Mark 11:25-26

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at
Fri Nov 26 11:41:58 EST 1999

At 10:36 AM -0600 11/26/99, Steven Craig Miller wrote:
>To: David A Bielby,
><< I'm looking at Mark 11:26's term AFIETE. Present Active
>Indicative....I'm wondering about the correct application of the Present
>Active Indicative in this verse.  Is this verse saying "You should remain
>in a state of forgiveness".....or is it relating another concept? >>
>Concerning the present tense of AFIETE at Mk 11:25, Buist M. Fanning suggests:
><< In regard to positive commands, the point of this guideline is that
>present aspect should normally be understand as 'customary' or 'multiple'
>in sense, rather than progressive or descriptive in a narrow scope: it does
>not mean 'keep on doing,' 'be constantly doing,' but 'make it your habit to
>do,' or 'respond in this way whenever it is called for' >> (1990: 332-333).
><< Second question: I noticed in LSJ there are a number of colorful
>illustrations for this word's useage.  (I have BAGD and Spicq's at my
>office). Are there any other clusters of potential word pictures or
>illustrations to help one understand this crucial concept? Would etymology
>be helpful here? (For those who read Theological French and Theological
>German) >>
>The meaning of a word is determined by its context and not necessarily its
>usage elsewhere (which might be very different). As Nida and Louw, in their
>"Lexical Semantics," warn: "Perhaps the most misleading approach to meaning
>is the one based on etymology" (1992:2). Nonetheless, etymology can be a
>very interesting historical study in itself. Here the etymology of AFIHMI
>is well known. It derives from APO & hIHMI. Literally AFIHMI means "send
>off" or "hurl" (a missile); it is used figuratively in a legal sense to
>"release someone from a legal relation," whether office, marriage,
>obligation, or debt, meaning "cancel, remit, pardon, forgive." And this
>gets transferred over to the religious sense.

But in addition to that, it is also used as a Koine equivalent to the older
EAW, "allow," "let," "permit," and as such one frequently enough sees the
singular imperative AFES with a hINA+ subjunctive (modern Greek AS NA +
subjunctive) as an equivalent of the second person imperative of any verb.

In Mark 11:25-26 I would assume that AFIETE is in fact used like EATE in
older Greek, as an imperative: "Let it be if you have anything against your
brother ..."

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649
cwconrad at

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