On Tuesday morning the pastors of Lutheran Saints in Ministry gather in Fairborn Ohio to discuss the texts for Sunday.

These are the contributions that are brought to the table.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

John 15:1-9 Greek Studies

Greek Study John 15:1-8

v1 εγω pro. "I [am]" - emphatic by use - the final "I am" saying in John's gospel.
η αληθινη adj. "the true" - genuine, "the real thing", the vine of God's planting now realized in Jesus, the true Israel. A polemic thrust is evident, given the claim of the religious authorities of their being the real deal- the genuine item bears fruit, fruit not evident in historic Israel, Jer.2:21.
η αμπελος (ος) "vine" - a symbol of Israel, Psalm 80:9-16, etc.
ο γεωργος (ος) "gardener" – lit. “the cultivator”. 
v2 αιρει (αιρω) pres. "he cuts off" – a Semitic use of the pronoun αυτο, "it". The verb may be translated "lifts up", rather than "removes", i.e. an image is of the branches being lifted up so they can reach the sun, but most accept "cut off." 
καθαιρει (καθαιρω) "he prunes" – lit. “cleanses”  "Prunes" carries the sense of chastisement, but the reference here is likely to be to the cleansing of the vine. In the Greek "cuts off" and "prunes" sound alike (a paronomasia) and may well have been chosen, not for their horticultural accuracy but on literary grounds. 
v3 υμεις pro. "you" – an emphatic.
εστε (ειμι) "are" - A possible improvement is made by translating as passive,; "you have already been cleansed…”
καθαροι adj. "clean" - interesting use of the same word as v2 meaning ritually clean or pure (see 13:10). Here the cleansing comes through 
τον λογον (ος) "the word" - possibly referring to Jesus' teachings in general but more likely the gospel.
λελαληκα (λαλεω) perf. "I have spoken" - may be meant to indicate that the word “remains with them”.

v4 μεινατε (μενω) aor. imp. "remain" - abide, - aorist may be ingressive, "start abiding ", or universal, for emphasis. It is used ten times in v4-10, possibly having a technical background related to association with the divine. Abiding is probably a descriptive for trusting Jesus.
φερειν (φερω) pres. inf. "[can] bear" - infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of ου δυναται, "not empowered" by the indwelling Spirit. Although "the fruit" is not spelled out, "love" is likely intended, v12-14. 

v5 ο μενων (μενω) pres. part. "if one remains [in me]" - participle serves as a substantive; expressed as a condition.
καγω "and I" – a conditional comparative, mutuality.
φερει (φερω) pres. "bears" – the present tense expresses continuous action, (future tense in English).
χωρις + gen. "apart from" - expressing separation and emphatic so; “There is nothing in this world that corresponds to the new life that he bestows and the new commandment that he gives. 
ου δυνασθε ποιειν ουδεν "you are unable to accomplish anything”. The double negative, ου ... ουδεν emphasizes the inability of bearing fruit without abiding.
v6 μενη (μενω) pres. subj. "remain [in me]" - Again the present tense is durative. 
ως "like" - The literal reading is "unless a person remains in me they are cast out...". Some translators, as NIV, shape the sentence to mean "thrown away" as part of the illustration rather than God's action toward those who do not abide. 
εβληθη (βαλλω) aor. pas. "is thrown [away]" - action is possibly repetitive, or futuristic, or immediate " but most likely emphasizing the certainty of the action without reference to its beginning or end. 
εξηρανθη (ξηραινω) aor. pas. "withers" - dries up, withers.
συναγουσιν (συναγω) pres. "are picked up" – a present tense expressing what people generally do, therefore not indicating any time differential between the aorist, "thrown away", and the present "gather up." 
το πυρ (πυρ ος) "the fire [and burned]" The presence of the definite article may indicate a particular fire (eg. fire of judgment) but most likely a parabolic style. The same construction is used with "branch", lit. "the branch." So the dead branches are burned because they are useless. 
v7 μεινητε (μενω) aor. 2nd pl. "you remain" – maybe beginning the explanation of the parable.
αιτησασθε (αιτεω) pres. imp. "ask" – a variant future "you will ask" is supported.
θελητε (θελω) pres. subj. "you wish" The seemingly general nature of the promise is controlled by the context. "My words" define the will of God so the prayer serves as a means of completing the Lord's will. 

v8 εδοξασθη (δοξαζω) aor. pas. "[my Father's] glory" – the Aorist indicating completed action. John has already told us that the Father is glorified in the obedience of the Son in his lifting up on the cross; here he is also glorified in the vine bearing fruit. 

γενησθε (γινομαι) aor. mid. subj. "showing yourselves to be [my disciples]" – a variant reading exists where the verb takes the future tense, γενησεσθε, "you will be my disciples." As the more difficult reading (the future tense rarely follows ινα) it could be original. This reading has prompted many translations, eg. "and so prove to be my disciples", RSV. None-the-less, best to go with the aorist subjunctive found in many contemporary texts (P66). The aorist subjunctive forms the clause "that you be my disciples", so "when you become fruitful disciples of mine, my Father will be honored", CEV. 

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