In John 6:45, it is written,

ΜΕʹ ἔστιν γεγραμμένον ἐν τοῖς προφήταις Καὶ ἔσονται πάντες διδακτοὶ τοῦ θεοῦ πᾶς οὖν ὁ ἀκούσας παρὰ τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ μαθὼν ἔρχεται πρὸς με TR, 1550

The Lord Jesus Christ appears to be quoting Isa. 54:13:

יג וְכָל־בָּנַ֖יִךְ לִמּוּדֵ֣י יְהוָ֑ה וְרַ֖ב שְׁלֹ֥ום בָּנָֽיִךְ׃ WLC

ΙΓʹ καὶ πάντας τοὺς υἱούς σου διδακτοὺς θεοῦ καὶ ἐν πολλῇ εἰρήνῃ τὰ τέκνα σου Ralfs

Does the phrase «διδακτοὶ τοῦ θεοῦ» mean “taught about God” or “taught by God”? Is «διδακτοὶ τοῦ θεοῦ» equivalent in meaning to the word θεοδίδακτοί which occurs in 1 Thes. 4:9?

  • Worth adding in a reference to (Septuagint) Isaiah 54:13? John 6:45 appears to be quoting it, although 1 Thess 4:9 is more allusive (even elusive!). – Dɑvïd Oct 3 '15 at 21:18

The Liddell-Scott-Jones dictionary (Ninth Edition, p. 421) states unambiguously that the phrase διδακτοὶ τοῦ θεοῦ should be translated as "taught by God." They also reference Isaiah 54:13.

Liddell-Scott-Jones, p. 421, διδακτός

In Classical Ancient Greek, verbs that denote knowing, learning, etc. take the genitive for what we would consider their direct objects. This would tend to support the reading "learned about God." However, the Greek construction διδακτοὶ τοῦ θεοῦ is obviously meant to be a direct translation of the Hebrew לִמּוּדֵי יְהוָה. Therefore, the phrase must have the same meaning as the one found in Isaiah, and so this becomes a question about Hebrew syntax rather than about Greek syntax.

Now, just taking לִמּוּדֵי to be a noun, it must mean "pupil", "disciple" (Ernest Klein, A Comprehensive Dictionary of the Hebrew Language, p. 302), and the most obvious reading of יְהוָה would be to take it as the genitive depending on the preceding noun, producing for לִמּוּדֵי יְהוָה the translation "disciples of JHWH." An equivalent translation of this would be "those taught by God," but not "those taught about God." I think this satisfactorily explains the translation suggested by Liddell-Scott-Jones.

  • 1
    Nice first answer and welcome to the Hermeneutics SE! – ThaddeusB Oct 3 '15 at 23:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy