Re: Conditional sentences

Dale M. Wheeler (
Wed, 08 May 1996 22:51:26 -0700

At 11:02 PM 5/8/96 -0500, Rod Decker wrote:
>>In general, what I've found is that: (1) If the protasis of a first class
>>conditional sentence (portrayal of truth for the sake of argument) is in fact
>>true, the English translation "since..." can be used: Matt 6:30 "Since God
>>clothes the grass..." (as BDF # 372[1a] points out, this is reinforced by
>One caution with translating the protasis ('ei') of a "true" first class
>condition as 'since' -- at times doing so loses the rhetorical effect in
>English. E.g., Phil. 2:1, If/since there is any encouragement in Christ...
>It may well be that leaving the "if" in place comes closer to the
>rhetorical plea of Paul. 'Since' makes a subtle change in the argument by
>stating that it is true (i.e., in English) rather than the reader having to
>mentally ask that question. I think Silva makes this point in his comm.

I agree with what Rod is saying here 100%, which is why I said "In general..."
This example he gives relates to another point that I was making, namely
that when you have certain words in conditional sentences, like TIS/TI or
negatives, it changes their character (from the standpoint of English). It is
the TIS in Phil 2:1 which adds the "feel" of hypotheticalness (that's
probably not the right word) to the condition.

I really wish someone would do a complete study/syntax of conditionals
with all these various permutations and elements in mind (doctoral disseration
for you grad students); what we have, in my opinion, is too structurally
bound, in that it tends to begin and end with structure...Compare Carlton's
comment about that fact that he would give more credence to context in
describing the conditionals...I think all of us who try to teach this area
would have to say "Amen."

Dale M. Wheeler, Th.D.
Research Professor in Biblical Languages Multnomah Bible College
8435 NE Glisan Street Portland, OR 97220
Voice: 503-251-6416 FAX:503-254-1268 E-Mail: