Re: 1 John 2:6 translation question

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Tue Apr 15 1997 - 13:30:12 EDT

At 11:42 AM -0500 4/15/97, Knox Mike wrote:
> I have been working my way through 1 John, and I ran into a roadblock on
>Chapter 2, verse 6:
> I am having trouble understanding how the infinitive MENEIN should be
>translated here. Several translations, such as the NASB translate it as a
>present indicative ("The one who says he abides in him, ought...."). My
>question, is simply, why?
>Also, according to Zerwick's Grammatical Analysis, the word OFEILEI normally
>means "owe", but with an infinitive means "ought". Is this the reason that
>verb MENW is an infinitive in this verse?

No; this is the indirect statement construction of which there was some
talk here yesterday or a couple days ago: MENEIN is the infinitive of
indirect discourse depending upon the substantival participle hO LEGWN.
When the SUBJECT of that infinitive is identical with the subject of the
introductory verb, as it is in this case, it doesn't need to be expressed
and if it is modified at all, it will be with a nominative pronoun or
adjective (e.g., you could have an AUTOS here if it were to be understood
as "the one who says that he himself remains in him."

What your dictionary says about OFEILEI is quite right: it does mean
"ought" in a moral context and is normally followed by an infinitive, but
here the infinitive is PERIPATEIN: "ought to walk." But here the adverbial
clause KAQWS EEKEINOS PERIEPATHSEN interrupts the sequence of elements in
the main clause which would otherwise run smoothly as OFEILEI KAI AUTOS
PERIPATEIN--"should himself also walk (thus/in that way)."

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR

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