Re: Tenses in Mark 11:24

From: Rodney J. Decker (rdecker@bbc.edu)
Date: Mon Nov 16 1998 - 07:21:34 EST


I see that a disc. of the aorists Mk. 11:24 blossomed over the weekend.
I'll venture to cite an extract from my dissertation on the aorist forms
in this text. (I've cleaned up some of the Greek text, but check your Greek
text for accents, breathing marks, final sigmas, etc.) This is from pp.
209-11 of the diss. (for more info on which, see the URL below).

__________________
The aorist may also be used to describe future situations, although this is
not common.{20} Only 4 instances in Mark have been classed as
future-referring (0.8% of 511 forms). The first is Mark 11:24, DIA TOUTO
LEGW hUMIN, PANTA hOSA PROSEUCESQE KAI AITEISQE, PISTEUETE hOTI EJLABETE,
KAI ESTAI hUJMIN (therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and
ask, believe that you will receive, and it will be yours).{21} This aorist
is traditionally translated you have received, but that is not only
unnecessary, but introduces an unbiblical concept of faith-which is not
believing that something has already happened when it has not, in fact,
taken place.{22} Porter cites this as a timeless aorist "with no
specification of the time of receipt."{23} While it could be viewed this
way, assumed future reference (relative to the time of believing) is more
consistent with the biblical concept of faith (see Heb. 11:1; if the
receipt is past or present, it is not likely to require faith).{24} The
principle stated is certainly timeless, but that applies more properly to
the principle as a whole than to this specific statement. It should also be
noted that this statement of general principle in v. 24 is parallel with
the specific instance just cited in v. 23.{25} There a present form
(GINETAI) occurs, also with future reference. The difference in the two
statements may be explained as aspectual: the present views the action as a
process, whereas the aorist simply refers to it in summary as a complete
event (appropriate as a statement of general truth).

NOTES

{20} ATR, 846-7; F. Blass, A Greek Grammar of the New Testament, 333.2
[hereafter cited as BDF]; FVA, 269-74; GGBB, 563-4; MHT, 3:74; and PVA,
230, 232-3.

{21} Both Fanning (FVA, 273) and Wallace (GGBB, 564) cite this text as
their first instance of aorist forms with future reference. Fanning
explains a group of texts, of which Mark 11:24 is one, as viewing "a future
event as certain because of God's predestination of it in eternity past or
else portrays a course of action just determined in the councils of heaven
but not yet worked out on earth: the aorist refers to the future working
out, but it is seen as certain in the light of God's decree" (FVA, 274).
See the comments below on decretive explanations.

{22} It is translated with the English past tense, "you have received" (or
some variation of it), in the following translations: ASV mg., Beck,
Berkeley, Moffat, NASB, NIV, NEB, Phillips, RSV, RV, Weymouth, and
Williams. The ASV, KJV, and NKJV use the English simple present tense,
"receive" (though in the latter two instances this represents the majority
text reading, LAMBANETE). The only standard translation noted that uses an
English future tense is the NAB.

{23} PVA, 236.

{24} The textual variants for this verb indicate that some of the scribes
understood this as a future reference: the future form LHMYESQE is found in
D Q f 1 565 700 pc (see NA27). The Synoptic parallel in Matt. 21:22 has the
present participle PISTEUONTE (without specifying an object of the faith)
in place of PISTEUETE hOTI ELABETE, and the future LHMYESQE in place of
ESTAI in the next phrase.

{25} Mark 11:23, AMHN LEGW hUMIN hOTI hOS AN EIPH TW OREI TOUTW ARQHTI
KAI BLHQHTI EIS THN QALASSAN, KAI MH DIAKRIQH EN TH KARDIA AUTOU ALLA
PISTEUH hOTI hO LALEI GIVNETAI ESTAI AUTW (truly I say to you, whoever
says to this mountain, "Be taken up and thrown into the sea," and does not
doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will happen, it shall be
[done] for him).

_____________________

I've also discussed the 3 aorist forms in Mark 13:20 and classed them as
future-referring aorists (pp. 211-13).

(Abbrev. above: FVA, Fanning's *Verbal Aspect..." and PVA, Porter's *Verbal
Aspect...*; GGBB, Wallace, *Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics.*)

Rod

****************************************************
Rodney J. Decker, Th.D. Baptist Bible Seminary
Dept. of NT P.O. Box 800, Clarks Summit, PA 18411
http://faculty.bbc.edu/rdecker/
The *Resources for NT Study* page is accessible at:
http://faculty.bbc.edu/rdecker/rd_rsrc.htm
****************************************************

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