[B-Greek] A question from a Greek newbie

George F Somsel gfsomsel at juno.com
Tue Apr 4 14:37:36 EDT 2006

On Tue, 4 Apr 2006 11:02:08 -0700 "Sean Kelly" <seank at microsoft.com>
> I'm still working on my case endings for nouns and haven't even got 
> to verbs yet and so I am whoafully inadequately prepared to answer 
> this question on my own. I'm hoping one of you out there could help 
> me.
> John 14:15 states "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments."
> The Greek looks like this. (Please excuse me, I don't know how to do 
> the capital letter Greek)
> ?Åá?í á?ãáðá?ôå? ìå, ôá?ò å?íôïëá?ò 
> ôá?ò å?ìá?ò ôçñç?óáôå? 
> I've always understood this verse to mean, "If you love Me, you will 
> prove it by keeping my commandments." Someone recently commented 
> that there is a different understanding something like, "If you 
> focus on loving Me, keeping my commandments will happen 
> automatically." They also stated that the Greek bears this 
> understanding out. 
> Could anyone shed some light on this?
> Thanks for your time,
> Sean Kelly
> Husband, Father, Programmer

You confused me a bit with your version of the text until I actually
looked in my NT since the verb in the apodosis is ôçñÞóåôå, not
ôçñç?óáôå.  Do you have an electronic text which reads thus from which
you have copied and pasted?  

This is what is known as a "Future More Probable" condition (or in the
uninformative notation: "Third Class Condition").  It might be stated as
"If A, then B."  "A" may not be, but if it is then "B" is a necessary
consequence.  It is somewhat like the old syllogism used in logic:

Major Premise:  All men are mortal
Minor Premise:  Socrates is a man

Conclusion:  Therefore, Socrates is mortal.

Thus, while I wouldn't phrase it as "keeping my commandments will happen
automatically", I would agree that it is a necessary consequence once the
love is a given.  It is not simply a matter of proving or not proving
love but of its very existence.  If the commandments are not kept, there
is no love.


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