πνευματικοῖς in 1 Corinthians 2:13

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πνευματικοῖς in 1 Corinthians 2:13

Postby David Lee » April 24th, 2013, 5:34 am

Hey folks,

I was wondering if it might be more natural to place the comma after πνευματικοῖς in 1 Corinthians 2:13:

ἃ καὶ λαλοῦμεν οὐκ ἐν διδακτοῖς ἀνθρωπίνης σοφίας λόγοις, ἀλλ’ ἐν διδακτοῖς πνεύματος, πνευματικοῖς πνευματικὰ συνκρίνοντες.


If we place the comma after πνευματικοῖς, that would make the comparative statement a bit more symmetric:

διδακτοῖς ἀνθρωπίνης σοφίας λόγοις / διδακτοῖς πνεύματος πνευματικοῖς
through words taught by human wisdom / through spiritual (things/gifts/words) taught by the Spirit

However, this would remove πνευματικοῖς from the last clause "πνευματικοῖς πνευματικὰ συνκρίνοντες" and leave only "πνευματικὰ συνκρίνοντες". Would "συνκρίνοντες" without a dative be valid? ESV and NIV seem to allow this (interpreting συνκρίνοντες as "interpreting"/"explaining") , but NASB and WEB seem to require the dative to complete the "comparing"/"combining" of the accusative and the dative.
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Re: πνευματικοῖς in 1 Corinthians 2:13

Postby Stephen Carlson » May 10th, 2013, 4:42 pm

No one's responded to this yet. Is there anyone who would like to give it a shot?
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D. (Duke, New Testament)
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Re: πνευματικοῖς in 1 Corinthians 2:13

Postby Louis L Sorenson » May 10th, 2013, 11:09 pm

I think there are some truncated expressions here.

(a) ἃ καὶ λαλοῦμεν
(b) οὐκ ἐν διδακτοῖς ἀνθρωπίνης σοφίας λόγοις [λαλοῦμεν],
(c) ἀλλ’ ἐν διδακτοῖς πνεύματος [σοφίας λόγοις λαλοῦμεν],
(d) πνευματικοῖς πνευματικὰ συνκρίνοντες.

My initial reading is that the dative πνευματικοῖς is an obvious change of phrase, not continuing the previous phrase, but being part of the phrase boundary of συνκρίνοντες.

I suppose it is possible to read the passage as
(a) ἃ καὶ λαλοῦμεν
(b) οὐκ ἐν διδακτοῖς ἀνθρωπίνης σοφίας λόγοις [λαλοῦμεν],
(c) ἀλλ’ ἐν διδακτοῖς πνεύματος [σοφίας] πνευματικοῖς [λαλοῦμεν],
(d) πνευματικὰ συνκρίνοντες.

This reading would take the phrase πνευματικὰ συνκρίνοντες to be a summarizing τὰ διδακτὰ πνευματικά. 'Taught words of man's wisdom' vs. 'Taught spiritual words of spirit wisdom.'

Here is BDAG's entry which interestingly gives both meaings 1 and 3 to this verse:
① to bring things together so as to form a unit, combine (Epicharmus et al.; Pla.; Aristot., Metaph. 1, 4, 985a, 24) so perh. πνευματικοῖς (neut.) πνευματικὰ συγκρίνοντες giving spiritual truth a spiritual form (Goodsp., Lghtf., BWeiss, Bousset) 1 Cor 2:13 (s. 2b and 3 below).
③ to clarify on the basis of a compatible relationship, explain, interpret (Polyb. 14, 3, 7; Gen 40:8, 16, 22; 41:12f, 15; Da 5:12 Theod.; JosAs 4:14 [ἐνύπνιον]) πνευματικοῖς (masc.) πνευματικὰ συγκρίνοντες interpreting spiritual truths to those who possess the Spirit 1 Cor 2:13 (s. 1 and 2b above) so NRSV text, PSchmiedel, Heinrici, JSickenberger.—FBlass and JWeiss propose emendation of the text.—M-M. s.v. συνκρίνω. TW.

Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed.) (953). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.


Unless the phrase πνεύματος πνευματικοῖς is a set phrase used in Patristic literature and elsewhere, I would be reluctant to separate the instrumental dative πνευματικοῖς from συνκρίνοντες; the two words seem made for each other; 'comparing the spiritual with the spiritual' (and not with the human elements of life).
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Re: πνευματικοῖς in 1 Corinthians 2:13

Postby Iver Larsen » May 20th, 2013, 5:35 am

David Lee wrote:Hey folks,

I was wondering if it might be more natural to place the comma after πνευματικοῖς in 1 Corinthians 2:13:

ἃ καὶ λαλοῦμεν οὐκ ἐν διδακτοῖς ἀνθρωπίνης σοφίας λόγοις, ἀλλ’ ἐν διδακτοῖς πνεύματος, πνευματικοῖς πνευματικὰ συνκρίνοντες.


If we place the comma after πνευματικοῖς, that would make the comparative statement a bit more symmetric:

διδακτοῖς ἀνθρωπίνης σοφίας λόγοις / διδακτοῖς πνεύματος πνευματικοῖς
through words taught by human wisdom / through spiritual (things/gifts/words) taught by the Spirit

However, this would remove πνευματικοῖς from the last clause "πνευματικοῖς πνευματικὰ συνκρίνοντες" and leave only "πνευματικὰ συνκρίνοντες". Would "συνκρίνοντες" without a dative be valid? ESV and NIV seem to allow this (interpreting συνκρίνοντες as "interpreting"/"explaining") , but NASB and WEB seem to require the dative to complete the "comparing"/"combining" of the accusative and the dative.


It seems most natural to me to keep the comma where it has been placed and carry over σοφίας λόγοις from ἐν διδακτοῖς ἀνθρωπίνης σοφίας λόγοις to get ἐν διδακτοῖς πνεύματος [λόγοις]. To delete (or leave unexpressed) words that can easily be supplied from the previous context is very common.

Another question is whether πνευματικοῖς in πνευματικοῖς πνευματικὰ συνκρίνοντες is to be taken as neuter or masculine. The next two verses set up a contrast between the soulish/unspiritual and spiritual person: ψυχικός ἄνθρωπος and πνευματικός ἄνθρωπος. Because of that, I prefer to take the masculine option: spiritual people. We also need to compare συγκρίνω with ἀνακρίνω. It seems to me that Paul (and other spiritual teachers) are the ones to συγκρίνειν while the hearers are the ones to ἀνακρίνειν. This leads me to accept BDAG sense 3 and the interpretation found in LSJ for this verse:

III. interpret, τὰ λεγόμενα Plb.14.3.7, cf. 1Ep.Cor.2.13; esp. σ. ἐνύπνια interpret dreams, LXXGe.40.8, al.

In that case Paul is saying that he is interpreting or explaining spiritual things to spiritual people, while the spiritual people are to evaluate and examine carefully what they are told (especially by unspiritual people). Paul is doing this explanation in a spiritual manner because he was taught by the Spirit.
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