1 John 2:22

Steven R. Lo Vullo doulos at appleisp.net
Sat Sep 22 02:51:00 EDT 2001

on 9/22/01 12:20 AM, Kenneth Litwak at javajedi2 at yahoo.com wrote:

> I guess I didn't read this very closely in first
> year Greek, but I have a question about 1 John 2:22:
> If I read this as is, without imposing on it some
> theological agnda, it says
> "Who is the liar except he who denies that Jesus is
> not the Christ?"
> If ARNEOMAI meant "affirm", then the OUK would be
> reasonable.  Since John clearly is saying that the
> liar is the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ,
> the OUK seems out of place.  Now, one could take this
> as an actual question rather than a statement, and say
> that OUK is being used to show that the expected
> answer to this question is yes, i.e., the liar is the
> one who denies that Jesus is the Christ, isn't the
> liar?  I don't think, however, that for this to work
> the OUK can be in its position but must be with the
> participle, I would think.  The translation I
> consulted to check this simply ignored the OUK (NASB).
> That's not proper, so how is OUK being used?  It
> can't be used to say that the liar is the one who
> denies that Jesus is not the Christ, as that would be
> the opposite of the message of 1 John elsewhere.


ARNEOMAI ("to deny"), as a verb of speaking, has the hOTI clause is its
direct object expressing an indirect statement. Thus the hOTI clause
indirectly expresses the denial itself. The OUK is retained from the direct
statement reflected in the indirect statement. The OUK must be retained or
the indirect statement would reflect the opposite of what was intended by
the direct statement, since the direct statement is IHSOUS OUK ESTIN hO
CRISTOS. Without the OUK the direct statement would have been IHSOUS ESTIN
hO CRISTOS, which was not what the writer's opponents were saying. In
English, since ARNEOMAI already expresses a negation, we cannot translate
both it and the negative particle OUK. This is why NASB renders as it does
(cf. also KJV, ASV, NAB, NIV, NAS95, RSV, NRSV). Other translations reflect
the OUK, but translate ARNEOMAI with a more generic word for speaking, such
as "claims" (NJB) or "says" (NLT).

Steve Lo Vullo
Madison, WI

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