Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 19, 1957

From His Teacher

George P. Estes, Kirkwood, Missouri

(Editor's note: Two years ago the Gospel Advocate published some articles by Dr. J. W. Roberts of Abilene, Texas, purporting to demonstrate "from the Greek" that the "sponsoring church" type of centralized cooperative work was authorized in the Scriptures. The Gospel Advocate carried editorial sanction of the articles, with the notation that Dr. Roberts had received his Ph. D. from the University of Texas, "with a major in Greek." Brother George P. Estes of Kirkwood, Missouri, who has done even more graduate work in Greek than has Dr. Roberts, (Harvard, and Concordia Theological Seminary) wrote a letter to Dr. Daniel A. Penick, head of the Greek Department in the University of Texas, giving his criticism of Dr. Roberts' exegeses, and asking for Dr. Penick's comments. The following exchange shows that Dr. Penick, Dr. Roberts' teacher, thinks that his former student must have "flunked the course" pretty badly in his exegetical efforts! Penick agrees with Estes' exegesis, and endorses his criticism of Dr. Roberts', as his letter explains.)

October 19, 1955 Maplewood, Missouri

Dr. Daniel A. Penick University of Texas

Austin, Texas Dear Dr. Penick:

I would like a frank and candid answer of your appraisal of the following grammatical and exegetical constructions:

(1.) "We learn that the brethren in Macedonia were in kata bathous ptocheia (deep poverty). Their poverty was such that they had to beg (2 Cor. 8:2-4) Paul to take their gift. Abundance versus poverty, therefore is not the sole basis of such cooperation. 2 Corinthians 8:13.14. Paul does not say that the contribution is for the receiving church that it may make them equal to the sending church. The Greek words here mean just the opposite to this. What Paul literally says is, 'For not in order that there may be relief (or benefit) to others and distress to you, but out of equality (eks isotetos). The "but" is the particle "alla" which expresses the adversitive or opposite idea to the first expressed. What Paul says is that there is both deficiency and abundance at Corinth and Jerusalem at the time he wrote, and that the completion of the Corinthian gift would make the abundance of both benefit equally." (J.W.R.)

My criticism: The collection or relief raised by Paul among the churches in the Gentile countries had a specific purpose: it was to relieve the poor saints in Jerusalem. Therefore, I understand "isotetos" (equality) as referring to quantity rather than quality. The two quotations from the Old Testament seem to bear this out. (2 Cor. 8:15; 9:9.) In both cases the one who had more gave to the one who had less. Furthermore, the "hustereema" (lacking) is put opposite to "perisseuma" (abundance) and indicates where the deficiency is, namely, in Jerusalem. So regardless of the poverty in Macedonia, they still had more material possessions than Jerusalem. The whole context seems to me to be upon the sharing of material wealth as pertains to the gift. I admit that those who give are blessed.

(2). "To connect 'at the present time' with the Corinthians' giving and make it say that their gift was 'temporary' is wrong." (J.W.R.)

My criticism: "En too nun kairo" (at the present time) is used in Rom. 11:5 meaning the time at which Paul wrote Romans. It seems to me "at the present time" is directly connected with their giving and the existing conditions in Jerusalem.

"The Greek verb apostello means to send on an official mission. Acts 11:30." (J.W.R.)

My criticism: The Septuagint consistently has apostello as a translation for the Hebrew word "shalach" (send). (Isa. 6:8.) In all such cases I have checked and the usage in the New Testament, the emphasis is always on the will of the sender. "Pempo" is used when the emphasis goes to the one sent or his deeds. In the Koine it seems to be this way to me; however, it might be otherwise in Classical usage.

"They returned FROM Jerusalem." (J.W.R.)

My criticism: The variant reading eis (to) has better attestation than either ek or apo (from). Nestle lists the evidence this way: B, Aleph, German K, Hort, db for cis. A, 33, al, Syriac for ek. D. 614, pm for apo. If we adopt eis (to): "They returned TO Jerusalem after they had fulfilled their ministration." Interpreter's Bible points out the fact of eis being the more difficult reading, therefore, more probably the original reading. It is suggested that this may have been changed by transcribers who replaced eis with ek or apo to give what they thought to be the proper reading, or to make the passage agree with the context.

"Gal. 1:22-2:1. Akousantes esan is an imperfect periphrastic which denotes continuity of action, "they kept hearing." With "epeita" (then) beginning the second chapter certainly means that he was continually unknown to the churches of Judea." (J.W.R.)

My comment: The verse reads this way: "Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; and was unknown by face to the churches of Judea." Thus, it was when he was in Syria and Cilicia that he was unknown in Judea. The chronology of the events of his life demonstrates clearly that he did not remain "unknown by face" to the churches of Judea.

"Phil. 4:15-16 combined with 2 Cor. 11:8ff includes an arrangement of the churches of 2 Cor. 11:8ff in which they sent funds to Philippi and that church only kept the expense account of this fellowship and forwarded the money on to Paul. Koinoeo (fellowship. Phil. 4:15) is followed by a prepositional phrase telling what the fellowship was. Logon (account) means the financial transaction; dosis (giving) and lepsis (receiving) means recepits and disbursements. Thus the fellowship Paul had with Philippi was that the church had an account of the receipts, of the disbursements. Eis logon (as concerning, in the matter of) means all employment. Note ekselthen (when I departed) is effective aorist and means after Paul had left Macedonia, hence during the one year and six months stay at Corinth. The 'hote clause in verse sixteen should be rendered 'that' instead of 'for.' Thus it was simply a second thing they knew. Verse 16 is no explanation of Verse 15. It cannot mean that only the church at Philippi sent to Paul while he was in Thessalonica. The real meaning of the text forces one to the conclusion that Philippi took the initiative when Paul left Macedonia in aiding him and all the fellowship which Paul received (even from the churches in Macedonia) was received through their account." (J. W. R.)

My objections: I accept Thayer's definitions of dosis and lepsis: "Here Paul, by a pleasant euphemism, refers to the pecuniary gifts, which the church bestowing them enters into the account as expenses, but he himself in account of receipts." (Lexicon, pg. 157.) Whether a verb is effective, ingressive, or constative aorist depends in many instances on the interpretation of the exegete. Hote ekselthon could be ingressive aorist, emphasizing the beginning of the action. Thus, when he was about to leave Macedonia, or at Thessalonica, they sent to him. I believe Phil. 4:16 is an explanation of verse 15, and find no reasonable justification to change hoti from 'for' to 'that.' I believe that Paul plainly says that while he was at Thessalonica, only the church at Philippi sent a gift to him.

(7). "The proposition 'eis' (to) Rom. 15:23,26,31, is substituted for the dative or indirect object case. Thus the contribution was not limited to Jerusalem only as respects its use. 2 Cor. 9:13 reads, "unto them and unto all." (J.W.R.)

My .comment: From my study of the Greek Testament such occurrences of the substitute of eis for the dative is indeed rare. I understand eis as a preposition with the accusative case meaning direction toward in verses 25, 31. The last I leave for your comments.

Thank you for your consideration. I hope to have your comments soon. Feel free to disagree with my exegesis or the other, and state what you believe to be right.

Respectfully, George P. Estes

(Editor's note: All the quotations above marked (J.W.R.) are taken from the articles of Dr. Roberts which were published in the Gospel Advocate. Dr. Penick is an elderly man, and was retiring from active teaching at the time he received Brother Estes' letter. In the process of moving he lost the letter; and finally ran across it among his papers only a few weeks ago. Here is Dr. Penick's answer to Brother Estes' letter.):

Austin, Texas


Dear Mr. Estes:

Not having heard from you, I guess that you will not have any use for this belated answer to your letter of October 19, 1955. However, I insist on fulfilling my promise to try to answer your questions as you asked me to do.

One reason, for my delay was my desire to go over your questions with my very good friend and former pupil, Dr. E. W. McLawren, Professor of N. T. Greek at the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He took his M. A. and Ph. D. under my direction at the University of Texas and has devoted his life largely to Greek, especially N. T. Greek. We went over your paper together this afternoon.

You will recall that my first response to your statement that you would like to have my comments even after two years delay was a request for your translation of 2 Cor. 8:13-4. The reason for that request was that I was not clear as to your questions. As far as I understand your comments, I find but little difference between your interpretations and my own. Dr. McLawren agrees. I agree with your statement about eke isotetos (equality) and what follows. Your reference to Rom. 11:5 is also good. The adverb "nun" (now) is not limited in the N. T. Greek to the present time. Compare also Eph. 3:5, where nun is used with the aorist. Are we agreed on your first point?

The Greek verb apostello does mean to send on an official mission but it is not limited to that meaning in the N. T. or in the Classical Greek. I have not checked the Septuagint. Passages in John's Gospel have the meaning which you suggest, but what about Mark 5:10; 8:26 and 12:3? Liddell and Scott define it as the second meaning "to send off," or "dispatch" on some mission or service. The first meaning given is "to send off" or "away from," "to send away," "banish" and in the passive, "to go away," "to depart," "to set out." I will not cite the Classic examples.

Acts 12:25. This is a puzzle. Westcott and Hort read eis with reservation." The translators of the Authorized, RSV, Moffatt use ek or apo. As you say, B has eis and the copy of A which is in the Seminary library has eis, so I vote for eis as the proper reading which fits the context. Gal; 1:22:1. I am not sure that all the evidence has been produced so that you can say with assurance that "the chronology of the events in his life prove otherwise. "How about Acts 11:30? Akouontes esan (they had heard only) might have an aoristic sense. Cf. Eph. 3:5 for a similar possibility. In spite of the translators, the usual meaning of dia with the Genitive is "through," not "after." It is possible that Paul made occasional visits to Jerusalem without being known face to face by all the churches of Judea.

Phil. 4:15-6 combined with 2 Cor. 11:8ff.

I agree with your conclusion on pg. 4: "I believe that Phil. 4:16 is an explanation of verse 15 and find no reasonable cause to change hoti from "for" to "that." I believe that Paul plainly says that while he was at Thessalonica, only the church at Philippi sent a gift to him." The preposition eis Rom. 15:25,36,31 is substituted for the dative, indirect object case.

You are quite correct in your statement about Rom. 15:25 and 31 and in including 2 Cor. 9:13. I feel that Rom. 15:26 belongs in the same category. The contribution was not to the poor saints as an indirect object but the poor saints were the terminal or end of the collection. I agree that the dative as a substitute for eis and the accusative is very rare, if ever used.

Cordially yours, Daniel A. Penick