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

From: James H. Vellenga (
Date: Thu Sep 11 1997 - 14:12:44 EDT

> From: "Paul S. Dixon" <>
> Date: Thu, 11 Sep 1997 13:01:00 EDT
> <snip>
> 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
Hmmm. This seems to raise the question of what the customary/habitual
tense means.

The NIV, for example, in 1 John 3.9, translates the present tense
POIEI as "will continue to" -- more of a persistence than a custom
or habit. I've often found it useful to translate the imperfect
or present subjunctive as "keeps Xing" (X representing the root
verb) -- this seems to indicate persistence rather than custom
or habit. Thus in 1.6, for example, one could read

  Whenever we say that we're having a partnership with him
  and [yet] keep going around in the darkness

This doesn't mean that we're necessarily out of the kingdom,
or even not in it yet, but that at least for the time being
we're continuing in a mode of hiding (my interpretation).
This also doesn't mean that we were never walking around in
light, but that at the time "we say" we're having a partnership
that we're persisting in contrary behavior.

I didn't try to memorize all Rolf Furuli's diagrams, but they
did seem to allow for different places of stopping and starting
behavior for both aorist and non-aorist verbs. So I think the
most we can say is that the deprecated behavior is occurring
just before, just after, and during the "we say". Yes? No?

Jim V.

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