John 6:40 V-PPA Question

How do I work out the meaning of a Greek text? How can I best understand the forms and vocabulary in this particular text?
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John 6:40 V-PPA Question

Postby Daniel Bilodeau » January 12th, 2013, 11:36 pm

John 6:40
τοῦτο γάρ ἐστιν τὸ θέλημα τοῦ πατρός μου, ἵνα πᾶς ὁ θεωρῶν τὸν υἱὸν καὶ πιστεύων εἰς αὐτὸν ἔχῃ ζωὴν αἰώνιον καὶ ἀναστήσω αὐτὸν ἐγὼ ἐν τῇ ἐσχάτῃ ἡμέρᾳ.


According to bible.cc, both "see" and "believe" are Verb-Present Participle Active; according to another website this should mean a persistent/constant motion or action ("the dog is barking", etc.,). Is this true?

Should, then, John 6:40's V-PPAs have been translated "IS seeING/BEHOLDING" and "IS believING"? Wouldn't this have indicated that if any person at any time fails to comply/meet these "terms and conditions" (as if these could be the "terms and conditions" of the New Covenant) at any point in time their failure to do so could result in them being "cut off" [John 15:2,5,6]?

The question is basically this: does the language not "open the door" to an interpretation that would contradict the "once-saved-always-saved"/"perseverance-of-the-saints" doctrines?
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Re: John 6:40 V-PPA Question

Postby Stephen Carlson » January 15th, 2013, 5:21 pm

A present stem verb form, here the present participle, can have either a specific or general interpretation. If it is specific, it would mean that the seeing or believing is on-going when the person has eternal life. If it is general, then it could refer to something that is habitual and so it is only necessary that seeing and believe is a characteristic part of the person's behavior. Just as other habits permit the occasional exception, I don't see anything in the general / habitual interpretation of the present stem that necessarily requires persistence or consistency of seeing and believing, though it does not exclude it either.

As for the fifth point of Calvinism, please note that this forum is for discussing the Greek text, not systematic theology. In fact, theological discussions are considered out of bounds here.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D. (Duke)
Post-Doctoral Fellow, Faculty of Theology, Uppsala
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Re: John 6:40 V-PPA Question

Postby Barry Hofstetter » January 16th, 2013, 8:05 am

Please note that the present participle refering to πᾶς generalizes it in the sense that Dr. Carlson describes. Also, aspect for a substantive participle is secondary. It describes its referent in terms of a particular type of action, so that ὁ πιστεύων is the practical equivalent of "the believer" or "the one who believes."
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Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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