RE: Future Participles

From: S. M. Baugh (
Date: Fri Apr 04 1997 - 10:13:55 EST

Jonathan Robie wrote:
>There doesn't seem to be any such thing as an imperfect participle
>in the GNT. Is there any such thing elsewhere in Greek literature?

Carl Conrad already answered this, but here's a 2d witness. Answer this
question by asking, "What would an imperfect participle look like?" Take
imperfect of the only regular verb :) in Greek, LUW (ELUON), it has the
"present" (better "progressive") stem with augment and secondary endings
(-ON, -ES, -E, etc.). Since participles don't have augments and there
are no secondary participle endings, an imperfect participle would be
the same as the present participle (LUWN, LUONTOS / LUOMENOS, LUOMENH,
LUOMENON, etc.). In one sense, you could call LUWN "imperfect" as well
as "present" since the time of the event's fulfillment is not absolute
time or even releative time necessarily. Compare LAMBANWN, with LABWN or
PINWN with PIWN which differ only in the stem.

>Also, what is the force of the future participle in this verse:

I think Carl was right on this verse and the one in Acts. These are
simple purpose clauses. Of the dozen future participles in the NT,
surprisingly, many are substantival or articular and have a relative
future orientation. E.g., Heb. 3:5 EIS MARTURION TWN LALHQHSOMENWN
"[Moses was faithful. . .] as testimony of the things which would be
spoken" [i.e., revealed]; or 1 Pet. 3:13 KAI TIS O KAKWSWN hUMAS, "And
who is there who would harm you?"

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the participles were frequently used
for relative time, but the future participle seems to have embraced this
notion with a vengence. One can even see a future orientation in their
use to express purpose since an intended result is always future from
the time of the main event.

As an aside, just yesterday morning I read an old article by W. F.
Howard ("On the Futuristic Use of the Aorist Participle in Hellenistic"
JTS 24 [1923] 403-406) where he supports the interpretation of aorist
participles in Acts 25:13 and Heb. 9:12 functioning as the equivalent of
*future* participles of purpose. His evidence is certain papyri where
aorist participles are used in parallel with futures of purpose.
Interesting and would fit with the overall trend to drop the future
participle in the Koine period.


S. M. Baugh
New Testament
Westminster Theological Seminary
1725 Bear Valley Parkway
Escondido, CA 92027

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