Thursday, February 22, 2007

Acts 28:24—μὲν...δὲ

Paul had a golden opportunity to preach Christ to some Jews who had not yet been hardened and prejudiced against their Messiah (vv. 21-22). So he preached Christ to them, from the Law and the Prophets (v. 23), which is to say from the whole Bible. And then we read this:
καὶ οἱ μὲν ἐπείθοντο τοῖς λεγομένοις, οἱ δὲ ἠπίστουν·
Two things are of interest to me, Greekly speaking.
  1. Early on we all learn and chuckle at μὲν...δὲ in Greek: "on the one hand, on the other hand." Here it is, live and in person. It's quite an instructive occurrence, too. Like you, I would have given a lot to be in this study. To hear a learned Rabbi, steeped in Scripture from his mother's breast, who actually believes it all and thus believes in Messiah Jesus, opening up the Scripture and showing Christ—what a wonderful experience that would have been. Surely Paul. did it better than we would!

    Yet in spite of that, his teaching provoked not one reaction, but two. That is, the exact same high-quality exposition provoked two diametrically-opposed responses. On the one hand, some were persuaded; but on the other, some disbelieved. Here the marvel of personal responsibility, and sovereign grace (Romans 9:18).

  2. Note the imperfects (ἐπείθοντο...ἠπίστουν) This was a process. As he spoke, two things went on. Some were persuaded, and came to faith. Others kept exercising disbelief.

2 comments:

Smallgrouper said...

I JUST got referred to your site and this is the only observation of yours I've read. But you're right on with your insights. And those points are wonderful evidence to what you've laid out above as benefits of reading the Greek NT.

I'm looking forward to reading more.

I first read the Greek NT in its entirety in 1979 and have been enjoying it too ever since.

Carl W. Conrad said...

ἐπείθοντο can certainly be Englished as "was persuaded" -- but the middle πείθομαι even in Classical Attic has a standard sense of "give heed, obey."