Santa Clause and the perfect tense . . .

Tom Launder (
Sun, 17 Nov 1996 23:26:35 -0800

Hello all,

When I began my study of the Greek language in Bible college, I learned
many things which have had a striking similarity to the myth of Santa
Clause. When I was a babe in Greek, I learned that genitive means
possession (a Santa-genitive). Soon I learned how wrong I was and I was
real happy my education did not stop after first year Greek.

Having uncovered this truth, I felt secure that the "Santa" type myths
were through. Yet as I have continued on in Greek, I have found that I
have been sitting on the knee of a mall-Santa asking for exgetical
Christmas gifts to use dramatically in my preaching and teaching.

I once took comfort in my knowledge of verbal tenses, but now I see this
Santa up close and smell his foul, alcohol-laiden breath. Having been
on this list for some time and having purchased the best resources, I
see that my understanding of present, aorist, and perfect need some
serious help.

So. . . all this to ask for some help in understanding the significance
of the perfect tense in passages like John 5:24.

"Most assuredly I say to you, he who hears my word and believes in Him
who sent me has eternal life, and shall not come into judgement, but HAS
PASSED from death to life."


I have become hesitant to emphasize the perfect tense, but doesn't this
passage ooze exegetical honey? How do I approach this in preaching?
Can I really emphasize the siginificance of the perfect tense, or should
I be cautious and mention it as an aside?

I think you can see the dilemma of finding Santa Clauses. There is a
proverb that says, "Once burned, twice shy." I feel kinda caught here
and I want to honor God in the preaching of His Word.