[Notes on the prepositions anti (ἀντί, 473) and huper (ὑπέρ, 5228)] - Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words

[Notes on the prepositions anti (ἀντί, 473) and huper (ὑπέρ, 5228)]

The basic idea of anti is "facing." This may be a matter of opposition, unfriendliness or antagonism, or of agreement. These meanings are exemplified in compounds of the preposition with verbs, and in nouns. The following are instances: antiparerchomai in Luk_10:31-32, where the verb is rendered "passed by on the other side," i.e., of the road, but facing the wounded man; antiballo in Luk_24:17, where the anti suggests that the two disciples, in exchanging words (see RV marg.), turned to face one another, indicating the earnest nature of their conversation. The idea of antagonism is seen in antidikos, "an adversary," Mat_5:25, antichristos, "antichrist," 1Jo_4:3, etc.

There is no instance of the uncompounded preposition signifying "against." Arising from the basic significance, however, there are several other meanings attaching to the separate use of the preposition. In the majority of the occurrences in the NT, the idea is that of "in the place of," "instead of," or of exchange; e.g., Mat_5:38, "an eye for (anti) an eye"; Rom_12:17, "evil for evil"; so 1Th_5:15; 1Pe_3:9, and, in the same verse, "reviling for reviling." The ideas of substitution and exchange are combined, e.g., in Luk_11:11, "for a fish ... a serpent"; Heb_12:16, "for one mess of meat ... his own birthright." So in Mat_17:27, "a shekel (stater) ... for thee and Me," where the phrase is condensed; that is to say, the exchange is that of the coin for the tax demanded from Christ and Peter, rather than for the persons themselves. So in 1Co_11:15, where the hair is a substitute for the covering.

Of special doctrinal importance are Mat_20:28; Mar_10:45, "to give His life a ransom (lutron) for (anti) many." Here the substitutionary significance, "instead of," is clear, as also with the compound antilutron in 1Ti_2:6, "who gave Himself a ransom (antitutron) for (huper) all"; here the use of huper, "on behalf of," is noticeable. Christ gave Himself as a ransom (of a substitutionary character), not instead of all men, but on behalf of all. The actual substitution, as in the passages in Matthew and Mark, is expressed by the anti, instead of, "many." The unrepentant man should not be told that Christ was his substitute, for in that case the exchange would hold good for him and though unregenerate he would not be in the place of death, a condition in which, however, he exists while unconverted. Accordingly the "many" are those who, through faith, are delivered from that condition. The substitutionary meaning is exemplified in Jam_4:15, where the KJV and RV render the anti "for that" (RV, marg., "instead of").

In Heb_12:2, "for (anti) the joy that was set before Him endured the cross," neither the thought of exchange nor that of substitution is conveyed; here the basic idea of facing is present. The cross and the joy faced each other in the mind of Christ and He chose the one with the other in view.

In Joh_1:16 the phrase "grace for grace" is used. The idea of "following upon" has been suggested, as wave follows wave. Is not the meaning that the grace we receive corresponds to the grace inherent in Christ, out of whose fullness we receive it?

The primary meaning of huper is "over," "above." Hence, metaphorically, with the accusative case, it is used of superiority, e.g., Mat_10:24, "above his master" (or teacher); or of measure in excess, in the sense of beyond, e.g., 1Co_4:6, "beyond the things that are written"; or "than," after a comparative, e.g., Luk_16:8; Heb_4:12; or "more than," after a verb, e.g., Mat_10:37. With the genitive it means "on behalf of, in the interests of," e.g., of prayer, Mat_5:44; of giving up one's life, and especially of Christ's so doing for man's redemption, e.g., Joh_10:15; 1Ti_2:6, "on behalf of all" (see under Anti); 2Th_2:1, "in the interest of (i.e., 'with a view to correcting your thoughts about') the Coming." The difficult passage, 1Co_15:29, possibly comes here. With an alteration of the punctuation (feasible from the ms. point of view), the reference may be to baptism as taught elsewhere in the NT, and the verse may read thus: "Else what shall they do which are being baptized? (i.e., what purpose can they serve?); (it is) in the interest of the dead, if the dead are not raised at all. Why then are they baptized in the interest of them?" That is to say, they fulfill the ordinance in the interest of a Christ who is dead and in joint witness with (and therefore, in the interest of) believers who never will be raised, whereas an essential element in baptism is its testimony to the resurrection of Christ and of the believer.

In some passages huper may be used in the substitutionary sense, e.g., Joh_10:11, Joh_10:15; Rom_8:32; but it cannot be so taken in the majority of instances. Cf. 2Co_5:15, in regard to which, while it might be said that Christ died in place of us, it cannot be said that Christ rose again in the place of us.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words