For a while now, President Nelson has been including (ostensible) references to ancient biblical Greek in his talks, such as in his most recent one.
This could be seen as a good thing. If more and more leaders were to study biblical languages, perhaps more and more members would too, and maybe the Church would engage in mainstream biblical scholarship and even develop a viable hermeneutic for the 21st century.
But there are some issues with RMN’s references. Misspellings. Overlooked accent marks. Incorrect grammatical terminology. Questionable definitions. And because his references do not have accompanying citations leading to a dictionary or a grammar book — instead, the citations lead to his own previous talks or simply to passages in the New Testament — there is no obvious indication as to what sources he’s been basing his study on.
The term perfect was translated from the Greek teleios, which means ‘complete.’ … The infinitive form of the verb is teleiono, which means ‘to reach a distant end, to be fully developed, to consummate, or to finish.’ Please note that the word does not imply ‘freedom from error’; it implies ‘achieving a distant objective.’ …
Since “teleiono,” with an “n,” cannot be found in any dictionary or lexicon of ancient Greek, whether classical or biblical, you might suppose that we’re dealing with a typographical mistake.
There is indeed an ancient Greek verb “teleioo,” more properly transliterated “teleióō” (τελειόω). [Sidebar: unlike English dictionaries, in dictionaries and lexica of ancient Greek the lemma for thematic verbs is not the infinitive form/s but the first-person singular of the present indicative active.]
So maybe he was using the right dictionary for the right language but just accidentally wrote or typed the word a bit wrong. Or maybe the mistake crept in during the preparation of the talk for publication by editorial staff.
That’s not what happened though. For one thing, you can clearly hear him say “teleiono,” with an “n,” in the recording of the 1995 talk (go to the 5:00 mark). And for another, that verb, which cannot be found in any dictionary of ancient Greek, can, however, be found in MODERN Greek dictionaries because it is MODERN Greek.
Using a modern Greek dictionary to understand the New Testament is like using an Italian dictionary to understand Cicero. And to do that in a public address as a leader of a worldwide organization is what ancient Greeks would call hubris.