Re: Acts 2:38

From: Edgar M. Krentz (
Date: Fri Oct 10 1997 - 18:23:04 EDT

>Dale Wheeler wrote;
>>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--...'"
>James Brooks and I contend in the _Syntax of NT Greek_ p. 129, "It must not
>be thought that every imperative in the third person is an imperative of
>permission because the word "let" or "permit" is usually used in the
>translation. These words are used because of the necessity of employing a
>periphrastic translation for something which has no direct English
>equivalent, not because of the idea of permission in the use of the word."
>We then cite the eg. of James 1:19, "you should be quick to hear and . . ."
>I do not think that Luke intended to imply that baptism was an option for

I agree with what Carlton Winberry said to you above. My own mode of
translation is almost by definition a paraphrase: "one must get baptized."
Your "must" or "should" can also serve. I would also add that typography
can help. e.g. an ! at the end, or italics of boldfaced type.

In any case, when teaching Greek one has to stress that all imperatives,
2nd or 3rd person, express urgency, whether in a prayer, an order, or when
granting permission to someone.

                * Edgar Krentz *
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