Because life is a series of edits

When Exegesis Attacks

In Seminary Tychicus on October 11, 2005 at 6:37 am

This morning, Learner and the rest of his classmates in Greek exegesis turn in their team exegetical assignment. The professor (who is writing a commentary on the book of Ephesians; thus, Learner’s theory is that he and his classmates are doing his research for him) had divided the class into groups of 3 or 4 with an assigned passage from the last two chapters of Ephesians 5 or 6.

Tasked with compiling technical commentary for Ephesians 6:10-20, Learner and two other assigned classmates met to divide the workload. Upon discussion of the assignment in which they made sure they each knew what was expected, they divided the work, agreeing to take two weeks to ensure time to research the recommended and required four commentaries, and write their individual reports.

Upon completion of their individual assignments, Learner compiled the results and emailed initial draft to the other two. They then met the next morning for two hours to walk through the draft in detail, with each contributor highlighting the main ideas as well as the nuances of his passage. Questions were asked, points clarified, wording and formatting adjusted, and the report submitted.

I won’t bore you with the entirety of their final 31-page report, but in case you’re interested, here’s a non-technical snippet from Learner’s findings on Ephesians 6:18 (I didn’t include the Greek translation and word studies due to Blogger’s inability to reproduce the Greek font):

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”

–Paul describes attitude to maintain by use of two participles (“praying” and “keeping alert”)
1) could express means but more likely shows manner of action; argues punctuation at end of 17 should be comma rather than period (Hoehner, 855)
2) prayer itself is not identified with any weapon (O’Brien, 483)
3) prayer is not seventh piece of spiritual armor as some claim (Lincoln, 451)
4) prayer is believer’s “vital communication with headquarters” (Bruce, 413)

–Cyclical perspective: prayer is for the purpose of maintaining alertness; prayer causes alertness, alertness keeps believers in prayer (Hoehner, 859)

–One-way perspective: believers need to stay alert; such vigilance is to be accompanied by perseverance and prayer; believers are to persevere so as to overcome fatigue and discouragement, and not to fall into spiritual sleep or complacency (O’Brien, 485)

–Lincoln agrees more with O’Brien than Hoehner: to be alert involves renouncing spiritual sleep of the darkness of this age (cf. also 1 Peter 4:7)

–Paul’s call to prayer in expectation of the Lord’s coming seems reasonable (cf. 1 Corinthians 16:22; Revelation 22:20; linked elsewhere in NT: Romans 12:12; Colossians 4:2; cf. Acts 1:14; 2:42; 6:4) (O’Brien, 485)

–Important to note repetition in this verse, done for emphasis to suggest thoroughness and intensity in regards to prayer (Hoehner, 459)

–“all the saints” indicates all believers are involved in this struggle against evil powers (Hoehner, 859)

–“all the saints” refers to those whom have been joined in the new community of God’s people (cf. 1:15; 2:24-18:3:8); four-fold “alls” (“prayer and supplication, with all perseverance, and supplication for all the saints”) underscores most emphatically the significance which the apostle gave to such mutual intercession (O’Brien, 486); four-fold alls typical of writer’s plerophory of style (Lincoln, 453)

–Preposition means “around, about, concerning” and when followed by genitive after verbs or nouns regarding prayer “introduces the person or thing in whose interest the petition is made; thus, takes places of “concerning, on behalf of” (BAGD 644; BDAG 797; cf. also Wallace, Greek Grammar, 363)

–Writer reminds readers of links with all the saints (cf. 1:15; 3:18), which should bear fruit in breadth of their concerns and prayers (Lincoln, 453)

This is probably enough to make the point that this was not an enjoyable assignment. At least as of this morning, though, it’s over.

Mid-term exam in one week. “Ugh,” Learner says.


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