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Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. [Hebrews 11:1 KJV]

Is the Greek word "pragmaton" as used in Hebrews 11:1 referring to a thing done, an action, deed?

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    Pragmaton is a NOUN, not a verb! It is a "thing".
    – Dottard
    Oct 1, 2022 at 10:55
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  • Pragma (from which is the plural pragmaton) is a deed, or an action, or a matter or an affair see Strong 4229.
    – Nigel J
    Oct 1, 2022 at 14:50
  • @Nigel J so is this passage of scripture implying that Faith and Deeds are connected? Jun 16, 2023 at 21:44
  • That is true, yes. But that is not what this text expresses.
    – Nigel J
    Jun 16, 2023 at 21:56

1 Answer 1

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In looking at "Pragma" (πρᾶγμα) in this verse, there are many factors to consider. This is actually a very difficult passage to get all the flavor of the Greek into English.

First of all, in Greek there is a difference between endings on nouns:

  • If it has a "sis" (ⲥⲓⲥ) ending, it refers to activity (an action/process) taking place
  • If it has a "ma" (ⲙⲁ) ending, it refers to the effect of a process/action.

Second, this noun is built off of the verb, "prasso." (πράσσω). This verb usually speaks to a continual action to the point that it becomes a custom/habit (unlike the more generic verb, "poieo" (ⲡⲟⲓⲉⲱ), which has a more flattened out meaning such as "make/do."

So, if we look at the noun itself, we can conclude that it's speaking about "matters" (things that are carried out in a continual way). The what and who of the actions are deliberately not specified by the pastor to the Hebrews (“πραγμάτων ... οὐ βλεπομένων.” (Ἑβραίους 11·1 THGNT-T))

This word, however, is not speaking about the relationship between faith and works. first of all, the "matters not seen" are not specified. So to lurch to the conclusion that humans are the actors in this verb is not proven.

But the other reason is the strong parallelism in the verse. In this verse faith is not parallel with "pragma" (matters). Instead, ἐλπιζομένων (things hoped for) is parallel with "pragmaton" (πραγμάτων).

So notice then the structure:

Faith is...

  • The essesence/substance of [] hoped for
  • The full assurance of the matters that are not seen

So, to summarize, yes, πρᾶγμα here is referring to an action. But 1) the what and who of the action are not specified; and 2) Faith here in this verse is not held in parallel thought with "acts/matters". Instead, the "matters/things hoped for" is.

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  • Thank you very much. I have one more question, what is "substance" referring to in this passage? Jun 17, 2023 at 19:01

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