Ephesians 4:26

Dan Buck dbuck at briercrest.ca
Tue Mar 26 15:20:11 EST 2002

Elijah Yoder wrote:


I have two questions on this phrase, with the second one being the 
primary one.  The answer to the seond question, however, hinges on
a person's answer to the first.

(1)  Should ORGIZESQE be taken as a command -- "Be angry!" or 
should it be taken as a permissive imperative?  It seems to me that 
grammatically it can be taken either way and that one's theology will 
determine the answer given.

(2)  If ORGIZESQE is taken as a command, is the following a 
grammatically possible interpretation:   "Be angry!  Stop this 
continuing sin (of not being angry)!"?  Does the Greek grammar and   
context allow (or support?) this interpretation?

Elijah, you may be interested in an article Daniel Wallace wrote a while ago
specifically on this question in the verse. It is in Criswell Theological
Review 3 (Spring 1989): 353-372. He argues that there are 7 different
syntactical options for ORGIZESQE in 4:26
1) Declarative Indicative
2) Interrogative Indicative
3) Command Imperative
4) Permissive Imperative
5) Conditional Imperative
6) Concessive Imperative
7) Prohibitive Imperative

On the issue of the syntax of the construction Imperative+KAI+Imperative he
concludes (p.371) that all real or possible conditional imperatives are
followed by KAI + future indicative, KAI + imperative (functioning as future
indicative), or KAI + imperative retaining injunctive force.  

These structures and the semantics of the surrounding context which urge the
Ephesian believers to practice of the new life in the community argue that
the meaning of ORIZESQE is not concessive or conditional but command, with
the following KAI MH hAMARTANETE functioning as a prohibitive Imperative.

Daniel Buck

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