Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Examining Gal 5:5 thru' the Interlinear

Growing up I realize I have a peculiarity. As a student I need to work out my own solutions to problem sums. I could not derive good understanding by reading other people's solutions. I have a friend who is a lot smarter than me. When we were students in school he would collect worked solutions from all of us. He will then by reading them understand what we are trying to do, how the question is solved and he is even able to point out our mistakes. I thought that's really smart! But alas! I was never like him.

I was having a chat with my wife last night and I realized that trait is the reason why reading commentaries never really work for me. Even reading different bible versions made me feel like I needed to find out more. I had needed to check out the verses on my own if I am unsure of what it is saying. I attribute it to my own peculiarity.

I say that to tell you that you can read your bible like you always read it. Don't be inclined to always check multiple bible versions etc unless there is something that baffles you. Frankly, day-to-day I also just read my HCSB bible in printed form. I only investigate when something curious occurs.

That happened to Galatians 5:5 when I read it last year. It says this:

For we, through the Spirit, by faith wait for the hope of righteousness.(WEB).

I was confused. Does the verse mean I am waiting for righteousness? I thought the blood of Jesus has purchased for us righteousness as a gift. (Romans 5:17, Ephesians 1:7, 2Cor 5:21). I try to ask friends but I did not get a sure answer. I try to check different bible versions but there is no conclusion. In fact, bible versions contradict one another.

1. ESV, NASB, HCSB, KJV, YLT all mentioned waiting for the "hope of rightousness", which is about the same as WEB. These versions did not help my doubt. 

2. NIV and NLT say that we are waiting for righteousness. 
    -   But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. (NIV)
    -   But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has  
promised to us. (NLT)

3. Amplified bible says we are waiting for the blessings brought about by the righteousness that we have with God.   
    - For we, [not relying on the Law but] through the [Holy] Spirit’s [help], by faith anticipate and wait for the blessing  and  good for which our righteousness  and  right standing with God [our conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action, causes us] to hope. (AMP)

So are NIV and NLT correct or is the Amplified correct? I began reading a few commentaries. But there isn't a clear direction. A good source is this page In that webpage, the bible versions are shown on top, below are the various commentaries and on the right contains TSK references. In this case TSK also did not really help me as I am not sure why Gal 5:5 is linked to those referenced verses.

Then I start to look at the Interlinear, which sheds light. It is found here and I cut and paste it below under resources. In the Interlinear form, Gal 5:5, with its cases in brackets are as follows:

we (nominative) indeed by Spirit (dative) by faith (genitive), hope (accusative) of righteousness (genitive) await (present indicative middle)

Let's examine this: 

1) Nominative is the subject of the sentence. Thus "we" is the subject. 

2) "Spirit" has the dative case. Dative case shows the means whereby something is done. So here the wait is by means of the Spirit. 

3) Genitive case qualifies an accompanying noun. "faith" thus qualifies "Spirit". And "righteousness" qualifies "hope". 
  •  This means the Spirit is of faith. This Spirit is a spirit that believes in the goodness of God
  • The "hope" mentioned in the sentence is based on "righteousness". This hope is described by righteousness.
4) Importantly, "hope" is of the accusative case. This means the subject is awaiting hope. The subject is not waiting for righteousness.

5) The word "await" has the present indicative middle tense. Present indicative refers to an action currently taking place in the present time. This means even today, we are waiting. It is a continuous wait. Middle voice refers the subject in the sentence carrying out the action on himself, the subject is not carrying out the action on others.

6) The word "await" is apekdechomai in greek (Strong's 533) and it means to "expect eagerly". 

7) The word "hope" is elpida in greek (Strong's 1680) and there are 18 occurrences in the NT and looking at those verses (letting bible interpret bible), the hope here probably means blessings that righteousness brings.

Thus put together, the sentence may look like 

we indeed by the Spirit (by faith) are always expecting eagerly the blessings (of righteousness)

Then it is also important to check the context of the sentence. If we interpret a verse but it does not fit in the context of where the verse sits, then it should be wrong. In this case, this interpretation fits the context nicely. The context is talking about receiving the promises of God through promise and not through the law. We see that Gal 4:30 refers to inheriting and Gal 5:2 refers to us profiting.

Mystery solved! Praise God! 

1. Interlinear for Gal 5:5 at Click to enlarge.

2. Explanations for NT greek noun cases are found here

3. Explanations for NT verb tenses are found here


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