Re: Proffessor [sic] Blackwelder and participles

From: Dale M. Wheeler (
Date: Tue Mar 17 1998 - 12:50:08 EST


I'm responding off list because of Carl's request...I'm cc: this
to him, just so he knows what's what...

Its somewhat difficult to enter into a discussion with you on this
topic when you start off by branding any other interpretation of
the passage than yours as "absurd".

Did you ever read any of the commentaries (IHMarshall, 1John, NICNT,
ZHodges, 1John, BibleKnowledgeComm) or articles (eg., Kubo) that I
mentioned in our previous discussion ? Fanning in his book also
devotes some time to this specific issue. I happen to agree with
them... I really can't add anything of great substance to the
position(s) they elucidate. As I said in one of my recent posts,
I'm NOT inclined to think of the Present as if it simply were
the Imperfect, but in present time. The present tense form has to
cover everything, and as a result it simply can't always indicate
ongoingness/durativeness/linearity. My own personal feeling is
that in general the present *is not* durative by nature, but
rather it is aoristic in the sense of being, it
just gets out of the way and lets the Aktionsart of the verb
do its thing. When Greek speakers want to indicate durativeness
with verbs which are not by nature durative in and of themselves,
they normally use helping words (eg., adverbs) or place the
present in a context where durativeness is clearly indicated. I
realize that this is not what we were taught nor is it the
impression given by most grammar books...the discussion of the
Aspect nuance of the Tenses to the exclusion of the prior
determination of the Aktionsart of the verb is, in my view, a
*serious* weakness of every syntax book...including Wallace (I
tried to get him to do that part of it differently, but he was
unable to make a significant change that late in the project's

On a theological/exegetical level, I'd say that the bringing of
one's theological perspective to the interpretation of 1John
cuts both ways...I don't deny that I have a different framework
on this issue than you do and that it influences how I see the
options and evaluate the data. However, given what I think
about Greek verbs, I'd say that you are no less guilty than I
in this case. I appreciate your view (I use to hold it myself)
and the dilemma that being a Calvinist brings to the interpretation
of many passages. Quite frankly, I use to think that Arminians
were more honest with the text than Calvinists, even though in
the final analysis there were clear passages which kept me from
becoming an Arminian. It wasn't until I realized that there
were more than two options to the discussion that I began to
make some personal headway in dealing with the problem passages.
Basically, I came to the realization that in the problem passages
if one did *not* assume that the writer was speaking about
regeneration/justification, but rather had sanctification or
glorification/rewards issues in mind, then the Calvinist-
Arminian debate simply evaporated. Thus in these passages,
rather than discussing the loss of a justified standing versus
whether the person was truly saved to begin with, I came to
the conclusion that believers could *really* lose something,
namely their personal relationship with Jesus would be harmed
(not lost), their maturity would be damaged, their souls would
be injured, their rewards would be diminished. Its really not
all that terribly innovative of an idea, since Scripture talks
about these types of things all over the place anyway. Its
just that most people don't see these discussions taking place
in 1John 3 (or James 2, or Hebrews 6, 10, or etc.) I

I don't for a moment think that I've got all the pieces to the
puzzle neatly fitted together, but the whole just makes more
sense to *me* now; and I'm not saying that my "whole" would
make sense to you or anyone else.

If, after reading the things I suggested you want to interact
further on the whys and the wherefores I'd be happy to...


At 02:22 PM 3/16/98 EST, you wrote:
>On Sun, 15 Mar 1998 22:37:15 -0800 "Dale M. Wheeler"
>>I'm not sure that there is all that much difference between PISTEUW
>>followed by EIS, EPI, or the simple dative. However, I think that
>>your statement: "...something men do, i.e. putting paith [sic, faith]
>>someone", in my mind, is a climax. In other words, at some point the
>>act takes place, the conclusion is reached, the decision is made...
>>normally after a period of consideration. I'd suggest that, as I've
>>said to others on this topic, that, as I see it, you are reading a
>>theological perspective into this. You are certainly free to hold
>>any position you want on this, but after examining the uses in
>>John (I gave the Subst Ptc uses in my post to Paul Dixon) I don't
>>think that the unbounded durative nature of an Activity fits the
>>Aktionsart of the verb. There may be some places where the Pres
>>or Impf is used with the non-Subst Ptcs with "imperfective"
>>Aspect, thus stressing either the process or the effect, but that
>>should be made clear by contextual clues.
>>Having said all that, I suppose its possible that PISTEUW could
>>be, by Aktionsart, an Activity. But to be convinced of that, I'd
>>need to see it used that way in a non-theological context...
>I contend that the present participle in John's literature does denote
>continued or habitual activity. Remember our lively discussion on
>1 Jn 3:6-10 several months ago? You do not deny this nuance on
>the present participle hO hAMARTANWN in v. 6, do you? If so, then
>surely no one has seen God or known Him, 6b. In fact, unless we take
>the characteristic/habitual nuance for the present tenses throughout this
>section, then we are reduced to absurdity. Surely, the present tenses
>in 3:9 make sense only with this understanding. Indeed, the present
>tenses in the whole epistle appear to be selected by John in line with
>the (or, at least, a) purpose of assuring believers that they have
>eternal life (5:13).
>It seems only if one posits a theological presupposition that saving
>faith need
>not be a continuing faith can he conclude that the present tenses used by
>John in his literature denote something otherwise.
>Paul Dixon
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Dale M. Wheeler, Ph.D.
Research Professor in Biblical Languages Multnomah Bible College
8435 NE Glisan Street Portland, OR 97220
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