Everyone needs a sabbatical once in a while, and Bill Mounce is taking one from Koinonia blog until September. Meanwhile, we’ve hand-picked some of our favorite and most popular posts for your summer reading and Greek-studying pleasure.
We are pleased to offer another post from the "Mondays with Mounce" archive featuring Mounce senior, Robert Mounce. He addresses an aspect of Greek translation I must admit I've mistakenly failed to follow myself, using the exact example he gives!
The rule Mounce addresses relates to translating participles as imperatives. And the example text he uses is Matthew 28:19 where Jesus is quoted as saying, "Therefore, go and make disciples..." Or is it "as you are going, make disciples"? In today's archive post Mounce clears up the confusion.
Read the excerpt below, then click over to read the entire post so that you translate certain participles in their proper imperative voice.
On a recent Sunday morning I attended a church where the pastor said that the typical translation of Matthew 28:19 (“Therefore, go and make disciples”) is incorrect because the Greek word for “go” (poreuthentes) is a participle and therefore should be translated “going/ as you go.” Makes a reasonable homiletical point (day by day as you go through life, make disciples), but is that what Jesus said? I don’t think so.
The pastor’s misunderstanding stems from an inadequate knowledge of Koine Greek. While it is true that poreuthentes is a Greek participle it is not true that it should be translated like an English gerund (a form that is derived from a verb but functions like a noun: e.g, asking, thinking, etc.).
William D. [Bill] Mounce posts about the Greek language, exegesis, and related topics at Koinonia. He is the author of numerous works including the recent Basics of Biblical Greek Video Lectures and the bestselling Basics of Biblical Greek. He is the general editor of Mounce's Complete Expository Dictionary of the Old and New Testament Words. He served as the New Testament chair of the English Standard Version Bible translation, and is currently on the Committee for Bible Translation for the NIV.