[B-Greek] Present tense for future events (was 1 John 1.9)

Iver Larsen iver_larsen at sil.org
Fri May 8 01:52:22 EDT 2009

Just a few comments below:

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Eddie Mishoe" <edmishoe at yahoo.com>
To: <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>; "Iver Larsen" <iver_larsen at sil.org>
Sent: 7. maj 2009 21:40
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] Present tense for future events (was 1 John 1.9)

Thank you for these examples Iver. Let me suggest, without appropriate study time in these usages, 
the following in order to show why I have come to my conclusions.

3:18 ὁ πιστεύων εἰς αὐτὸν οὐ κρίνεται
CEV: No one who has faith in God's Son will be condemned.

EM: The idea here is not that the believer will not come into condemnation in the future, true 
though that be, but that the believer "IS NOT condemned (even now)".
IL: This indicates a present state and is expressed in Greek by KEKRITAI as we have in the next 
7:33 Ἔτι χρόνον μικρὸν μεθ᾽ ὑμῶν εἰμι καὶ ὑπάγω πρὸς τὸν πέμψαντά με
NLT: I will be with you only a little longer. Then I will return to the one who sent me.

EM: Again, the idea is not "I will be with you (in the future) only a little while. And the 
conditions that must be fulfilled or met before Christ returns to the one having sent him are 
already being met. I think this is why the NLT translation adds "THEN I will return." The addition 
of THEN  adds a deictic center. But this usage seems to conflict with my previous statements about 
adverbs modifying verbs not serving as deictic centers. I need to restate that as adverbs modifying 
verbs indicating "HOW" never serve as deictic centers, but adverbs functioning as "WHEN" or temporal 
adverbs can serve as deictic centers.
IL: I don't adhere to the theory of deictic centers. The NLT was only given as an example of a 
translation using the future "I will return" for the present hUPAGW. Other ways are possible in 
English, e.g. I am going to return. The first clause has a "true" present: "I am only with you for 
yet a little while." The "going away" - hUPAGW refers to a future event after the "little while" has 
expired as indicated by "then".
7:41 Μὴ γὰρ ἐκ τῆς Γαλιλαίας ὁ Χριστὸς ἔρχεται;
NLT: Will the Messiah come from Galilee?
REB: Surely the Messiah is not to come from Galilee.

EM: This is really not a temporal expression. The idea is "The Messiah IS not coming out of Galilee 
(whenever he does come)." Also, the idea is also not "The Messiah will not come in the future out of 
Galilee." Sometimes adding "in the future" helps resolve these kinds of temporal issues.
IL: The speaker does not accept that Jesus is the Messiah, so he is still waiting for the Messiah to 
come in the future some time. The Greek present tense indicates the "scheduled event", which happen 
to be a common usage of the present form in English, too. (I have an exam tomorrow. I am coming next 
For 2. a few examples also (Tony suggests 24 of these in John):

2:18 Τί σημεῖον δεικνύεις ἡμῖν
NIV: What miraculous sign can you show us?

EM: The request is not for a sign in the future. What miraculous sign can you show us RIGHT NOW. 
Again, adding "in the future" clears these kind of constructs up.
IL: It appears that you do not include "immediate future" in your concept of "future", but rather 
includes it in your concept of "present time".
4:11 πόθεν οὖν ἔχεις τὸ ὕδωρ τὸ ζῶν;
CEV: Where are you going to get this life-giving water?

EM: Just add "in the future." The idea is NOT where will you get this water in the future, but where 
is this water to which you refer.

10:32 διὰ ποῖον αὐτῶν ἔργον ἐμὲ λιθάζετε;
GW: For which of these good things do you want to stone me to death?

EM: Jesus is not asking when in the future (as if he is inquiring about their intentions for next 
Thursday) do you plan on stoning me, but for which good work are you even now (they have already 
giving Jesus indication that they are going to stone him; perhaps they have gathered some stones to 
initiate the stoning; something prompted this question by Jesus; there was obviously indications of 
a stoning taking place) beginning to stone me. The stoning of someone begins with antecedent 
actions, such as holding counsel to confirm an act worthy of stoning has been committed, the 
gathering of stones, etc.
IL: Same comment as above. For some reason, you are equating "future" with "distant future" and 
excluding "immediate future".
Anyway, I will need more time to analyze these passages, but I wanted to show the thinking process 
behind my conclusions.

IL: I suggest you read the quote from Winer again. He expressed it very well.

Iver Larsen 

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