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  • Moved from JW forum

    I have been reading the Greek of 1 Corinthians 15 and have made some interesting finds. For example the verb KATARGEITAI of 1 Corinthians 15.24, 26 which many English translations render as "destroy." See NIV and the NRSV for two. However, this verb more exactly means 'to be brought to nothing, rendered useless, to be cancelled.' If Paul had wanted to say "destroyed" he surely would have used APOLLUMI as he did elsewhere? Such as 1.18-19; 8:11; 10:9-10, 15:18; 2 Cor.2:15; 4:3, 9. Paul had already used the verb he does at 15:24, 26 at 1:28; 2:6:, 6:13; 13:8, 10-11, The nuance of this verb has this sense outside of this chapter then and so surely has that self same sense here and what Paul wished to communicate. The NWT is the more careful to distinguish these two verbs Paul used as here at 1 Corinthians 15, 24, 26 it has "brought to nothing."

  • #2
    Like nearly all other words in common use, καταργέω has a range of meaning:

    Originally posted by BDAG
    καταργέω fut. καταργήσω; 1 aor. κατήργησα; pf. κατήργηκα. Pass.: 1 fut. καταργηθήσομαι; 1 aor. κατηργήθην; pf. κατήργημαι (s. ἀργέω; since Eur., Phoen. 753; Polyb.; POxy 38, 7 [49/50 a.d.]; PFlor 176, 7; 218, 13; PStras 32, 7; 2 Esdr; TestSol [also PVindobBosw for 18:38]; AscIs 3:31; Just.).

    to cause someth. to be unproductive, use up, exhaust, waste of a tree κ. τὴν γῆν Lk 13:7 (cp. ἀργεῖ οὐδὲν ἀλλὰ καρποφορεῖ OdeSol 11:23).

    to cause someth. to lose its power or effectiveness, invalidate, make powerless fig. extension of 1 (so, above all, in Paul and the writings dependent on him; cp. Herm. Wr. 13, 7 κατάργησον τ. σώματος τὰς αἰσθήσεις; of the soul of Jesus: κ. τὰ ἐπὶ κολάσεσιν πάθη Iren. 1, 25, 1 [Harv. I 205, 4]) make ineffective, nullify τὴν πίστιν τοῦ θεοῦ God’s fidelity Ro 3:3. ἐπαγγελίαν Gal 3:17; cp. Ro 4:14; τὰ ὄντα κ. nullify the things that (actually) exist 1 Cor 1:28. τὸν νόμον make the law invalid Eph 2:15; cp. Ro 3:31 (RThompson, ETh 63, ’87, 136–48, on alleged rabbinic background; s. also ἵστημι A4). Also in B of the OT cultic ordinances, which have lost their validity for Christians 5:6; 9:4; 16:2.

    to cause someth. to come to an end or to be no longer in existence, abolish, wipe out, set aside τὶ someth. τὰ τοῦ νηπίου set aside childish ways 1 Cor 13:11. Of God or Christ: God will do away with both stomach and food 6:13; bring to an end πᾶσαν ἀρχήν, ἐξουσίαν, δύναμιν 15:24. τὸν ἄνομον 2 Th 2:8. τὸν καιρὸν τοῦ ἀνόμου put an end to the time of the lawless one (i.e., the devil) B 15:5. τὸν θάνατον break the power of death 2 Ti 1:10; B 5:6; pass. 1 Cor 15:26 (MDahl, The Resurrection of the Body [1 Cor 15], ’62, 117–19). τὸν τὸ κράτος ἔχοντα τοῦ θανάτου destroy the one who has power over death Hb 2:14. ἵνα καταργηθῇ τὸ σῶμα τ. ἁμαρτίας in order that the sinful body may be done away with Ro 6:6. In 2 Cor 3:14 the subject may be ἡ παλαιὰ διαθήκη or, more probably (despite some grammatical considerations), κάλυμμα; in the latter case the mng. is remove.—Pass. cease, pass away προφητεία, γνῶσις 1 Cor 13:8. τὸ ἐκ μέρους what is imperfect vs. 10. ἄρα κατήργηται τὸ σκάνδαλον τοῦ σταυροῦ the cross has ceased to be an obstacle Gal 5:11. πᾶς πόλεμος καταργεῖται every war is brought to an end IEph 13:2. καταργούμενος doomed to perish of the ἄρχοντες τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου 1 Cor 2:6. Of the radiance on Moses’ face 2 Cor 3:7. Subst. τὸ καταργούμενον what is transitory vss. 11, 13.

    to cause the release of someone from an obligation (one has nothing more to do with it), be discharged, be released. In our lit. pass. καταργοῦμαι ἀπό τινος of a woman upon the death of her husband κατήργηται ἀπὸ τοῦ νόμου τοῦ ἀνδρός Ro 7:2. Of Christians κ. ἀπὸ τοῦ νόμου be released fr. the law vs. 6. Of those who aspire to righteousness through the law κ. ἀπὸ Χριστοῦ be estranged from Christ Gal 5:4.—Frisk s.v. 2 ἀργός; also DELG s.v. ἔργον. M-M. EDNT. TW.
    Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., pp. 525–526). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    "Destroy" is perfectly acceptable in this context, since by destroy we often mean things like "rendered useless." "Did you see the game last night? Our guys destroyed the other team 13-2." But here I think in the sense of "bring to an end." We use the word destroy that way as well, in English, "The Allies destroyed Nazi Germany."

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    • #3
      Yeah, there's certainly a lot of overlap between words like "destroy" and "rendered useless".

      To say the verb "more exactly" means something other than "destroy, bring to an end" is not something that can be proven.

      Notwithstanding "to be cancelled" is not too dissimilar to "destroy"; if one cancels a debt, is not the debt destroyed as well? to "cancel" something is to "bring it to an end".

      In the context of 1 Cor 15, bringing "rulers, authorities, powers, and finally death" to an end =/= cancelling them =/= destroying them.

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