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Bible Lexicons

Trench's Synonyms of the New Testament

For (the Sake of)

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hyper (Strong's #5228) For (the Sake of), In Behalf of

anti (Strong's #473) Instead of

Many New Testament passages use hyper in phrases like "in behalf of [hyper] all," "in behalf of us," and "in behalf of the sheep." To preserve the emphasis in these passages on the all-important truth of the vicarious nature of Christ's sacrifice, some scholars argue that hyper should be seen as the equivalent of anti. Because anti is the preposition first of equivalence and then of exchange, they conclude that hyper must have the same force in all of these passages. If this is correct, then each of these passages would become a dictum probans (demonstrating statement) for the vital truth that Christ suffered not merely on our behalf and for our good but also in our stead, that he bore the penalty of our sins that otherwise we would have had to bear. Although this has been denied, hyper sometimes has this meaning. Thus Plato wrote: "I will answer in your stead" (ego [Strong's #1473] hyper sou apokrinoumai [Strong's #611]). In most passages, however, hyper means no more than "on behalf of or "for the good of." If Scripture only stated that Christ died "in behalf of [hyper] us" and that he tasted death "in behalf of [hyper] everyone," we would have no undeniable New Testament proof that his death was vicariousthat he died in our stead and bore our sins and their penalty on the crossthough we might find evidence for that elsewhere (e. g., Isaiah 53:4-6). Only by beginning with the New Testament's teaching that Christ died "instead of [anti] many" ( Matthew 20:28), that he gave himself as an antilytron (Strong's #487, ransom; 1 Timothy 2:6), and by using this as an interpretive starting point can we claim that those verses which teach that Christ died for us also teach that he died in our stead. The preposition hyper is used in these passages with both of these meanings. It expresses the fact that Christ died for our sakes and in our stead. Anti expresses only the latter.

Tischendorf has some excellent remarks on this matter, though we have partially anticipated them.

There were those who tried to show only from the nature and use of the preposition hyper that Paul taught the vicarious satisfaction of Christ. Others in turn have denied that the preposition hyper has been used correctly by the authors of the New Testament for anti in an attempt to prove the contrary. Error has been committed by each group. The preposition alone supports equally each part of the opinionsI say "equally each." For there are at hand, contrary to the opinion of very many, passages taken from many writers of the ancient Greeks which clearly show that the preposition hyper signifies "in the place of and "in the stead of someone; and no one can doubt that Paul himself applied this preposition with the same meaning, also in passages which do not pertain to our topic (cf. Philemon 1:1:13; 1 Corinthians 15:29; 2 Corinthians 5:20). If, however, it is asked why the apostle employed chiefly this preposition of uncertain and fluctuating meaning in a subject so important, the preposition itself is more fitting than others to describe Christ's death for us. Indeed no one denies that in this word lies the chief point, that Christ died for the benefit of human beingsand he did it in such a way that he died in the place of human beings. For the joint meaning of both beneficial and vicarious the apostle admirably employed the preposition hyper. Thus Winer contends most correctly, as is his custom, that we are not allowed in important passages which describe the death of Christ to assume that the preposition hyper simply equals anti. It is clearly the pro [for] of Latin and the ... [for] of German. As often as Paul teaches that Christ died for us he did not wish the concept of benefit to be disassociated from the very concept of vicarious, and in my judgment by that expression he did not wish the one ever to be excluded from the other.

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Bibliography Information
Trench, Richard C. Entry for 'For (the Sake of)'. Synonyms of the New Testament. 1854.

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