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2 Peter 1:19

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2 Peter 1:19

Postby acguitarplayer » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:31 am

Hey everyone,

I'm working on a project analyzing the different ways that 2 Peter 1:19 has been translated, and its ramifications on the doctrine of inspiration. I was hoping you might be able to share your thoughts and let me know if it seems like I'm on the right track.

Based on what I understand, the construction of the phrase in question (καὶ ἔχομεν βεβαιότερον τὸν προφητικὸν λόγον), it could be that βεβαιότερον is being used substantivally as the direct object of ἔχομεν, and τὸν προφητικὸν λόγον is functioning in apposition of the substantival adjective. The construction would also allow for the adjective to be functioning as a modifier of τὸν προφητικὸν λόγον, but the context leads me to lean towards the first option. Paul's explanation of the inspiration of the prophets seems like it fits this usage better than if he were saying that the prophetic word is strengthened by the eye witness accounts.

I have to question my decision though, because the ESV seems to be the only translation that has agreed with this construction, and that they have since changed their translations to align more closely with the others raises questions in my mind.

Does the direction I am leaning and the logic I am using make sense, or am I completely off base on this?
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Re: 2 Peter 1:19

Postby Markos » Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:40 pm

χαῖρε, φίλτατε, ἐν ὀνόματι Ἰησοῦ!

I understand the passage as you do, with βεβαιότερον meaning a thing more certain than even the voice they heard on the mountain.

Markos and acguitar player: καὶ ἔχομεν τὸν προφητικὸν λόγον. καὶ ὁ φροφητικὸς λόγος ἐστιν βεβαιότερον τῆς φωῆς.


everyone else: καὶ ἔχομεν τὸν προφητικὸν λόγον. καὶ νῦν ὁ φροφητικὸς λόγος ἐστιν βεβαιότερον διὰ τὴν φωνήν.


ἴθι πολλὰ χαίρων ἐν τῷ Κυρίῳ!
I am writing in Ancient Greek not because I know Greek well, but because I hope that it will improve my fluency in reading. I got the idea for this from Adrianus over on the Latin forum here at Textkit.
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Re: 2 Peter 1:19

Postby acguitarplayer » Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:58 am

Thanks for the reply Markos. The more I look at it and study it, the more I land on this seeming like the more correct sense of the grammar. I'm in the process of searching through advanced grammars to see if I can find any support for the idea... as of yet no one has weighed in either for or against on this specific phrase. (at least not in any way that impacts this study)

I do feel the need for caution here, given that it seems like nearly every Bible translator has sided against me, and those that did (the original ESV translators) have apparently recanted their position to agree with everyone else. The majority being in agreement is not always a sure sign, but it does make me slow down to think when I find myself on the other side.

Anyone else have any thoughts on this?
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Re: 2 Peter 1:19

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:41 pm

The syntax of this clause, which is ambiguous, is not the deciding factor. I would suggest that the exegesis move downward (not upward) from the paragraph and higher levels of discourse which serve as constraints on how the clause is understood. Keeping that in mind, we might ask: is there a comparison being made? If so what is being compared to what?

2 Peter 1: 16a

Ου γαρ σεσοφισμενοις μυθοις εξακολουθησαντες ...
For we did not follow cleverly devised myths ...

The Transfiguration

2 Peter 1: 19a

και εχομεν βεβαιοτερον τον προφητικον λογον ...

And we have something more sure, the prophetic word ESV

So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. NRSV

If we think a comparison is being made, it seems very improbable the Peter the Second would cast a shadow over the apostolic wittiness to The Transfiguration by saying that the OT prophecies are a more solid basis for faith. That would be shooting yourself in the foot, if you were a first century apologist for the Messianic credentials of Jesus. It is far more probable that the comparison, if there is one, is to σεσοφισμενοις μυθοις “cleverly devised myths.”

On the other hand, it is quite possible that no comparison is being made at all, Peter II is saying that The Transfiguration served to authenticate the prophetic wittiness. That is the reading I would go with.
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Re: 2 Peter 1:19

Postby acguitarplayer » Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:09 pm

Thanks for your reply. The more I have looked at the surrounding context, and having taken a night to sleep on it, I'm leaning in this direction too. If the adjective is being used as a substantive of comparison, it seems that Peter would be speaking very highly of the inspiration of Scripture (by stating that it is more sure than their eye witness accounts of the transfiguration), but he would at the same time be downplaying their eye witness accounts.

It seems more likely that he is using the adjective as an escalation, stating that the inspired word has been strengthened, being "made more reliable" because of the their eye witness accounts.

I'm pretty sure this is the direction I am going to land... although if anyone else has any thoughts on this I would love to hear them.

Thanks for your input!
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Re: 2 Peter 1:19

Postby Markos » Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:32 pm

Peter, who wrote:

καὶ ἔχομεν βεβαιότερον τὸν προφητικὸν λόγον...

could have written:

ἀλλ' ἔχομεν καὶ τὸν βεβαιότερον προφητικὸν λόγον...

and that would have led to one direction. Or he could have written:

ἔχομεν οὖν βεβαιότερον τὸν προφητικὸν λόγον...

and that would have led to another direction.
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