Re: I need answers

From: David L. Moore (
Date: Thu May 07 1998 - 20:19:34 EDT

Vince Endris <> wrote:

>To whom it may concern:
>I am a second semester greek student under Dr. Carlton Winbery at Louisiana
>College. A debate arose in class as we were traslating the first epistle
>of John and I was urged to consult this address. My question is this: In
>chapter 5 verse 16, could we not translate "aitasei" as "something that we
>require"? My argument is based upon the transition that the author gives
>at the end of the verse to the word "erotasa". In my dictonary (United
>Bible Society, 1993), aitasei seems to be a word of asking for something
>that is required. The word erotasa, on the other hand, seems to be a word
>of demanding.
>I would also note that the same word (aitasei) is used in John 14:14 and in
>Mark 11:24.
>I would be very interested in your opinion.

        If you mean that what is asked for is requested with some insistence or
urgency, AITEW can have that meaning. If you mean that it is required in
the sense of its being, for some reason, absolutely necessary (I think
that's how Jim West took your meaning) that would be beyond the usual
semantic domain of AITEW. When the UBS lexicon says it may mean "require,"
it refers to the sense of "importune" or asking in a demanding manner. In
Mark 15:8, for instance AITEW is used in this sense when the crowd began to
require of Pilate that he do as he had done for them in the past,
releasing, according to this precendent, one of the prisoners at Passover.
But the word does not necessarily carry this meaning in 1Jn. 5:16.
Nevertheless, it may possibly imply a more insistent asking than does
ERWTAW at the end of the verse.

        ERWTAW, according to Louw & Nida's _Greek-English Lexicon of the New
Testament Based on Semantic Domains_, usually carries the implication of an
underlying question. But that doesn't necessarily mean that it means
"doubtfully asking," for we find Jesus telling His disciples in Jn. 14:16
petition before the Father that the Holy Spirit be sent on His disciples.

        So one might be able to make a case for AITEW at the beginning of the
verse implying more insistent asking than ERWTAW at the end, but since the
semantic domains of the words overlap - that is they may, in certain
contexts, mean essentially the same thing - one shouldn't rule out the
possibility that the two words are used here synonymously and that the word
for "ask" is changed simply to vary the vocabulary.

        Since I am answering this from the b-greek-digest which waits to get a
bunch of the b-greek posts and then sends them to me all at once, you may
have already received answers that cover some of the areas I have touched
on here.

David Moore

David L. Moore
Miami, Florida, USA
Southeastern Spanish District of the A/G Dept. of Education
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