[Thursday, September 14]
7:26 PM What does the phrase “the faith of the Gospel” mean in Phil. 1:27?
for the faith, which is the Good News (NLT)
the faith that comes from the gospel (HCSB)
the faith that the Good News brings (God’s Word)
people’s trust in the Message (The Message)
so da odda peopo goin trus da Good Kine Stuff Bout Christ too (Hawai’i Pidgin)
Fee (p. 77) thinks the phrase means either “the faith contained in the gospel” or “the faith, that is, the gospel.” The NLT agrees with the latter:
fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News.
It’s so tempting to translate this literally, to go along with the majority of translations, but this will not do, simply because “the faith of the Gospel” doesn’t mean anything in English. (Yeah, I know, I used that expression in an earlier blog post today, but I’ve since repented.) Unless Paul is intentionally using ambiguity here, he means one thing, and it’s our job as exegetes to determine which meaning he had in mind. As I told my Greek 3 students last Tuesday night when we were going over the Greek cases, the genitive will give you a Charley Horse between the ears if you’re not careful. All due respect to those who render the expression as “the faith of the Gospel,” but pretending that people know what that means isn’t being honest with the text. Caring about the deep structure of the text is a big, big deal. And here — as in so many places — Greek simply will not tell you what Paul means, though (thankfully!) it will limit your options. Genitive of source? Genitive of apposition? There is no secret way around the problem. You guys, this is exactly why we need to learn Greek.
(From Dave Black Online. Used by permission.)