"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.VI No.XII Pg.9b
July 1944

Does "And" Mean "Even"?

Felix G. Tarbet

One of the popular tricks of those who attempt to evade the force of the statement of Jesus to Nicodemus, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God," is to say that water does not mean water, but that it is used as a symbol of the Spirit. In support of this view John 7:38, 39 is introduced, which reads: "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this he spake of the Holy Ghost, which was not given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)" Of course, it must be admitted that "rivers of living water" here symbolize the Holy Spirit, but this does not mean that water is always symbolical. We could not substitute Spirit for water everywhere water is found. To say "John was baptizing in Aenon because there was much Spirit there" would be rather improper. Did the rich man in Hades mean that he wanted Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in Spirit and cool his tongue? Such a substitution would make Jesus say, "Except a man be born of Spirit and of Spirit," which would be senseless repetition.

But here is the main argument growing out of the above evasions. "Water means Spirit, and kai which is translated and in John 3:5 sometimes means even; so the verse should read, "Except a man be born of water even of the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God." Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon; in its many shades of meaning which it attributes to the conjunction kai, says, "Before a comparative it augments the gradation, even, still (Germ. Noch.): Matt. 11:9 (John 14:12)." The verses cited read: "But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you and (kai), more than a prophet." "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the work that I do shall he do also; and (kai) greater works than these shall he do." The reader can readily see that kai is used in the sense that it could mean even in these verses, but it is used before such words as more and greater which are comparatives. There is no comparative in John 3:5 and Thayer gives even as a definition of kai only when it is used before a comparative.

Our attention may be called to such passages as Rom. 15:6 and Eph. 1:3. The Greek in these two passages reads the same but the English renderings are as follows: "God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ," and "God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." The comparative or the ascensive is understood in these passages. God is not only God, He is more than God; He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In "A Manual of Grammar of the Greek New Testament," edited by H. E. Dana and Julius R. Mantey (both Baptists), we are told that "three generally accepted classifications and meanings for kai are: as transitional or continuative--and; as adjunctive-also; and as ascensive-even." When kai is used in the sense of our English even, it is a "stepping stone" upward (ascensive) from one plane to a higher plane. By no stretch of the imagination could we make it a step upward from Spirit to Spirit, which would be true if water means Spirit in John 3:5, and if and means even.

Substitute even for and see if the above mentioned arguments will stand up under this exposure. "He that believeth even is baptized shall be saved." (Mark 16:16.) "Repent even be baptized." (Acts 2:38.) It can readily be seen that the word kai is rendered even in these passages only when it suits the peculiar doctrine espoused by those who would thus change it, and they would not be willing to accept such change when those changes did not favor their tenets.