greek memorization


The text:
9.) ει δε ουκ ενκρατευονται, γαμησατωσαν. χρειττον γαρ εστιν γαμησαι η πορυσθαι.
10.) τοις δε γεγαμηκουσιν παραγγελω, ουκ εγω αλλα ὸ κυριος. γυναικα απο ανδρος μη χωριςθηναι.
11.) εαν δε και κωρισθῃ, μενετω αγαμος η τῳ ανδρι καταλλαγετω, και ανδρα γυναικα μη αφιεναι.
12.) τοις δε λοιποις λεγω, εγω ουχ ὸ κυριος. ει τις αδελφος γυναικα εχει απιςτον και αυτη συνευδοκει οικειν μετ᾽ αυτου, μη αφιετω αυτην.
13.) και γυνη, ει τις εχει ανδρα απιστον, και ὃυτος συνευδοκει οικειν μετ᾽ αυτης, με αφιετω τον ανδρα.
14.) ἣγιασται ὁ ανερ ὁ απιστον εν τῃ γυναικι και ἡγιασται ἡ γυνη ἡ απιστον εν τῃ αδελφῳ. επει αρα τα τεκνα υμων ακαθαρτα εστιν, νυν δε ἁγια εστιν.
15.) ει δε ὁ απιστος κορισθῃ, κοριζεσθω. ου δεδολωται ὁ αδελφος η ἡ αδελφη εν τοις τοιουτοις. εν δε ειρηνῃ κεκλεκεν υμας ὁ θεος.
16.) τι γαρ οιδας γυναι, ει τον ανδρα σοσεις; η τι οιδας ανερ, ει την γυναικα σοσεις;

The Translation:
9.) But if they can’t control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
10.) To the married I give this command, not I, but the Lord. A woman must not separate from her husband.
11.) But if she separates, she must remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a man must not divorce his wife.
12.) To the rest I say, I not the Lord, If a brother has an unbelieving wife and she is willing to live with him, he should not divorce her.
13.) And if a woman has an unbelieving husband, and he is willing to live with her, she should not divorce the husband.
14.) For the unbelieving man is sanctified by the believing wife, and the unbelieving woman is sanctified by the believing husband.
15.) But if the unbeliever leaves, let them be separated. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances, as God has called you to peace.
16.) Who knows, woman, if you’ll save your husband? Who knows, man, if you’ll save your wife?

Some Notes:
The big translation issue here it how to render αδελφος. Literally, it means “brother” or “sister.” Paul is using it figuratively here to mean “fellow Christian.” In fact, this is his favorite word for “Christian” (he actually never uses the Greek word for Christian). Keeping it as brother (or sister) helps communicate the familial nature of the Church. However, it’s also going to confuse those who don’t understand the language. Christians were accused of incest for a long time because they referred to one another as “brother” and “sister.” For instance, in 1 Corinthians 9, Paul writes that he has the right to take a “sister” as a wife. He means a female Christian, but it does sound funny ;-) Pagans made a natural inference when hearing stuff like this, though an incorrect one.

Theologically, I love v. 14. In some way, having a single Christian in a home “makes holy” the rest of the home. The participatory aspects (being in Christ) of 14 and 16 are quite interesting, as I noted here. I also love Paul’s practicality here. As I delve into theology, history, and biblical studies, I hope I can maintain the deep practicality of all of it.

 εν αυτῳ,
~alex

So I found myself pronouncing Greek with an accent this morning as I was trying to memorize some more. It was somewhere between a modern Greek accent and the one I use for Spanish. I’m sure it wouldn’t be comprehensible to too many people, but I think it helps me remember the text better if I can pronounce it more prosodically, and less like a series of unconnected words. Hopefully it will continue to be helpful!

~alex

The Greek Text:

  1. Περι δε ων εγραψατε, καλον ανθρωπῳ γυναικος μη ἁπτεσθαι.
  2. δια δε τας πορνειας, εκαστος την εαυτου γυναικα εχετω, και εκαστη τον ιδιον ανδρα εχετω.
  3. τῃ γυναικαι ὁ ανερ την οφειλεν αποδιδοτω, ὁμοιως δε και ἡ γυνη τῳ ανδρι.
  4. ἡ γυνη του ιδιου σοματος ουκ εξουσιαζει, αλλα ὁ ανερ. ὁμοιως δε και ὁ ανερ του ιδιου σοματος ουκ εξουσιαζει, αλλα ἡ γυνη.
  5. μη αποστειρητε αλλελους. ει μητι αν εκ συμφονου προς καιρον, ἱνα σχολασατε τῃ προσευκῃ, και παλιν επι το αυτο ητε, ἱνα μη πειραζῃ υμας ὁ σατανας δια την ακριασιαν υμων.

A rough translation:

  1. Now for the things you wrote about: “it is good for a man not marry.”
  2. But on account of sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.
  3. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife. In the same way, the wife to her husband.
  4. The wife is not the master of her own body: the husband is. Likewise, the husband is not the master of his own body: the wife is.
  5. Do not deprive one another. Whenever you withdraw from sexual union, do it for a short time in order to devote yourselves to prayer. Then, come together again so that Satan won’t tempt you with your lack of self-control.

Notes:
        The challenge here is figuring how much of this is a quotation from the Corinthian letter. The, “it is good for man not to marry” bit could be a statement by Paul or a quotation from their letter. I *think* that this bit is a quotation and then the following verses are Paul’s instructions. O that quotation marks were a later invention! Also, I don’t think I’d be able to make sense of verse 5 yet without a translation. It seems like there’s at least two implicit verbs that you have to supply when translating into English. Literally, it’s something like, “if ever from union to a time.” I’ve chosen withdraw and do.
        Paul’s statements on marriage are very interesting. What might be surprising is the “reciprocity” of the commands. Given the paternalism of both the Jewish and Graeco-Roman culture of the era, one might only expect commands to be directed at the wives. It’s not surprising that wives are commanded to fulfill their marital duty to their husbands, or that they’re told that they’re not the “masters of their own bodies.” What is surprising is that the husbands are told the same things. I can’t be certain, since I haven’t done that much background research, but I’d expect that the statement, “the husband is not the master of his own body: the wife is,” would have been surprising to first century ears.
        Also, even in a passage where Paul makes clear his preference for celibacy, he recognizes the “goodness” of the creation, including marriage. From chapter 6:16-17, he likely understands marriage, in particular sexual union, as a “shadow” in some way of our relationship with the Lord. There is a parallel between sexual intimacy and “being one with the Lord in Spirit” (1 Cor 6:17). I’m not sure how to define that any farther. Frankly, it can get really weird, really fast to pursue that line of thought. I’m sure it’s something I’ll understand more after marriage, but it is important to point out before hand. I’m content to revisit that line of thought in the future.

~alex

Today, we’ve several more verses:

12) Παντα μοι εξεστιν, αλλα παντα ου συμφερει. Παντα μοι εξεστιν, αλλα ουκ εγω εξουσιασθησομαι υπο τινος.
13) τα βρωματα τῃ κοιλιᾳ και ἡ κοιλια τοις βρωμοσιν. ὁ δε θεος και ταυτην και ταυτα καταργεσει. το δε σωμα ου τῃ πορνεια αλλα τῳ κυριῳ, και ὁ κυριος τῳ σωματι.
14) ὁ δε θεος τον κυριον ἣγειρεν και ὐμας εξεγερεῖ δια της δυναμεως αυτου.
15) ουκ οιδατε οτι τα σωμα ὑμων μελη Χριστου εστιν; αρας οὗν τα μελη Χριστου ποιεσω πορνης μελη; μη γενοιτο.
16) η ουκ οιδατε οτι ὁ καλλωμενος τῃ πορνῃ ἓν σωμα; Εσονται, γαρ φησιν, ὁι δυο εις σαρκα μιαν.

Now, for a rough translation:
12) “All things are permissible,” but not all things are beneficial. “All things are permissible,” but I myself will not be mastered by anything!
13) “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food.” But God will destroy both of these! The body is not intended for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.
14) God raised the Lord, and he will raise us also through his power.
15) Don’t you know that your bodies are members of Christ’s body? Should I then take the members of Christ’s body and join them to the body of a prostitute? Absolutely not!
16) Or don’t you now that the one who joins himself to a prostitute becomes one body with her body? For it says, “the two will become one flesh.”

Some notes
12-13a) I love Paul’s quotations of the Corinthians slogans, and the force with which he corrects their thinking. The second correction in verse 12 is particularly forceful, where Paul uses the pronoun εγω when it’s not necessary. It’s for that reason I added the kinda awkward “myself.” Paul certainly wants the Corinthians to follow his example and not the example of those flaunting their “freedom in Christ.” Paul correction goes so far in verse 13 that he calls for God’s judgment.

13b) This is a puzzling piece to me, and I’m not quite sure how to interpret the datives. It’s not uncommon in Greek to leave the verb implicit, and Paul does it here. Usually the verb ειμι (to be) is implicit. Apparently the food saying had wider implication than simply justifying gluttony. It seems the Corinthians were using it in a general sense: my desire for an object justifies me fulfilling that desire. Thus, if I want sex, it’s okay for me to engage in temple prostitution (this is a common argument today, even if it’s left implicit). Paul can’t stand this, which is probably why he makes such a strong statement about “God destroying both of these.” Paul’s corrective here is that our bodies are not for πορνεια (same root word as prostitute, something like sexual immorality) but for Christ. He then throws in the extra little bit that I can’t completely wrap my head around: “και ὁ κυριος τῳ σοματι,” “and the Lord for the body.” Paul undoubtedly has his “church as the body of Christ” metaphor in mind here, and I think Paul is saying that Jesus’ intention is toward his Church. I’m not really sure how to unpack this further though. How exactly is the “Lord for the body” or “intended for the body?”

14) Paul links proper behavior with resurrection. Basically, our physical bodies matter for two reasons. One, the Lord was raised in a physical body. Two, God will raise us in physical bodies like he did for the Lord. Thus, what we do in our physical bodies now is extremely important, as they are part of God’s good creation.

15) The body metaphor comes out very clearly in this verse. I wasn’t really sure how to translate μελη.  Literally, it refers to a part of the body. I don’t like the word member since we don’t really use that to refer to a part of the body, but part didn’t sound right either. In characteristic fashion, Paul uses some argumentum ad absurdum. He makes a ridiculous deduction (we should join Christ with a prostitute!) to show the absurdity of the Corinthian behavior.

16) Paul continues his scolding of Corinthian sexual behavior, this time with a scriptural quotation. In Greek, the verb εσονται (will become) is split off from the rest of the quotation by the linking words γαρ φησιν (for it is said). By doing this, I believe Paul is emphasizing even more the ramifications of sexual immorality, the “oneness” of the two participants. In engaging with a prostitute, you are assuming her identity.

Next up are verses 17-20. I may do a summary of the whole chapter afterwards as well.

~alex

P.S. This passage does not serve to condemn the many who are tragically trapped and exploited in the sex trade every year. Paul makes it clear in verse 11 that some of the Corinthians had indeed come out of prostitution. The prostitution going on in this city was likely temple prostitution, which had a cultic, pagan quality to it. The end of sexual exploitation is something Christians are called to work for in the present, even if it won’t be ended entirely until the Lord returns.

Since I’m currently going with 4 verses a day, I actually got through verse 12, but I’ll delay that verse since it starts a new section.

9.) ἧ ουκ οιδατε ὃτι αδικοι θεου βασιλεαν ου κληρονομησουσιν; μη ανασθε, ουτε πορνοι ουτε ειδωλολατραι ουτε μοικοι ουτε μαλακοι ουτε αρσενοκοιται
10.) ουτε κλεπται ουτε πλεονεκται ου μεθευσοι ου λοιδοροι ουκ αρπαγες βασιλεαν θεου κληρονομησουσιν.
11.) και ταυτα τινες ἧτε, αλλα απελουσασθε, αλλα ἣγιασθητε, αλλα εδικαιωθητε εν τῳ οναματι του κυριου Ιεσου Χριστου, και εν τῳ πνευματι του θεου ἡμων.

Now for a rough translation:
9) Or don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be deceived! Neither those who practice sexual immorality, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, male prostitutes, nor homosexual offenders,
10) Nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor slanders, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
11) And you were some of these things, but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God!

Notes:
In verse 9, I’m curious about the significance of the word order for θεου βασιλεαν versus βασιλεαν θεου. Both mean kingdom of God, and word order is much freer in Greek than in English. However, Paul inverts the normal word order with θεου βασιλεαν in verse 9 and then reverts back to the normal order in verse 10. Is Paul bringing special emphasis to God in bringing the word θεου forward in the sentence? I’ve asked the B-Greek mailing list and I’ll update later with some of their thoughts.

In verse 10, I’m puzzled as to why Paul reverts to ου… ου… ουκ for the last few items instead of keeping up the ουτε. Again, no difference in meaning, but it seems peculiar to someone new to Greek.

Verse 11 is my favorite of the group. The verse doesn’t exactly play nice with what I was taught concerning salvation and sanctification. I was always taught that sanctification followed salvation, and was an ongoing process through the believers life. Here, Paul says very clearly “you all were sanctified,” or “You all were made holy.” Sanctification does have an ongoing aspect, but Paul chooses here to focus on sanctification as an act which took place in the past. After all, how can you be a saint (which in the New Testament is synonymous with believer) if you have been made into one (sanctified). Απελουσασθε (you all were washed) probably refers to baptism, and one could argue on the basis of 1 Cor 12 that that is what Paul has in mind here.

The repetition of αλλα is also interesting. I don’t *think* that it’s grammatically necessary for Paul to repeat the αλλα, though I don’t know enough to say for sure. If my hunch is correct, then the repetition of αλλα serves to drive home the correction even harder. From what I’ve read from Steve Runge and Rick Brannan, αλλα is generally used as a corrective ‘but.’ It thus serves to say, it’s not this but that! Here, I think it’s serving to forcefully remind the Corinthians of both their previous way of life, and their baptism, sanctification, and justification, mostly so that they’ll start acting like appropriately. Repeating the ‘but’ would be awkward in English, but you get a similar effect by repeating the “you were,” which could be dropped.

Finally, I’m curious about the  εν τῳ …. εν τῳ … phrase at the end of verse 11. As is usually the case in Greek, εν is a remarkably flexible preposition. It often means ‘in’ with the sense of location. It can also mean ‘by.’ I was surprised to come across two εν’s because I was familiar with the NIV’s “in the name… by the Spirit of …” This verse definitely parallels with 1 Cor 12 where Paul speaks of being baptized “by (εν) one spirit into (εις) one body.” Once Accordance arrives, I’ll look for some more examples where εν and εις are used together to better understand what’s going on there.

Next up, verses 12-16!

~alex

Update: My post to the B-Greek board garnered several responses. It was agreed that this was a “marked” word order, which means that since the word order is unusual there’s some meaning to it. What it actually means is not that easy. Another interesting idea mentioned was that θεου modified αδικοι instead of βασιλεαν. This means that instead of:

“Don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit God’s kingdom?”

it would be translated something like this:

“Don’t you know that the unrighteous with respect to God will not inherit the kingdom?”

It’s a bit awkward to me to see it that way, but I guess it’s grammatically possible. The Greek genitive is extremely flexible in how you interpret it, so there’s probably other ways to understand the construction as well.

1.) τολμᾳ τις ὐμων πραγμα εχων προς τον ἒτερον κρινεσθαι επι των αδικων και ουκι επι των ἁγιων:
2.) η ουκ οιδατε ὃτι οἱ αγιοι τον κοσμον κεροῦμεν; και ει εν υμιν ὁ κοσμος κρινεται, αξιοι εστε κριτεριων ελαχιστων;
3.) ουκ οιδατε ὃτι αγγελους κρινοῦμεν; μετιγη βιοτικα.
4.) βιοτικα μεν ουν κριτερια εαν εχετε, τους εξοθενημενους εν τῃ εκκλεσια, τουτους καθιζετε.
5.) προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω. τουτῶς ουκ ενι εν υμιν ουδεις σοφος, ὃς δυνησεται διακριναι ανα μεσον του αδελφου αυτου;
6.) αλλα αδελφος μετα αδελφου κρινεται, και τουτο επι απιστων.
7.) ἣδη μεν ουν ὁλως ἡμμητα υμιν εστιν ὃτι κριματα εχετε μεθ᾽ ἑαυτων. δια τί μαλλον αδικεισθε; δια τί μαλλον αποστερεισθε;
8.) αλλα υμεις αδικειτε και αποστερειτε, και τουτο αδελφους.

Please forgive the many mistakes and sporadic accents, it was mostly from memory. One thing which immediately popped out even more clearly in Greek (not in the Greek!) was the κρινω words (judgement/law words). Apparently Greek gets quite a lot of mileage out of this one verb:

  • κρινεσθαι- go the law (the passive form)
  • κεροῦμεν- we will judge
  • κριτεριων- to preside over, sit as judges
  • κριτερια- lawsuits, disputes
  • κριματα- lawsuits

The κρινω words are everywhere in this passage! In fact, I suspect I’d find the same thing throughout the letter. I had considered doing a study on judgment in 1 Corinthians, and this just makes me want to do it even more! I probably won’t get to it anytime soon however.

And now, for a rather rough translation-
1.) Dare any of you who have a dispute with another, dare you take it before the unjust for judgment instead of before the saints?
2.) Or don’t you know that the saints will judge the world? And if by you the world is judged, are worthy to judge trivial matters?
3.) Don’t you know that we will judge angels? How much more trivial things!
4.)If you have disputes about trivial things, appoint even those who are of little account in the Church!
5.) I say this to your shame. Can it truly be that there is no one among you who is wise? Who is able to judge a dispute between one brother and another?
6.) But one brother goes to law with another, and this in front of unbelievers!
7.) This is already a complete defeat for you, because you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be unjustly treated? Why not rather be cheated?
8.) Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and do this to your brothers!

This is horribly awkward and inconsistent as it stands, but I’ll leave it without editing it. Some particularly difficult places:
1.) The verb τολμᾳ (dare you) at the beginning is very hard maintain when translating into English. I like it at the beginning because it sets the tone up for the rest of the passage, so I chose to just insert it again later in the verse.
2.) I’m wondering how many different ways the phrase και ει εν υμιν ο κοσμος κρινεται can be taken. The supplied “and if by you the world is judged” is pretty literal, but I also have the image of the world going to law against the saints. The first rendering is preferred, most likely, since Paul does later highlight the saints’ role in the final judgment.
3-4.) I wasn’t quite sure how to render βιωτικα. The UBS dictionary has “things pertaining to everyday life,” so trivial things may have been too strong a word. Things pertaining to everyday life was way too long though, so I went with “trivial things” to try and capture the contrast with judging angels. The NIV’s “things of this life” is probably better!
5.) Just awkward ;-)
7-8.) I wanted to keep the “just” root in αδικεισθε, which I why I used “unjustly treated.” The NIV’s cheated is nicer though, particularly for brevity’s sake.

Oh, and for 1-8, I often wanted to use a ‘!’? as punctuation since the questions are mostly of the biting, rhetorical kind. It looked too awkward though.

When I do this in the future, I’ll probably copy and paste the Greek text (or just eschew accents altogether when typing) It was great practice to type it out, but it took forever!

~alex

P.S. You can find my many mistakes by comparing me with this site.

So some big personal news on the memorization front: my plans have completely changed! My girlfriend Brianna and I had been working through 1 Corinthians. So far, we had memorized chapters 1-6 (well, I was not quite done with 6… ;-) ). We had stalled out for the past month or two, and not memorized any more, so this week we decided to get started again. I planned to pursue 1 Corinthians in English and do some Greek in John. However, God interrupted my plans ;-). I felt very clear direction (which doesn’t always happen) to continue entirely in Greek. This was a rather scary and exciting consideration! God has been very graceful thus far. I’ve memorized the first eight verses in 1 Corinthians 6 and it has been tons of fun.

And this was not just “more work” for me. This means Brianna is learning some Greek too! In the past two days, she’s already learned enough of the pronunciation to catch my mistakes when I’m quoting. And on top of it all, she’s excited about it! Even if the excitement was a little bit subdued this morning at 8am ;-). The title of this post was almost “why I have the best girlfriend in the world!” She not only supports my geeky endeavors (like teaching myself Greek), but is willing to learn enough to help me. Ἠ δοξα θεῳ!

~alex