There are countless passages in the Hebrew and Greek texts that are relatively easy to translate and interpret. On the other hand, there are some texts that are super difficult to translate and interpet. After many hours/days of work (or more!), sometimes you just can’t figure it out. One such example for me has been 1 Peter 3:21 (…and this prefigured baptism, which now saves you—not the washing off of physical dirt but the pledge of a good conscience to God—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ… NET).
I understand that Peter is talking about what baptism signifies (the blood and resurrection of Christ), but the phrase about the “pledge” or “appeal” of a “good conscience” is pretty tough. Exegetically or grammatically, how exactly does the “good conscience” phrase relate to “baptism which saves”? There’s no verb in the “good conscience” phrase, but there is a nominative (pledge/appeal – επερωτημα). What’s with that? Is – or how is – that phrase related to the verb “save”? While looking for meanings of the nominative in Wallace’s Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, I came across this category which I thought was worth a good laugh:
Nominative ad Nauseum – Also known as the aporetic nominative (from the Greek word απορεω, ‘I am at a loss’), this is the category one should appeal to when another slot cannot be found. The title is descriptive not of the nominative but of the feeling one has in the pit of his/her stomach for having spent so much time on this case and coming up with nothing.
Ha! Yes! Agreed!
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