1 John 3:9
dixonps at juno.com
dixonps at juno.com
Wed Dec 22 11:50:08 EST 1999
To: Grant Polle,
Maximilian Zerwick, in his grammar "Biblical Greek" (1963), writes:
<< In the latter place [1Jn 3:9] John seems to suppose that Christians
cannot sin, but in 2:1 he admonishes them not to sin. Here however he
says GRAFW hUMIN hINA MH hAMARTHTE (aorist: not to commit sin), whereas
in 3:9 he says that he who is born of God OU DUNATAI hARMARTANEIN
(present: be -- habitually -- a sinner) because he is born of God, i.e.
cannot continue the sinful life that was his before his regeneration >>
Buist M. Fanning, in his "Verbal Aspect in New Testament Greek" (1990),
investigates this problem at some length (pp. 211-216) and concludes:
<< ... the habitual interpretation of 1 John 3:4-10 is certainly
'possible,' based on NT usage >> (216).
I personally have my doubts. I have doubts as to the possibility of a
"habitual present" with the negative particle "OU" where the resulting
meaning clearly means that one only occasionally does this thing, but one
does not do it on a habitual bases. It just doesn't make sense to me.
-Steven Craig Miller
Alton, Illinois (USA)
I don't know where you get the idea that a negative particle OU on a
present tense cannot or should
not denote the negation of habitual activity, unless you reject the
notion altogether of the present
tense denoting habitual activity. Some clarification here?
John may merely be affirming what He learned from Jesus who taught in Mt
:15-23 that every good
tree bears (POIEI) good fruit and that a good tree cannot bear (OU
DUNATAI ... POIEI, 18) bad fruit.
Surely this is not saying that every individual piece of fruit from that
tree is good, but that a good tree
will be known by the fact that it typically produces good fruit (16). In
the same way, one who is
born of God cannot sin (OU DUNATAI hAMARTANEIN, 1 J 3:9).
Both in the Sermon on the Mount and in John's Epistle, practicing
righteousness and practicing
lawlessness are mutually exclusive propositions. Only the one who
practices righteousness and
not lawlessness will enter the kingdom of heaven (Mt 7:1-23, 1 Jn 3:10).
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From: Steven Craig Miller <scmiller at www.plantnet.com>
Subject: Re: 1 John 3:9
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 1999 21:21:03 -0600
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