Monday, February 18, 2019

Pursuing a verb form in Mark’s Gospel

Finding more good in the Good News.

I don't know exactly when this Aha! became a curiosity. I began to notice the present imperative verb form appearing in various places in the Gospels. The word listen in Mark, Chapter 4, when Jesus begins teaching with parables may have been the first. Listen is in the present imperative meaning to listen continuously in the present. Without being any authority I have the impression the Greek present imperative is without a duplicate in English. Call me an amateur with a great interest in how language functions in the communication process.

A slow dawning for a new way of thinking and believing was a slow process over five or six years as I read the daily office with their Scripture selections. I now had the  benefit of the HUB and their interlinear made this search more feasible. All the parts of speech were listed for each word. Before I had been using a bound volume of a New Testament Interlinear without any listing of the parts of speech. There I could only make a guess on the endings of words from my limited knowledge of Greek

My retirement project has been to construct my own interlinear. I am near completion with the four Gospels. Now I have the time to check out some other things.

This is what my Aha! insight has uncovered up to this point. First, Jesus is the one who seems to use the present imperative verb form. That raises a few questions on its own. When he starts his ministry in the early part of Mark's Gospel we find him saying, repent and believe. Both are in the present imperative, The verb form is saying this is not a one time happening in time, this is a process over time, on going. Repenting and believing as you go, daily in every now moment, is lived within this framework/context of continuous.

I am nw collecting these places in the Gospel where the verb form appears. I have a good start already. I will gradually post them here. I will stay with The Gospel of Mark now since that has been the main reading in the Daily Office.

If your as curious about this as I am or if you know others who have pursued this: send me a snail mail to

Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, 121 West 12 Street, Davenport, Iowa, USA. 52803

Mark’s Gospel, chapters 2 AND 10
Two healing stories, the paralytic and blind Bartimeus.
Here we have Rise and go both place, go, walk, 


Μαρκ 2:9 τι εστιν ευκοπωτερον ειπειν τω παραλυτικω αφεωνται 
σου αι αμαρτιαι η ειπειν εγειραι και αρον σου τον κραββατον 
και περιπατει Ä ? 

9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’? 

10:49 και στα ο ιησου ειπεν αυτον φωνηθηναι και φωνουσιν τον τυφλον λεγοντε αυτω θαρσει εγειραι φωνει σε Ä 
49 So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called.
Then they called the blind man, saying to him, “Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you.”
10 ινα δε ειδητε οτι εξουσιαν εχει ο υιο του ανθρωπου αφιεναι επι τη γη αμαρτια λεγει τω παραλυτικω Ä 

10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic, 

11 σοι λεγω εγειραι και αρον τον κραββατον σου και υπαγε 
ει τον οικον σου Ä 

11 I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” 

Rise is present imperative. It is one of five in Mark. Rise continuously.
Fourteen occurrences all together in the New Testament, five in Mark. 
Again, with one exception with the word rise, Jesus is the one speaking. It is as if healing is not is not a one time event within a person but an ongoing experience in the present which brings a transformation within as well. Life has a before and after the event and the after will be continuous as it is now lived from a different perspective. Another Greek word for time becomes relevant, kairos, when the time is ripe, ready, in the fullness of time, in contrast to chronic, where we get our word chronology. Each of these healing stories in Mark are a kairos moment.
Marlin Whitmer, BCC (Ret.)

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