Re: Matt 5:28 blepwn

Dale M. Wheeler (
Thu, 05 Sep 1996 09:38:05 -0700

Wes Williams wrote:

>Tom Launder wrote:
>>>In Matt 5:28 Jesus speaks about an individual who looks at a woman to lust.
>>>Is there the idea here of repeated action, thus the looking is tending
>>>toward a habitual sinful pattern?
>> Wallace
>>deals with this specific passage in his new Syntax (pp. 615f.), and as he
>>points out there, if this instance is to be understood in some sort of
>>continual/repeated sense, then you'd probably have to do the same thing
>>with statement in v.32 PAS O APOLUWN, but it seems unlikely that this
>>guy KEEPS ON divorcing his wife...
>I think v. 32 is a parallel. However, so is verse 22 "However [continues]
>Matthew 5:22 egw de legw u`min o`ti pas o` orgizomenos tw adelfw ...
>I find it dubious that a one-time wrath, perhaps like Paul and Barnabas had in
>Acts 15 would constitute an equivalency to an act of murder. So I would argue
>for the durative/ habitual force in verse 22.
>As for verse 27 in the middle, perhaps context and good judgement should be
>considered. I think it could go either way. Passion tends to build with a
>continued looking and I would not argue forcefully against a translator that
>would show the "continue..." in the translation.


Let me clarify; I don't think that, in general, substantival ptcs have
ANY aspect at all; neither continuous, punctiliar, undefined, repeated, etc.,
they are simply noun substitutes. I think that especially applies to these
cases which--as Carl pointed out--have a Semitic background to them (though
its difficult to know if a 1st century Koine speaker was aware of that
anymore), when PAS O ... is used. Thus, the point that I was making by
quoting Wallace was not that v32 should be understood as the opposite of
continual, "keeps on divorcing", and thus should be punctiliar, "divorced,
decisively and once for all", but rather that NONE and NO aspect should
be applied to the ptc, its simply a noun. Whatever "aspectual" nuance one
"feels" from the ptc is coming from the lexical meaning of the verbal
root, not from the tense; thus "divorce" is "felt" to be a one time action,
while "to be angry with" is "felt" to be a more ongoing phenonmenon. This
has nothing to do with the tense at all, because if it did you would have
a massive contradiction with the verbal action expressed by the verbs in
vv 22, 28, and 32, since the "continuous" present can't cover all three,
esp. v 32, as Wallace pointed out. It seems to me that a much sounder
approach to all verbs is to do as Fanning has suggested and ask FIRST, what
type of verbal action is being expressed by THIS specific verb's lexical
meaning and THEN ask, how is that verbal nuance interacting with the
tense the speaker/writer has chosen, rather than the other way around,
as has been traditionally done (which ends up forcing unwarranted nuances
on specific verb usages).

A final thought on v28; the issue in this verse is not "looking" at a woman
--we all have to do that every single day--but rather the purpose for the
look as expressed in the PROS clause. There are alot of different ways to
look at another human being (concern, love, appreciation, etc.), but it
is only the look FOR THE PURPOSE of sexual desire which is being discussed
and condemned here.

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: