Re: hINA, this time in 1 John 1:9

From: Paul S. Dixon (
Date: Sun Sep 07 1997 - 00:09:09 EDT

On Sun, 07 Sep 1997 09:00:48 -0800 Paul Zellmer
<> writes:
>Let me piggy-back on the recent discussion Larry Kruper started on
>hINA+Subjunctive. In 1 John 1:9, the translations generally give the
>initial sense of, "He is faithful and just," *with respect to*
>forgiving and cleansing. Yet the forgiving and cleansing are
>subjunctives introduced by hINA, right?
>Robertson in his "big yellow tome," as Jonathan likes to put it,
>claims this is a clear case of actual result, which he contrasts to the
>position held by Burton's position that there are no real cases in the
>NT of actual result expressed in this way.
>We are trying to come up with a way to express this verse in the
>language, but we have two different options: one which follows the
>general understanding of the English reader, and one which would state
>roughly, "He is faithful and just in order that he forgives our sins
>and cleanses us..." I hesitate to go to far afield from the
>traditional translation, but we also need to know what the Greek is
>doing here so we can make an intelligent decision.
>Anyone have something to add to the "hINA" discussion?

Yes, I think Robertson's thinking is right on. Here's why. The
doctrinal statement governing the whole epistle is hO QEOS FWS KAI SKOTIA
EN AUTWi OUK ESTIN OUDEMIA (v. 5). The implication of this, as related
to the purpose of the epistle, is succintly summarized both negatively in
v. 6 and positively in v. 7, forming bi-conditionality, BTW.

The amplification of this argument begins in v. 8 and really carries
throughout the epistle. Verse 8, then, parallels v. 6 and gives the
first example of it (saying we have fellowship with God but walking in
darkness - saying we have no sin). Likewise, verse 9 parallels v. 7 and
gives the first example of it (walking in the light - confessing our
sins). Verse 10, of course, parallels both v. 6 and v. 8.

What is the point? Simply that we must interpret v. 9 in parallel with
v. 7. Both verses are conditionals. The point of a conditional is to
establish a necessary relationship between two occurrences or events.
The occurrence of the first (the protasis) necessitates the occurrence of
the latter (the apodosis). Thus, if we walk (customary present) in the
light as He is in the light, then the necessary result (great assurance
here) is we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus His
Son cleanses us from all unrighteousness.

Likewise, in v. 9 if we customarily confess our sins, then the necessary
result is: God is faithful and righteous, and if God is faithful and
righteous, the necessary result (hIVA) is that He will forgive us of all

But, what happens if we do not confess our sins? Does this mean God is
not faithful and just? Of course not. As usual, we cannot and must not
infer the negation.

Paul Dixon

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