Re: 1 Cor 6:11 and Aorists

From: Carlton L. Winbery (
Date: Tue Apr 23 1996 - 14:31:58 EDT

Eric Weiss wrote;
>1 Cor 6:11 reads "... but you were washed (or: washed yourselves)
>[APELOUSASQE], but you were consecrated [hHGIASQHTE], but you were justified
>[EDIKAIWQHTE] in [EN] the name of the lord Jesus Christ and by [EN] the
>spirit of our God."
>1. The translations we compared in class seem to be all over the map in
>terms of translating these as simple aorists or perfects or even presents.
>Is this because the translation depends on the translator's view of whether
>or not these are constative or ingressive or culminative aorists (using
>terms/examples from R. Young and Brooks/Winbery)? There are theological
>ramifications to translating these verbs as perfects instead of as simple
>aorists. How is one to make these decisions?

Brooks and Winbery would treat these aorist under what is listed as
"culminative" aorists that emphasizes the aspect of a completed action.
Such verbs we usually translate close to the perfect. That there is a
result may be understood, but the main aspect is a completed action.
APELOUSASQE clearly is an aorist middle and may be translated "washed
yourselves," but I would think of it as intensive in the sense "you have
allowed yourselves to be washed."

>2. The translations variously translated the two EN's as "by ... by," "in
>" and "in ... by"--these choices, too, have theological ramifications.
>Any help or suggestions here? (We settled on "in ... by" (or possibly "in
>.. with".)

The preposition EN in 6:11c could be used in one of several functions,
"in," "by," "because." My own preference would be "in." This leaves the
translation open to the widest possible interpretation. There is a whole
body of literature on the meaning of "in the name," "in Christ," "in the
Spirit." If I used "by," I think that I would translate "By the Lord Jesus
Christ" since the name in my opinion stands for the person.

>3. Does the use of the middle in APELOUSASQE mean more correctly that "you
>washed yourselves"? (If this passagge is referring to Christian baptism, a
>possible OT motif might be Exodus 19:10-14 where the Lord told Moses both to
>consecrate the people and to have them wash themselves.) Or is this a
>deponent (APOLOUOMAI) as the UBS Newman dictionary indicates (though it would
>still be translated "washed yourselves" according to Newman's definition)?

I have generally followed BAGD in matters of deponent verbs. I think that
this one is middle. It certainly could have Exodus 19 in view.

Carlton Winbery
Fogleman Professor of Religion
Louisiana College

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