Re: Tenses in Mark 11:24

Date: Fri Nov 13 1998 - 14:53:04 EST

Greg Kilbrai wrote:

> I'm just a little greeker - only my third semester. I hope this question
> isn't too basic, but I guess this is how we all learn so here goes...
> I'm having trouble understanding the reason for the aorist tense of
> ELABETE in Jesus' words in Mark 11:24:

Hi Greg ~

Maurice O'Sullivan's post gives you the major thrust of the options
available and in use. While perhaps 90 percent of aorist usage is in
reference to past events, and indeed the augment of the aorist would
seem to indicate past time, the aorist verb form has a very broad
range of potential meaning with regard to time. The AV version, which
uses the simple present tense in English, is the most temporially
ambiguous, and in my opinion the best. The reason is that the simple
English present can mean past, present or future, as can the Greek

I like to think of the aorist as a verb form that is primitive and
simple, and very much **not** temporially denotative. When the aorist
and the present verb forms occur together in a Greek sentence, one of
the things that I have found useful is to put the present tense verbs
into English present participial form, and the aorists into simple
English present form. Hence:
 PROSEUCHESQE ...present [all things] you are praying for
 AITESQE... present [and] you are asking for
 PISTEUETE... present be you believing
 ELABETE...Aorist you receive [them]
 ESTAI...future they will be granted [to you].

And so VERY literally:

"Through this I am saying to you: All, as much as you are praying and
asking, be believing that you receive, and it shall be to you."

And I very much hesitate to add to or alter that in English, although
DIA TOUTO could as well be rendered "Because of this..."
> The logic puzzles me...if I already had something why would I pray for
> it? Or is that simply the point about faith that Jesus is teaching? Or
> are there some finer grammar points about the aorist I'm not fully
> appreciating in this verse?

The aorist can be thought of as a "pure" verb form, not limited in its
scope except by context. For instance, in the above passage, "receive"
includes all instances of "receiving", past, present and future. The
logic of the sentence thus does not struggle as it does with
"received", nor does it alter the text as it does with "will receive."

I hope this is useful to you.


Lisa Messmer..................ICQ# 5666415
George Blaisdell

Have you seen Dulcie? Look for her Heart!

Last Chance for Animals...Fight Pet Theft!

B-Greek home page:
You are currently subscribed to b-greek as: []
To unsubscribe, forward this message to
To subscribe, send a message to

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:40:07 EDT