Re: Conditional sentences

Rod Decker (
Tue, 7 May 1996 19:58:33 -0500

Brent asked:

>Perhaps someone can clear this up for me. I have always followed Brooks &
>Winbery's classification of conditional sentences; however, I have
>encountered a difficulty and need some help. Smyth notes that a simple
>condition (protasis=EI + pres. or pf. ind. / apodosis = pres. or pf. ind. or
>Simply put, Is Jn 15.18 a simple condition (thus real or unreal = contextual)
>or first class condition (action assumed to be real)?

There are two different systems for classifying conditional statements. One
follows Gildersleeve (that is the more common system in biblical studies
and is followed by Robertson, BDF, etc) and one that follows Goodwin
(which, I think, is the more common system in classical studies, thus
Smyth, et al.). There are some differences, but most of it is terminology.

In either system the condition does not specify whether or not the protasis
is true. That must be determined from context. This has been ignored and
sometimes arguments are based on the fact that "it is a first class
condition and is therefore true." There are several first class conditions
in the NT that are demonstrably false and a great many in which truth or
falsity cannot be determined.


_/Rodney J. Decker, Asst. Prof./NT Calvary Theol. Seminary\_
_/ Kansas City, MO\_
_/As of 7/96: Baptist Bible Seminary (PA)\_