Re: exegesis questions

From: Carlton Winbery (
Date: Wed Feb 10 1999 - 08:44:56 EST

Jane Harper wrote;

>I'm going through tomorrow's exegesis passage in the Greek [1 Jn 4:1-3]
>and have a few
>questions, if you have time to comment. . .
>1. In verse 1, ESTIN in the first subordinate clause does not agree with
>the antecedent of the
>clause [PNEUMATA]. Why not?

There is a practice in Hellenistic Greek whereby most neuter plural
subjects take singular verbs, but we must translate the verbs as plural.

>2. In verse 2, Wallace says that IHSOUN XRISTON is the subject of the
>indirect discourse in the
>subordinate clause (p. 645). Is the verb of that subordinate clause
>ESTIN (and therefore periphrastic)? If the former, is EK TOU QEOU ESTIN
>part of the subordinate
>clause or part of the main one?

ESTIN is the main verb of the sentence, "Every spirit . . . is . . .."
IHSOUN CRISTON is the object of the verb in the relative clause
(hOMOLOGEI). The participle agrees in case, gender, and no. with the object
and thus modifies it. Hence the accusative is the "subject" of the action
of the participle. The indirect statement is that "Jesus Christ has come in
the flesh." This a common phenom in Greek.

>3. In verse 3, the tense sequence puzzles me. AKHKOATE is perfect, with
>a sense of "you have
>begun and continue to hear",

The perfect does not assume that action continues but the result. The
hearing does not continue but the result of the hearing. The writer loves
the perfect especially when he can combine it with the present. Its the
language of witness.

>and ERXETAI is simple continuous present, "he is coming" . . . but

The present simply says "that he comes." If time enters in at all this is
the present used with future understanding. I'd rather translate it simply.

>the end of the verse says NUN ESTIN HDH, "he now already is". Can you
>comment on the temporal
>relationship between these verbs? The only thing that makes sense to me
>is something like,
>YOU HEARD ----------------------------> AND ARE HEARING
Again the perfect won't bear this weight.

> but where in the sequence can one put "he now already is"?
What the writer wants his readers to realize even tho they may not have
heard yet. "Even now, he is already in the world."

Carlton L. Winbery
Fogleman Professor of Religion
Louisiana College
Pineville, LA 71359

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 - 15:40:16 EDT