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.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Greek Study John 15:26 - 16:15

Greek Study John 15:26 - 16:15

15 26”When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf.27You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.
16 1”I have said these things to you to keep you from stumbling. 2They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, an hour is coming when those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God. 3And they will do this because they have not known the Father or me. 4But I have said these things to you so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you about them. “I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 5But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts.
7Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9about sin, because they do not believe in me; 10about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; 11about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned. 12“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

Given the context I would prefer the longer reading beginning at John 15:26. The word παρακλετοσ  means "called alongside" and is translated "helper," "advocate," "counselor." The common analogy is that of a lawyer in court "called alongside" to argue a case. John calls the parakletos "the spirit of truth" who witnesses to Jesus the Truth (1:14, 14:6).  In this excerpt from Jesus' “Farewell Address” (John 13-17) the parakletos is said to aid the church in difficult times.  The parakletos not only "testifies"(μαρτυρεσει) to Jesus but also helps disciples do the same in the face of opposition.
Jesus asserts that he is now going "to the one who sent me"  and seems slightly peeved no one has asked him where? (16:5)  But in fact, Peter asked this very question in 13:36:  ‘Lord, where are you going?’ Jesus answered, ‘Where I am going, you cannot follow me now; but you will follow afterwards.’"  Why this contradiction?  Probably because Peter is not one to whom Jesus is speaking.  The "you" likely refers to the Johannine community.   
In 15:11, Jesus had said that his purpose was to speak so that "your joy might be fulfilled"  but here he speaks of their sorrow at his leaving.  Nevertheless he asserts it is to their "advantage" (συμφερει he goes for without his departure, the parakletos cannot come.  
When the parakletos comes, it will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment; about sin because they do not believe in me; about righteousness because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; about judgment because the ruler of this world has been condemned. The word "put to shame" is ελεγχηει, which can also mean "convict," "convince," "reproach," "reprove," or "expose."  Think here as convincing the world of its errors.  Note, too, that the parakletos does not witness only to the disciples of Jesus, but to the world.  The Spirit is not limited to working through the church, but may also move and act directly in and to the "world."  
The first thing the parakletos does is "convict" the world "concerning sin."  The antidote for sin is  "faith" πιστευειν in Christ.  The NRSV uses "believe" here, not "faith," which is very misleading.  Believing is more about intellectual assent, but "faith" is about radical trust.  The problem is faith used as a verb sounds odd in English so even good translations typically and unfortunately translate πιστευειν as "believe." 
But clearly John intends the remedy for sin to be faith.  Faith trumps sin, you might say.  Yet, isn't our common assumption that the opposite of sin is virtue?  Isn't our common assumption that the remedy to evil is to try to be good?  Maybe, but that would not be the teaching of the fourth gospel.  The opposite of sin is not virtue, which no one can achieve at any rate, but faith.  It should not be surprising that John was Luther's favorite gospel!
The parakletos will also convict the world regarding justice δικαιοσυνε (often translated "righteousness" but more properly translated as "justice.")  For the world to need convicting regarding justice is to say that what the world considers "just" is not, in fact, just at all.  The world's "justice" exists in the midst of inequality and poverty.  The world's "justice" comes in the midst of oppression and want, and THIS is not just, says John.
Finally, the parakletos will convict the world concerning "judgment" κρισεοσ, which means "to separate or discern or decide," derivatively, in English, "crisis."  Again, the normal processes of the world are judged and found wanting.  What the world does not understand is its own situation; that the ruler(s) of this world have already been judged.  And a new reality is present, one that will provide different values than what the Powers that be think.  Here is "judgment." 
When the parakletos comes, he "will guide οδεγεσει into all truth." Hodgesei includes within it the word hodos (way).  The fourth gospel, quoting Isaiah, said at its onset:  "Make straight the way (hodos) of the Lord."  In chapter 14, Jesus himself is "the way" (14:6). The
Parakletos  will guide the people onto Christ’s "way."
The phrase "he will announce to you" is used three times.  Thhe parakletos will not only "convict" the world of sin, justice, and judgment, but will also "announce" God's truth. 
As for this text’s use on Trinity, the word "trinity" never appears in the Bible, and it's not clear any particular Biblical author would recognize the later debates concerning it.  The formal and final expression of Trinitarian thought took four hundred years to become orthodox teaching.   Trinitarian theology was a particular focus of Eastern Orthodox Christianity.  The Holy Spirit was integral to its conception of theosis, or "growing into God."  In Eastern Orthodoxy, the contemplation of the Trinitarian mystery was, in itself, of spiritual value.  More than that, it was the work of the Trinity that brought a person into union with God. The debates, however were ultimately about mystical experience and spiritual transformation.  For example, this quote from the mystic Gregory of Nazianzen: “No sooner do I conceive of the One than I am illumined by the splendor of the Three, no sooner do I distinguish them than I am carried back to the One.  When I think of any One of the Three, I think of Him as the whole, and my eyes are filled, and the greater part of what I am thinking of escapes me.  I cannot grasp the greatness of that One so as to attribute a greater greatness to the rest.”

Verse by Verse

v5 υαγω pres. "I am going" - Jesus refers to his death.
τον πεμψαντα (πεμπω) aor. part. "him who sent [me]".
ερωτα (ερωταω) pres. "asks" - Peter did ask in 13:36. Some scholars think we have a source problem here, since the editor is faithful to his sources he did not try to smooth out the inconsistency.

v6 αλλα "rather/but" we do have a contrast between the question "where are you going" and the disciple’s grief as if the disciples' faith is evidenced by their response (a positive response prompts the question, a negative prompts grief). It is true the disciples should rejoice that Jesus is returning to the Father, but it is not unreasonable to feel grief.
πεπληρωκεν (πληροω) perf. "you are filled [with grief]" The disciples' inner being/heart is full of sadness. 

v7 αλλα "but" - nevertheless
την αληθειαν (α) "[I tell you] the truth" - Jesus uses the phrase "I am telling you the truth" a number of times either to emphasize the words that follow or it may imply the following words are a general revelation rather than a particular word to the disciples.
συμφερει (συμφερω) pres. "it is to [your] good" an idiom; “this is for your own good."
ο παρακλητος "the Counselor", a disputed verse, for this is the only verse in John where the Holy Spirit and the Paraclete are linked. 
ουκ ελευσεται (ερχομαι) fut. "will not come [to you]" - The negative construction is emphatic; "will never come to you [unless]."

v8 ελθων (ερχομαι) aor. part. "when he comes".
ελεγξει (ελεγχω) fut. "he will convict [the world] of guilt/he will prove [the world] to be wrong" - The meaning of this is open to debate: i] bring to light, ii] convict iii] punish blame iv] investigate, v] interpret, expound. The Spirit's task, through the preaching of the disciples, is to expose the sinfulness of the world περι "with respect to" three particular sins. 
αμαρτιας (α) "sin" - The word does not have an article so the issue here is not personal sins, or a particular sin, but sin on general. 
δικαιοσυνης (η) "justice" – righteousness- Brown suggest "justice" is better.
κρισεως (ις εως) "judgment" - Condemnatory judgment

v9 πιστευουσιν (πιστευω) pres. "to have faith" believe Present tense indicating prolonged disbelief and thus exposing the nature of sin. 
v11 κεκριται (κρινω) perf. pas. "stands condemned" - judged .... Satan was defeated by Christ on the cross and thus stands condemned. Along with this perspective, the New Testament states that although defeated, Satan remains master of his domain, at least for the present, Eph.2:2, 4:12. "The Spirit will show that Christ's death, apparently a victory for the devil, was really a judgment on him and all his works", Hunter.
ετι πολλα εχω "I have much more" - many things to 
λεγειν (λεγω) pres. inf. "to say" - The infinitive functions as an object. 
βασταζειν (βασταζω) pres. inf. "[you are unable to] bear" infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the negated verb "you are not able". "Bear", in the sense of enduring the full threat of future persecution.
v13 της αληθειας (α) gen. "[the Spirit] of truth" - The genitive is possibly objective, thus "the Spirit who communicates the truth /guides you along the way." The phrase was understood by the early church fathers to mean teaching, instruction.
odhghsei (odhgew) fut. "he will guide" i.e. show you the way
ακουει (ακουω) fut. "he hears" – AND RESPONDS – the root of the Greek word for follower, ακαλουοOne who hears and walks the way”.  Some manuscripts have the present tense, others future and some even subjunctive "whatever he may hear". It is either, "hears" (present ongoing continuous hearing) or "will hear." 
αναγγελλει (αναγγελλω) fut. "he will tell" - announce, proclaim, disclose, declare used in the LXX of revelation declared by God.
τα ερχομενα (ερχομαι) pres. part. "what is yet to come" - likely the necessary revelation of gospel truth for the church following Christ's glorification.

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