The Pres Subst Ptc of PISTEUW in Jn

From: Paul S. Dixon (
Date: Tue Mar 17 1998 - 14:02:55 EST

On Mon, 16 Mar 1998 04:18:02 -0800 "Dale M. Wheeler"
<> writes:
>Paul Dixon wrote:


>>hO PISTEUWN, for example, does seem to denote one who believes
>>customarily, habitually versus hO PISTEUSAS which does not denote the
>>same. It is interesting to note that the present participle is normally
>>what is used for salvation statements.
>Interestingly enough, the first person to suggest to me that Subst Ptcs
>were in the main simple noun substitutes and that the present isn't
>always linear and the aorist always punctiliar was a DTS Greek Prof.
>I think that we all have evolved in our thinking on this issue over
>the past 20 years (has it really been that long...(-; ), as evidenced
>by Fanning's dissertation/book, which you will see reflected to some
>degree in Wallace's syntax.
>The problem with this whole discussion is that we have crossed over
>from grammar to theological discussion and its hard to keep our own
>perspective out of the discussion...all we can do is try the best we
>can to let the text give us our theology. Thus, while I feel what
>I've said about Greek grammar is accurate, the next paragraph
>begins to you can draw your own conclusions.
>On the difference between the Pres and Aor Subst Ptc in John, I'm
>not so sure that the difference is habitual versus punctiliar, or that
>the Aorist can't indicate "salvation". John 7:39; 20:29 use the Aor
>Subst Ptc to refer to real believers, but whose "act of belief" is
>a past act. The Perf Subs Ptc in John 8:31 is used, in my view, pretty
>much the same way. I'd suggest that if we are to impute an Aspect to
>the 23x Pres Subst Ptc it would be generic/gnomic or would refer to
>people being portrayed as believing at the time of speaking. That,
>to my mind, is just what one would expect of the Aktionsart of PISTEUW
>used as a noun and that is why the present is normally used. Here are
>the verse references I pulled from can decide for
The aorist ptc Jn 7:39 is questionnable. Aleph, D, K, Byzantine have
the present ptc.

>John 1:12
ongoing belief denoted by hSOI DE ELABON ... TOIS PISTEOUSIN

>John 3:15, 16

>John 3:18
hO PISTEUWN denotes ongoing belief, as it is set in contrast to hO DE MH
PISTEUWN explained as those who have not believed (perfect tense - MH
PEPISTEUKEN); in other words hO PISTEUWN implies a past belief (because
of the parallel with the perfect) and a present continuing belief.

>John 3:36
ongoing belief denoted, because of the contrasting parallel with hO
APEIQWN where the promise is made that he will not see (eternal) life.
This can only be a characteristic/customary present. Otherwise, no one
could ever be saved (cf 1 Jn 3:6).
>John 5:24
The parallel with the perfect METABEBHKEN suggests the ongoing belief (at
least from the past to the present) of hO ... PISTEUWN.

>John 6:35 - inconclusive

>John 6:40 - inconclusive

>John 6:47 - inconclusive

>John 6:64 - inconclusive

>John 7:38 - ditto
>John 11:25, 26 -ditto
>John 12:44 - ditto
>John 12:46 -ditto

>John 14:12
The one who PISTEUWN is promised he will do greater works than Christ.
Is it more likely Christ is saying the one who believes now will do
greater works, or that the one who has an ongoing belief will do greater

>John 17:20 - inconclusive

>1Joh 5:1
The relationship between hO PISTEUWN and the perfect GEGENNHTAI suggests
an ongoing belief.

>1Joh 5:5 - inconclusive
>1Joh 5:10 - inconclusive
>1Joh 5:13
This is key. The purpose, or at least a purpose, of John's epistle is
his writing to those who believe, in order that they may know they have
eternal life. Yes, the belief that Jesus is the Christ (5:1) is one way.
 But, so also, and necessarily, are the proofs of obedience (2:3),
particularly as manifested in love (2:7-17; 3:11-18; 4:7-12) and
righteousness (2:28-3:10), among other things (to say nothing about the
contested test of confession of sin (1:7-10). All of this is summarized
nicely by the summary statement in 1:7. The point is that the
customary/habitual nuance of hO PISTEUWN seems the most likely
interpretation, if these things are written so that we may know we have
eternal life.

Thanks for the stimulating and profitable interaction, Dale. I am
planning on getting Buist's book (I'm sure they must have it at Western
or Multnomah).

Paul Dixon

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