9

I wonder if anyone can clarify why διὰ παντὸς is universally translated as continually here, in all modern translations? I looked up παντὸς in BDAG, but it didn't offer any clues, not sure what I am missing.

Δι᾿ αὐτοῦ οὖν ἀναφέρωμεν θυσίαν αἰνέσεως διὰ παντὸς τῷ θεῷ

4
  • How else would you translate it? – Susan Sep 10 '16 at 6:58
  • @Susan My greek is not that great, I had read it roughly as "through him, therefore, let us offer up a sacrifice of praise, through all (things), to God" -> i.e.. "let us offer up a sacrifice of praise in all things, to God" – Jay Sep 10 '16 at 10:19
  • 1
    @Jacob -- an interesting idea. I added an addendum to the answer to address this. – Susan Sep 10 '16 at 16:00
  • Your observation that it is singular does rule out my rough reading of the text. Happy to learn something new today! – Jay Sep 10 '16 at 21:55
9

The expression διὰ παντός means

always, continually, constantly (BDAG, "διὰ", A.2.a)

This is a formulaic adverbial phrase, but it isn't really so hard to arrive at from the literal meaning of the two words if one understands διὰ as "throughout, through, during" (A.2.a). The following word is the genitive form of the adjective "all" (the genitive being required by the preposition). BDAG additionally points out that the expression likely abbreviates a longer phrase: "sc. χρόνου", i.e. "one may supply 'time'". We then have "throughout all [time]" = continually.

In addition to Hebrews 13:15, see Matt 18:10; Mark 5:5; Luke 24:53; Acts 2:25, 10:2, 24:16; Rom 11:10; Eph 4:16, 6:18; 2 Thess 3:16; Heb 2:15, 9:6.


The OP proposed an alternative interpretation, "through all (things)". This is conceivable, taking παντὸς as a substantive, but unlikely in this case in light of the very common temporal use διὰ παντός described/exemplified above. Furthermore, παντὸς is singular. It seems the plural form -- διὰ πάντων -- is indeed able to carry the sense indicated by the OP. Unfortunately the only NT example is contained in the rather cryptic characterization of God the Father in Eph 4:6,

ὁ ἐπὶ πάντων καὶ διὰ πάντων καὶ ἐν πᾶσιν.
who is over all and through all and in all. (ESV)

The LXX offers a few more examples, but the phrase is apparently most at home in descriptions of the transcendent. In Wisdom 4:6, σοφία ("wisdom") is described as the one who,

διήκει δὲ καὶ χωρεῖ διὰ πάντων διὰ τὴν καθαρότητα
pervades and penetrates all things because of her pureness. (NETS)

3
  • Thanks so much! I looked up παντὸς in BDAG, it didn't occur to me to look up διὰ. – Jay Sep 10 '16 at 10:16
  • 1
    @Jacob I also started at πᾶς, but in that entry at 2.b.β it says "διὰ παντός s. διά A 2a" -- that's a cross reference to the διά entry. – Susan Sep 10 '16 at 14:24
  • William Mounce notes in his 4th edition workbook from Basics of Biblical Greek that δια παντος is an idiom meaning "always" or "continually" (page 64). – Amanda H. Feb 25 at 19:24

Your Answer

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

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.