[b-greek] Re: addtn'l questions on Matt. 28:19-20

From: Michael Haggett (michaelhaggett@ic24.net)
Date: Wed Feb 28 2001 - 17:38:39 EST

Steve Godfrey wrote:
Wednesday, February 28, 2001 1:57 PM

To interpret this passage, is it not important to recognize that there are 3
participles interacting with the finite verb? I've always taken the
participles as subordinate to the main verb, something like this:

    aor psv ptc deponent
aor act impv (the finite verb)
    pres act ptc
    pres act ptc

Might the following interperative points then be justified:
1) Jesus' central concern is clearly on MAKING DISCIPLES
2) One cannot make disciples until one has gone to where those potential
disciples reside
3) Jesus conceived of discipleship in 3 steps: going, baptizing, and

Further, why the first ptc is aorist, given that the 2nd and 3rd are
present? Might it be because Matthew wanted to portray going to a place
once and then engaging in the process of baptism and teaching in that place
over a more extended period? And/or did he simply wish to make the
baptizing and teaching steps more prominent in light of the notion that
going was a given?


The points in my previous post applied specifically to aorist, not present
participles. I see the aorist being used to make a SIMPLE reference to an
action (i.e. without any comment one way or the other about how long or how
many times it is done) and the present being used when the speaker/writer
wants to emphasize the CONTINUITY of the action.

As I see it, the first participle is aorist/simple because it is being used
as a subsidiary verb in what is effectively a single command: "go and MAKE
all nations disciples". I entirely agree with Steve that this is Jesus'
central concern. Only aorist participles can be used this way. If the
present/continuous participle had been used it would convey a very different
meaning, as in Matt 10:7

and WHILE YOU ARE travelling, proclaim, saying, "The Kingdom of Heaven is

The POREUOMENOI in this example is present/continuous to indicate
ACCOMPANYING action, i.e. something that happens in PARALLEL rather than in
SERIES. Applying this principle to the two present/continuous participles in
Matthew 28:19-20, BAPTIZONTES and DIDASKONTES, would indicate that these are
the actions that should accompany (perhaps even constitute) the main
command. Therefore I would differ slightly from Steve in not seeing three
sequential steps. Yes, you do have to go before you can do anything else,
but that is a logical rather than a grammatical conclusion ... if I might
make that somewhat artificial distinction.

I think it would be better to say that the present participle actions are
two means by which the single command (to continue the electrical analogy
you could perhaps call this a command series, although the aorist
participle/finite verb does sometimes fuse into a single action) "go and
MAKE disciples" is to be fulfilled. That is certainly the way the
present/continuous participle LEGONTES is used in the Matt 10:7 example.

Michael Haggett

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