by A.E. Knoch

GOD has often given me signal and astonishing answers to my prayers, but it is seldom that I have seen so much of divine wisdom displayed in response to my petitions as is evident in my clash with a Cambridge man in England. It has been a matter of much concern to me how I might approach the great institutions of learning with that part of my message which affects scholarship, especially the use of the English indefinite as a translation of the Greek aorist.

Scholars do not know what to make of the aorist, or indefinite, "tense" in Greek. As some of the forms are clearly past, most of them incline to this position. But there is another form for the past, so it is not at all satisfactory. In my work preparatory to the CONCORDANT VERSION I discovered the cause of the confusion. Only so-called "second" aorists were clearly past in meaning. But they were also past in form. Putting these in their proper place I found that all true aorists are indefinite, without exception. This has now been challenged and derided, in an article in The Bible League Quarterly, by one who adds "Cambridge" to his name.

On the surface I seem to be utterly beaten, and my enemies have not hesitated to make it known. Even some of my friends have considered the attack as a death blow to my position. But it was always understood that scholars would not acknowledge my discovery, for they teach otherwise. Now they have simply given voice to their dissent. How could they pocket their pride and acknowledge that they have been wrong? How could they admit that one from a different school is able to teach them Greek grammar? That they will never confess. I would not care to humiliate them to that extent. I have been praying for some less painful procedure.

The matter has been taken out of my hands. A Cambridge man has given his reason for rejecting my conclusion. This reasoning is clear evidence of a number of things. First, this man does not know how to reason. His college mentality is so low that it actually uses a syllogism which, if honestly used, proves himself to be wrong. In a single sentence, nay in a single syllable, this man exposes his own lack of mental vigor, his inability to disprove the indefiniteness of the aorist, and thus shows that the CONCORDANT VERSION rendering cannot be successfully refuted by the highest "authorities" in the English-speaking world.

The syllable which has defeated the scholar is -ING. The incomplete tense, in English, ends in ING. The indefinite does not. Our Cambridge friend wishes to show how preposterous it is to translate "Christ Jesus, who indeed, abolishes death..." His argument is that this is not true. To prove it he should have said, "Christ does not abolish death." Instead he says "Christ is not abolishING death." In denying the indefinite, he uses the incomplete! I did not say that Christ is abolishing death! That is just what I reject! I say that it is a fact that Christ abolishes death, leaving the time indefinite. I do not say when. He refutes what I did not say. He dares not deny what I did say!

I will say it again:

(2 Timothy 1:10, Concordant Version)

If Cambridge wishes to prove that the aorist is not indefinite, let this be put into the negative honestly, so:

Cambridge says that
Christ does not abolish death.

Until we are corrected, we will take this as the teaching of that great university, at least of one of her sons who has taken it upon himself to represent her. If it is not, let her repudiate him as well as his attempts at reasoning.

Can anyone blame me for being jubilant? I have met the enemy and he succeeded only in displaying his own lack of that mental acumen which is supposed to be his peculiar monopoly. I confess that I was once quite in awe of the giant intellects which hailed from such noted halls of learning. Now I fear no longer. But I must thank him heartily for the valuable evidence he has provided that the most scholarly are not able to refute the fact that the aorist is indefinite. Christ abolishes death.

The above was written some time ago, but for some reason was not published. It really contains a notable answer to prayer, and should be a help in dealing with scholars and those who are influenced by them. Since it was written we have had other experiences which confirm us in our conviction that we have the truth as to the aorist. Those who oppose do not give evidence. They do not seem to realize that their appeal to authority when evidence is so plentiful is proof they are wrong, not that they are right. In one case evidence of a sort was given. Four different words, on the authority of the accepted text books, were shown to be "second" aorists. Yet an examination revealed that each one of these forms was different in its make-up, and not one had all the features of a true aorist. And such forms as these are supposed to prove that the aorist is not an aorist (indefinite)!

Many seem to have difficulty in grasping the simple fact that the aorist is timeless. Some, like the Cambridge man, imagine that we make it apply to all time. Take the example given. So far as Christ Himself is concerned, death was abolished in the past when He was vivified. The saints will be made alive in the future. Others will follow in the far future. It never entered our minds that Christ is now abolishing death. The Greek is not in the form of the past, the present, or the future. None of these forms will state the truth. But the indefinite states it perfectly. Lack of clear thinking has given the English indefinite a false name (the "present") even in the minds of university men. Yet when they seek to make the matter clear, they leave the indefinite (abolishes) and use "is abolishing." The astonishing fact emerges that they do not really master the grammar of the English, let alone the Greek.

Only today, as I was entering the figures of speech in first Corinthians, I read how God chooses the stupid of the world to disgrace the wise (1 Cor.1:27). Does not this incident give us a little hint how He does it? We glory in God and in His Word, and in this treasure which He has confided to us in it. Those who glory in their worldly wisdom are led to do it in such a way as to refute themselves. When their eyes are opened to see what they have done, God will have them where He can deal with them in His grace, and where He alone will garner all the glory.

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