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(Jude 1:24 in the Greek)

This is somewhat of a Greek interpretation question, though I assume someone might be able to find a reference to answer my question outside of the Greek language. I cannot find an answer to this anywhere, though I've searched.

Is the adjective "without stumbling" (also translated "from stumbling") modifying the "him" or the "you" in Jude 1:24? Most if not all translators translate this verse 24 in Jude 1 as below in bold to show God is able to keep us from stumbling.

However, in the Greek, is it possible the modifying adjective belongs with the "Him" (God)? This could also make sense in light of the following scriptures about God keeping us: John 7:12; Philippians 4:7; 2 Thessalonians 3:3; 2 Timothy 1:12; 2 Timothy 1:14; 1 Peter 1:5.

As it is in most translations:

"Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy..."

As it would be if this insight has merit:

"**Now to Him who is able to keep you without stumbling and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy..."

While it might seem a small adjustment to suggest otherwise, it really would change the final scope of the entire letter to encourage more dependency upon God, and this possible interpretation I suggest here would line up with Jude's goal of "exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith" by Jude in verse three.

However, no one translates it this way, so I'm wondering if others have seen this addressed anywhere or if maybe a Greek scholar or two would tell me without a shadow of a doubt which Subject or Indirect Object the adjective ἄπταιστος is modifying.

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    A lot is riding on what is considered the most probable textual variant. Feb 4, 2023 at 20:56
  • The Ruler over all did during this time manifest forth his mercy gloriously, and did deliver them all together unharmed. 3 Mac 6:39 The Pseudepigrapha English (Craig E. Evan) ἐν αἷς καὶ μεγαλοδόξως ἐπιφάνας τὸ ἔλεος αὐτοῦ ὁ τῶν πάντων δυνάστης ἀπταίστους αὐτοὺς ἐρρύσατο ὁμοθυμαδόν 3 Mac 6:39.
    – Betho's
    Feb 5, 2023 at 4:48
  • loebclassics.com/view/xenophon_athens-art_horsemanship/1925/… Pertinent form ἀπταιστότερον to the meaning.
    – Betho's
    Feb 5, 2023 at 5:17
  • You can easily self teach Greek using John Dobson book and duolingo app, instead of speculating these things
    – Michael16
    Feb 5, 2023 at 6:34
  • @Michael16, if you mean I need more lessons, I could learn the grammar piece better, admittedly. I've had 3 semesters of Greek and we didn't get into the grammar construction much. Feb 5, 2023 at 22:55

1 Answer 1

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This is how I would translate the Greek of Jude 24 -

Τῷ δὲ δυναμένῳ φυλάξαι ὑμᾶς ἀπταίστους καὶ στῆσαι κατενώπιον τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ ἀμώμους ἐν ἀγαλλιάσει = Now to [the one] being able to keep you unstumbling and present [you in the] presence of the glory of Him, blameless with exultation

The highlighted words ἄπταιστος = (literally) unstubling from a + ptaio = not/without stumbling. This adjective definitely modifies "you[pl]" above and cannot modify "Him" because "him" does not exist explicitly in the text - it is only implied in the initial article Τῷ = "to [Him]".

This is further confirmed by the fact that "you" is accusative and "unstumbling" is also "accusative". The article Τῷ = "to [Him]" is dative. Thus, "unstumbling" cannot modify "Him" because it is in the wrong case and does not exist explicitly anyway. Further, "unstumbling" is plural as is "you", while Τῷ = "to [Him]" is singular. This further prevents the two from being directly associated. That is, a noun and its adjective must agree in case and number, etc.

Thus, Jude is simply saying that God is the one who is able to keep us from falling or stumbling in our Christian walk (1 John 2:6). This is similar to the idea taught in 1 John 3:6 -

No one who remains in Him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has seen Him or known Him.

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  • Dottard-This does make the most sense, because your answer addresses the actual grammar in this context. Thank you. Feb 5, 2023 at 3:56
  • I agree with this answer, but it doesn't exclude the alternative translation in the OP. "From stumbling" and "without stumbling" would both refer to you in the English. Effectively, "God will keep you both stumbleless and faultless..." Feb 5, 2023 at 20:26
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    @PeterKirkpatrick - it makes no difference - the sense is still that God keeps the faithful from stumbling/falling etc, no matter how the word is translated.
    – Dottard
    Feb 5, 2023 at 20:37
  • Haha, I agree, and I thought that's what I said. Need to work on my communication skills... Feb 5, 2023 at 20:41

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