Tongues Cease of Themselves and Greek Middle?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Link, Jan 15, 2006.

  1. Link

    Link
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    Briguy has often argued that the middle voice of ‘cease’ in I Corinthians 13 means that the tongues must cease of their own accord. I emailed a Greek scholar about this, and he disagreed. In fact, he showed 8 middle occurrences of this verb in which an external force was the cause of the cessation. Those interested in the details can read below. I changed parenthesis to squiggly parentheses {} because the software mistakes them for html code and won’t let me post.


    Link, my brother, many beginners, after acquiring a few elementary guidelines regarding Greek forms, take it upon themselves to advise others from those guidelines. Sometimes those generalizations may be virtually nullified by many exceptions. Sometimes they may not be defensible to begin with. One of the most influential grarmmarians of churchdom in my generation was A. T. Robertson, but those who admire his work have often assumed that his statements must be valid without testing them.

    Robertson's younger coworkers needed, but lacked, the experience that can only be gained through paying careful attention to the wording of the documents themselves. This was why Leon at Texas required that in each classical language in which a doctorate was to be awarded that the candidate should read 10,000 Teubner text pages in that language. If one did both Latin and Greek, for example, that meant a reading list of 20,000 pages.

    The argument in the short quotation you sent sounds as if it originated in the kind of generalization about middle forms that students might be expected to assimilate in a seminary Greek class. Language consists more of habit than it does of either science or art. One must invest countless hours to find out what the specific habits of the ancient users of a language might be.

    It would be likely, on coming across an argument like this, that the presenter had heard a teacher of grammar generalize before a class approximately thus:

    ... that nauomai = pauomae gets its signification as a direct middle, about like 'I make myself to stop' or 'I cause myself to cease'. The beginner may then believe it, and from then on, not having examined specific import within various settings, that limited information might have been assumed to be valid.

    Some put first things last. Instead of finding instances that would fix the import of relevant statements in the scriptures and then formulating their theological they may assume that some concept surely represents the truth and then try to find evidence by which to support it. Since many implement such a procedure without even realizing it, one must guard against unjustly impugning their motives. Only after extended opportunities to hear and tell should one begin to eye an individual as possibly acting out of some self-interest or a hidden agendum, as noted in Romans 16,17-18:
    <<Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.>>

    It does not do credit to a disciple to be naive, but many here flaunt their simplicity, or naivete, as a badge of honor, as if it were proof of their great devotion as disciples.

    The 'doctrine', of course, referred to would be what Paul taught, not the pagan concepts thought to be christian and staunchly defended by much of churchdom today.

    There have been many religious opinions assumed and asserted that no sufficient evidence confirms. Nevertheless, they cannot be easily refuted either. If there has been no apparent success in refuting them, some assume that they must be true. That's sad, but it often occurs.

    The argument that you sent regarding 1st Corinthians 13,08 seems to be that the future passive verb katapgh0hcovtai = catargethesontae 'will be rendered useless' demands the inference that prophesying and knowing will not simply fade away, or no longer function, but will be terminated by some means or force from without, but ! that the future middle verb naucovtai = pausontae 'will cease' demands the inference that they will be terminated on their own, that is, without causative factors from without.

    {If this should ill express the argument, please refine it or restate it.}

    One may be tempted to look for passive forms of katapgew = catargeo 'nullify' 'make void' 'render useless' that refer to the phenomenon of an apparently causeless transpiring. But it may be hard to cite any events at all for which no cause, means or agent may be conceived, imagined, or guessed.

    It was further asserted that the means of eliminating knowledge and prophecy must be understood to be to teleion 'perfection'. Now that claim would be a horse of another color.

    And yet it may well be urged that knowing as completely as one is known would surely eliminate any useful function of prophesying that may be described as 'in part', or incomplete, or of any knowing that would be similarly 'in part'.

    Suppose that one should infer from a passive of katapgew = catargeo that a power from without, e.g. G_d, may terminate such knowing and prophesying. That would not warrant the conclusion that to teleion 'perfection' or the perfect would be what does it, that is, for example, instead of G_d.

    The man used a otav = hotan 'whenever', a relative temporal conjunction, not a causal or instrumental clause, and on that one may bank. The timing of the elimination may be inferred. But whether Paul's expression of time must be understood to be the means, rather than e.g. our understanding G_d as the effective agent, falls short of proof.

    It would not then cure the difficulty, even if we took the time to locate some instances where passives of katapgew = catargeo might refer to things that simply reach a state of nullification, that is, so that it would be comparable to what he assumed for middles of nauw = pauo.

    But, if we find that middles of nauw = pauo are used of things that may be caused to cease from without, that would nullify his argument. Therefore we shall concentrate on that. We may then upset his proof, because middle forms of nauw = pauo can be found which refer to items, faculties, capabilities, procedures or situations that do not simply terminate on their own.

    Then we shall know that Paul does not declare that tongues will simply stop themselves because of something to be found purely in the nature of the tongues. It could be admitted that Paul does not distinctly state that something else will stop them. It would follow that beyond that Paul does not declare what will do it. Nevertheless, we shall know that neither the verb Paul chose to use nor the form of it justifies the inference that G_d could not be the one stopping them.

    Therefore I submit really more than eight references, found in 'the LXX' and the 27 Greek documents, from which it may be readily understood that middle forms of nauw = pauo occur where an external means or agent causing the cessation has been clearly indicated. Begin with Genesis 11,08:

    <<So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth, and they left off {{ceased}} to build the city.

    Though they themselves did the leaving off, they did not do so purely voluntarily, but were impelled, or compelled, by a power beyond themselves. It had not been their nature, but the operation of external powers that interrupted their program.

    Second, see Exodus 09,28.29.33, a triple occurrence:

    <<Intreat the Lord {for it is enough} that there be no more {{they may cease}} mighty thunderings and hail and I will let you go, and ye shall stay no longer. And Moses said unto him, As soon as I am gone out of the city, I will spread abroad my hands unto the Lord, and the thunder shall cease, neither shall there be any more hail, that thou mayest know how that the earth is the Lord's. .... And Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh and spread abroad his hands unto the Lord, and the thunders and hail ceased, and the rain was not poured upon the earth.>>

    Moses' intercession, or intervention, was more the means of the stopping than anything inherent in the thunder, hail, or lightning.

    Third, see Numbers 25,08:

    <<And he went after the man of Israel into the tent and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed {{ceased}} from the children of Israel.>>

    The execution of the copulating couple had been more the cause of stopping the plague than any possible quality or potential that could be assumed to be within the plague itself.

    1st Chronicles 21,22:

    <<Then David said to Ornan, "Grant me the place of this threshingfloor, that I may build an altar therein unto the Lord. Thou shalt grant it me for the full price, that the plague may be stayed {{i.e. cease}} from the people.>>

    Here we have the very same tense and voice naucetai = pausetae 'it will cease'. The cessation of the plague was definitely not predicated to be of the plague's own accord, or nature, of something inherent in the pathology or epidemiology of it, but because of David's offering.

    Luke 08,24:

    <<And they came to him and awoke him, saying, "Master, master, we perish." Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water, and they ceased, and there was a calm.>>

    Who could possibly think that the cessation was built in to the wind and water and not ascribable to the man who calmed them? It would thus be clear that, where things and persons may be subjects, e.g. 'tongues', any such inherent predication cannot be assumed.

    Acts 20,01:

    <<And after the uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia.>>

    Do you suppose that the hubbub simply contained, within its nature, ingredients that would cause it to die down? And that it did so of its own accord, without the impact, or effect, of any discouraging factors?

    Acts 21,32:

    << Who immediately took soldiers and centurions and ran down unto them. And, when they saw the chief captain and the soldiers, they left {{ceased}} beating of Paul.>>

    And so their beating had in it some sort of mysterious qualities that caused it to terminate on its own, whether they had detected the presence of formidable authorities or not?

    Hebrews 10,02:

    <<For then would they not have ceased to be offered? Because that the worshippers, once purged, should have had no more conscience of sins.>>

    Finally, here we have an articular infinitive that indisputably expresses the cause of their potential cessation, namely, dia to exeiv = dia to echein 'because of their having ...'. This goes to show that, even if the cause be expressed as partly dependent on the nature of the subject it may also be dependent on a factor external. The external factor here would be the conscience of those accomplishing the rites.

    It would not matter how many instances could be cited where the verbal setting shows that cessation may inhere in the nature of the subject, if only one clear instance could be cited where that would not be so, then such inherence could not be inferred from the mere occurrence of the verb.


    giachara, a bientot, shalom, lebewohl, zay gezunt, vale, arrivederci
     
  2. EdSutton

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    Some of this is way over my head at a glance, and much of it would be over it, anyway. But I do have one fairly easy short serious question: Who's Leon?
    As a poor sudent, granted, I'd offer that Gk. middle voice is usually reflexive, but not restrictive.
    'Tongues' cease? As a 'pneumatikos', probably. I think they did.
    Did they just 'die out' or was/did something happen to cause this? I think of and to themselves.
    Is that consistent with the Greek? I believe so, definitely.
    Good! Just what I thought- "Tounges MUST cease!"
    Sorry, that is simply not required, or even allowed by the construction.
    Ed
     
  3. tamborine lady

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    [​IMG]

    Yes tongues will cease, it just hasn't happened yet.

    \o/ PTL,

    Tam
     
  4. Ray Berrian

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    Oh, we get it. 'Prophecies, tongues and knowledge' all passed away in 70 A.D. or at the time of the closing of the canon of Scripture.

    Funny, pastors/evangelists are still preaching and knowldge is ever increasing. Some people just do not like 'tongues' because it is not quite dignified enough for their church. Thus, the Holy Spirit is told to exit the Christian church.

    Maybe some of us do not think there were baptismal tanks in 'house churches' in the pre-Apostolic and post-Apostolic years. Are we then to think that water baptism 'ceased' or should cease since the first century?

    No we hold to either sprinkling, pouring or immersion in water baptism as a sign that we are a part of the Christian church and we cannot eject 'tongues' from the N.T. and holy Gospel.
     
  5. Charles Meadows

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    Greek was/is a language just like modern English. There was a tendency in the last 100 years or so see "theological significance" to different constructions and verb forms. This is almost always misguided.

    In this particular instance there is no reason to see the middle as suggesting that they cease "themselves". This is certainly the opinion of Greek scholars as well.
     
  6. Ray Berrian

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    As to scholarship in the Greek language--that is why God used this venue because He can be and is very exacting in what He is telling us. That is why would be pastors must take Greek in Bible College and/or seminary.

    Yes, prophecy, tongues and knowledge will cease sometime in the future, probably after the Great Tribulation era of time [Revelation 11:1-6]. Until then the Holy Spirit is ministering and speaking through His people both to the saved and to lost souls. The Holy Spirit is with His church forever, [John 14:16] in fact the whole chapter is applicable to this age of grace.
     
  7. EdSutton

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    I still want to know who is Leon?
    Ed
     
  8. atestring

    atestring
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  9. Link

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    Ray wrote,
    *That is why would be pastors must take Greek in Bible College and/or seminary.*

    The idea that pastors must go to Bible college or seminary is not in scripture. The Biblical teaching is for an overseer of the church to live up to the lifestyle requiremetns descried in Titus 1 and I Timothy 3. The modern practice of many churches is that it does not matter much if he lives up to these requirements as long as he has a seminary degree and we relabel him as 'pastor' rather than 'overseer.'


    Ed

    I'm not 100% sure who Leon is. My guess is that he was a Greek professor at Texas A&M where the author got his Classics PhD.
     
  10. Hope of Glory

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    There are many Bible colleges and even a few seminaries that no longer require Greek, BTW. They are more interested in getting people out there with pieces of paper "authorizing" them to spread their particular denomination's "doctrines".
     
  11. Ray Berrian

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    Link,

    You said, 'The idea that pastors must go to Bible college or seminary is not in scripture.'

     
  12. Ray Berrian

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    Hope of Glory,

    .
     
  13. Link

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    Ray

    I would like to comment on your message, but it would be off-topic in this thread. I may start another thread on seminary in response to your post.
     
  14. Briguy

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    I think the expert had an agenda of his own. Lets face it most of us do. He purposely made what he wrote confusing. I am not a Greek scholar and thus I have trusted other greek scholars AND the rest of scripture to make my conclusion. If I understood this expert does not rule out what I have said he just showed where other times it was not used as I said. Is he accurate in those cases? I just don't know. Here is the issue though. Paul still used 2 words to describe when the 3 things he mentioned would end. P. and K. will end when something makes them end. I think even the "expert" said that was probable. Tongues has a different verb and thus it would make sense that they have a different ending time. Why throw a different verb in if it means the same as the first one. The expert said that it was possible from the text that God stopped tongues and he also said paul does not say what will stop tongues. Isn't it a fair argument that if nothing is mentioned then probably nothing stopped them, since "the perfect" seems to be what stop the other two? No, this expert has not proved anything except that he probably has always believed tongues are a gift for today. He may even speak in them and so would have a hard time being unbias. Anyway, just some thoughts.

    In Christ,
    Brian
     
  15. atestring

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    When knowledge passes away tongues will cease.
    BTW what language will we speak in heaven?
     
  16. Briguy

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    atestring, That is not what Paul said. There are two different ending times mentioned in 1 Cor. One time for Tongues and one time for Prophecy and knowledge. Two words equals two different times. It is just silly to argue that Paul used two distinct words in the same thought to express the same thing. No, he used two words to express two thoughts. I am glad someday I will speak to Paul myself and I can ask him anything I want to know. Maybe we can sit down in Heaven and speak to him together! For now it seems wise to go with the obvious.

    In Christ,
    Brian
     
  17. Link

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    Briguy wrote,

    ***Two words equals two different times. It is just silly to argue that Paul used two distinct words in the same thought to express the same thing.***


    Briguy

    If two different forms are used, that does not prove that the meaning is substantially different. Sometimes we use different wording in English for variety. If you don't know Greek, you have no basis for making these conclusions, anyway.
     
  18. buckster75

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    I don't know much about this but seems to me if tongues had ceased Paul would not have instructed the corinthians on their proper usage.
     
  19. Ray Berrian

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    buckster75,

    .

    You said, 'I don't know much about this but seems to me if tongues had ceased Paul would not have instructed the corinthians on their proper usage.'
     
  20. atestring

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    I agree that we should go with the obvious.
    That is why I do not adhere to the "cessationist Heresy"
     

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