Final Paragraph of Robertson’s Main Text

It is certain that no words known to man are comparable in value with those contained in the N. T. Despite all the variety of diction on the part of the reporters, probably partly because of this very fact, the words of Jesus still fascinate the mind and win men to God as of old.  Καὶ ἐγένετο ὅτε ἐτέλεσεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς τοὺς λόγους τούτους, ἐξεπλήσσοντο οἱ ὄχλοι ἐπὶ τῇ διδαχῇ αὐτοῦ· ἦν γὰρ  διδάσκων αὐτοὺς ὡς ἐξουσίαν ἔχων καὶ οὐχ ὡς οἱ γραμματεῖς αὐτῶν  7:28f.). It is the constant peril of scribes and grammarians1 to strain out the gnat and to swallow the camel. I may have fallen a victim, like the rest, but at least I may be permitted to say at the end of the long road which I have travelled for so many years, that I joyfully recognise that grammar is nothing unless it reveals the thought and emotion hidden in language. It is just because Jesus is greater than Socrates and Plato and all the Greek thinkers and poets that we care so much what Luke and Paul and John have to tell about him. Plato and Xenophon hold us because of their own message as well as because they are the interpreters of Socrates. It matters not if Jesus spoke chiefly in the Aramaic. The spirit and heart of his message are enshrined in the Greek of the N. T. and interpreted for us in living speech by men of the people whose very diction is now speaking to us again from the rubbish-heaps of Egypt. The papyri and the ostraca tell the story of struggle on the part of the very class of people who first responded to the appeal of Paul (cf. 1 Cor. 1:26ff.). Christianity is not buried in a book. It existed before the N. T. was written. It made the N. T. It is just because Christianity is of the great democracy that it is able to make universal appeal to all ages and all lands and all classes. The chief treasure of the Greek tongue is the N. T. No toil is too great if by means of it men are enabled to understand more exactly the [Page 1208] mind of Christ. If one is disposed to think less of the N. T. because it stands in the vernacular κοινή, let him remember that the speech of these Christians was rich beyond measure, since out of it came the words of Jesus. These were carried in the common tradition of the period and written down from time to time (Lu. 1:1-4). Paul was not a rhetorician, though a man of culture, but he cared much for the talk of the Christians that it should be worthy. Ὁ λόγος ὑμῶν πάντοτε ἐν χάριτι ἅλατι ἠρτυμένος, εἰδέναι πῶς δεῖ ὑμᾶς ἑνὶ ἑκάστῳ ἀποκρίνεσθαι (Col. 4:6). That was good advice for the Colossians and for all speakers and writers, grammarians included, and makes a fitting bon mot to leave with the rhetoricians who might care to quibble further over niceties of language.

–A.T. Robertson, Grammar of the New Testament in Light of Historical Research, (1207-1208)

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