Re: Help with Gal 5:16

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Mon Apr 27 1998 - 06:42:41 EDT

At 2:51 AM -0500 4/27/98, Lex Kuhta wrote:
>I'm looking for some help with Gal 5:16
>in/by the Spirit walk/live and the agenda of the flesh...
>TELESHTE is aorist subjunctive. But how should it be translated?
>A) future: you will never ever carry out.
>B) imperative: do not carry out.
>Option A renders the conditional imperative but seems to imply it is
>possible not to sin. Option B does not imply it is possible not to sin
>but moves the emphatic future negation to more of a prohibitoty or
>hortative subjunctive. I've read Brooks and Winbery, as well as Wallace,
>and cannot come to a resolution on how to translate this passage. I
>don't want to start an argument about the possibility of sin but rather
>to gather some takes on the potentialities of the syntax in this verse.

Actually this is, albeit not the most common of constructions, still a
standard item of grammar: OU MH + aorist subjunctive is the most forceful
of all imperatives in Greek. Your Option B is right, but it can be conveyed
more forcefully in English than that in any number of ways:
        1. DO keep walking (note present tense) by the Spirit, but you must
                EVER fulfil the desire of the Flesh.
        2. Continue to walk by the Spirit, but do NOT fulfil the desire of the
        3. Keep walking by the Spirit, but you MUST not fulfil the desire
of the

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649 OR

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