Πιστὸς ὁ Λόγος: An Alternative Analysis -- By: L. Timothy Swinson
STR 7:2 (Winter 2016) p. 57
Πιστὸς ὁ Λόγος: An Alternative Analysis
This article offers a literary analysis of the elliptical clause πιστὸς ὁ λόγος (“the word is faithful”) that appears five times in the Pastoral Epistles. Nearly every modern study of this clause operates from the premise that each instance of πιστὸς ὁ λόγος must refer to a distinct “saying” that occurs in the immediate context, either preceding or following the clause in question. Consequently, the referent of ὁ λόγος changes with each occurrence, and interpreters often must disregard the syntax of the immediate literary context so as to accommodate their construals, while the clause itself conveys no consistent message. As an alternative to the majority opinion in its various presentations, it will be argued that, in 1 Tim 1:15, 3:1, 4:9, 2 Tim 2:11, and Titus 3:8, the reader is expected to understand πιστὸς ὁ λόγος as a recollection and reminder of the fundamental, apostolic gospel.
Introduction: Contentions And Thesis
As even a cursory survey of the literature on the subject will indicate, while New Testament scholars and exegetes exhibit virtually universal agreement in their analyses of the occurrence of πιστὸς ὁ λόγος in 1 Tim 1:15a, no such consensus exists with respect to the referent of the clause in its remaining occurrences. R. Alistair Campbell summarizes the current situation in the following manner:
Five times in the PE the phrase πιστὸς ὁ λόγος rings out like a fanfare of trumpets, as if to direct the attention of the reader to some significant truth, and yet, despite this evident intention on the part of the author, scholars ancient and modern have been uncertain where they are supposed to be looking. Thus, although it is a natural assumption that the fanfare will precede the appearance of the important saying, in two cases at least the words that follow present such an anticlimax that most scholars have felt obliged to look for the referent of the phrase in something that has just been said and to understand πιστὸς ὁ λόγος as a sort of belated tribute to it, while a few have counselled [sic] abandoning the search for sayings altogether.You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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