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The context from Galatians 6:7-8 is: you reap what you sow, the flesh vs. the Spirit. All good, clear enough. Looking this up in the Apostolic Bible Polyglot Interlinear translation, things seem a bit more difficult to comprehend. See the phrase του πνεύμα εκ του πνεύματος that is translated as “the harvest of the spirit”. Is the word harvest correct? It fits the allegory, but is there another layer to it? What is the actual literal Greek translation?

3588 το the 4151 πνεύμα harvest, 1537 εκ of 3588 του the 4151 πνεύματος spirit
Gal.6:8 ABP

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    The verse is quite plain in literal. He who sows to the Spirit reaps of the Spirit. Some are suggesting 'harvests' of the spirit. (Instead of 'reaps'.)
    – Nigel J
    Feb 24 at 14:17
  • @Nigel, thank you. I didn’t want to assume, but I hoped this would indeed be the answer. I have a curious and inquiring nature, and like to discover things. I’m grateful for those here like yourself, who know more than I.
    – Rachel
    Feb 24 at 18:49

2 Answers 2

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First, in Gen 6:8 the NOUN "harvest" does not appear. We only have the verb forms "reap", θερίζω, in a future tense, θερίσει ("will reap").

So, here is my very literal translation of Gal 6:8 -

For the one sowing in the flesh of Himself, from the flesh will reap decay

But, the one sowing in the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap life eternal

Note the quintessential Hebrew parallelism of this dictum. Also not the important commas that separate the clauses which are easily detected by the case endings in the Greek. It is also highly reminiscent of Jesus' teaching during His conversation with Nicodemus:

John 3:6 - Flesh is born of flesh, but spirit is born of the Spirit.

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  • I love poetic parallelisms, how on earth had I missed this obvious one? Thanks for pointing it out. Beautiful tie in to John 3:6. Thanks for such a detailed response to my question, I’ve gratefully accepted your answer.
    – Rachel
    Feb 24 at 20:30
  • @Rachel - I am honored to be of some service.
    – Dottard
    Feb 24 at 20:31
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You're putting the two prepositional phrases together that belong in separate clauses. Paul positioned then adjacent for emphasis. You need the context in the sentence.

Note: harvest = reap

ὅτι ὁ σπείρων εἰς τὴν σάρκα ἑαυτοῦ ἐκ τῆς σαρκὸς θερίσει φθοράν, ὁ δὲ σπείρων εἰς τὸ πνεῦμα ἐκ τοῦ πνεύματος θερίσει ζωὴν αἰώνιον.* (Gal. 6:8, NA28)

For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. (Gal. 6:8, ESV)

The inflections (endings) on the nouns rather than their positions in the sentence determines the cases of the nouns in Greek.

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  • good answer. I wasn’t trying to be disingenuous with the text. I highlighted the specific phrase simply because of the ambiguity (to me) of the translation of the word(s) for spirit. I wasn’t trying to take the verse out of context, but was curious about the translation of the word within that specific phrase of spirit to harvest instead. Especially given the second word keeping the translation of the divine Spirit. Thanks so much for your response, I appreciate it.
    – Rachel
    Feb 24 at 19:53

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