1 Cor 13:12

How do I work out the meaning of a Greek text? How can I best understand the forms and vocabulary in this particular text?
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1 Cor 13:12

Postby David Arnold » October 16th, 2013, 8:06 am

My work with Indigenous Peoples has led me to dissect 1 Cor 13:12. I am working through an understanding of the Greek word 'meros' in this passage. I see a reference to 'a part assigned' (Strong's). Am I stretching things to suggest that we are only assigned a part of God's full truth, this side of eternity. If so, could this be extrapolated to suggest that perhaps God has assigned a part to different cultures and as we 'partner' inter-culturally, we share and learn a fuller truth.

Thanks for any input.

PS this is not an assignment question but a personal study question.
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Re: 1 Cor 13:12 (ἐκ μέρους) rephrased

Postby Stephen Hughes » October 22nd, 2013, 3:29 pm

1 Corinthians 13:12b wrote:ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην
"Now we know each of us a bit / partially, but later we will know as we also were fully known
David Arnold wrote:My work with Indigenous Peoples has led me to dissect 1 Cor 13:12. I am working through an understanding of the Greek word 'meros' in this passage. I see a reference to 'a part assigned' (Strong's). Am I stretching things to suggest that we are only assigned a part of God's full truth, this side of eternity. If so, could this be extrapolated to suggest that perhaps God has assigned a part to different cultures and as we 'partner' inter-culturally, we share and learn a fuller truth.

Having looked at the Greek text and a couple of English translations, it seems to me that knowing Greek well doesn't help (or in your case wouldn't) help you answer your question. Let me share my knowledge of the Greek to take you one step closer to understanding how to question the Greek text to find what a knowledge of Greek can or can't (would or wouldn't be able to) give you to help you answer your question about the relationship between culture and the God's revelation.

What you have asked is not really a B-Greek sort of question, so, let's work towards rephrasing your question, so that you might get a good answer from other very knowledgeable people here on B-Greek...

The phrase ἐκ μέρους occurs a few times in the vicinity of the verse you are asking about (1 Corinthians 13:12b) with a sense that seems to mean either "partial" or "each". In 1 Corinthians 12:27 Ὑμεῖς δέ ἐστε σῶμα Χριστοῦ καὶ μέλη ἐκ μέρους "you are the body of Christ and each of you are members
" the phrase is rendered as giving the sense that each one individually is needed to make the whole "each", "individually" ("in particular"). In 1 Corinthians 13:9 ἐκ μέρους γὰρ γινώσκομεν καὶ ἐκ μέρους προφητεύομεν "for we know partially and we preach partially" it has generally been taken to mean "partially".

Forgive me for taking the liberty to rephrase your question within the terms of a discussion about the Greek language rather than in the way you originally posed it and perhaps we will get a reply:

Can the same phrase ἐκ μέρους have the meaning "each one severally (making up the whole)" (1 Corinthians 12:27) in one place and then right in the very next chapter have another meaning "partially" (1 Corinthians 13:9a, 9b)? What would be the best way to take it in 1 Corinthians 13:12?
Stephen Hughes
"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself."
(Attributed to Albert Einstein)
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Re: 1 Cor 13:12 (ἐκ μέρους) rephrased

Postby Stephen Carlson » October 23rd, 2013, 4:56 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:
1 Corinthians 13:12b wrote:ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην
"Now we know each of us a bit / partially, but later we will know as we also were fully known

Is there a reason why you chose to recast the translation into the first-person plural?
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D. (Duke)
Post-Doctoral Fellow, Faculty of Theology, Uppsala
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Re: 1 Cor 13:12

Postby David Lim » October 23rd, 2013, 5:56 am

Hmm I just noticed this thread. Can a moderator move my response from viewtopic.php?f=40&t=2096 and delete the duplicate thread?
δαυιδ λιμ
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Re: 1 Cor 13:12 (ἐκ μέρους) rephrased

Postby Stephen Hughes » October 23rd, 2013, 11:40 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:
1 Corinthians 13:12b wrote:ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην
"Now we know each of us a bit / partially, but later we will know as we also were fully known

Is there a reason why you chose to recast the translation into the first-person plural?

Ha ha. No. No. No. That was my mistake. I didn't have the idea that this verse was using the singular form for plural sense. I was trying so hard not to answer DA's question myself, because I don't feel so confident with adverbial prepositional phrases. I was trying hard not to give my answer because I wanted to see if others would reach the same conclusion.

I was thinking that the only way that the ἐκ μέρους could plausibly be taken in the sense "each of us a bit" (which I would take to mean individual persons not cultural groups - however that could be defined) would be that if that phrase in 1 Corinthians 13:12 was in the plural. It seems that my fingers got ahead of me and followed the logic of what I was thinking and "auto-corrected" to the plural rather than writing the non---sense that I wanted to say.

What I meant to type was...
1 Corinthians 13:12b wrote:ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην
"Now I know each of us a bit / partially, but later I will know as I also was fully known[/quote]

Sorry about that.
Stephen Hughes
"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself."
(Attributed to Albert Einstein)
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