Donald Miller and the Aorist (Mark 8:34) – Mondays with Mounce 292
Thankfully, the days are long gone when we think that an aorist verb automatically describes a punctiliar action. No more describing the aorist as the bat hitting the ball (although the error is still present in some older commentaries).
I was reading Miller’s latest book, Scary Close, and it reminded me of a verse that illustrates the aorist.
What is discipleship? What is it to be a Christian (since all Christians must be disciples)? Jesus tells us in Mark 8:34. “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself (ἀπαρνησάσθω), take up (ἀράτω) his cross and follow (ἀκολουθείτω) me.”
The aorist ἀπαρνησάσθω may suggest that the denial is a once-off event, as might the aorist ἀράτω. In this case, both words would be referring to conversion.
However, in the parallel passage…
“A Teacher” or “The Teacher”? (John 3:10) – Mondays with Mounce 291
What a difference an article can make! This is an example of one of those subtle uses of the article that can often be missed, and is also an example of why we need to do our exegesis and translation looking at the bigger picture.
Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night, either because that is when rabbis study, or because he did not want others to know. In the case of the latter, it would give us the best example in the NT of the genitive of kind of time; Nicodemus came as one who comes in the night (νυκτὸς).
He addresses Jesus with some politeness in v 2: “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God.” Note the anarthrous διδάσκαλος;…
The Power of a “So” (John 13:4) – Mondays with Mounce 290
It is a well-known fact that Greek sentences tend to be longer than English, and therefore a translator will regularly turn a long Greek sentence into two of more English sentences.
The problem with this is that often the connection between the two English sentences will lose some meaning. In other words, the Greek will convey meaning that the English does not.
I came across a great example of this today in the NIV of John 13:4. This is the beginning of the Upper Room Discourse. V 4 reads, “so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.”…
Two Unusual Translations (Romans 5:6)
Paul wants to stress that the “utter dependability of our hope” (Rom 5:5a) is based not on the power of human love (v 7) but on God’s love as demonstrated by his death for sinners (vv 6, 8).
In v 6 Paul writes, “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” (Ἔτι γὰρ Χριστὸς ὄντων ἡμῶν ἀσθενῶν ἔτι κατὰ καιρὸν ὑπὲρ ἀσεβῶν ἀπέθανεν). There are a couple of interesting points to be made about the Greek.
First, γάρ is introducing not just v 6 but vv 6-8 (see Moo). If we used the simplistic gloss “for,” as do most translations, it makes the connection between paragraphs a little harder to parse. How does Christ’s death for sinners relate to our hope stemming from our justification? But when you see the γάρ introducing all…
Mounce Archive 23 – Missing Verses
Bill Mounce is traveling this month and is taking a break from his weekly column on biblical Greek until April. Meanwhile, we’ve hand-picked some classic, popular posts from the “Mondays with Mounce” archive for your Greek-studying pleasure.
Mounce asks one of most baffling questions about the Bible in today’s post: why are some verses missing? Thankfully, as he concludes, our faith does not rest on any of these verses in question. In his sovereignty, God has directed the copying and translation of his Word.
You can read the entire post here.
There’s Still Time to Take a New Online Class from Bill Mounce
Here’s a unique opportunity to learn second-year Greek with Bill Mounce. Act fast, because his online courses start January 11, 2016! -Zondervan Academic Blog Editors
You’ve taken your first year of Greek, so where do you turn next? The commentaries are still too hard to understand, Greek grammars are intimidating, and you really want to be able to sit down and just read the Greek Testament. And it would be nice to get seminary credit.
Now is the time to move to the next level!
The one-semester class will…
Hearing and Doing (James 1:23-24) – Mondays with Mounce 279
Anyone involved in translation knows that it is almost impossible to hit the nail directly on the head, so to speak. We either say too little, not conveying all the information of the Greek, or we say a little too much, being too interpretive at conveying the full meaning of a sentence.
Add to that our ignorance of certain constructions, whether they be Greek or Semitic, and it is easy to see why translation is as much an art as it is a science.
I was looking at James 1:23–24 and his call to not only hear the word but to do the word. “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at (κατανοοῦντι) his face (τὸ πρόσωπον τῆς γενέσεως…
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Relative Time with Participles – Mondays with Mounce 268
One of the challenges in teaching first year Greek (and writing a first year Greek grammar) is the question of simplification. How much do you simplify? How many of the grammatical nuances do you set aside?
If we taught everything first year, almost no one would survive. But if you over-simplify, the students will hate you when they have to re-learn things in their second year. Maybe not hate, but certainly not be happy with you.
A good example of this is the issue of relative time and the participle. Here is what I wrote in section 28.17: “Whereas the present (imperfective) participle indicates an action occurring at the same time as the main verb, the aorist (perfective) participle can indicate an action occurring before the time of the main verb. There are, however, many exceptions to this…
The Vanilla δέ (Matt 28:16) – Mondays with Mounce 266
The final sequence of events in Matthew 28 raises an interesting question about the δέ in v 16.
The angel told Mary and Mary to tell the disciples that they should go to Galilee to see the risen Jesus 9 (v 7), a command repeated by Jesus in v 10.
“While they were on their way” (Πορευομένων), Matthew tells us about the priests’ bribing the soldiers.
V 16 concludes, “So (δέ) the eleven disciples went to Galilee to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.” The question is, how do you translate the δέ?
1. If Matthew is making the point that the disciples obeyed the angel and Jesus, δέ can be translated as “so” (NET).
2. If δέ is a continuation of the temporal participle πορευομένων, it can be translated “then” (NIV, NLT, KJV).
3. If the…
Money Bags (Luke 10:4; 12:33; 22:35, 36) – Mondays with Mounce 265
Jesus says, “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out” (NIV; cf. NRSV, NLT, NET).
I don’t know about you, but I don’t carry a purse. Call me old fashioned, but I wouldn’t even carry my wife’s purse unless I grab the straps in a way that makes it clear the purse isn’t mine. And unlike some of my friends, I don’t carry a “man-bag.”
The other problem with “moneybag” is that the similar “moneybags” is used pejoratively for a wealthy person.
The problem is that there really isn’t a word in English for this. The ESV has “moneybag” (also HCSB), but that’s what a cowboy straps the the side of the horse behind the saddle. KJV has “bags,” but today that sounds like what we carry our groceries in.
The Problem of Pain – Mondays with Mounce 264
I’ve had a great summer. Good meeting with the CBT on the NIV. Time at the cabin with my wife Robin. And all the kids came back for a week before my Marine son goes on deployment. A good summer.
I’ve got lots of new ideas for blogs, but before I jump in I want to share something on a more personal level. I think I have finally come to terms with the problem of evil. No new revelation, but perhaps all the pieces finally came together after the right amount of time spent in reflection.
This is a big deal for me. I have often thought that if I had not been raised in a Christian family, I would never have come to Christ. Why worship a God who created the world knowing the unbelievable amount of pain that…