"They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do". ESV

There are other questions on this site which go into this verse without, I think, quite settling this point: Does the Greek allow "because" as an alternative to "being"?

In Bible Hub half of the 28 versions put "because" and just about all the others put "being". [e.g. being disobedient KJB].

If A happens "because" of B then B has caused A.

If A can be described as B, B being another view point of the same thing then "being" does not imply causation.

  1. They stumble "because" they disobey the word, as they were they were destined to do. They were destined to one of the two. A is different from B.

  2. "which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed". KJB. The stumbling here is the same as the disobedience: they were appointed to one thing. A is the same as B.

Here I have not tried to unpick the Greek "apeithountes" but just show the need to see if it is best translated with "because" or "being".

  • 1
    YLT has 'who are stumbling at the word, being unbelieving' and Greens Literal has to those disobeying, stumbling at the word, to which they were also appointed . Both use the participle and avoid 'because'. Isaiah 8:14 does not specify causation either. Interesting +1.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Sep 30, 2020 at 18:25

2 Answers 2


Neither the word "because" or "being" is in the Greek. Further, the Greek "apeithountes" means "they disobey".

Berean Study Bible

and, “A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.”
Οἳ προσκόπτουσιν
they disobey the word—and to this they were appointed.

The complication is the phrase Οἳ προσκόπτουσιν which can be translated in different ways.

Οἳ (Hoi)
Personal / Relative Pronoun - Nominative Masculine Plural
Strong's Greek 3739: Who, which, what, that.

stumble [because]
προσκόπτουσιν (proskoptousin)
Verb - Present Indicative Active - 3rd Person Plural
Strong's Greek 4350: From pros and kopto; to strike at, i.e. Surge against; specially, to stub on, i.e. Trip up.

A neutral translation is the following:

Disobeying the word, they stumble, and to this they were appointed.

The relevant portion of 1 Peter 2:8 is:

... οἳ προσκόπτουσιν τῷ λόγῳ ἀπειθοῦντες εἰς ὃ καὶ ἐτέθησαν.1

The differences arise depending on (a) what you do with the nominative masculine plural οἳ at the beginning of the clause quoted above and (b) how you understand the relationship between the verb and the participle.

οἳ could be either (1) an article or (2) a relative pronoun:

  1. Article: If οἳ is taken as an article and associated with the participle ἀπειθοῦντες ("disobeying"), the complete subject would be "the people disobeying the word." This would be translated to the effect: "The [people who are] disobeying the word stumble...."

  2. Relative pronoun: Achtemeier argued that

it is more likely that [οἳ] functions as a relative pronoun, referring to the ἀπιστοῦσιν [("unbelieving")] of v. 7, with the ἀπειθοῦντες functioning as a circumstantial participle of cause (“They, namely, the unfaithful, are the ones who stumble because they disobeyed”). Again, while one could construe the τῷ λόγῳ with προσκόπτουσιν (“they stumbled against the word”), the use of ἀπειθέω (“disobey”) with τῷ λόγῳ (“the word”) in 3:1 and with τῷ τοῦ θεοῦ εὐαγγελίῳ (“the good news of God”) in 4:17, both in reference to unbelievers, makes it likely it ought to be construed the same way here (“They stumble because they disobey the word”).2

It could still be translated other ways depending on how you view the relationship of the participle to the main verb, such as:

  • "... who stumble through disobeying the word...."
  • "They stumble as they disobey the word...."

Those who use "being disobedient" (or "disobeying") are likely attempting to translate the participle literally without interpreting the relationship between the participle and the verb.

You also have to make a decision about the subject of this clause regardless of how you understand the function of οἳ, which must be determined based on context.


1 Barbara Aland et al., eds., The Greek New Testament, Fifth Revised Edition (Stuttgart, Germany: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2014), 1 Pe 2:8.

2 Paul J. Achtemeier, 1 Peter: A Commentary on First Peter, ed. Eldon Jay Epp, Hermeneia—a Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1996), 162.

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