RE:Subject: hINA, this time in 1 John 1:9

From: Clayton Bartholomew (
Date: Sun Sep 07 1997 - 08:38:00 EDT

From: Paul Zellmer Wrote:
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 Ibanag
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.

I found Paul's question a little confusing. In his first paragraph it appears
that he is saying the English translations are using the hINA clause
appositionally. In the last paragraph he seems to be saying that the
English translations are translating the hINA clause as a purpose clause.
I don't know which English translations he is looking at. Note that the
RSV rejects rendering hINA as if it were introducing a *purpose* clause.
There is a faint hint of *results* in the RSV rendering but it is subtle.

RSV: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our
sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

I Made a quick tour of the resources at hand to see if I could find the
answer to what I think was Paul's question.

Synopsis of Results:

BDF 391(5) Results clause but not actual results ????
Richard Young 138 Results or a noun clause of apposition
D. Wallace 473,474 note #67 purpose or results, or purpose-result
S.E. Porter (Idioms) 235 results
J.E. Huther (Meyer's Handbook) Results

With the exception of Wallace, the other scholars spanning over a
hundred years all rejected the *in order that* (purpose) reading of this
passage. I found Richard Young's brief discussion helpful. Young gave too
aproaches to rendering this passage: p138:2

results: ... he is faithful and just so as to forgive our sins.
apposition: ... he will remain faithful and just, that is,
                        he will forgive our sins.

D. Wallace calls this passage a "theological conundrum" (p 473 n67). I
think this is over stating the case. It is the grammarians who have made
it a conundrum with there endless pursuit of minute classification and
sub-classification. If you cannot force a particular use of hINA neatly
into the purpose/result binary opposition scheme then don't blame the
author of the NT and say that his usage is a conundrum. It is your
classification scheme that has failed not the NT author. When the model
fails throw it away and build a new model. NT grammarians seem so
overly preoccupied with maintaining continuity with the last 500 years
of NT Greek scholarship that they refuse to simply scrap what does not
work and build something new.

Clay Bartholomew
Three Tree Point

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