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Acts 2:38, For or Because Of Forgiveness

Acts 2:38, For or Because Of Forgiveness

Postby Homer » Mon Mar 05, 2018 6:29 pm

Acts 2:38 (NASB)
38. Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

This verse has long been controversial among those who have a sacramentalist view of baptism and those who do not. Among those of the sacramentalist side there is a range of views. Some say baptism is efficacious for infants and others belief there is no efficacy apart from a belief in the gospel message. Those who are sacramentalist believe that baptism is instrumental in receiving grace. Many who oppose this view see baptism as an “ordinance”. They often argue that what Peter meant in his sermon on the Day of Pentecost was that his hearers should be baptized “because of” the forgiveness of sins; that baptism was not instrumental in receiving forgiveness.

In Acts 2:38 the Greek word translated “for” is the preposition eis which indicates progression into or toward a place or state of being. Some time ago I read an article in the appendix of the NIV Theological Dictionary regarding the meaning of eis. The author referred to the considerable efforts to show eis could have a causative meaning and stated that the efforts had failed.
I have been trying to learn to read Greek and Sunday was reading Godet’s commentary on 1st Corinthians. Godet refers a lot to the Greek words used in the New Testament and something caused me to think about Peter’s use (or actually Luke) of eis in Acts 2:38. I wondered whether Peter could have used eis in the sense of “because of” or, if that was what was meant, he would have used another Greek word. So I decided to look at every place in the KJV where a Greek word, or words, had been translated “because of”. I found a total of 41 instances. The following are the Greek words and number of times translated “because of”:

Strong’s number, Greek word, number of times used
#1223, dia, 30x
#1722, en, 3x
#1537, ek, 2x
#5484, charin, 2x
#575, apo, 1x
#1909, epi, 1x
#4314, pros, 1x
NIG, In one instance the translators supplied “because of” where it is not in the Greek.

My conclusion: Luke had a Greek word (dia) available to precisely say “because of”, that he used this word six times in Luke and Acts combined where in each instance the meaning is “because of”, and this was so translated in the KJV. It is highly improbable, if not impossible, to maintain that eis means “because of” in Acts 2:38.
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Re: Acts 2:38, For or Because Of Forgiveness

Postby Paidion » Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:40 pm

I think it should be considered also that "αφεσις" means "release from bondage" more often than "forgiveness." You were right initially when you said that "εις" means "progression into." It can mean "with a view to"— the idea of purpose or result.

I suggest the following translation:

Peter said to them, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ with the result of release from the bondage of sin; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Paidion

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Re: Acts 2:38, For or Because Of Forgiveness

Postby Homer » Wed Mar 07, 2018 12:12 am

Thanks, Paidion, I was hoping you would respond. So you would agree that Peter's statement denotes a change in state as a result of the believer's response in baptism?

Hope you are doing well.

Homer
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Re: Acts 2:38, For or Because Of Forgiveness

Postby Paidion » Thu Mar 08, 2018 6:30 pm

I do agree. Thank you Homer. I regard baptism as analogous to signing a contract in order to enter a new career. Refuse to sign, and you don't get the job.

Thank you also for your good wishes. I suppose I am doing as well as may be expected for a person in his 81st year of life. I have bodily health issues. Also, my mind isn't working as well as it did 5 years ago, and my memory is going. On my computer, I find things I have written and done, of which I have no recollection. Notwithstanding, I rejoice that I am under the shelter of the Almighty One!

With love in the Altogether Lovely One,

Don
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 76 years old. I am now 80.
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