An example of making decisions about grammatical evidence

In my prior post I evaluated grammatical evidence pertinent to the question of how the conjunctions in Philippians 3:10 function. Now that we have set out the evidence for answering the question, we need to make a decision. We found evidence from the LXX which would lead us to argue that the first καί in Phil 3:10 is simply connective. We also have an argument that the first καί in Phil 3:10 is explanatory based upon the movement from general to specific semantic content within the objects of the verb that are linked by the conjunction. How does one decide? As a general rule, evidence from the nearer context should be weighted more heavily than evidence from the further context. So in this instance I would weight more heavily a reasonable argument from the words used in the verse under discussion over similar grammatical constructions found in the wider Greek of the Koine period. This isn’t a failsafe, however, as authors are individuals and can do some quite surprising things with the language they have. In the end there is a judgment call which needs to be made, and I have chosen to weight the argument based on the textual data of the verse under discussion.

The point of all this is that exegesis as much as possible should be founded on evidence. This requires a clear understanding of what we are looking for and how to go about finding evidence which helps answer the question. Even so, sometimes we must also depend upon intuition. Our challenge as exegetes is to make sure that our intuition is well founded, which comes through reading Greek texts and proper examination of grammatical evidence. In other words, intuition enables judgment about evidence, and proper judgment about evidence informs intuition.