Need clarification on Galatians 6:3

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Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: Need clarification on Galatians 6:3

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen »

OK...so it seems like part of my problem comes from τις
ἔν τινι παραπτώματι means "in some transgression", so if I understood your explanation, yes, it's "τις + noun (substantive)" and τις is interpreted as in English "some..." or "any...". (We wouldn't say that "meaning is morphed").

In v. 3a it's alone, in masculine form, working as the subject of the clause and means "someone, some person". In v3b it's in neuter form, so it means "something". The latter is with εἶναί, infinitive, but also without a noun.

The English rendering of μηδὲν isn't important; both "nothing" and "of no weight" etc. work and are understandable. But rhetorically this is very effective in Koine with 3 x 2 words and even in English "someone", "something" and "nothing" can very well carry the meaning of the original.

EDIT: I and Daniel seem to have very similar thoughts.
DASchoch
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Re: Need clarification on Galatians 6:3

Post by DASchoch »

Daniel Semler wrote: July 11th, 2021, 2:13 pm
τις here is really just the overt subject of δοκεῖ. There is no other substantive, actually in the whole verse. There is no need to suppose one either.
You are addressing verse 3, correct? So then, "someone" is the best rendering for τις here...
δοκεῖ τις is fine on it's own. τι is neuter so something rather than someone.


This is where I get thrown off track...according to Zodhiates, since there is no substantive in the text, which you agreed, then τι can mean either "a certain person, a certain thing, someone, or something." But since it is neuter, you are saying that the gender comes in and makes the meaning "something," which is a valid rendering, correct?

That being the case, where in the text does it hint to us that "something" is something bad...like a person thinking he is "all that and a bag of chips, too?" In other words, I can understand what you are saying and it makes perfect sense to me - but I do not see where the idea steps into the text as making the "something" out to be a negative, like the person Paul addresses is full of himself.

The reasoning is that I don't see Paul coming out all of the sudden and make a comment out of the blue concerning a person who thinks he is some great person in arrogance or whatever. Does that make any sense? Taking the context of verses 1-2 into consideration, it appears to me that he is still addressing the guy in verse one who has committed a sin and got caught red-handed in the act.

And, I don't know if it helps or not, but I translate according to a thought-for-thought rendering, not a word-for-word...I find that all too often Greek words are not amendable to a simple word-to-word rendering, as too much of the intended meaning of the text is lost.

Thanks again, I really appreciate your insight!

Dave
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DASchoch
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Re: Need clarification on Galatians 6:3

Post by DASchoch »

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote: July 11th, 2021, 2:39 pm
OK...so it seems like part of my problem comes from τις
ἔν τινι παραπτώματι means "in some transgression", so if I understood your explanation, yes, it's "τις + noun (substantive)" and τις is interpreted as in English "some..." or "any...". (We wouldn't say that "meaning is morphed").

In v. 3a it's alone, in masculine form, working as the subject of the clause and means "someone, some person". In v3b it's in neuter form, so it means "something". The latter is with εἶναί, infinitive, but also without a noun.

The English rendering of μηδὲν isn't important; both "nothing" and "of no weight" etc. work and are understandable. But rhetorically this is very effective in Koine with 3 x 2 words and even in English "someone", "something" and "nothing" can very well carry the meaning of the original.

EDIT: I and Daniel seem to have very similar thoughts.
So, this is what I am understanding from you and Daniel...(I will break it down, I will put in bold my choice in considering grammar)

εἰ - if
γὰρ - because, for
δοκεῖ - thinks, imagines, considers, appear, is of the opinion
τις - someone
εἶναί - "to be" verb in the present infinitive "is"
τι - something, someone, a certain one
μηδὲν - (metaphorically with ων) being nothing, of no account, no weight of character
ὤν, - "to be" verb in the present "is" or "to be"
ἑαυτόν - "he deceives" Present tense
φρεναπατᾷ. - himself

"Because if someone is of the opinion that he is something of no weight of character, he is deceiving himself."

Would we then have a consensus on this, or where does it need to be changed? For my part, I would translate "someone," taking the context of verses 1-2 into consideration, as "he"...but that really doesn't change the text's meaning...unless Paul is not still addressing the guy in verse one. But to me, it appears obvious that he is still in dialogue concerning verse 1.

If this is true, then it still does not answer the question as to why so many English translations continue with "For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing," (ESV)...because, getting back to μηδὲν translated as "nothing" when according to the grammar, it does not mean nothing in this text...

μηδείς
mēdeís; fem. mēdemía, neut. mēdén, adj. from mēdé (G3366), and not, also not, and heís (G1520), one. Not even one, no one, i.e., no one whoever he may be, from the indef. and hypothetical power of mḗ, differing from oudeís (G3762), not even one, as mḗ differs from ou. For the difference, see mḗ (G3361).
(I) Generally (Mat_16:20; Mar_6:8; Joh_8:10; Act_4:21; 1Co_1:7; Heb_10:2). With mḗ (G3361), not, mēkéti (G3371), no further, or mēdeís (G3367), not a single one, repeated in a strengthened negation (1Pe_3:6). See Mar_11:14; Act_4:17; 2Co_6:3.
(II) In prohibitions, e.g., after the pres. imper. (Luk_3:13; 1Co_3:18, 1Co_3:21; Tit_2:15; Jas_1:13); with the imper. implied (Mat_27:19; Php_2:3); with duplicate neg. (Mar_1:44; Rom_13:8). Followed by the aor. subjunctive (Mat_8:4; Mat_17:9; Act_16:28).
(III) Neut. mēdén, nothing.
(A) As an adv., not at all, in no respect, e.g., without gainsaying (Act_10:20; Act_11:12; Jas_1:6). After verbs of profit or loss, deficiency (Mar_5:26; Luk_4:35; 2Co_11:5; Php_4:6); with en (G1722), in, meaning in nothing, in no respect (2Co_7:9; Php_1:28; Jas_1:4).
(B) Metaphorically, mēdén ṓn (ṓn [G5607], the pres. part. of eimí [G1510], to be), meaning being nothing, i.e., of no account, no weight of character (Gal_6:3).
Syn.: oudeís (G3762), no one, more absolute and obj. than mēdeís; mḗtis (G3387), no man, not anyone.
Ant.: hékastos (G1538), each one; pás (G3956), every; hápas (G537), the whole, all.

Zodhiates, Word Study NT Dictionary, electronic version
Daniel Semler
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Re: Need clarification on Galatians 6:3

Post by Daniel Semler »

DASchoch wrote: July 11th, 2021, 4:59 pm
So, this is what I am understanding from you and Daniel...(I will break it down, I will put in bold my choice in considering grammar)

εἰ - if
γὰρ - because, for
δοκεῖ - thinks, imagines, considers, appear, is of the opinion
τις - someone
εἶναί - "to be" verb in the present infinitive "is"
τι - something, someone, a certain one
μηδὲν - (metaphorically with ων) being nothing, of no account, no weight of character
ὤν, - "to be" verb in the present "is" or "to be"
ἑαυτόν - "he deceives" Present tense
φρεναπατᾷ. - himself

"Because if someone is of the opinion that he is something of no weight of character, he is deceiving himself."
To whom or what does ὤν refer I think is the next question ?
τις is the referent.

What you have above applies ὤν to τι if I am reading you right. This would be against the agreement of the case of the participle and pronoun. So it is not the something that is of no consequence, but the someone.

Does that help ?

thx
D
Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: Need clarification on Galatians 6:3

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen »

ὤν, - "to be" verb in the present "is" or "to be"
It's not just present, it's participle, and it functions differently than present active indicative. Is this the root of your mistake? It provides background for the main verb, so I rendered it like "while/when/yet/but being".
"Because if someone is of the opinion that he is something of no weight of character, he is deceiving himself."
Here you have lost the "being" verb altogether.

Even your source actually says the same thing than ESV which you quote. It clearly says that ṓn is participle and that mēdén ṓn means "being nothing". Yes, it's really "being nothing", I just added some alternative words before that phrase to make clear how the background information can be expressed in English. The meaning wouldn't be altered at all if you would translate "nothing" differently. "If anyone, being of no weight of character, thinks that he is something..."

So, the meaning of "μηδὲν" seems to be a red herring to you, while your actual problem is the verb.
That being the case, where in the text does it hint to us that "something" is something bad...like a person thinking he is "all that and a bag of chips, too?" In other words, I can understand what you are saying and it makes perfect sense to me - but I do not see where the idea steps into the text as making the "something" out to be a negative, like the person Paul addresses is full of himself.
Well, if you accept the grammar as it is, you will see why it means that. "Something" is here compared with "nothing". It's rhetorical and contextual. Notice that the word itself doesn't have a negative connotation. It comes from the context.
unless Paul is not still addressing the guy in verse one. But to me, it appears obvious that he is still in dialogue concerning verse 1.
And maybe this is another problem of yours. The grammar is clear, so adjust your opinion about the discourse. "Keep watch on yourself... For if anyone thinks..." Keep watch on yourself, because if you think you are something and actually are nothing... I admit the discourse and flow of thought in ch. 6 isn't crystal clear, but the grammar of v. 3 is.
DASchoch
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Re: Need clarification on Galatians 6:3

Post by DASchoch »

OK, thanks guys, I really appreciate it.

It still makes little sense to me, because verse 3 just comes out of nowhere, having no apparent connection with either the passages before or after it. It's like a thought interjected in the middle of two conversations about different things.

Even if, Eeli, which made sense at first, but then after I looked at it awhile, got lost...even if "Keep watch on yourself...because if anyone thinks..." does not make any sense unless the sin the guy in verse one was caught in was pride, then the link you make there gives little sense.

Thanks again.
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Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: Need clarification on Galatians 6:3

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen »

It still makes little sense to me, because verse 3 just comes out of nowhere, having no apparent connection with either the passages before or after it. It's like a thought interjected in the middle of two conversations about different things.
That can happen with Paul. This forum is strictly for Greek, not for exegesis, so you should continue elsewhere or read some detailed commentaries. The flow of the passage isn't obvious to me, either, but I did show how the person of the v1 doesn't need to be the one Paul is thinking about in v3.
Daniel Semler
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Re: Need clarification on Galatians 6:3

Post by Daniel Semler »

DASchoch wrote: July 11th, 2021, 7:22 pm It still makes little sense to me, because verse 3 just comes out of nowhere, having no apparent connection with either the passages before or after it. It's like a thought interjected in the middle of two conversations about different things.
On first reading of 6:1-6:5 I don't think it 6:3 refers to the one caught red-handed in 6:1. I think it refers to the one who would help restore such a person. Regardless though it doesn't change the grammar of 6:3 itself. I agree that 6:3 seems to come from left field a bit, which probably means more context (eg, read the whole letter through) would be helpful, and probably probably not a little pondering over the issue. Many questions aren't resolved on grammatical grounds alone.

Thx
D
DASchoch
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Re: Need clarification on Galatians 6:3

Post by DASchoch »

Thanks, guys, I really appreciate the input.

Blessings!
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Jason Hare
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Re: Need clarification on Galatians 6:3

Post by Jason Hare »

DASchoch wrote: July 11th, 2021, 4:59 pm So, this is what I am understanding from you and Daniel...(I will break it down, I will put in bold my choice in considering grammar)

εἰ - if
γὰρ - because, for
δοκεῖ - thinks, imagines, considers, appear, is of the opinion
τις - someone
εἶναί - "to be" verb in the present infinitive "is"
τι - something, someone, a certain one
μηδὲν - (metaphorically with ων) being nothing, of no account, no weight of character
ὤν, - "to be" verb in the present "is" or "to be"
ἑαυτόν - "he deceives" Present tense
φρεναπατᾷ. - himself
You've got the last two words switched around. ἑαυτόν means "himself." The word φρεναπατᾷ is used only in this verse, but there is the related noun φρεναπάτης that appears also in Titus 1:10 with the meaning of "deceiver."

The word ὤν is a circumstantial participle. It would best be translated with something like "although" before it, since it expresses here a contrast. He thinks he is something although he is nothing. This contrast is natural using a participle in Greek (he thinks himself something, being nothing).

Notice the contrast between τι "something" and μηδέν "nothing." This is intentional, and I think that translating it as "of no worth" breaks that contrast. That is, unless you render "something" as "important." He thinks that he is important, although he is insignificant. That's the meaning of it.

εἰ γὰρ δοκεῖ τις εἶναί τι μηδὲν ὤν φρεναπατᾷ ἑαυτόν· (SBLGNT)
εἰ — if
γὰρ — for
δοκεῖ — he thinks (enclitic subject follows)
τὶς — anyone, someone
εἶναι — to be
τὶ — something (important)
μηδέν — nothing (insignificant)
ὤν — being, although he is
φρεναπατᾷ — he misleads, deceives
ἑαυτόν — himself

It's better to keep it broken up into phrases rather than individual words.

εἰ γάρ — for if
δοκεῖ τις — anyone thinks, considers
εἶναί τι — (himself) to be something
μηδὲν ὤν — although he is nothing, (while) being nothing
φρεναπατᾷ ἑαυτόν — he deceives himself

The Greek text is straightforward and clear, and the translations are correct.
Jason A. Hare
The Hebrew Café | thehebrewcafe.com | Tel Aviv, Israel
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