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.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Greek Text of John 6:56-69 -- Pr Fourman

Greek Study John 6:56-69

56Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.57Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.” 59He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.
60When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” 61But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, “Does this offend you? 62Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64But among you there are some who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him.65And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.” 66Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. 67So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” 68Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

v56 ο τρωγων (τρωγω) pres. part. "whoever eats" - participle serves as a substantive.
μενει (μενω) pres. "remains" – abides – the present tense indicating a continuing state. The one who eats and drinks of Christ becomes “one with Christ” and thus being identified with Christ, shares the reward of that faithful relationship.

v57 ο ζων πατηρ "the living Father" – God possesses life in himself and it is he who has granted the Son to also possess life in himself. "The Father who is life" is a better translation than "the source of life."
v58 ο .... καταβας (καταβαινω) aor. part. "that came down" participle is adjectival for bread.
οι πατερες "your forefathers" - "those ancestors" who ate.
ου καθως "but" - not as. - comparison is unclear; is it between the ancestors and those who eat the bread Christ supplies, or between the bread the ancestors ate and the bread Jesus gives?
ο τρωγων "he who feeds" - participle serves as a substantive. Again, a singular person is used of personal faith in Christ, although the individual is part of a community.

v59 ταυτα "this" - these things- referring to the entire discourse, v27-58.
διδασκων (διδασκων) pres. part. "while teaching [in the synagogue]" - participle is adverbial forming a temporal clause.
εν συναγωγη (η) "in the synagogue" - Although there is no definite article before "synagogue", it is still likely Jesus was actually in the synagogue when he gave the "synagogue instruction". It is possible that the lack of an article indicates that an assembly for worship is in mind rather than a building. 

v60 ακουσαντες (ακουω) aor. part. "on hearing it" - participle is adverbial, temporal; "therefore, many of the disciples, when they understood what he was saying..."
μαθητων (νς ου) "[his] disciples" – followers; not to be confused with the 12. These are those who have accepted Jesus and his words and followed him, but now they do not accept his words and abandon him. This is about perseverance, not intellectual assent. 
σκληρος (ος) "hard" - offensive. Jesus' teaching is intolerable. Why? The illustration of eating his flesh and drinking his blood is offensive to those who don't understand metaphor. Possibly there are those who are so crass that his failure to produce more free food is grounds for disassociation. It is more likely that Jesus' claim that he is authorized by God to give life and therefore stands over Moses is the source of the offence.
ακουειν (ακουω) pres. inf. "[who can] accept?" literally, “{who can stand} to hear?”

v61 ειδως (οιδα) perf. part. "aware" – ‘inward knowing” adverbial, Jesus is conscious that some of his followers are antagonistic to his teaching. There is no miraculous understanding implied - any sensitive teacher picks up on his student’s reactions!
σκανδαλιζει (σκανδαλιζω) pres. ind. "[does this] offend [you]?" – lit. cause you to sin/stumble.

v62 εαν + subj. "what if" - Introducing a conditional clause, 3rd. class, where the condition has the possibility of coming true, except contextually this doesn't make sense. So this may be an aposiopesis, a rare Greek grammatical form that mimics a rhetorical question.  It literally means to “break off into silence” or “to leave a sentence hanging”. So think of Jesus saying to the crowd about to bail on him; "So…..what if you were to see the son of man ascend to where he was before??????"
του ανθρωπου (ος) gen. "[Son] of Man" – a title drawn from Daniel 7:13, a mysterious messianic person who comes to the Ancient of Days and receives power & authority.
αναβαινοντα (αναβαινω) pres. part. "ascend" - participle is an object complement. In John, Jesus ascends to the Father by being lifted up on the cross. If Jesus' words have offended the disciples, how much more will they be offended with they see that? So possibly, "how much more will your faith be shaken when you see me crucified?"
το προτερον adv. "[where he was] before" – formerly - the sense of being reunited to the Father through death on a cross.

v63 Bultmann's translation of this verse is "You say, 'it is the Spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless'; but I say, 'the words that I have spoken to you are both Spirit and life.'" There is much to commend this. The disciples may be offended by Jesus' teaching up to this point, this :”greater than Moses” claim and his claim to be the source of eternal life. But surely the Spirit is the source of life, not words, not a flesh and blood man like Jesus. "Not so", says Jesus; "the words I have spoken to you are both Spirit and life!" We are talking new theology here.
το πνευμα (α ατος) "the Spirit" - meaning "the Holy Spirit", "God's Spirit", or "human spirit". Usually without an attributive the word "spirit" in the NT means "God's Spirit", but the context can imply that the human spirit, i.e. our being infused with the words of Jesus, produces life. [Probably " Holy Spirit" is intended!]
ζωοποιουν (ζωοποιεω) pres. part. "[gives] life" - participle serves as a substantive. In the Nicodemus discourse, chapter 3, Jesus reworked the Old Testament life-giving role of the Spirit. Here the words of Jesus, through the agency of the Holy Spirit, give life. Such an assertion would indeed offend many of Jesus' disciples.
ρηματα (α ατος) "words" – actually “things” – a word most often associated with legal speak…is the closest Greek equivalent to the Hebrews word used in Genesis 1, “God spoke and it was…” which  theologically sounds like “λογοσ” but it’s not. The point is, John is using this word intentionally to distinguish the “spirit word” (ρημα) from the “incarnate word” – (λογοσ).
εγω pro. "I [have spoken]" – the emphatic "I", God through Moses gave life-giving Manna; Jesus gives life-giving words.

v64 πιστευουσιν (πιστευω) pres. "believe" - Jesus identifies the problem of doubting disciples; they are not in relationship with “rhema” and so do not receive the gift of life.
ο παραδωσων (παραδιδωμι) fut. part. "who would betray" - the future substantive articular participle is rare in John. The word is often used of Jesus being "delivered up" to the cross or of Pilate or even Jesus himself ‘delivering up”. But here it refers to Judas and again indicating Jesus' ability to read people.

v65 ελεγεν (λεγω) imperf. "he was saying. imperfect is iterative, expressing repeated action, "I told you once…”.
δια τουτο "this is why" - referring to the lack of faith in v64a. Jesus knows some of the disciples would not believe the unfolding revelation in his person and work. He has already made the point in v37 and v44 that only those attracted by the Father will continue in faith.

v66 εκ τουτου "from this time" - from this. The sense may be that some disciples "turned back" because they were not "empowered" (v65) by God to have faith.  Or they turned back because what they wanted, Jesus would not give and what he offered they would not receive. 
εις τα οπισω "[turned] back" - (lit. "what lies behind") i.e. went back to their former ways. They had followed Jesus and now they return to their former lives.
v67 τοις δωδεκα dat. "the twelve" - Dative of indirect object; the first mention of ‘the twelve” in John! (This may indicate a new literary source!)

v68 απελευσομεθα (απερχομαι) fut. ind. "[to whom] shall we go?" – a deliberative rhetorical phrase where the question expects no reply. The verb in such a construction is usually an aorist subjunctive but here is a future indicative. Peter faced with such a radical choice, states clearly that for him there is no other way than to follow Jesus, the source of life.

ρηματα (α ατος) "the words" -ζωης (η) gen. "of [eternal] life" - the genitive is unclear; probably epexegetic, limiting "words", serving to expose the nature of the head noun in question. Yet, what is the sense of the genitive? Are they words which "give eternal life", or words that "lead to eternal life", or words that "have the ring of eternal life", or "living words" or just words that "concern life"? Any is possible!  Welcome to Greek 101!

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