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

From: Paul S. Dixon (
Date: Thu Sep 11 1997 - 13:01:00 EDT

On Thu, 11 Sep 1997 06:21:43 -0500 "Carl W. Conrad"
<> writes:
>At 11:56 PM -0500 9/10/97, Paul S. Dixon wrote:
>>John, I don't see how we can take the EANs in chapter 1 as
>>"whenever." Certainly we must take the EAN in 1:9 the same way as in
>>1:6,7,8, and 10.
>> Such a rendering suggests that the same "we" is the subject in all
>> the verses, i.e., in 1:6,7,8,9, and 10, as though it is possible for
>>of these verses to be describing the children of God. It seems much
>>likely that he is contrasting the children of light and the children of
>>darkness, thus two separate groups. If so, then "if."

>I sort of thought we'd seen the end of this thread, but here comes an
>interesting question. I really don't see any contrast between children
>of light and children of darkness in these clauses in 1 Jn 1:6-10.
>all of these conditional clauses are present general and it doesn't
>matter whether we translate the EAN as "if ever" or "whenever"; in
>each instance the result clause indicates what is true every time that
>conditional clause enters into effect. And it is his TEKNIA that the
>author is addressing here, i.e. believers--even if elsewhere in the
letter he
>seems to be talking about the schismatics who left the Johannine
>community and about whom it is said that they "hate their brothers"
>Brown suggests that they became Gnostics in the full second-century
>Surely it won't be argued that we who believe NEVER walk in darkness,
>NEVER fail to "do the truth, NEVER deceive ourselves and NEVER fail to
>the truth in us, NEVER try to claim that we haven't sinned. It seems to
>that what is being offered here is pastoral advice about overcoming our
>petty exercises in self-deception and our petty claims to be perfectly
>righteous. This is a call to confession and hence to acceptance of God's

>forgiveness and cleansing. Or maybe I'm missing something here.

Carl, thanks for leaving the door open. I do think you may be missing
something. I will use this opportunity to respond to you, John V, and
Jonathan, since they also responded in agreement with you.

If: 1) the present tenses in 1:6-10 are customary/habitual, and if 2) the
children of God cannot be characterized by customary/habitual sin (1 Jn
3:9), synonymous with and parallel to "walking in darkness" (1: 6), and
exemplified in both the denial of the presence of sin (1:8) and a denial
of ever having committed sin (v. 10), then it follows that those passages
cannot ever be true of the children of God. They reflect only the
children of darkness. Even if the EIPWMENs in 1:8 and 1:10 are aorists,
certainly hOMOLOGWMEN and PERIPATWMEN (9,7 respectively) are
customary/habitual presents.

The present tense in 1 John does seem highly significant and the
customary/habitual nuance with it. John wants the believers to know that
they have eternal life (5:13) and the whole epistle is written around
these tests by which they can know: confession versus denial of sins
(1:8-10), obedience versus disobedience (2:3 ff), love versus hate,
profession of the Son versus denial (2:18 ff), practice of righteousness
versus practice of unrighteousness (2:29-3:10), etc. All these tests
contain present tenses where the customary/habitual nuance is prevalent.

Furthermore, still amplifying here, 1 Jn 3:9 rules out the possibility
that a child of God will ever or is even able to sin. Of course, this is
present tense and can only be customary/habitual.

Paul Dixon

>Carl W. Conrad

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