The Holy Spirit in Greek Exposition -- By: Kenneth S. Wuest

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 118:471 (Jul 1961)
Article: The Holy Spirit in Greek Exposition
Author: Kenneth S. Wuest


The Holy Spirit in Greek Exposition

Kenneth S. Wuest

[Kenneth S. Wuest is the author of many books on studies in the Greek New Testament for the English reader.]

A present-day scholar in the introduction to his translation of the New Testament when commenting upon the difficulties connected with his work says that once the translator of the New Testament is freed from the influence of the theory of verbal inspiration, these difficulties cease to be so formidable. The reason why his difficulties vanish is because a rejection of the doctrine of verbal inspiration allows the translator a certain freedom and elasticity in his rendering of the Word of God. He does not hold himself rigidly to the requirements of the Greek text, and therefore does not need to deal with the intricacies of Greek grammar and syntax. As an instance of this unjustified freedom, take his translation of Romans 1:16, “I am proud of the gospel,” where the Greek text reads, “I am not ashamed of the gospel.” Aischunomai means “to be ashamed,” and even though it is preceded by the negative, it cannot be made to mean “to be proud.” Thus is a subjective interpretation of this translator substituted for the accurate rendering of the Greek text.

The expositor must decide at the outset just how close he will keep to the words of the original. If he believes in verbal inspiration he will hold to the exact rendering of each word. He will allow each word its full force in his translation. He will make sure that the total weight of his translation is supported by every word. Thus, in translating a Greek sentence of twenty words he has twenty anchors gripping the rock foundation, the Greek text. These anchors hold him from drifting upon the rocks of a subjective rendering filled with the preconceived ideas, and the doctrinal and theological system of an expositor who rejects verbal inspiration. They will hold him rigidly to the requirements of the Greek text in the midst of the storms of neo-orthodox doctrine that are breaking in heavy seas upon that spiritual Gibraltar, the infallible Greek text of the New Testament.

The doctrine of verbal inspiration holds that each word in the original manuscripts of the Old and New Testament was selected from the vocabularies of the writers by the Holy

Spirit for its particular content of meaning which will give the reader the exact truth God desires him to have. This is the claim which the Bible writers make for their writings. Peter in his second letter (1:21) writes: Through the personal agency of the Holy Spirit be...

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