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Thread: Appointed/tetagmenoi in Acts 13:48

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    tWebber
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    Question Appointed/tetagmenoi in Acts 13:48

    Hello,

    My head is spinning from all the parts of this one. I'm using BibleHub and they parsed tetagmenoi as:

    verb - perfect participle middle or passive - nominative masculine plural (https://biblehub.com/interlinear/acts/13-48.htm)

    I'm stuck on a few places. I'm trying to identify the type of participle. Is it "causal"? The phrase does not have "because" or "since" as part of the translation. Is tetagmenoi describing "believed/episteusan"? But then I see nominative masculine plural and I'm thinking that it describes "gentiles". But if that's the case, wouldn't it be parsed as "substantive" instead? I'm getting really confused!

    (I'm trying to follow this chart https://www.ntgreek.org/pdf/adverbial_participles.pdf and this page https://www.ntgreek.org/learn_nt_greek/participles.htm .)

    Some other thoughts... since it is in perfect tense, then this would indicate a "continuation and present state of a completed past action" (https://www.ntgreek.org/learn_nt_greek/verbs1.htm). But Wallace doesn't even approach the issue from this point of view. Instead, he focuses on the middle voice (https://bible.org/question/how-does-...predestination). So am I mistaken in looking at the type of participle as opposed to looking at the voice? Even if I looked at that, I was thinking that for middle voice to be true, that would mean that the gentiles heard the gospel and then believed by appointing themselves to eternal life. I think I got the wording right... which would mean the context doesn't fit. Therefore, not middle voice?

    While this is fun, it's also very frustrating! lol

  2. #2
    tWebber
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    The verb would best be described as a periphrastic (mentioned on the second page of your chart), where the esan (imperfect of “to be”) is combined with the perfect participle to form a complete past-perfect verb: As many as were having been appointed, or as many as had been appointed.
    It could also be treated as a substantive: As many as were appointed ones (people who had previously been appointed). The sense comes out the same, but the periphrastic is more appropriate as a translation.
    It is not causal or describing believed, but simply the verb (or substantive predicate nominative) of the relative clause “as many as were...”
    Verbs aren’t “parsed” as substantive; that’s a separate issue from the tense/mood/person/case that is parsed.
    Yes, the perfect indicates that they were presently in the state of ones who previously had been appointed. You misread Wallace. He says that the middle voice is used in Acts 29:23, but that in this verse the middle voice would be nonsense. It must be passive.

  3. Amen oopsies, Rushing Jaws amen'd this post.
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    tWebber
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    I have a lot to digest here so will probably get back on all the other stuff... with more questions!

    Quote Originally Posted by Just Passing Through View Post
    You misread Wallace. He says that the middle voice is used in Acts 29:23, but that in this verse the middle voice would be nonsense. It must be passive.
    This part really confused me because there's no Acts 29 so I wasn't sure which verse he was referring to. :S

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    tWebber
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    That was supposed to be 28:23, where the NIV translates it, "They arranged to meet Paul." They "appointed themselves to meet Paul."

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    tWebber
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    Ok, I think I am slowly getting it. Let me try again...

    καὶ ἐπίστευσαν ὅσοι ἦσαν τεταγμένοι εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον
    and believed as many as were appointed to life eternal

    tetagmenoi is a verb = action word. It is a participle = a type of verb that acts like a verb and like an adjective. The particular classification (such as substantive) is not a parsing thing. It's just the type of participle. It is also declined as opposed to conjugated (which is normally used for verbs).

    "as many as" refers to the "subset of Gentiles". Worded another way... "the subset of Gentiles" were appointed to life eternal believed

    This is an awkward way of saying it because it could be reduced to... "the subset of Gentiles" appointed to life eternal believed. The format "verb to be" + appointed (anarthrous participle) matches the "periphrastic participle" type (per the chart).

    perfect = past tense but because it is Greek perfect, therefore the time aspect is different than English. In English, it is a completed action in the past and the effect of it stays in the past. In Greek, it is an action that completed in the past but the effect of it carries forward to the present.

    tetagmenoi describes/modifies "as many as" that's why it matches as "nominative masculine plural"

    Therefore, the subset of gentiles were appointed at some time in the past. Their appointment status carried forward up to the point where they believed. And then it ends because the appointment state was interrupted by the believing state.

    More questions...
    1. For the anarthrous state, what article is missing but assumed from "appointed"?
    2. I thought the physical word order mattered. Why is appointed after believed but re-ordered in English, believed is after appointed?
    3. Can you explain a bit more on the Greek perfect? I don't think I'm really getting the difference between the English perfect and the Greek perfect. :(
    4. I don't understand "past-perfect" that you mentioned above. I can't find it online either. Could you expand on this one for me?
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    tWebber tabibito's Avatar
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    1. οι def art: nom masc pl (assuming that the perfect tense is playing as a noun).
    2. Physical word order is far less important in Koine Greek than in English. It has a usual structure, but the author's choice of emphases can lead to unusual structures.
    3. Perfect tense is as you said earlier - a continuing state that began with an action in the past. (also something that has been experienced - not relevant here).
    ... Work is/has_been finished for the day. (It will resume tomorrow)
    4. Past Perfect - was a continuing state that existed in the more recent past that began with an action in the more distant past.
    ... Work was/had_been completed for the day. (It resumed the following day).

    This is the only reference for τεταγμενοι in the New Testament. Identifiably not passive, because passive verbs aren't associated with accusative nouns (ζωην is accusative)*.

    Literal: As many as believed (they) were being having gotten eternal life assigned (to them). That takes a bit of unpacking.
    Koine Greek usually doesn't use the pluperfect, which normally is indicated by an aorist verb (often a participle) preceding another past tense verb (aorist or imperfect). The order is in this case important.
    "Believed" (aorist) precedes "were being" (imperfect). "Believed" therefore = "had believed" after which they "were being," which compounds with "having gotten ~ assigned."
    So: an English equivalent, correcting for the dictates of grammar, is "As many as had believed were being having been assigned eternal life."

    *passive FORM verbs can take an accusative: the sense then is causative passive - not relevant to the current discussion.
    Last edited by tabibito; 06-14-2019 at 02:49 AM.
    1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

  8. Amen oopsies amen'd this post.
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    tWebber
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    That’s not correct at all. ζωην is accusative because it’s in a prepositional phrase: εἰς ζωὴν, “To eternal life.”

    τεταγμενο is definitely passive.

    And while word order is not as important in Greek as in English, you can’t just rearrange the words any way you feel like. A verb in a relative clause never precedes the relative pronoun, as you tried to do with “As many as had believed.”

    But a verb does sometimes precede the subject of a sentence. In this case the subject is the entire relative clause “As many as had been appointed.” They are the subject. They believed.


    To unpack the verse correctly
    ὅσοι is an indefinite relative pronoun that could be simply translated “Whoever,” but with an emphasis on the number (whereas the similar word ὅσιοι would emphasis the quality: Whatever kind of people were appointed. While in this verse it is: Whatever number were appointed).
    The antecedent is the Gentiles, so “As many of the Gentiles as were appointed,” or “Whoever among the Gentiles were appointed to eternal life—that number (subset) believed.”

    A perfect tense refers to a present state that is the result of a past action. But “present state” can refer to the state at any point of time that is actually being discussed, so when the perfect participle is used periphrastically with an imperfect “they were” then it means at that time in the past they were in the state of appointment, the result of an appointing farther back in the past. “Past perfect,” also called pluperfect, takes a normal perfect like “I have already eaten,” and puts it in the past, “Yesterday, I had already eaten.”

    The primary difference between a Greek perfect and one in English is just emphasis. The emphasis of “I have eaten,” in Greek would be “I am now currently in the state of being full,” whereas in English we could be emphasizing either the past action or the current state. I could say in English, “I have eaten,” even if that was four hours ago and I’m hungry again. Since I’m no longer in a “fed” state, Greek probably wouldn’t use a perfect.

    When you said, “Therefore, the subset of gentiles were appointed at some time in the past. Their appointment status carried forward up to the point where they believed. And then it ends because the appointment state was interrupted by the believing state.” I would just quibble with “and then it ends.” The perfect doesn’t imply that it ends; it only tells us that at that point it was still in effect. In fact, because the main verb “they were” is imperfect, it expresses a continuation in the state of being appointed ones.

    More questions...
    1. For the anarthrous state, what article is missing but assumed from "appointed"?
    The periphrastic construction never uses an article, but if there were one it would be οἱ

    2. I thought the physical word order mattered. Why is appointed after believed but re-ordered in English, believed is after appointed?
    The entire relative clause “As many as were appointed” is the subject, which sometimes comes after the verb in Greek.

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    tWebber tabibito's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Passing Through View Post

    When you said, “Therefore, the subset of gentiles were appointed at some time in the past. Their appointment status carried forward up to the point where they believed..
    So - First they were appointed to eternal life, then they believed.

    That takes some consideration.
    1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

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    tWebber
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    Ok, I've been thinking about the additional stuff you two have said and I'm stuck on a different part.

    So far, I have...

    "as many as" is the relative pronoun
    "were appointed" is the participle
    "believed" is the main verb

    But, "as many as were appointed" is the subject which means the main verb, "believed", modifies (wrong terminology?) the subject. I don't understand how that can be. I thought "as many as" is the subject. It is, after all, the subset of the Gentiles, no? I see in the chart that the periphrastic participle is almost always nominative. Since nominative refers to "subject" and both "as many as" and "were appointed" are nominative, is this why "as many as + were appointed" is the subject? Is that how you arrived to that conclusion?

    On the bright side, thanks to all the various examples you guys provided, I *think* I get the difference between the Greek and English perfect. So it sounds like the subset of Gentiles were appointed and are in a state of appointment even "today" and in a way, the "future" as well. Sometime in there, they believed. Since that's an aorist imperfect active, then they (as the subjects) took the (past) action of believing. Can it be interpreted as... God appointed them from the foundation of the earth (passive voice) and when they heard the gospel, they believed "on their own" (active voice)? The appointment ends at "eternal life" (which basically shows that the appointment "state" never ends). I put "on their own" in quotes because I'm thinking if God appoints, then the believing action happens from the appointment. Which means they don't really "believe" on their own (in a sense). (Maybe my reformed bias is being inserted in this part lol) Is that a better interpretation than what I had before?

    For the pluperfect, do you think it was an oversight not to have it included in the morphology on BibleHub? Because pluperfect is one of the options that they could've parsed out according to their chart of abbreviations. Instead, they chose to use perfect tense. (Sorry, I haven't figured out how to do the declensions and stuff yet so I was just wondering about it.)

    I went back to the Wallace article and I think I get what he's saying now. I might be misunderstanding this but I think he's saying that the perfect passive form and the perfect middle form for tetagmenoi looks the same. Therefore, we need to use context to determine its usage since they would be indistinguishable in form. Because tetagmenoi is in perfect tense, that indicates the action having occurred and completed in the past (before the "believing" action). As a result, it would not have made sense for the people to have appointed themselves to eternal life prior to believing. Therefore, the passive voice is the one that makes sense. Did I get that right?

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    tWebber
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    “As many as” is the subject of the main sentence (It specifies a subset of Gentiles and says “This subset believed.”). It is also the subject of its own clause. That might be easier to see if we translate “As many as” with the single word, “Whoever.” So we have a clause “Whoever was appointed to eternal life believed.” Whoever is the subject of the periphrastic “was appointed,” and this subset of Gentiles that this clause describes is the subject of “believed.”

    Bible Hub doesn’t mention the pluperfect because it’s only parsing individual words. You don’t get a pluperfect until you combine two words periphrastically.

    And yes, I think you’re understanding Wallace correctly.

    I’ll try to briefly express my interpretation so you’ll know where I’m coming from. I’m Lutheran. When it comes to the doctrine of Election, we’re kind of a hybrid cross between Calvinist and Arminian (but closer to Calvinist at heart). Lutherans hold a tension of seemingly incompatible doctrines: God’s sovereign choices (appointings) to faith and eternal life that occur outside of time, and our free-will participation in that choice (by the Spirit’s regeneration) within time. There’s a tension between God’s sovereignty and our free-will, and between the fact that, if we are saved, it is absolutely and only due to God’s gracious choice, but if we are lost it is our own fault; it’s not because God did not desire to save us. There’s a tension between the teaching that those who are elect can never be lost, and the teaching that we can, by our own backsliding, fall from grace, shipwreck our own faith, and be lost. It’s a tension that can not ever be resolved within our own temporally-trapped perspective, but the Bible teaches both sides, so we say they’re both true, somehow. The question of “Why are some saved and not others,” is an improper one; no answer should be sought beyond the confession that I get none of the credit at all for my salvation (not even for the fact that I didn’t reject it as I could have), while the lost can not, to the smallest degree, blame God for their fate. Like when Peter asked Jesus, “What about John? What’s going to happen to him? (John 21:21)” and Jesus said, “None of your business.” Just give God all glory for your own salvation, trust him to preserve you in his grace, and leave all questions about his eternal perspectives on election and salvation in the hands of the only one who has that perspective.
    In a small way, Acts 13:48 ties it all together: The elect, those who were appointed to eternal life before the creation of the world, believed, taking part temporally in God’s a-temporal plan, and came to faith, without which we cannot be saved.

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