To Him Who Loves Us…

Ah, I love Greek. But it was not always so…

We spent the first six weeks memorizing all the paradigms. I hated it. I thought any more than two tenses was superfluous. Moods! For goodness sake, who needs moods? Take a pill or something. And the third declension. Geez, what a mess. Words completely failed me when I saw those paradigms.

And then I caught on. And since I was passing by the same area this evening, I thought I’d share my epiphany. Take a look at Rev 1:5b in the AV:

Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Now look at my translation from the critical text, the Nestle-Aland 27th edition:

To him who loves us, and washed us from our sins in his blood,

Can you see the difference? Can you articulate the theology?

5 Replies to “To Him Who Loves Us…”

  1. Nice call. The variants that make ἀγαπῶντι aorist are all much later. However, since the verbs are aorists instead of perfects, the AV translation doesn’t necessarily preclude him from continuing to love us, does it?

  2. I should add that one of the variants that has the aorist is the Majority text which is used for the AV.

    PS, λύσαντι is “freed” (from λύω) us rather than “washed” (λoύσαντι) us, which is also a later variant. It should read, “To him who loves us and freed us from our sins with his blood.” (You can edit your post and delete this part of my comment if you want).

  3. Nah. I deliberately left lusanti as “washed” so that the difference between the aorist of “love” and the present of “love” wouldn’t get lost in the rest of the shift. To say that he freed us from our sins isn’t really all that far from saying that he washed us, although if I were doing the translation elsewhere I’d do otherwise.

    As a substantive present participle, “to love” probably has both gnomic and continual force. So… “To the one who continually loves us.”

    As far as I know, whether or not a participle retains its aspect depends on whether it is attested in a variety of tenses. Since the both the present and the aorist are attested, the aspect is probably not totally flat and the tense has some significance. I think I’d expect the aorist if some specific instance of loving action were uppermost in mind.

  4. Ah, Greek. You gotta love it. Which of the two tenses is better attested? Besides, this could have reference to the instance in which he gave his blood. Although I have to admit any present tense attestations makes me think people wanted it to be continuous or at least concurrent.

  5. Oh, the present is better attested. The AV has the aorist because that’s what the Majority Text reads.

    H.B. Swete actually makes quite a deal over the abiding love and the completed act of redemption, that redemption being the crucial instance of His love.

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