Re: 1 John 2:6

From: S. M. Baugh (
Date: Tue Apr 15 1997 - 20:01:39 EDT

Michael Knox 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?

Hi Michael,

I happen to be writing a sort of grammatical commentary on 1 John right
now, so here's some of what I have v. 6 (minus the references and
parsing assignments!):

As with all Greek sentences, begin with the main verb, which is OFEILEI,
and the subject is the substantive participle, hO LEGWN. Thus the core
is: "The one who says . . . ought to. . . ."
Now we ask, "What does this person say?" The answer is: EN AUTWi MENEIN,
"that he remains in him." This use of the infinitive is indirect
discourse; it the equivalent of: hOTI EN AUTWi MENEI. [This is the
answer to your question--indirect discourse or indirect statement.] Next
we ask, "What is it that hO LEGWN ought to do?" OFEILEI takes a
complementary infinitive, and the only infinitive left is the last word
in the sentence, PERIPATEIN. So far, then, we translate: "The one who
says (that) he remains in him, ought to be walking. . . ." Now the rest
of the sentence from KAQWS to hOUTWS is an embedded comparison clause
and a reiteration of the subject of the main verb, so we finish our
translation: "The one who says (that) he remains in him, ought to be
walking just as he walked, so also he (ought to walk)."


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

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