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1 Thessalonians 2:6-7

Context
2:6 nor to seek glory from people, either from you or from others, 2:7 1  although we could have imposed our weight as apostles of Christ; instead we became 2  little children 3  among you. Like a nursing mother caring for her own children,

1 Thessalonians 2:10

Context
2:10 You are witnesses, and so is God, as to how holy and righteous and blameless our conduct was toward you who believe.

1 tn Punctuating vv. 6 and 7 is difficult. One must consider the difficult textual problem of v. 7 (see tc note on the word “children” in that verse) as well as the grammar of the verse. In the translation above, “little children” is understood to be a predicate nominative connected to the verb “became.” This allows a full stop to be placed at the end of v. 6 and before the phrase “like a nursing mother” in v. 7. This separates the two metaphors which impact the textual problem and allows for greater clarity in the way the sentence is read.

2 tn Or “were,” “proved to be.”

3 tc The variant ἤπιοι (hpioi, “gentle”) has fair support (א2 A C2 D2 Ψc 0278 33 1739 1881 Ï), but νήπιοι (nhpioi, “little children”) has significantly stronger backing (Ì65 א* B C* D* F G I Ψ* pc it bo). It is not insignificant that the earliest Alexandrian and Western witnesses in support of ἤπιοι are actually not Alexandrian or Western; they are the second correctors of Alexandrian and Western mss. Such correctors generally follow a Byzantine Vorlage. The reading νήπιοι is thus superior externally. Further, νήπιοι is much harder in this context, for Paul mixes his metaphors (“we became little children in your midst…Like a nursing mother…”). Thus, the scribes would naturally alter this reading to the softer ἤπιοι (“we became gentle…”). Paul is not known for his consistency of figures, however (cf., e.g., Gal 4:19); hence, the intrinsic evidence points to νήπιοι as original. On the other hand, it is possible that νήπιοι was caused by dittography with the preceding -μεν (-men). It is even possible that νήπιοι was caused by an error of hearing right from the beginning: The amanuensis could have heard the apostle incorrectly. But such a supposition cuts both ways; further, Paul would no doubt have corrected the reading in the ms before it was sent out. If so, one would surely have expected both earlier witnesses on the side of ἤπιοι and perhaps a few first correctors to have this reading. The reading “little children” thus stands as most probably original. (For an extended discussion of this problem, see J. A. D. Weima, “‘But We Became Infants Among You’: The Case for NHPIOI in 1 Thess 2.7,” NTS 46 [2000]: 547-64; T. B. Sailors, “Wedding Textual and Rhetorical Criticism to Understand the Text of 1 Thessalonians 2.7,” JSNT 80 [2000]: 81-98.)



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