Customary, Habitual, General Present Tense

Steven Lo Vullo doulos at
Sat Jan 12 17:10:40 EST 2002

On Saturday, January 12, 2002, at 12:49  PM, waldo slusher wrote:

> partial]
> On page 522 in Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, by
> Daniel B. Wallace, he offers comments on this verse
> "In this Gospel, there seems to be a qualitative
> distinction between the ongoing act of believing and
> the simple fact of believing."
> If this statment accurately captures John the
> Apostle's intent, would we not expect to find MH
> APOLHTAI in a Future Tense? What I am asking is this:
> if John is saying the we are to be in the ongoing act
> of believing, then "not perishing" will be the
> subsequent outcome sometime in the future (after we
> demonstrate an ongoing believing)?

APOLHTAI is in the subjunctive mood, which has no future tense (only 
present and aorist), since, strictly speaking, it has no absolute time 
significance. The reason the subjunctive mood is used here is because 
APOLHTAI  (along with ECHi) is part of a purpose clause introduced by 
hINA. This is the usual way of expressing purpose with a hINA clause, 
though there are some examples of the future indicative used in a 
purpose clause with hINA, though this is not common. Even though the 
subjunctive mood has no future tense, it is, in a certain sense, future 
oriented, since (to greatly oversimplify) it indicates possibility or 
probability. For example, a purpose (as here) is future oriented. But I 
don't think any of this either confirms or denies Dr. Wallace's view. 
Ultimately, considerations beyond grammar will come into play in 
deciding this issue. But I think it would be mistaken to conclude that 
Dr. Wallace necessarily thinks "'not perishing' will be the subsequent 
outcome sometime in the future (after we demonstrate an ongoing 

Steven Lo Vullo
Madison, WI

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