[B-Greek] Eph 4:22: time of "being corrupted"
hholmyard3 at earthlink.net
Thu May 8 16:20:51 EDT 2008
Almost every English translation in Eph 4:22 takes TON FQEIROMENON as
something like "which is being corrupted." However, my understanding is
that the temporal force of a participle is governed by the time of the
main verb. Here is an online statement of that principle from a website
teaching NT Greek:
To the extent that the tense of a participle indicates time, it will
indicate time only relative to the main verb. Present tense participles
usually indicate action coincident with the time of the main verb.
The main verb of the clause in which TON FQEIROMENON occurs is
understood by most to be EDIDACQHTE in v. 21. This aorist verb refers
back to the time the Ephesians learned Christ (v. 20), that is, to the
time they were saved. So it refers to a past event. Is there any reason
why it would not be possible to translate the participle as "which was
being corrupted"? I will transcribe the passage from verse 20 through 23:
hUMEIS DE OUC hOUTWS EMAQETE TON CRISTON, EI GE AUTON HKOUSATE KAI EN
AUTWi EDIDACQHTE, KAQWS ESTIN ALHQEIA EN TWi INSOU, APOQESQAI hUMAS KATA
THN PROTERAN ANASTROFHN TON PALAION ANQRWPON TON FQEIROMENON KATA TAS
EPIQUMIAS THS APATHS, ANANEOUSQAI DE TWi PNEUMATI TOU NOOS hUMWN
But you did not thus learn Christ, if indeed you heard about him and in
him were taught, just as truth is in Jesus, that you should put off,
according to the former conduct, the old man which was being corrupted
according to the lusts of deceit, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind.
If it is possible, is there any grammatical reason why the present would
be preferable, or even justified?
The infinitive APOQESQAI (to put off) is an aorist imperative (in
contrast with a subsequent present infinitive ANANEOUSQAI [to be
renewed]). Most interpreters take this contrast to suggest a
once-and-for-all commitment to put off the old man that is undertaken
when one is saved.
If putting off the old man was a once-for-all commitment with ongoing
implications made in the past, couldn't it be appropriate to think of
the old man's corruption as something that was happening back then?
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