Prepositions and Synonyms in Greek Exposition Part III -- By: Kenneth S. Wuest

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 117:467 (Jul 1960)
Article: Prepositions and Synonyms in Greek Exposition Part III
Author: Kenneth S. Wuest

Prepositions and Synonyms in Greek Exposition
Part III

Kenneth S. Wuest

[Editor’s Note: This article is the third in a series on the general subject “The Practical Use of the Greek New Testament.”]

Emmett Russell speaks to the point relative to expository preaching which has its basis in the Greek New Testament when he says, “Greek that wins souls and nourishes saints is surely our aim. Salvation, not linguistics, is our business.” The student of the Greek classics can study that area of Greek literature from the standpoint of linguistics alone, out of pure love of this wonderful language, but not so the student of the Greek New Testament. Linguistics must form the basis for all his New Testament work, but must only be a means to an end, the building up of the saints in the most holy faith and the salvation of sinners. He must learn the mystic secret of bridging the gap between theory and practice, and right here the Holy Spirit comes to his aid to lead him along the path of a practical use of the Greek text. But He needs to be recognized and depended upon by the Bible expositor. Then He does His best work.

Synonyms are another source of rich truth. Take for instance John 12:32 in the AV “I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” The Greek preposition here is not apo, “from the edge of,” but ek, “out from within.” If John had used apo he would have reported the act of crucifixion. But he used ek, “If I be lifted up out from underneath the earth,” which referred to crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. A dead Christ on a crucifix draws nobody. A crucified, dead, buried, resurrected, and ascended Christ seated at the right hand of God the Father draws sinners to Himself. Now, the point is that the student who is limited to the translations would never get this truth from the preposition from, but the exegete trained in Greek would have it in five minutes. What a text for an Easter evangelistic service!

The writer to the Hebrews says of our Lord, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross” (12:2). The

English student would find the dictionary definition of the preposition for to include “in place of” and “in consideration of.” English huddles several meanings in one word where Greek allocates these meanings to as many words. If the inspired writer had meant “in consideration of” he would have used eis. If he m...

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