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, July 22, 2015

Greek Text Studies for John 6:1-21

Greek Study John 6:1-21

v1 μετα ταυτα "at some time after", a temporal construction.
περαν + gen. "crossed to the far shore" -  Spacial - crossed the sea of Galilee. Note the possible conflict that exists in Mark and Luke regarding the actual site of the feeding.
της Γαλιλαιας (α) gen. "[of the sea] of Galilee" - The genitive is an idomaic identification; "called the sea of Galilee."
Τιβεριαδος (ας) gen. "Tiberias" - Only John gives this name to Galilee, a name popular only late in the first century.
v2 ηκολουθει (ακολουθεω) imperf. "followed".
εθεωρουν (θεωρεω) imperf. "they saw [the miraculous signs]" The word is used of observing something with continuity, often with the implication that what is observed is unusual. John is telling a slightly different story from Mark.  It was culturally common in Mark’s world for healings, but by the time of John’s rendering such signs are uncommon.
των ασθενουντων (ασθενεω) pres. part. "the sick" - participle serves as a substantive.
v3 εκαθητο (καθημαι) imperf. "sat down" - [there] he was sitting down. In typical rabbinic fashion, Jesus sits to teach, although John does not mention any teaching.

v4 των Ιουδαιων (ος) το πασχα "the Passover of the Jews" – the second Passover in John's chronology. John has little interest in a chronological narrative (as he has him moving north to south to north again) – rather he is providing a theological narrative..

v5 επαρας (επαιρω) aor. part. "when [Jesus] looked up". This participle, along with "having seen", is adverbial, possibly temporal, or even modal.
αγορασωμεν (αγοραζω) aor. subj. "[where] shall we buy [bread for these people to eat?]" – notice the word ‘agora’ – ‘buying/market place’ embedded in this word  - a deliberative subjunctive evoking Sinai. Moses asks "where am I to get meat to give all these people?" and "Where shall we ever by bread for these people to eat?"  (Num.11.)

v6 πειραζων (πειραζω) pres. part. "[he asked this only] to test [him]" - the participle is adverbial expressing purpose, "in order to test". Used here in the sense of trying to learn the character of someone by submitting them to testing. The word also carries a sense of temptation, which seems unlikely given it is Jesus. This is a redactive note setting aside any implication that Jesus' question implies he didn't know what to do.
ηδει (οιδα) pluperf. "[he] already had in mind" – a case used for emphasis.
ποιειν (ποιεω) pres. inf. "[he was going] to do".
v7 διακοσιων δηναριων (ον) - "half a year's pay" (two hundred denarii). A denarius was the standard pay for a day's work. 

v9 παιδαριον (ον) "[is] a boy" –or servant, literally “powerless one” - without political influence or standing (not old enough to vote or pay taxes or bear influence). Perhaps an allusion to Gehazi, Elisha's servant. John is the only gospel writer to identify the source of the bread and fish.
αρτους κριθινους "barley loaves" - the staple for the poor. Wheat bread was more expensive. The boy had five such loaves/rolls, probably flat breads. Luke implies three loaves were a staple meal, Lk.9:5.
οψαρια (ον) "fish" - dried or preserved for eating with bread. Only John uses the word for "little fish" which means they were meant to serve as a condiment. John uses the same word in chapter 21 for breakfast over coals on the beach.
τι "how [far will they go]" - what [are these to so many]? A rhetorical question. Andrew is probably using the child's lunch to illustrate the impossibility of providing food for such a large crowd.
v10 αναπεσειν (αναπιπτω) aor. inf. "sit/lie down – recline” the infinitive forms an object clause of indirect speech expressing the content of Jesus' command, namely, "sit down." Reclining was the normal posture for eating.
χορτος (ος) "grass" - Mark emphasizes it is "green grass" - lush.
οι ανδρες (ηρ ρος) "the men" - "men" rather than "people" is intended so the crowd is larger than 5,000 given that the women and children are not counted.

v11 ευχαριστησας (ευχαριστεω) aor. part. "gave thanks" - giving thanks. The participle is probably attendant circumstance, expressing action accompanying the main verb "he took", and so translated as a finite verb, "Jesus took the loaves [and] gave thanks to God, ...." Some scholars argue that John is using the word with its particular Jewish meaning of "blessing" so he is performing the accustomed Jewish blessing over the bread prior to the meal ("blessed are you, O Lord, king of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.") None-the-less, an act of thanksgiving is more likely. There is a strong indication to maintain the idea of "thanksgiving" as a direct connection to the Lord's Supper. In fact, a number of words in this account of the feeding appear in early communion services, but this does not necessarily mean John is drawing from the Eucharistic tradition of his day, as the nearest evidence of this comes from the second century – at least 75 years later. It would seem that the opposite is the case - the early liturgical phrases were sourced from John, not the other way around. 
διεδωκεν (διαδιδωμι) 3rd. sing. aor. "distributed" - used in the sense of give something to a series of persons. In the synoptic gospels the disciples help with the distribution, and from a practical point of view this would be necessary. John is telling the story to emphasize Jesus as the one who gives the bread of life in the same way that God gave bread to Israel in the wilderness.
τοις ανακειμενοις (ανακειμαι) dat. pres. part. "to those who were seated" - participle serves as a substantive, dative of interest, advantage.
οσον "as much as [they wanted]" - from the little there was much, all ate to the full.
ομοιως adv. "he did the same" – a comparative adverb; "in like manner."
εκ + gen. "with [the fish]" - What we have here is a liturgical narrative…the elements are highly stylized and likely the result of repeated and formal re-telling.  This is likely a later story, used within the church, and appropriated by the Gospel writer.
v12 ενεπλησθησαν (εμπιπλημι) aor. pas. "they had all had enough" - they were satisfied. A different verb is used in verse 26 where "eaten your fill" takes a negative sense. Here the sense is positive. John uses the concept of “full, satisfied, abundant” in his Gospel as a way of describing the Kingdom Life.  
τοις μαθηταις (ης ου) dat. "to [his] disciples" - Dative of indirect object.
συναγαγετε (συναγω) aor. imp. "gather" - The aorist is possibly ingressive where the focus is on the beginning of the action - "start gathering" and so is another allusion to the wilderness wanderings of Israel and the provision of manna, Ex.16:16ff. This detail is also only found in John.
κλασματα (α ατος) "pieces" - fragment or piece resulting from the action of breaking. The disciples are probably not cleaning up the scraps, but rather the unused portions of the broken bread.
ινα + subj. "-" - in order that [nothing be lost], an adverbial purpose clause; "so that nothing may be wasted". There is an object lesson here, namely that given the starvation level in Palestine, to leave the food lying around was an insult to the divine giver. Yet, given the value set on food at this time, any surpluses would have been happily carried off by those present. There is also a spiritual lesson, namely that God is never impoverished by his generosity, he never ‘runs out” of love, grace, or miracles.  So John’s readers are urged to imitate that liberality; "one man freely gives, yet grows all the richer", Prov.11:24. It seems likely that collecting the food remaining into twelve baskets proclaimed the dawning of a day of plenty, the full realization of the promised blessings of the covenant, divine manna given now. The accessibility of that Abundant life that is another of Johns themes.
v13 δωδεκα "twelve [baskets]" - "Baskets", woven baskets of various size. Is John interested in symbolic weight attached to twelve baskets for twelve tribes? Why then does the fish fade into obscurity? Since the discourse is about the bread of life with allusions to the wilderness manna follow this story, fish have no symbolic value and so are ignored.  This means that the detail of 12 baskets is likely a Johannine addition, and it is found nowhere else.

v14 ιδοντες (ειδον) aor. part. "seeing” - participle is adverbial, forming a temporal clause.
σημειον (ον) "the miraculous sign" - miracle, sign..
ελεγον (λεγω) imperf. "they were saying”- imperfect is probably inceptive, the focus is on the beginning of the action. So “Seeing {this} they were saying {that}!”
ο προφητης "the prophet" - Given the context, the crowd probably thought in terms of Moses rather than Elijah. 
v15 γνουσς (γινωσκω) aor. part. "knowing" – seeing, saying now knowing. 
αρπαζειν (αρπαζω) pres. inf. “[they are about to come and] to seize [him] to make him
βασιλεα (βασιλευς) "a king" - If the crowd thought Jesus was the promised prophet, why try to crown him king? Two possibilities.  One is the standard, that they combined the roles of prophet and king in their understanding of messiah. The other is political, Herod Phillip claimed the title of King, so maybe they saw Jesus as the Jeb Bush to his Donald Trump.
ανεχωρησεν (αναχωρεω) aor. "withdrew/escape" – whatever they thought Jesus reaction was to escape!
το ορος "a mountain" - the definite article serves to identify a particular hill and is possibly an allusion to Mount Sinai.
v16 οψια adj. "evening" – actually late afternoon.  

v17 εμβαντες (εμβαινω) aor. "got into a boat" - the meaning of the verb here is more likely "embark", i.e. they had a specific destination in mind.  This is a planned excursion.
ηρχοντο (ερχομαι) imperf. "set off" - they were in the process of crossing,
ηδψ adv. "by now [it was dark]" – temporal; what we have here is another crafted narrative with a likely independent existence outside of Johns Gospel. 
εληλυθει (ερχομαι) pluperf. "[Jesus] had [not yet] joined [them]" - This phrase, along with "by now it was dark", explains why they embarked, not that they were expecting Jesus to come to them while they were sailing in the boat.
v18 πνεοντος (πνεω) gen. pres. part. "a [great wind was] blew" -  reminiscent of Genesis 1
v19 εληλακοντες (ελαυνω) perf. part. "when they rowed" - participle is adverbial, forming a temporal clause.
σταδιους (ον) "[three] miles" - [twenty] stades; a “stade” was about 800 feet.
περιπατουντα pres. part. "walking" - present tense indicates ongoing action, while the participle, γινομενον, " approaching", forms a dependent statement of perception expressing what they saw.
επι + gen. "on [the water]" – a spacial preposition used a number of times already of being "on the lake". Some suggest that John is not describing a miracle but rather that Jesus is walking "by the seashore." If so the whole point of the story is lost to me. The synoptics use the phrase επι την θαλλασσην (on the sea) in their accounts.
εφοβηθησαν (φοβεω) aor. pas. "they were terrified" – and again, why be afraid if Jesus is taking a stroll on the beach?
v20 εγω ειμι "it is I" - possibly being used to emphasize that the miracle is a theophany; an allusion to the great "I am."
μη φοβεισθε (φοβεω) pres. imp. "fear not " - present tense is durative, "do not keep on being afraid."
v21 λαβειν (λαμβανω) aor. inf. "[they were willing] to take him [into the boat]" - the infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "were willing." There is debate over whether Jesus got into the boat. At any rate, the disciples, having heard Jesus speak, are reassured that he is no ghost.

ευθεως "immediately" – (how did Mark’s word sneak into John?) John is surely emphasizing the boat reached the shore unheeded. So, rather than "the boat instantly reached shore", we would do better to go with "and the boat quickly reached shore."

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