvinist today, I must add (without intending to derail or start a Cal/Arm debate) that I still affirm the idea that faith is a gift of God. Indeed, all good things come from God. I believe that faith comes by hearing and since God is the one who supernaturally brought us the gospel, then He should be credited for the faith that it produces. I don't believe saving faith is an irresistible gift by which man MUST believe the gospel, but only that faith is made possible for all who hear the truth. A gift doesn't have to be "irresistible" to still be considered a gift. Something doesn't have to be effectually applied for it to still be considered as "from God." For example, the snake staff raised in the dessert for the Israelites to look upon for healing was a gift from God, but the people didn't have to look at it in faith for healing. The scripture today is a gift from God, but that doesn't mean people have to read it or believe it. The ability to love another is a gift of God, but that doesn't mean people have to love others. Faith indeed is a gift of God, whether it's effectually applied or not.
     
  3. Deacon

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    Well that didn't really follow your rules did it. :smilewinkgrin:

    Not much to offer of myself but I'd say that researching exegetical commentaries would be your best bet to dealing with your curiosity.

    I’m limiting the portions I offer to small quotes out of concern for copyright laws.

    One of the best I’ve found is the NICNT volume on Ephesians.

    Here’s a snippet that may help.
    Another commentary (WBC) supplies some additional help.
    I’ve never been a big fan of Wuerst but he mentions goes into some detail.
    Lastly Charles Hodge, who work is fortunately past copyright protection.
    Charles Hodge, Commentary on Ephesians (page 117)

    This stuff should get you started.

    Rob
     
    #3 Deacon, Mar 24, 2010
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  4. Deacon

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    Interesting how this author fails to locate the origin of faith, from within or without.
    Guess who wrote this! No fair Googling it!!!

    Rob
     
  5. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    The word "that" must grammatically refer to the participle "are saved," since their endings agree in gender. As A. T. Robertson points out, "and that" is neuter, but "faith" and "grace" both have feminine endings.

    Robertson's NT Word Pictures:
    " For by grace (têi gar chariti). Explanatory reason. "By the grace" already mentioned in verse Eph 2:5 and so with the article. Through faith (dia pisteôs). This phrase he adds in repeating what he said in verse Eph 2:5 to make it plainer. "Grace" is God's part, "faith" ours. And that (kai touto). Neuter, not feminine tautê, and so refers not to pistis (feminine) or to charis (feminine also), but to the act of being saved by grace conditioned on faith on our part. Paul shows that salvation does not have its source (ex humôn, out of you) in men, but from God. Besides, it is God's gift (dôron) and not the result of our work."
     
  6. The Archangel

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    This is one case where I think Robertson misses it completely. But that is a discussion for another time.

    I'm having trouble following John of Japan in this. The only participle I see in v. 8 "have been saved" in the ESV is not neuter. Unless I'm mistaken, "have been saved" is masculine.

    So, while I would agree that--for the most part--the entirety of salvation is in view here, I don't see where "that" and "are saved" are related.

    John, could you please elaborate for me. Maybe I need to look back past v. 8?

    Blessings,

    The Archangel
     
  7. John of Japan

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    I'm happy to oblige.

    In Greek, there must normally be agreement in gender between an adjective, "that" (Greek touto, "that," a pronominal adjective), and the noun it modifies. If in this case the noun were pistewV (the feminine genitive for "faith") or cariti (the feminine dative for "grace"), then the adjective simply must be feminine. In Greek, if the adjective doesn't agree in gender, there is no way to tell what the modified noun is, since word order is not so important. (My current Japanese Greek student is having a hard time with this!)

    Now, you are correct that the participle seswsmenoi is masculine, not the same gender as the neuter pronominal adjective. In that case, our exegesis must be that what the pronominal adjective is modifying is the whole previous clause "salvation by grace through faith" rather than one specific word, and that is why it is neuter.

    If you have Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics by Daniel Wallace, he has a good discussion of the various interpretations on pp. 334-335. He comes to the same conclusion I did (though I didn't consult him before doing my exegesis), saying, "More plausible is the third view, viz., that touto refers to the concept of a grace-by-faith salvation" (p. 335). Robertson basically says the same thing in his big grammar, "In Eph. 2:8...there is no reference to pistewV in touto, but rather to the idea of salvation in the clause before" (p. 704).

    Clear as mud? :type:
     
  8. John of Japan

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    I just looked back and saw my original mistake. I mis-spoke (mis-wrote?) when I said "that" and "be saved" were the same gender. I knew in my head that they weren't the same gender--don't know how it came out that way.
     
  9. RAdam

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    I was reading John Gill's commentary at ewordtoday.com and saw where an editor had inserted this parenthetic statement after Gill finished his commentary on this verse.

     
  10. kyredneck

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    Heheh, I have no idea Rob, and I haven't Googled it. Please tell!

    And thanks for those other excerpts from commentators.
     
  11. kyredneck

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    Thanks Brother Adam. this statement:

    ......seems to be the heart of the matter so far. :)

    I'm anxious to see if other Greek Guys contibute their take on it.


    .......and I appreciate the input from J of J and Arch, very much. :)
     
  12. The Archangel

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    I'm aware of all of this and Wallace is very good on the issue. Mounce, as you may know, says that faith is included in the gift.

    Anyway I think Wallace is right and I tend to say that grace-by-faith salvation is the gift so that grace and faith are both included in the gift--like two sides of the same coin.

    The answer from you in this above post about the gender agreement is what I wanted clarification on. Thank you....I thought I was going mad and had forgotten how to parse.

    Blessings,

    The Archangel
     
  13. kyredneck

    kyredneck
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    Rob

    Curiousity got the best of me. :)

    John Calvin. Why doesn't that surprise me?
     
  14. John of Japan

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    I don't know that I can agree with this for two reasons:

    (1) The "by faith" is simply a dative of means (or agency). Therefore, I don't see how you can get that the idea here is that faith is a gift from God. The phrase "by faith" simply gives the agency of salvation, not the source.

    (2) The context of the verse is all about salvation versus works. the idea that our salvation is from God. So Paul is contrasting "salvation by faith through grace" with "salvation by works," which leads to boasting. (I don't think you can brag about saving faith.)
    No, 'tis I who am going mad...mwah ha ha. :smilewinkgrin:
     
  15. The Archangel

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    Yep....I see what you are saying. And I don't necessarily disagree with your exegesis. I look back to Paul's first statement of "By grace you have been saved" and then I look at his second identical statement in v. 8 and I see, literally, "this is not out of yourself." Can that refer to "faith?" Though it is a hard-sell grammatically, it is technically possible (though highly unlikely). But, I don't push that too far.

    As you've shown, it is most likely grace-through-faith salvation that Paul is saying that is not out of us. Here's why I see it as two sides of the same coin:

    If all of salvation is in view (which I think it is) and if that salvation involves faith (which it does) and if that salvation is by God's grace (which it is) then grace and faith are in some way both gifts.

    But, as I think Wallace suggests in his option #4 (if memory serves), it is possible that Paul is suggesting that faith is not out of ourselves. To read it naturally--allowing for less-than-perfect agreement in the grammar--would suggest that Paul is indeed saying that faith is not out of ourselves. But, again, because of the grammatical issue, I don't push that too far.

    So, again, I'm left with the totality of Salvation--the grace aspect and the faith aspect--being the gift.

    I have my moments too!

    Blessings,

    The Archangel
     
  16. John of Japan

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    Alas for your view, Wallace's #4 is that kai touto is adverbial, and your memory is faulty since he doesn't say that Paul is suggesting that faith is not of ourselves. He writes,

    "If adverbial, kai touto is intensive meaning 'and at that, and especially,' without having any antecedent. It focuses on the verb rather than on any noun.... If this is the force in Eph., 2:8, the text means 'for by grace you are saved through faith, and [you are saved] especially not by your own doing ; it is the give of God'" (p. 335--all emphases by Wallace). Where I have an elipsis he discusses 3 John 5 which has this usage.

    So the adverbial view would eliminate faith as the gift of God which is meant.
     
  17. The Archangel

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    Thanks for the correction of my faulty memory. But, the adverbial force is kind of what I was referring to--the idea that our salvation is "especially" not our own doing.

    Logically speaking, I don't see any way we "contribute" our own faith and that makes God's grace come to us. In that sense, it is as if we get grace as a reward for having faith--something that must be rejected if grace is to be grace.

    So, again, I am more in line with Wallace's 3rd option--the grace-by-faith salvation and I still think the package (Salvation and Grace and Faith) are part and parcel of the gift.

    Blessings,

    The Archangel
     
  18. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    I'll remind you of the grammar of "by grace" as being a dative of means and "through faith" as being a genitive of agency. I think it's a mistake to single out either the grace or faith as being gifts here or not being gifts here. They simply modify "having been saved."

    Your paragraph here sounds like a pre-understanding, not exegesis of the passage. Eph. 2:8 says nothing about who contributes the faith or what makes God's grace come to us. It simply states the grace as the means of "having been saved" and the faith as the agency of being saved.
     
  19. The Archangel

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    Thanks for the reminder and I'm well aware of the details. Again, as I said "having been saved" is the gift--a gift with the details, for lack of a better term, of grace and faith.

    Logically, again, with the participle "having been saved" being a perfect passive it shows that this is something we have not done or contributed to. Therefore, God's grace is the ultimate cause of us having been saved. Do we demonstrate faith? Yes. Is faith required of us? Yes. Is the faith that we exhibit and demonstrate inherent to us or not? That is the question. I say it is not inherent to us and is supplied as part of the gift of salvation. I think the grammar, while not explicit, allows room for that interpretation.

    But, you are correct, the passage does not necessarily identify who supplies the faith. A more systematic understanding of the Scriptures, in my opinion, leaves little doubt.

    Blessings!

    The Archangel
     
  20. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    And we've come to an agreement on the verse in question, without exploring the wider theology, just as the OP requested.

    God bless from Japan.
     

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