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Posted: Sat Aug 11, 2007 7:26 am
by JSM17
For years the religious world has been looking at Ephesians 2:8 wrong. It has been used for years to uphold this idea of salvation by our own subjective faith alone. Well just within the last year and a half, I along with another gentleman have been discovering for ourselves the world of untranslated definite articles associated with the word "FAITH".

It is amazing to find this one in Ephesians 2:8, it is found in the Majority text (Textus Receptus), but is not one time ever translated into english "THE FAITH". I understand that a good bible student would understand the force of "...and that not of yourselves" within the context , but with this revealed to more people, this allows an understanding direct just within the verse.

I have yet to find out whether or not it is in the codex Sinaiticus, I know that Ephesians is found in that codex, but I have yet to find out if it renders the definite article.

For some you may wonder why this is important, it is important because it changes the whole perspective of this one verse which is a pillar of those who contend for "FAITH ALONE". The verse never taught this idea in the first place ,but now if one can see that the original majority forces this to be "OBJECTIVE" faith and not our own, then maybe they will see the truth, and that is that we are not saved by faith alone.

My question to you out there, is have you any knowledge in regards to what the reading of codex Sinaiticus is in this verse, Ephesians 2:8?

Or maybe you demand that Ephesians 2:8 is really talking about our own subjective faith and cannot come to the idea that it is objective, then state your case, because if people start catching on to this truth through out the whole N.T., things may change a little.

Hope to hear from you

not to distract...

Posted: Mon Aug 13, 2007 10:52 pm
by m273p15c
I cannot speak to the definite article, but I wanted to offer another observation about the Greek in this verse, which supports your ultimate point.
Paul, an inspired apostle wrote:For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8)
In verse 8, the word for grace here, "chariti", is dative feminine singular. The word for faith, "pisteos", is a genitive feminine singular. The word for "that" and "it", "touto", is demonstrative nominative neuter singular. The Greek word for gift, "doron", is nominative neuter singular.

Typically, the Calvinist viewpoint associates the gift of God in this verse with our faith, thereby using this verse as a proof-text for our personal faith being directly instilled by God. In other words, even our subjective faith is given to us by God. It is an immediate result of God's sovereign will. Even our faith is not our own, or so Calvinists frequently teach.

However, the Greek seems be very clear here, not permitting this interpretation, because the gender is not the same for "faith" and the "gift". One is feminine, and the other neuter. Therefore, the gift is not exactly referring to faith. It must be referring to something beside just "faith". I would argue that it is referring to something much bigger; that being the system of faith, Christ's sacrifice, and all things that produce our salvation, given to us by God.

Also, as a side note, the Greek does not match the NKJ exactly. Young's literal translation does a better job on the last part of the verse:
Paul wrote:For by grace ye are having been saved, through faith, and this not of you -- of God the gift (Ephesians 2:8 YLT)
The underlined words in the first translation, NKJ, are actually italicized in the original NKJ, which means they were supplied by the translators, as noted by the dashes in Young's literal translation.

Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 5:18 am
by JSM17
There does not need to be agreement in gender between the two nouns, "gift" and "faith," in order for the "gift" to be "faith." Nouns never change gender to agree with other nouns. However, agreement in gender is necessary between a pronoun and its antecedent. The demonstrative pronoun will change its gender to match the previous noun (or other substantive) to which it refers.

The demonstrative pronoun "touto" (actually "this" is more accurate than "that"), does not refer to "gift." A pronoun needs an antecedent (either stated or implied). The prefix "ante-" means BEFORE, not after. "Gift" comes after and is therefore not an "antecedent."

The antecedent for "touto" (this) is the whole phrase, (literally) "For by grace you are having been saved through faith." It is the "salvation" implied in the statement that is the antecedent for "touto" (this). And this "salvation" is said to be "not from ourselves, but the gift of God."

This verse tells us that the antecedent for "THIS" (the thing BEFORE "this" to which "this" refers) is also the "gift of God." But the "gift" cannot be "faith" because there is no agreement in gender between "faith" and the demonstrative pronoun, "touto" (THIS). That is why the Calvinist interpretation of this verse cannot be correct.

Posted: Sun Aug 19, 2007 11:04 pm
by m273p15c
Yes, you are correct. Thank you for the refinement. The argument is based on the case matching between "this/that" and "faith". Since "that" is later equated with the "gift", I used "gift" where I should have been reasoning from the case of "this/that". Thanks for the clarification.

In doing some research on this topic, I dug up a few quotes that may be useful:
Albert Barnes wrote:That is, salvation does not proceed from yourselves. The word rendered that - touta - is in the neuter gender, and the word faith - pistis - is in the feminie. The word "that," therefore, does not refer particularly to faith, as being the gift of God, but to the salvation by grace of which he had speaking. This is the interpretation of the passage which is now generally conceded to be the true one; see Bloomfield. Many critics, however, as Dodridge, Beza, Piscator, and Chrysostom, maintain that the word "that" (touto) refers to "faith" (pistis); and Doddridge maintains that such a use is common in the New Testament. As a matter of grammar this opinion is certainly doubtful, if not untenable; ...

I would not contend, therefore, about the grammatical construction of this passage to understand the word "that" as referring not to faith only, but to salvation by grace. So, Calvin understands it, Locke, Clarke, Koppe, Grotius, and others. (Barnes' Notes - Ephesians to Philemon, pp. 42-43)
Robertson, on the topic of pronouns, wrote:9. Gender and Number of outos. ... In general, like other adjectives, outos agrees with its substantive in gender and number, whether predicate or attributive. ... In Eph. 2:8, ..., there is no reference to pisteos in touto, but rather to the idea of salvation in the clause before. (A. T. Robertson, A Grammar of the New Testament, p.704)
Robertson, on the topic of particles, wrote:(ii) Kai. ... The Mere Connective ('And') ... kai tauta (frequent in ancient Greek). See in particular Eph. 2:8, kai touto ouk ex umon, where touto refers to the whole conception, not to chariti. (A. T. Robertson, A Grammar of the New Testament, pp. 1181-1182)
Robertson, on the topic of prepositions, wrote:(d) dia ... 3. 'Passing Between' or 'Through.' The idea of interval between leads naturally to that of passing between two objects or parts of objects. 'Through' is thus not the original meaning of dia, but is a very common one. ... The agent may also be expressed by dia. This function was also performed in the ancient Greek, through, when means or instrument was meant, the instrumental case was commonly employed. dia is thus used with inanimate and animate objects. Here, of course, the agent is conceived as coming in between the non-attainmnet and the attainment of the object in view. ... Abstract ideas are frequently so expressed, as sesosmenoi dia pisteos (Eph. 2:8), ... (A. T. Robertson, A Grammar of the New Testament, pp. 580-582)
Incidentally, I noticed that Robertson did not include the definite article in his above reference to the original.

Getting back to your original question, I would not argue your ultimate conclusions; however, I am not sure that the definite article should always be translated into English as "the". In some cases, it should be dropped from the English. This is not so much a translator's bias as an effort to make the text more readable, because there is not a unequivocal 1-to-1 correspondence here between the English and the Greek. I'll do some more digging to see if I can find some examples or quotes. more later...

textual evidence for definite article

Posted: Sat Aug 25, 2007 4:26 pm
by m273p15c
In Nestle-Aland's 27-th edition of the Greek New Testament, (p. 506), the critical apparatus records the following witnesses in favor of the definite article:
  • A (02) - Codex Alexandrinus (London, British Library, MS Royal 1. D. V-VIII; Gregory-Aland no. A or 02) is a 5th century manuscript of the Greek Bible, containing the majority of the Septuagint and the New Testament.
  • D2 (05) - 2nd correction of Codex Bezae Cantabrigensis (Gregory-Aland no. D or 05) is an important codex of the New Testament dating from the fifth- or sixth-century. It is written in an uncial hand on vellum and contains, in both Greek and Latin, most of the four Gospels and Acts, with a small fragment of 3 John.
  • Ψ (044)
  • 1881
  • M - Majority text, i.e., the Koine text together with the following manuscripts when not explicitly cited for Pauline epistles (p): K L P 81. 104. 365. 630. 1175. 1241. 1505. 1506. 2464. l 249. l 846
The witnesses cited against the insertion are:
  • א - Codex Sinaiticus (London, Brit. Libr., Add. 43725; Gregory-Aland nº א (Aleph) or 01) is a 4th century uncial manuscript of the Greek Bible, written between 330–350
  • B (03) - Codex Vaticanus (The Vatican, Bibl. Vat., Vat. gr. 1209; Gregory-Aland no. B or 03) is one of the oldest extant manuscripts of the Bible. It is slightly older than Codex Sinaiticus, both of which were probably transcribed in the 4th century.
  • D* (05) - original reading, before correction; Codex Bezae Cantabrigensis (Gregory-Aland no. D or 05) is an important codex of the New Testament dating from the fifth- or sixth-century. It is written in an uncial hand on vellum and contains, in both Greek and Latin, most of the four Gospels and Acts, with a small fragment of 3 John.
  • F (06)
  • G (012)
  • P (025)
  • 0278
  • 6
  • 33
  • 104
  • 1175
  • 1505
  • 1739
  • 2464 pc (pc = pauci: a few manuscripts, other than those explicitly mentioned for a given reading, which differ from the Majority text.)
  • bo - Bohairic Coptic Version
Wikipedia has a good decoding of the uncials' naming convention here: ... nt_codices

Some of the above descriptions of prominent uncial were taken from there.

I pray this helps make the case more clear, but it looks like this may be a classic case of Sinaiticus and Vaticanus chosen over the Majority, although the "majority" of witnesses seem to be against the inclusion.

(If I have mis-interpreted any of the critical apparatus, somebody please correct me.)

Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2007 9:30 pm
by JSM17
Thank you sir for your input and your time to look over these things, I agree that the D.A. is not always needed or merited in every instance. Sometimes it should be merited and it is not, I have other scriptures that I am looking into, but this one struck me because of its common use against certain doctrine. Thanks again.


a few excerpts on the definite article in Greek

Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2007 11:17 pm
by m273p15c
JSM17 wrote:... I agree that the D.A. is not always needed or merited in every instance. Sometimes it should be merited and it is not ...
No problem, Jeffrey. It was a very interesting question, and I enjoyed researching it. I am not nearly as knowledgeable of the Koine Greek as I would like to be, so I always enjoy an opportunity to learn a little bit more.

Based on your statements, I believe we have a common understanding of the definite article; however, I wanted to provide a few more excerpts from some grammar books for additional information:
Grashem Machen wrote:67. Use of the Article

The use of the article in Greek corresponds roughly (emphasis, mine) to the use of the definite article in English. Thus logos means a word; ha logos means the word; logoi means words; oi logoi means the words. The differences between the Greek and the English use of the article must be learned by observation, as they occur. ... (F. Grashem Machen. New Testament Greek for Beginners. p.35)
Dana and Mantey wrote:The Function of the Article

146. The function of the article is to point out an object or to draw attention to it. Its use with a word makes the word stand out distinctly. "Whenever the article occurs the object is certainly definite. When it is not used the object may or may not be" (R. 756). The use of the propositions, possessive and demonstrative pronouns, and the genitive case also tends to make a word definite. At such times, even if the article is not used, the object is already distinctly indicated.

i. The basal function of the Greek article is to point out individual identity. It does more than mark "the object as one definitely conceived" (W. 105), for a substantive in Greek is definite without the article. ... Gildersleeve goes on to show that the Greek noun has an intrinsic definiteness, an "implicit article." Therefore, the explicit article does more than merely ascribe definiteness. Green is touching its genius when he says that it is used "to mark a specific object of thought" (G. 170). ...

ii. A suggestion of the essential function of the article is to be seen in the fact that it is used regularly with the pronouns outos and ekeinos, "inasmuch as they distinguish some individual from the mass" (W. 110). The stress on individual identity is here perfectly evident. ...

iii. The genius of the article is nowhere more clearly revealed than in its use with infinitives, adverbs, phrases, clauses, or even whole sentences (cf. Gal. 5:14). We have an advantage here in the fact that we are not bothered with having to divest ourselves of any confusing associations arising from our English idiom. There is no English usage even remotely akin to this, for in English we never use an article with anything other than a substantive, and then to mark definiteness. When we begin to find the article used with phrases, clauses, and entire sentences, we are, so to speak, "swamped in Greek". ...


v. In determining the function of the Greek article, an exceedingly important consideration is its demonstrative origin. The danger is that we will approach the matter from the wrong side; that we will view it from the standpoint of the force of our modern English article rather than consider it in the light of its own origin and history. We must take our stand at Homer and look down toward the New Testament, and must not, from our present English idiom, look back toward the New Testament. ...

The Regular Uses of the Article

147. In harmony with its basal significance there are certain constructions in which the article is normally used. We employ the term "regular" here in the sense of ordinary, and not as implying use in keeping with any fixed rules. Thre are no "rules" for the use of the article in Greek, but there is fundamental principle underlying its significance - as we have seen in the foregoing section - and this gives rise to a normal usage. Deviation from this normal usage may occur at the will of the writer.

(1) To Denote Individuals. ...
(2) To Denote Previous Reference. ...
(3) With Abstract Nouns. Abstract nouns are ordinarily general in their character and application, and therefore indefinite. But in Greek, when it is desired to apply the sense of an abstract noun in some special and distinct way the article accompanies it. Thus alatheia, truth, means anything in general which presents a character of reality and genuineness, but ha alatheia as used in the New Testament means that which may be relied upon as really in accord with God's revelation in Christ. The general sense of the abstract noun is restricted, and given a particular application: The particular truth which is revealed in Christ.

ta gar chariti este sesosmenoi
For by grace are ye saved. Eph. 2:8

That is, grace in its particular application in securing man's salvation. It is not grace as an abstract attitude, nor yet the gracious attitude of God in general, but "the grace" of God which operated through atonement in providing human redemption. Grace is a quality which may characterize various objects; but here it is particularized as an attribute of God, exercised in a particular realm. See also: 1 Cor. 13:4; 15:21.

(4) With Proper Names. ...
(5) The Generic Use. This is the use of the article with a noun which is to be regarded as representing a class or group. ...
(6) With Pronouns. ...
(7) With Other Parts of Speech. In keeping with the genius of the article, whenever a sense of individuality is sought in any form of expression, the article is used. In such a construction, the article functions as a sort of bracket, to gather the expression into a single whole and point it out in a particular way. ...

The Special Uses of the Article

148. Some phenomena presented by the article are but remotely related to its basal function, and consequently may be treated as special uses.

(1) With Nouns Connected by kai. ...
(2) As a Pronoun. ...
(3) With the Subject in a Copulative Sentence. ...

The Absence of the Article

149. Sometimes with a noun which the context proves to be definite the article is not used. This places stress upon the qualitative aspect of the noun rather than its mere identity. An object of thought may be conceived of from two points of view: as to identity and quality. To convey the first point of view the Greek uses the article; for the second the anarthrous construction is used. Also in expressions which have become technicalized or stereotyped, and in salutations, the article is not used. This due to the tendency toward abbreviation of frequent or customary phraseology, such as expressions "at home," "down town", etc. ... (H. E. Dana and Julius R. Mantey. A Manual Grammar of The Greek New Testament. pp.137-151)
Robertson wrote:III. Significance of the Article. The article, unlike the demonstrative, does not point out the object as far or near. It is not deictic. There is either contrast in the distinction drawn or allusion (anaphoric) to what is already mentioned or assumed as well known. The article is therefore to oristikon arthron, the definite article. The article is associated with gesture and aids in pointing out like an index finger. It is a pointer. It is not essential for language, but certainly very convenient and useful ... The Greek article is not the only means of making words definite. Many words are definite from the nature of the case. The word itself may be definite ... Whenever the Greek article occurs, the object is certainly definite. When it is not used, the object may or may not be. The article is never meaningless in Greek, though it often fails to correspond with the English idiom, as in h sophia, o Paulos. It is not a matter of translation. ...

IV. The Method Employed by the Article. The Greek article points out in one of three ways. It distinguishes:

(a) Individuals From Individuals. The articles does not give th reason for the distinction drawn between individuals. This is usually apparent in the context. ...

(b) Classes From Other Classes. The (generic) article is not always necessary here any more than under (a). ... But it is quite common to use the article with different classes. ... It is very common to find the singular used with the article in a representative sense for the whole class. ... But even here the article is not always needed. ...

(c) Qualities From Other Qualities. The English does not use the article with abstract qualities unless they have been previously mentioned. But French and German are like the Greek in the use of the article here. It is not necessary to have the article with qualities. ... (A. T. Robertson. A Grammar of the Greek New Testament. pp. 755-758)
I'm including these quotes primarily for my own benefit, so I can find these quotes quickly whenever I need them again. ;-)

Thanks again for the good question and refining feedback! :-)