Questions in the Greek class

We are on chapter 10 of James Turney Allen’s The First Year of Greek. The students spent the day practicing their participles. I have the utmost admiration for them as they are wrestling with an inflected language, Greek, but translating it into and out of English, which usually accomplishes its purposes with other devices, such as auxiliary verbs.

Often, the highlight of the class for me is when we are finished for the day. That’s when the pastors and elders start asking theological questions. Today, since we had practiced participles, Mario A. asked, “So at the end of Matthew, is Jesus commanding the disciples to ‘go’, if it’s a participle, not an imperative?”

It was an excellent question. The Greek reads: πορευθέντες ⸀οὖν μαθητεύσατε πάντα τὰ ἔθνη, ⸀βαπτίζοντες αὐτοὺς εἰς τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ καὶ τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος, (ΚΑΤΑ ΜΑΤΘΑΙΟΝ 28:19)

I explained that the Greek literally says “Having gone, instruct all the Gentiles, baptizing them…”, but the use of an aorist participle indicates that in order to teach the Gentiles, the disciples will first need to leave the mountain where they are standing.

There is a question like this every week. These men apply their Greek knowledge to the a Scriptures as soon as they assimilate each concepts. Each week, they ask questions that they didn’t know how to ask just the week before.


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