Critical Note -- By: John Merle Rife

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 088:350 (Apr 1931)
Article: Critical Note
Author: John Merle Rife

Critical Note

J. M. Rife

“kai Pneumatos Hagiou plesthesetai eti ek koilias metros autou.’’

. . . and he shall ‘be filled wirh the Holy Spirit while he is still in his mother’s womb, . . .

The above seems to the writer to be the correct rendering, as against the published English renderings.

The context shows, in verse 41, that this is what was in the mind of Luke; and the Greek Patriarchs, in their edition of the ‘New Testament call attention to Is. 49 :1 as a similar idea.

However, the idea of translating ek by “in” came first while correcting the translation of a student. In response to the student’s request for an explanation, the first attempt at defense was to refer to the German analogy, e. g., “aus” sometimes means “in” in German. I recalled a letter from a wounded German soldier who was a prisoner in one of our base hospitals during the World War. He mentioned the good times he had had with an American soldier “aus Lazarett”. Now he and the American soldier had never met except “in the hospital”.

This led me to consult Luther’s rendering of Lk. 1:15. which reads “Und er wird noch im Mutterleibe erfullet werden mit dem heiligen Geiste.”

Then I turned to the Greek again to see what justification it has for the above correction and for Lurher’s translation: and I saw that the eti would lie meaningless, according to current English translations.

But does the Greek idiom us ek in the sense of “in”? It does, the lexicographers maintain that in such cases it also connotates some outwardly manifested activity: and especially Luke, in 11:13, speaks of ho Pater ho ex ouranou.

So it seems an American translation might read: “He shall be full of the Holy Spirit even before he is born.”

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