Galatians 2:20

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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Galatians 2:20

Postby mrnoonz » October 25th, 2012, 12:04 am

Hello, I'm new here a basic student of Koine Greek. I am curious to know how you would translate the first portion of Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ".

I've seen it this way: Christo sunestauromai (Χριστῷ συνεσταύρωμαι) and was curious if this is the proper grammatical way to have this verse. Granted, it is missing the entire context of the verse: ζῶ δὲ οὐκέτι ἐγώ ζῇ δὲ ἐν ἐμοὶ Χριστός ὃ δὲ νῦν ζῶ ἐν σαρκί ἐν πίστει ζῶ τῇ τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ἀγαπήσαντός με καὶ παραδόντος ἑαυτὸν ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ. But I am more curious to see if the above is how I would write the verse if I were speaking in the first person "I have been crucified with Christ."?

Also. I have heard that it is more perfectly translated (because of the perfect tense): "I have been and continue to be crucified with Christ". Is this correct? I'm curious for this because this is my life verse and would really like to know if I am saying it right when I say it. I want to make sure when I am teaching this verse that the grammar I am using is correct. Thanks for anyone's help.

:D

Mario Nunez
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Re: Galatians 2:20

Postby Barry Hofstetter » October 25th, 2012, 6:49 am

First of all, Mario, thanks for obeying all the rules, posting in the beginners' forum and quoting the entire Greek text! Note that normally we do not discuss so much translation issues as issues related to understanding the Greek, translation only in so far as it might help us better with the Greek.

Either "I am crucified with Christ" or "I have been crucified with Christ" are allowable translations of the Greek. Your "more perfectly translated version" below is really not. It is true that the perfect tense often has the force of action the implications of which continue to the present (from the perspective of the writer) but the way we normally translate (as above) captures that force quite nicely in English. The translation you have asked about is really more in the line of an exegetical conclusion or a paraphrase. It's the kind of think you might want to say in preaching or teaching the text, but not in translation.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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Re: Galatians 2:20

Postby Stephen Carlson » October 25th, 2012, 2:14 pm

I think there's a confusion in the original between translation and interpretation (exegesis). The latter is understanding what the Greek mean, the former is expressing that understanding under certain constraints. There is often an art to translation, because expressing what we understand in clear, concise language can be difficult. Thus, "I have been and continue to be crucified with Christ" is too ungainly to be a translation though I think it adequately expresses the realization and continuation of a state that the verb represent.

At any rate, for perfect (middle-)passives, I've been coming to the opinion that the resulting state is more in view (generally) than the anteriority of the act. So for Gal 2:20, I would prefer "I am crucified" as a translation, though "I have been crucified" is still acceptable in my opinion.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D. (Duke)
Post-Doctoral Fellow, Faculty of Theology, Uppsala
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