Re: 1 Peter 1:22 Perfect Participle

From: Jim West (
Date: Thu Mar 04 1999 - 14:14:18 EST

At 12:18 PM 3/4/99 -0700, you wrote:
>I've been working on 1 Peter 1:22-25 recently and have encountered some
>different opinions on how to deal with the perfect participle hHGNIKOTES
>in 1:22.
>Because it is perfect, some commentators argue that it refers to an event
>which took place in the past, namely, the readers' conversion (or
>baptism): "Since you have purified your souls (by converting or by being
>baptized), now love one another." In this view "obedience to the truth"
>refers to believing the gospel.
>Others, however, take the participle as expressing the necessary and
>on-going prerequisite for the command to love one another, so that the
>participle functions somewhat imperativally: "Love one another, and that
>love is possible only if you purify your souls...." The participle thus
>"denotes the duty which must ever be fulfilled (hence the perf.) if the
>AGAPAN is to be realized" (Huther). In this view "obedience to the
>truth" refers to keeping God's commands in daily life. Elsewhere in this
>passage (1:2; 1:14) "obedience" refers to conduct, and the context is a
>call to holiness (1:15).
>Does the perfect participle require us to see this purification as a past
>event or can it be read as the on-going prerequisite?


I think the perfect participle does suggest an action in the past- however
this action has present implications. So, grammatically, it is indeed a
past action- but that action is implied to have present results. Perhaps,
then, both of the options you suggest above should be blended together-
resulting in some ambiguity- but perhaps an intentional ambiguity on the
part of the author.



Jim West, ThD
Quartz Hill School of Theology

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