Board index Specific Bible verses, texts, and passages 2 Timothy

Unleashing the Power of God's Word

2 Timothy 3:16

Postby Bro Bas » Tue Jan 09, 2018 7:42 pm

I just heard on a podcast a claim that i had never heard, and want to ask/debate the meaning with someone who is more knowledgeable than I am. I’ve taken 3 years of Greek, but I’m a little rusty, so my apologies in advance.

So let’s start- the standard translation of 2 Tim. 3:16 is “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,”

The Greek text is “πᾶσα γραφὴ θεόπνευστος καὶ ὠφέλιμος πρὸς διδασκαλίαν, πρὸς ἐλεγμόν, πρὸς ἐπανόρθωσιν, πρὸς παιδείαν τὴν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ,”

If you can read Greek, you probably know that there is no verb for “to be”. So, translators insert “is” between “γραφὴ” and “θεόπνευστος”. I just heard a Christian claim that this is incorrect and that it should be translated as “All God-breathed Scripture is...” This changes the meaning from “all scripture is inspired” to “only quotes from God are for teaching, reproductive, etc.”.

Can anyone offer arguments for or against this statement?
Bro Bas

Re: 2 Timothy 3:16

Postby jimwalton » Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:51 pm

It's a great question. You're right that there is no verb. θεόπνευστος is a verbal noun. It’s not exactly a participle, since there is no tense or voice. It is formed from a verb stem, not from a tense stem, and so these types of forms are verbal adjectives or verbal nouns. The same is true in compound adjectives like this one (God-breathed). There are many other examples of this in the NT. In this case, as with some other NT examples, the sense is passive. Therefore, the verb "to be" is legitimately assumed, with "God-breathed" and "useful" filling the passive role in the sentence. Hence, "Every passage of Scripture is both God-breathed and also (adjunctive use of καὶ) useful." To change θεόπνευστος into a pure adjective is as misguided as to change ὠφέλιμος ("useful") into an adjective, since they are adjunctively tied to each other and would have to move together. The proper translation, then, can be one of two:

- Every Scripture is God-breathed and useful...
- Every Scripture, God-breathed, is also useful...

The "is" has to go somewhere before the verbal noun, and the meaning is not changed no matter which way you go.
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Re: 2 Timothy 3:16

Postby Bro Bas » Sun Feb 04, 2018 6:18 am

Reading your comment caused a flood of college and seminary Greek to come rushing back. Without going back and reviewing my textbooks, my memory seems to agree with your explanation. It was distinguishing between a verbal noun and a participle that was giving me trouble.

Last bumped by Anonymous on Sun Feb 04, 2018 6:18 am.
Bro Bas

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