Indicative or imperative - How do I show all verb choices?

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James Garriss | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Oct 12 2010 5:14 PM

In both Ep 5:5 and Ja 1:19, the first verb of the sentence in Greek is "iste" from the lemma "oida."  The mood in the NA27 (and every other non-TR text I could find in my library) is stated to be imperative.  But the grammar, of course, allows for it to be indicative or imperative.  While I respect whoever decided to go with the imperative, I really want to see all options and make my own translation choices.  

How do I get Logos to show me all the verb choices?  TIA. 

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Alan Macgregor | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 12 2010 6:17 PM


Thanks for flagging this up. This is the sort of thing I just love to get my teeth into. Big Smile Interesting that the context means it could be either indicative or imperative and it appears to be a matter of choice for the translator/exegete really. The Pillar commentary picks this up and points you to further comments. As to your request that the meta-comment on the morphology should offer either, I take your point but I wonder how could this be done in the narrow confines of an interlinear or meta-comment. I don't think that there is any way to get Logos to show you all the verb choices, at least I can't see how to do it.

Below are the remarks in BDAG and O'Brien's Pillar commentary.

ἴστε Eph 5:5; Hb 12:17; Js 1:19 can be indic. (so 3 Macc 3:14) or impv.


indic. indic. = indicative impv. impv. = imperative William Arndt et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature ("Based on Walter Bauer's Griechisch-deutsches Wr̲terbuch zu den Schriften des Neuen Testaments und der frhchristlichen [sic] Literatur, sixth edition, ed. Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland, with Viktor Reichmann and on previous English editions by W.F. Arndt, F.W. Gingrich, and F.W. Danker.";, 3rd ed.; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 693. The opening words of the Greek are an unusual periphrastic construction,10 though the general sense is clear enough. They may be taken as an imperative and rendered, ‘Be sure of this’ (NRSV; lit. ‘know, knowing’), or as an indicative and interpreted as an affirmation, For of this you can be sure (lit. ‘you know, knowing’). Either way Paul is drawing attention to a certainty:11 persistent sinners are excluded from God’s kingdom. 10 ἴστε γινώσκοντες (‘[you] know, knowing’). ἴστε is a present indicative or imperative of the verb οἶδα (‘know’) — normally a periphrasis has the verb ‘to be’ — while γινώσκοντες is a present participle of another verb γινώσκω, which means ‘I know’. It has been thought that this is a Hebraism of an infinitive absolute construction which reinforces the idea of the verb, but here the two words for ‘know’ are not the same. Others, recognizing that it may not be a Hebraism, nevertheless think of it like the infinitive absolute and take the ἴστε as an imperative (‘be very sure of this’). S. E. Porter, ‘ἴστε γινώσκοντες in Ephesians 5, 5: Does Chiasm Solve the Problem?’ ZNW 81 (1990), 270–76, regards it as an indicative and suggests that the periphrastic phrase should be understood as a component of a chiastic structure in vv. 3–5. But there are elements of the chiasm that do not fall easily into place. See also his Verbal Aspect, 286, 362, 465; note further BAGD, 556; and BDF §353(6); §422. NRSV New Revised Standard Version lit. literally 11 The demonstrative pronoun τοῦτο (‘this’) refers to the content which follows, ὅτι πᾶς πόρνος κτλ. (‘that every immoral person …’). Peter Thomas O'Brien, The Letter to the Ephesians (, The Pillar New Testament commentaryGrand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1999), 362. Every blessing Alan


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