Friday, November 28, 2008

and through the operation

I was asked a great question about Ephesians 4:16 and after looking into it a bit more, I am convinced that the rendering from Papyrus 46 is the correct one. But let me explain.

Ephesians 4:16 (ASV) from whom all the body fitly framed and knit together through that which every joint supplieth, according to the working in due measure of each several part, maketh the increase of the body unto the building up of itself in love.

Ephesians 4:16 (RcV) Out from whom all the Body, being joined together and being knit together through every joint of the rich supply and through the operation in the measure of each one part, causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.

Nearly every English translation of the New Testament follows the American Standard Version (ASV) for Ephesians 4:16, the phrase in questions being "according to the working." Only the Recovery Version (RcV) is different, translating this phrase "and through the operation." This is because virtually every Greek manuscript of Ephesians has in it's text "kat' energian" which is correctly translated "according to [the] operation." Only one manuscript (albeit an incredibly old one, ca. AD 175), Papyrus 46, has a different rendering, "kai energias." The Recovery Version chose to follow the minor variation in Papyrus 46, rather than the rest of the bulk of New Testament manuscripts. But after looking into the matter further, I am convinced that both from a textual critical standpoint and from a proper view of the divine revelation, Papyrus 46, and hence, the Recovery Version's rendering of this phrase is the correct one.

First, it isn't hard to conceive that the iota at the end of the word "kai" (and) was accidentally crossed and the following word was later corrected to match it ("energias" would have to be changed to "energian" to be grammatically correct). Further support for "kai energias" comes from the fact that only Paul uses this word (energia) and in every case that it follows "kata" (according to), it is preceded by a definite article (2 Thes. 2:9 is slightly different, but I won't get into that here). In Ephesians 4:16, there is definitely no article and therefore it would be an anomaly in Paul's style if he were to have left it out here.

But from the side of the divine revelation, it makes even more sense that this phrase should be "and through the operation," not "according to the operation." A simple comment on another passage in Zerwick's A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament helps with this. Philippians 1:19 speaks of "your petition and [the] bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ." Only one article is used for both "petition" and "bountiful supply" (before petition) and Zerwick comments "the one art. perh. showing the close relation in which the two stand in Paul's mind." So, apply the same idea to Ephesians 4:16. Instead of having members (joints) of the Body supplying it "according to" the operation of each one part in a way that implies distinction and even separation between the joints and each one part; we have the joints and each one part working together in an intimate relationship to cause the growth and building up of the Body of Christ. Both are necessary, and their respective functions can't be separated.

Textual criticism
is a proper and necessary way to determine the accurate rendering of the Greek text of the New Testament. However, sometimes asking about the spiritual significance of possibly different readings can provide direction as well. Ephesians 4:16 stands as an example of this, and I am happy to primarily read a version of the Bible (the RcV) that considers both the manuscript base and the divine revelation when translating.

To close, a quote from the introduction to the Recovery Version of the Bible. "Translating the Bible depends not only on an adequate comprehension of the original language but also on a proper understanding of the divine revelation in the holy Word."

Papyrus 46 - Eph. 4:15-16 (from University of Michigan Papyrus Collection)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Goldi(locks) and the Three Bears

Once upon a time there was a little girl named Goldi who lived in a house in the forest. Now Goldi was a bit eccentric and one peculiar trait about her was that she did everything in threes. One morning, after getting out of her three beds (a big one for her head, a medium one for her back, and small one for her feet) she went downstairs to read the newspaper. Climbing into her three chairs (a big one for her back, a medium one for her rear, and a small one for her feet), she picked up her newspaper and began to read. After scanning the comics and international news headlines, she realized she was hungry, climbed out of her three chairs, and went into the kitchen. There she saw a giant pot of porridge her mother had made sitting on the stove. Dishing it out into her three bowls (a big bowl, a medium bowl, and a small bowl), she set them on the table and took a bite. "Ouch, this porridge is too hot!" she exclaimed. And with that, Goldi decided to go for a walk in the forest. Grabbing her coat and closing the door behind her, she left the house.

Now a family of three bears just happened to be passing by the house and they smelled the porridge through the kitchen window. This family consisted of a Daddy Bear, a Mommy Bear, and a Baby Bear. Being hungry, the Daddy Bear nosed open the door and went in to the kitchen, followed by the Mommy and Baby Bear. The Daddy bear went up to the big bowl of porridge on the table and took a bite. "Growl!" he growled (bears can't talk, of course), because the porridge was too hot. He knocked the bowl onto the floor, spilling the porridge all over, and began to lap it up. Meanwhile, the Mommy Bear had eaten up the porridge in the medium bowl as it was a more agreeable temperature (the porridge in this story obeys the laws of thermodynamics). The Baby Bear whined at his parents because the porridge in the small bowl was too cold. The Mommy Bear growled at him and he reluctantly ate it up. After their breakfast, the three bears migrated into the living room and spied the three chairs. Selecting the chair appropriate for their size, each bear took a seat. However, none of the three chairs was sturdy enough to hold a bear's weight and all three broke with a crunch. The Daddy Bear roared, the Mommy Bear growled, and the Baby Bear whined some more. After strewing the pieces of broken chair around the room, the bears went upstairs to Goldi's bedroom. Seeing the three beds, the Bear family laid down and soon all three were snoring loudly.

Now Goldi returned home from her walk and was surprised to see the front door open. Cautiously venturing into the kitchen, Goldi saw her three bowls either licked clean or scattered in pieces on the floor. "Somebody's been eating my porridge," she said. Next she went into the living room and saw the broken mess of her three chairs. "Somebody's been sitting in my chairs, and they've broken them to pieces." Stooping to inspect the damage, she heard a rumbling noise coming from upstairs. She tiptoed up the stairs and peeked into her bedroom. When she saw the three bears in her beds, she screamed loudly, "Somebody is sleeping in my beds!" This frightened the Bear family so much, that they woke with a start and tumbled past Goldi down the stairs and out of the house.

After this incident (with appropriate "Bear Sighting" reports being filed with the local Forest Service), Goldi immediately had her father install three locks on the door of their house. Now, every time Goldi goes out for a walk, she takes her keychain out of her pocket and locks the door behind her, with a big lock, a medium lock, and a small lock. She has never had trouble with bears again, but her friends have since called her Goldilocks, since they have to wait for her to unlock the door whenever they come to play.

The End

Friday, November 14, 2008

Stream of Jolene

Some authors write in "stream of consciousness," I've decided to write a "stream of Jolene." The following conversation took place around 8:15 PM on Friday, November 14, 2008. Jolene's words are in normal text and my responses and comments are italicized.

The scene begins with Daddy sitting at the computer recording the conversation and Jolene behind him in her high chair.

Ahhhh, ahhhhh, I just cracked it Daddy. Daddy I cracked it. Daddy I cracked it. I cracked it. Ehhhhweeee, ayyyyayyyyhaaahaaaayyyyayyyy, cough, cough, cough, cough. Push up. Your turn yet. My turn, go push, I go games.

What are you talking about?

It's not your turn guys, they're getting a turn. That guys, go. Not your turn, that proody Daddy, do dee Daddy, doo dee dee.

What was that?

That was me. O do dee da dee do, loo lee la lee lo (to the tune of Farmer in the Dell). La la la la, cough, cough. Mommy.

I do that. Can you say I do that? I do that. I do that.

I do that.

I do that. Can you say I do that Daddy? Owww. Bye you. Daddy I fight.

Who do you fight with?

I fight with Mommy and Daddy.


Daddy, I want dinosaurs, Daddy I want dinosaurs, can I have dinosaurs?

Hang on, I'm typing.

Are you typing? You're not typing, you're lettering, you're lettering notes. Daddy are you lettering notes?


You're not lettering notes.

What am I doing then?

Can I get down Daddy, pleeeease. I did do dee, I did do dee, I did do dee, time to go home. Do dee. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. Ahhh, ahhh ahh ahhh.

Ok you can get down.

Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you, that's better. No that's not your turn. Go, go, gooo. Thumbs up Daddy. Thumbs up Daddy. Daddy, thumbs up.


No not thumbs together. One thumb Daddy, one thumb. Doggy, try to go up here, get down, get down, get down, get down, get down, get down. Go, go go go, go, let's run. Mommy, we're coming...

Exit Jolene.

Monday, November 10, 2008


The Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla is a great place. Aside from the groundbreaking work in Neurobiology, Cancer research, plant biology, and other important fields being accomplished there, the grounds are so nice that people take daily tours.

Here is a series of three pictures of the Salk courtyard I took using various zoom levels, blended together in Photoshop. Click on the image for a larger version.