Re: 3rd-person imperatives in the Lord's Prayer

From: James H. Vellenga (
Date: Mon Aug 18 1997 - 08:46:11 EDT

> Date: Thu, 14 Aug 1997 19:05:32 -0500 (CDT)
> From: Jeffrey Gibson <>
> Moreover, what strikes me here is how well the "on earth as it is
> in heaven" clause (another Matthean addition?) fits in with the
> discussion raised by Ward Powers on binding and loosing in Matt.
> 16. Perhaps all that is being asked for is not so much a
> transformation of the earth, as guidance and help from God that the
> community who prays this prayer conforms itself to God's will.
Perhaps. But if so, wouldn't we expect Matthew and Luke to
use present (imperfective) imperatives?

Personally, I was actually surprised to see that all three
imperatives (or both of them, in the case of Luke) turn out
to be aorists. Matthew and Luke both seem to be expecting
us to pray for an event rather than an ongoing process --
in Rolf Furuli's terms, for something that has a recognizable
beginning and ending. Praying for the community to conform
itself to God's will, it seems to me, would be a prayer for ongoing
rather than realized activity. Perhaps we are to pray for
these events to be realized ultimately and eschatologically.

Jim V.

James H. Vellenga |
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