Re: Acts 2:38

From: Dale M. Wheeler (
Date: Thu Oct 09 1997 - 11:52:07 EDT

Craig R. Harmon wrote:

>>A couple of points to bear in mind on this verse:
>>#1 - The verbs <imperatives> address two groups
>>- METANOHSATE is second person, plural.
>>- hUMWN <TWN hAMARTIWN hUMWN> is second person, plural.
>>- BAPTISQHTW is third person, singular.
>Thank you for pointing that shift out; it had escaped me. But something
>puzzles me about the greek construction:
>It certainly appears, from shear proximity if nothing else, that BAPTISQHTW
>(as you say, third person, singular) is being addressed to hEKASTOS (nom.,
>sing., masc., adj.) hUMWN (2nd, pl., pers. pron.). I suspect that my
>difficulty has something to do with the fact that English has no way of
>expressing commands in the third person (other than the very weak "let
>him..."). My sense is that the shift from second person, singular
>(METANOHSATE) to third person, singular (BAPTISQHTW) has to do with Peter's
>emphasizing the individuality of repentance and baptism. The nearest I can
>get to what I'm thinking here in English is:
> "All of you must repent, and (with respect to) each one of you, he must be
>baptized in the name
> of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins."
>I really have no idea whether the Greek will permit such an understanding.
>Maybe others could help me out.

Following is a suggestion about Craig's statement below concerning 3rd

>I suspect that my difficulty has something to do with the fact that
English has >no way of expressing commands in the third person (other than
the very weak "let

Over the years I've gradually come to the conclusion that not only can you
communicate in English what's in the Greek text (or Hebrew or
you may have to use different words/idioms--and 3rd Impvs are no different.
 I think that you will find that many of the modern translations have
started to go to "must", or "should" for this impvs, which seems to work
for me (I'd be interested to know how Carl, Edward, Edgar, and Carlton
"feel" about this). So in this case you would have: "'Repent'--he
[further ?] said, 'Each of you must be baptized--...'"

BTW, if you agree with UBS/NA on including FHSIN (it certainly is the
hardest reading and is early Alex), then how does that fit into the
structure of the speech ? I've made a *suggestion* above...


Dale M. Wheeler, Ph.D.
Research Professor in Biblical Languages Multnomah Bible College
8435 NE Glisan Street Portland, OR 97220
Voice: 503-251-6416 FAX:503-254-1268 E-Mail:

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