Meaning of the perfect tense

Jon D. Boyd johanan at juno.com
Tue Jan 9 12:07:46 EST 2001


In using my Greek for teaching and preaching, I always want to say as
much as I can, but not too much (e.g. "the aorist here means
once-for-all").  When I first learned Greek, I learned that the perfect
tense indicates "completed action with abiding results."  As I've studied
further, I find Stanley Porter saying, "the action is conceived of by the
language user as reflecting a given (often complex) state of affairs"
(_Idioms of the Greek New Testament_ p. 22).  My question--what can I say
about the occurence of a perfect tense (e.g. "the perfect tense here
indicates . . ."), and what would be going to far?  I've been reading
through John, so here's an example:

John 5:24
AMHN AMHN LEGW hUMIN hOTI hO TON LOGON MOU AKOUWN KAI PISTEUWN TWi
PEMYANTI ME ECEI ZWHN AIWNION KAI EIS KRISIN OUK ERCETAI, ALLA
*METABEBHKEN* EK TOU QANATOU EIS THN ZWHN.

What could I legitimately say about the *tense* of METABEBHKEN (so that
the average church attender would understand)?

Thanks much,
Jonathan Boyd
Ankeny, IA          
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