March 10, 2010

Verb Challenge: Conditional Statements in 1 John 1:5-10

I was trying to make a quick point about LOGIC by referencing a well-known scripture, in English, but then I got caught up in the moment - at which Charles challenged me on the GRAMMAR, in Greek. Bless him. So I spent some time on it, and I'm convinced... that it's a bit beyond me.

Unfortunately, what I found was extremely intriguing. So I'll make this an A.P.B.


Here's what little I noticed. Of the five conditional statements, one per verse, vv. 6,8 & 10 are within indirect statements where the main verb ("say") is an aorist subjunctive. With 'ean', that seems textbook so far. But the IF clause in vv. 6 & 8 is present indicative, while in v.10 it's perfect. And each THEN clause keeps changing its verb tense (v.6 pres ind, v.8 pres subj, v.10 imp ind).

In between, vv. 7 & 9 are directly conditional, with 2 IF and 1 THEN verbs in the present subjunctive for "we", but the 2nd THEN verb is a present indicative for "He".

When I line all that up in John's linguistic sequence, I can tell there's a definite pattern at work, somehow, in this grammar. But what is it?

v.6 "If we say" (at a moment?) "that we have" (indefinitely?) "and yet walk" (potentially?) ... "then we lie" (indefinitely?).

v.7 "If we walk" (present & abidingly?) "then we have" (present & abidingly?)

v.8 "If we say" (at a moment?) "that we have" (indefinitely?) ... "we deceive" (present & abidingly?)

v.9 "If we confess" (abidingly?) "then He is" (immediately?)

v.10 "if we say" (at a moment?) "that we've not sinned" (in the past, as in, *ever*?) "then we are making" (constantly from then on?)


For the record, I'm confident my spirit and God's spirit can work past the confusion just fine. But if there's something else here that would help out my mind, I'd dearly love to know that also. So any help here would be great.

1 comment:

Johannes said...

My 2c's worth: a Spanish translation generally regarded as very good (Navarra) agrees with your English rendering except for the THEN clause of v.10, which is: "THEN WE MAKE" ... "and his word is not in us."

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