Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 12, 1956
NUMBER 35, PAGE 8-9a

Translation, Interpretation Or Interpolation? -- (No. 2)

Luther W. Martin, St. James, Missouri

In a previous article, we reviewed an essay of a brother who is writing a series in a 'brotherhood journal' on the subject of "Congregational Independence and Church Cooperation."

The contention of the brother is, that the time when Paul 'robbed other churches' to do service to Corinth (II Cor. 11:8), was the same as when Paul in Philippians 4:15-17, was communicated with by Philippi only. He further contends, that the fifteenth verse, refers to ONE time and the sixteenth verse refers to a different occasion or time. It is the 'time' of the sixteenth verse ". . . in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity," that he alleges coincides with the 'other churches' of II Corinthians 11:8.

This viewpoint or position is, of course, taken with the goal in mind of proving or establishing an example or precedent of 'contributing-church and sponsoring-church' relationship. However, as we indicated in our previous article on the subject, it is a mere assumption or assertion that Philippians 4:16 and II Corinthians 11:8 refer to the identical time period.

But . . . for the sake of this investigation, let's just grant our brother's assertion, and see where that leads him. He proclaims the following:

(1) The church at Philippi did the 'giving and receiving' because, as he stated, it alone (not it and Paul) is the subject of the verb. He does not accept the explanation that Philippi gave money to Paul, and that in turn, Philippi received spiritual benefits.

When faced with the following verses, the 17th through the 19th, the context indicates the spiritual rewards being credited to the Philippian congregation; therefore, our friend is forced to retreat to another unhealthy conclusion:

(2) "It is certainly wrong to take the sixteenth as an explanation of verse fifteen." By this pronouncement, the sixteenth verse becomes separated from its context, which is always a backward step in a study of any biblical subject.

(3) "The answer which is most obvious, in the light of II Corinthians 11:8f, is that Philippi received money from other churches and sent it on to Paul!" Thus, he contends that the 'sponsoring-church' practice is obvious in the New Testament.

(4) In further augmenting the conclusion in No. 3, above, our learned brother draws a fine line when he says: "Notice that Paul did not say that no other church gave him any money, but that no other church had fellowship with him (eis) on account of receipt and disbursement. In other words, if I understand my brother correctly, he is teaching that the 'fellowship' existed in respect of the keeping of the books or records, and that 'fellowship' was not involved in the transfer of monetary or material gifts. He would contend that several churches in Macedonia provided money for Paul, but the 'fellowship' existed ONLY IN THE KEEPING OF RECORDS, allegedly by Philippi alone! If this peculiar view be correct, we might paraphrase Paul's words in the 17th verse when he might have said . . . "Not because I desire any money from you brethren, but it's my desire that you at Philippi may be kept busy in the blessed fellowship of keeping books, and I pray that they may balance." Simply For the Record We list below, some of the Greek words to which our brother correctly calls our attention, in this study:

Logos — account or matter; in financial transactions, an account.

Dosis--giving or receipt; Thayer says, "debit and credit accounts."

Lepsis — a receiving.

Koinoeo--Communicating to the necessities, become a partner, a sharer, fellowship, joint participation, etc.

Suppose we take these terms, individually, and notice their further definitions by a lexicographer, and possibly other uses in the New Testament of the same term.

LOGOS: Thayer, page 381, II. 3, "account, i.e., reckoning, score: . . ." Phil. 4:15. "To your account, i.e., to your advantage." Phil. 4:17. "To make a reckoning, to settle accounts." Matt. 23 and 25:19.

Robinson's Greek-English Lexicon also gives Luke 16:2, in a similar usage.

DOSIS: Thayer, page 157, 1. "a giving, an account of giving and receiving, i.e., debit and credit accounts, Phil. 4:15; here Paul, by a pleasant euphemism, refers to the pecuniary gifts, which the church bestowing them enters in the account of expenses, but he himself in the account of receipts; of money given and received. Ecclesiasticus 41:19 and 42:7. 2. a gift, James 1:17."

Robinson's Lexicon, page 191, under dosis, "2. a giving, giving out, expenditure. Phil. 4:15, in respect to an account of giving and receiving, of expense and receipt, q.d. opened an account with me; in allusion to the aid sent to Paul, verse 16; compare eis logon humon verse 17."

LEPSIS: Thayer, page 377, "a receiving; Phil. 4:15." Robinson, page 430, "a receiving, receipt, only Phil. 4:15."

Bagster, page 110, "a taking, receiving, receipt. Phil. 4:15."

KOINONEO: Thayer, page 351-352, "to make another's necessities one's own as to relieve them, (A.V. communicating to the necessities etc.) Rom. 12:13; with dative of person, followed by eis ti, Phil. 4:15."

Bagster, page 103, "to have in common share, Heb. 2:14; to be associated in, to become a sharer in, Rom. 15:27. 1 Pet. 4:13; to become implicated in, be a party to, 1Tim. 5:22, 2 John 11; to associate one's self with by sympathy and assistance, to communicate with in the way of aid and relief, Rom. 12: 13, Gal. 6:6 ...."

Dr. Bloomfield's Greek Testament And Comments

Referring to Phil. 4:15-17: "In eis logon dosis kai lepsis, there is an allusion to the ration acceptorum et datorum among the Romans, to intimate a regular reciprocation of giving and receiving. If any other Church gave, it was something not worth noting down. (Please note last sentence. L.W.M.) Kai hapax kai dis. This is by many Commentators supposed to signify 'pretty frequently'. But the plural must here be taken literally, as is shown by Doddridge and especially by Paley in his Hor. Paul., where he has illustrated verses 15 and 16. Ouch hoti epizeto. Sub. lego, 'I do not say this because I seek a gift.' All epizeto — humon; q.d. 'I feel pleasure in the gift; not so much on my own account, as yours; considering the fruit that will redound from it, in the praise of men and the recompense of God. In eis logon human there is the same allusion as in verse 15."

In the above, Dr. Bloomfield points out that the same allusion exists in the 15th and the 17th verses. Surely it would not be proper to exclude verse 16 from the same allusion or euphemism.

Bengel's Gnomon On The Subject

"Ye know — He shows that he remembered even former kindnesses: you know signifies remembrance in respect of the Philippians; knowledge, in respect of other churches. Philippians — The proper name indicates a contrast to the churches of other towns. (Rather, it specifies them more strikingly, as the ones here meant. Meyer, Afford.) In the beginning — Among you. He had departed from them some time ago. When — Join this with the following words, no church communicated, etc. No — They might have said, We will do it, if others have done it: now their praise is the greater; that of the others, the less. Church — Therefore the Philippian church sent to Paul in common. As concerning — This is a limitation. (The true rendering is, as to an account of giving and receiving; ye alone opened such an account with me. Alford after Meyer.) Giving — On your part. Receiving — On mine. (NOTE: This also disagrees with the proposed teaching of the brother being criticized. L.W.M.) Only — In a praiseworthy manner. He shows his need.

"16. Once and again — His an ordinal here; that is, not once and twice, which would be equivalent to thrice, but once and again, so that dis, twice, comprehends hapax, once. So. 1 Thess. 2:18.

"17. Not because — He explains why he uses many words. I desire — Having welcomed your kindness."

We have copied these works of Dr. Bloomfield and Bengel . . . not because we consider them to be infallible . . . but merely to show that our brother who majored in Greek, is presenting something 'new under the sun' in New Testament exegesis on Phil. 4:1546.

Our Brother Disagrees With Winer's N. T. Grammar

Copying our brother's article; "The word koinoeo, which means "to share with," "to have fellowship with,". ordinarily is followed by the genitive case of what is shared and the dative case of the person with whom the sharing is done." But Winer has this to say; "But koinonein also takes — and in the New Testament more commonly — the Dative of the things; as, 1 Tim. 5:22 me koinonei hamartiais allotriais, Rom. 15:27; 1 Pet. 4:13; 2 John 11, and in a transitive acceptation ems, Phil. 4:15 oudemia moi ekklesia ekoinonesen eis logon doseos . . ."

Winer also states that: "With the Genitive are construed words that express the notion of having a share, partaking wanting (wishing to partake); as, koinonein in Heb. 2:14 . . . but let's not forget that 'In the New Testament koinonein MORE COMMONLY takes the Dative of the thing.


It is our sincere and considered belief, that our brother's conclusions. based upon his assumptions in some instances, and lacking adequate grammatical support in others, are too far-fetched to be safely followed in serving the Lord.

We further believe, that a study of God's word does not require a 'major in Greek' nor a Doctor of Philosophy degree, in order to be fruitful. Certainly we believe in the best education for our young people that the parents can afford, but we do NOT think the Bible to be such an obscure writing, that a doctorate is required in order to comprehend the nature of work and worship of the New Testament church.