[B-Greek] A question from a Greek newbie

Sean Kelly seank at microsoft.com
Tue Apr 4 17:09:34 EDT 2006

Thanks for the explaination. I pasted my Greek from the Majority Text as it exists in e-sword.


From: George F Somsel [mailto:gfsomsel at juno.com] 
Sent: Tuesday, April 04, 2006 11:38 AM
To: Sean Kelly
Cc: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] A question from a Greek newbie

On Tue, 4 Apr 2006 11:02:08 -0700 "Sean Kelly" <seank at microsoft.com> writes:
> 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)
> ᾿Εὰν ἀγαπᾶτέ με, τὰς ἐντολὰς 
> τὰς ἐμὰς τηρήσατε· 
> 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 τηρήσετε, not τηρήσατε.  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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