“Sanctified” and “Preserved” and the Perfect Tense


          According to Ray Summers in his book Essentials of New Testament Greek (p. 103), English translators have a robust challenge trying to adequately covert the Greek language’s perfect tense. The English language does not have a tense of “completed action”; the Greek language does.

          In New Testament Greek, the perfect tense involves three ideas: 1) an action previously in progress 2) has come to a point of culmination and 3) now exists as a completed result. Its purpose, therefore, is to indicate a completed action or process with a resulting state of being.

          The translation of gegraptai in Matthew 4:4 is an excellent example of this tense. Most English translations read “it is written”. Because of the perfect tense, the meaning is much richer. It indicates that the written word of God is the result of a process (i.e. the revelation of God’s will to inspired men over centuries) which stands authoritative and complete never to be edited, abridged, or amended.

          In like manner, the use of the perfect tense with the verbs “sanctified” and “preserved” in Jude 1 indicates to its original readers that their present state of spiritual well-being is the culmination of actions initiated by the Father and the Son. They are enjoyed by those who share the common salvation, because they answered the call of the gospel by meeting the conditions of faith, repentance, confession, and baptism found in its invitation.

          When it comes to getting a sinner out of his lost and guilty state and into the realm of all spiritual blessings (i.e. sanctified) and then keeping the saved one saved (i.e. preserved), the Father and the Son have the perfect plan.

          “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, Who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen” (Jude 24-25).


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Author: jchowning

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