In reading some commentaries it amazes me how much some men can get out of one verse or even one word. While some simply speculate and run wild with imagination, others offer truly profound observations on a passage. It can be highly beneficial to learn from others, though we must always remember to examine their words in light of the word (Acts 17:11).
Studying a verse in the New Testament, I opened a commentary to dig deeper, only to be struck by the verbose explanation of the first word — but. Here it is:
De is the term for but. It is a post positive conjunction and is used here as an adversative particle with the sense of “but” to show a contrast with the clause that precedes it [reference].
Is it just me or does this seem excessive, too wordy, too scholarly?
If this were the only thing, I could simply pass by without any concern. However, the same word but is defined again in two subsequent passages in the same book.
In this verse, but comes from the Greek particle de which in this context serves to connect this clause with the preceding one. Arndt and Gingrich comment that it is one of the most common Greek particles “used to connect one clause w. another when it is felt that there is some contrast betw. The, though the contrast is oft. scarcely discernible. Most common translations: but, when a contrast is clearly implied…” [reference]. This is the case in this verse. Kelly observes that “but is intended to bring out the force of the particle” (176). In this same connection, he also comments that it links this section with the preceding one.
But comes from de which is a particle and in this context “adds something that is different; here a great promise is added to the admonition stated in v. 9” (Lenski 227). It is adversative or distinctive, setting forth something over against what has been said which is not of the same character.
Call me crazy, but I think a simple note — see definition in 3:15 — would suffice.
I can appreciate a commentary being written with some heft to it. It should not be shallow, but substantive and exhaustive to cover the content well. However, exhaustive does not need to be exhausting.
Just my thoughts. What do you think?