Mark 1:5 and the people's confessing

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at
Mon Mar 18 20:26:29 EST 2002

At 2:34 PM -0800 3/18/02, Daniel E. Barnes wrote:
>I have a question concerning the participle present middle EXOMOLOGOUMENOI
>in Mark 1:5.
>I have seen translations use something like, "And while confessing their
>sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River." I have seen also seen
>that the participle is also sometimes translated as "after". (is this
>only for the participle aorist?) So my question is could the participle
>EXOMOLOGOUMENOI be understood this way giving a translation along the lines
>of "And after confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan
>River." Sorry if this is basic stuff, but I am just playing around on my own
>right now until I take Greek next semester.

Well, the participle is present-tense and so OUGHT to indicate that the
people's action of confessing their sins is part of the process of getting
baptized rather than antecedent to it. It's also interesting that the
participial phrase EXOMOLOGOUMENOI TAS hAMARTIAS AUTWN follows rather than
precedes the main clause, EBAPTIZONTO hUP' AUTOU EN TWi IORDANHi POTAMWi.
Certainly the more common phrasing for "And after confessing their sins,
they were baptized by him ..." would be EXOMOLOGHSAMENOI TAS hAMARTIAS
AUTWN EBAPTIZONTO hUP' AUTOU ..." I frankly don't see ANY justification in
the Greek text as it stands for translating EXOMOLOGOUMENOI as "having

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
Most months:: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad at OR cwconrad at

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