238 239 240 241 242 243 244 245
246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253
254 255 256 257 258 259 260 261
262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269
270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277


238. A conditional sentence consists of a subordinate clause which states a supposition, and a principal clause which states a conclusion conditioned on the fulfilment of the supposition stated in the subordinate clause. The conditional clause is called the protasis. The principal clause is called the apodosis.

239. Suppositions are either particular or general. When the protasis supposes a certain definite event and the apodosis conditions its assertion on the occurrence of this event, the supposition is particular. When the protasis supposes any occurrence of an act of a certain class, and the apodosis states what is or was wont to take place in any instance of an act of the class supposed in the protasis, the supposition is general.

Thus in the sentence, if he believes this act to be wrong, he will not do it, the supposition is particular. But in the sentence, If [in any instance] he believes an act to be wrong, he does not [is not wont to] do it, the supposition is general. In the sentence, If he has read this book, he will be able to tell what it contains, the supposition is particular. But in the sentence, If he read a book, he could always tell what it contained, the supposition is general.

240. It should be noted that the occurrence of an indefinite pronoun in the protasis does not necessarily make the supposition general. If the writer, though using an indefinite term, refers to a particular instance, and in the apodosis states what happened, is happening, or will happen in this case, the supposition is particular. If, on the other hand, the supposition refers to any instance of the class of cases described, and the apodosis states what is or was wont to happen in any such instance, the supposition is general. Thus, in the sentence, if any one has eaten any of the food, he is by this time dead, the supposition is particular. In the sentence, if any one [in any instance] ate any of the food, [it was wont to happen that] he died, the supposition is general. In 2 Cor. 2:5, but if any one hath caused sorrow, he hath caused sorrow not to me, but . . . to you all, the supposition refers to a specific case, and is particular. Even the mental selection of one of many possible instances suffices to make a supposition particular. So in 1 Cor. 8:12, it is probable that we ought to read, if any man is building, and in 3:17, if any man is destroying, and take the clauses as referring to what was then, hypothetically, going on rather than to what might at any time occur. On the other hand, in John 11:9, if a man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, the supposition refers to any instance of walking in the day, and is general.

Concerning a protasis which refers to the truth of a general principle as such, see 243.

241. Of the six classes of conditional sentences which are found in classical Greek, five occur in the New Testament, not however without occasional variations of form.

REM. 1. The classification of conditional sentences here followed is substantially that of Professor Goodwin. The numbering of the Present General Suppositions and Past General Suppositions as fifth and sixth classes respectively, instead of including them as subdivisions under the first class, is adopted to facilitate reference.

REM. 2. It should be observed that the titles of the several classes of conditional sentences describe the suppositions not from the point of view of fact, but from that of the representation of the case to the speaker’s own mind or to that of his hearer. Cf., e.g., Luke 7:39; John 18:30.

242. A. Simple Present or Past Particular Supposition. The protasis simply states a supposition which refers to a particular case in the present or past, implying nothing as to its fulfilment.

The protasis is expressed by eiv with a present or past tense of the Indicative; any form of the finite verb may stand in the apodosis. HA. 893; G. 1390.

John 15:20; eiv evme. evdi,wxan( kai. u`ma/j diw,xousin, if they hare persecuted me, they will also persecute you.

Gal. 5:18; eiv de. pneu,mati a;gesqe( ouvk evste. u`po. no,mon, but if ye are led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law. See also Matt. 4:3; Luke 16:11; Acts 5:39; Rom.4:2; 8:10 Gal. 2:11; Rev.20:l5.

REM. Concerning the use of the negatives mh, and ouv in the protasis of conditional sentences of this class, see 469, 470.

243. When a supposition refers to the truth of a general principle as such, and the apodosis conditions its assertion on the truth of this principle, not on the occurrence of any instance of a supposed class of events, the supposition is particular. It is expressed in Greek by eiv with the Indicative, and the sentence belongs to the first class.

Matt. 19:10; eiv ou[twj evsti.n h` aivti,a tou/ avnqrw,pou meta. th/j gunaiko,j( ouv sumfe,rei gamh/sai, if the case of the man is so with his wife, it is not expedient to marry. See also Matt. 6:30; Gal. 2:21; cf. Plat. Prot. 340, C. In Rom. 4:14; 8:17; 11:6, the verb is omitted. The use of eiv and the nature of the sentence, however, easily suggest what form of the verb would be required if it were expressed.
244. Conditional clauses of the first class are frequently used when the condition is fulfilled, and the use of the hypothetical form suggests no doubt of the fact. This fact of fulfilment lies, however, not in the conditional sentence, but in the context John 3:12; 7:23; Rom. 5:10.

245. On the other hand, conditional clauses of the first class may be used of what is regarded by the speaker as an unfulfilled condition. But this also is not expressed or implied by the form of the sentence, which is in itself wholly colorless, suggesting nothing as to the fulfilment of the condition. Luke 23:35, 37; John 18:23; Rom. 4:2; Gal. 5:11.

246. Even a Future Indicative may stand in the protasis of a conditional sentence of the first class when reference is had to a present necessity or intention, or when the writer desires to state not what will take place on the fulfilment of a future possibility, but merely to affirm a necessary logical consequence of a future event. 1 Cor. 9:11. Cf. G.MT. 407.

247. In a few instances mh, is used with the Present Indicative in the protasis of a conditional sentence, apparently to express a simple present supposition. 1 Thess. 3:8; 1 John 5:15.

248. B. Supposition contrary to Fact. The protasis states a supposition which refers to the present or past, implying that it is not or was not fulfilled.

The protasis is expressed by eiv with a past tense of the Indicative; the apodosis by a past tense of the Indicative with a;n. HA. 895; G. 1397.

The Imperfect denotes continued action; the Aorist a simple fact; the Pluperfect completed action. The time is implied in the context, not expressed by the verb.

John 11:21; Ku,rie( eiv h=j w-de ouvk a'n avpe,qanen o` avdelfo,j mou, thou hadst been here, my brother would not have died.

Gal. 1:10; eiv e;ti avnqrw,poij h;reskon( Cristou/ dou/loj ouvk a'n h;mhn, if I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ. See also John 14:23; Acts 18:14; Heb. 4:8; 11:15.

249:An is sometimes omitted from the apodosis. Cf. 30. B. pp. 216 f., 225 f.; WM. pp. 382 f.;WT. pp. 305 f.; of. G.MT. pp. 415 ff., esp. 422, 423.
John 9:33; eiv mh. h=n ou-toj para. qeou/( ouvk hvdu,nato poiei/n ouvde,n, if this man were not from God, he could do nothing. See also Matt. 26:24; John 15:22; 19:11; 1 Cor. 5:10; Gal 4:15; Heb. 9:26.
250. C. Future Supposition with More Probability. The protasis states a supposition which refers to the future, suggesting some probability of its fulfilment.  The protasis is usually expressed by  eva,n (or a;n) with the Subjunctive; the apodosis by the Future Indicative or by some other form referring to future time. HA. 898; G. 1403.
Matt. 9:21eva.n mo,non a[ywmai tou/ i`mati,ou auvtou/ swqh,somai, if I shall but touch his garments, I shall be made whole.

John 12:26 eva,n tij evmoi. diakonh/| timh,sei auvto.n o` path,r, if any man serve me, him will the Father honor.

John 14:15; eva.n avgapa/te, me( ta.j evntola.j ta.j evma.j thrh,sete, if ye love me, ye will keep my commandments. See also Matt. 5:20; 1 Cor. 4:19; Gal 5:2; Jas. 2:15, 16.

251. In addition to eva,n with the Subjunctive, which is the usual form both in classical and New Testament Greek, the following forms of protasis also occur occasionally in the New Testament to express a future supposition with more probability:

252. (a) Eiv with the Subjunctive.

Luke 9:13; ouvk eivsi.n h`mi/n plei/on h' a;rtoi pe,nte kai. ivcqu,ej du,o( eiv mh,ti poreuqe,ntej h`mei/j avgora,swmen eivj pa,nta to.n lao.n tou/ton brw,mata, we have no more than five loaves and two fishes; unless we are to go and buy food for all this people. See also 1 Cor. 14:5; 1 Thess. 5:10; Judg.11:9.
253. This usage also occurs in Homer and the tragic poets, but is very rare in Attic prose. It is found in the Septuagint and becomes very common in later Hellenistic and Byzantine writers. G. MT. 453, 454; Clapp in T.A.P.A. 1887, p. 49; 1891, pp. 88 f.; WT. pp. 294 f.; WM. pp. 368, 374, f.n.

For the few New Testament instances there is possibly in each case a special reason. Thus in Luke 9:13 there is probably a mixture of a conditional clause and a deliberative question: unless indeed — are we to go? i.e., unless indeed we are to go. In 1 Cor. 14:5 and 1 Thess. 5:10 a preference for the more common  eiv mh,  and ei;te . . . ei;te over the somewhat unusual eva,n mh, and eva,nte . . . eva,nte may have led to the use of the former in spite of the fact that the meaning called for a Subjunctive. 1 Thess. 5:10 can hardly be explained as attraction (B. and W.), since the nature of the thought itself calls for a Subjunctive. On Phil. 3:11, 12, cf. 276.  It is doubtful, however, whether the discovery of any difference in force between eiv with the Subjunctive and eva,n with the Subjunctive in these latter passages is not an over-refinement.

254. (b) Eiv or eva,n with the Future Indicative.

2 Tim. 2:12; eiv avrnhso,meqa( kavkei/noj avrnh,setai h`ma/j, if we shall deny him, he also will deny us.

Acts 8:31; eva.n mh, tij o`dhgh,sei me, unless some one shall guide me. See also Luke 19:40.

255. Eiv with the Future Indicative occurs as a protasis of a condition of the third form not infrequently in classical writers, especially in tragedy. G.MT. 447.  Of the New Testament instances of eiv followed by a Future (about twenty in number), one, 2 Tim. 2 :12, illustrates the minatory or monitory force attributed to such clauses by Gild., T.A.P.A. 1876, pp. 9 ff.; A.J.P. XIII. pp. 123 ff. Concerning the other instances, see 246, 254, 272, 276, 340.

256. (c) Eiv with the Present Indicative. The protasis is then apparently of the first class (242). The instances which belong here are distinguished by evident reference of the protasis to the future.

Matt. 8:31; eiv evkba,lleij h`ma/j( avpo,steilon h`ma/j eivj th.n avge,lhn tw/n coi,rwn, if thou cast us out, send us away into the herd of swine. See also 1 Cor. 10:27 (cf. v. 28); 2 John 10; Gen. 4:14; 20:7; 44:26; and as possible instances Matt. 5:29, 30; 18: 8, 9; Luke l4:26; 2 Tim. 2:12.
257. There is no distinction in form either in Greek or in English between a particular and a general supposition referring to the future.  The distinction in thought is of course the same as in the case of present or past suppositions (239). Thus in Matt. 9:21, if I shall but touch his garment, I sha11 be made whole, the supposition evidently refers to a specific case, and is particular. But in John 16:23, it ye shall ask anything of the Father, he will give it to you in my name, the supposition is evidently general. A large number of the future suppositions in the New Testament are apparently general. It is almost always possible however to suppose that a particular imagined instance is mentally selected as the illustration of the class. Cf. 240, 261.

258. When a conditional clause which as originally uttered or thought was of the first or third class and expressed by eiv with the Indicative or eva,n  with the Subjunctive is so incorporated into a sentence as to be made dependent upon a verb of past time, it may be changed  to eiv with the Optative.  This principle applies even when the apodosis on which the protasis depends is not itself strictly in indirect discourse. Cf. 334-347, esp. 342, 347. Sec G.MT. 457, 604 ff.

Acts. 20:16 e;speuden ga.r eiv dunato.n ei;h auvtw/| th.n h`me,ran th/j penthkosth/j gene,sqai eivj ~Ieroso,luma, for he was hastening, it were possible for him , to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost.  In this sentence eiv dunato.n ei;h represents the protasis of the sentence eva.n dunato.n ei;h which expressed the  original thought of Paul, to which the writer here refers. The same explanation applies to Acts 24:19, and to 27:89 (unless eiv du,nainto is an indirect question); also to Acts 17:27 and 27:12, but on these cases see also 276.
259. D. Future Supposition with Less Probability.  The protasis states a supposition which refers to the future, suggesting less probability of its fulfilment than is suggested by eva.n with the Stibjutictive.

The protasis is expressed by  eiv with the Optative; the apodosis by the Optative with a;n. HA. 900 ; G. 1408.

There is no perfect example of this form in the New Testament. Protases occur in 1 Cor. and 1 Pet., but never with a regular and fully expressed apodosis. Apodoses occur in Luke and Acts, but never with a regular protasis.

1 Pet. 3:17; krei/tton ga.r avgaqopoiou/ntaj( eiv qe,loi to. qe,lhma tou/ qeou/( pa,scein h' kakopoiou/ntaj, for it is better, if the will of God should so will, that ye suffer for well doing than for evil doing. See also 1 Cor. 14:10; 15:37; 1 Pet.3:14.
260. E. Present General Supposition. The supposition refers to any occurrence of an act of a certain class in the (general) present, and the apodosis states what is wont to take place in any instance of an act of the class referred to in the protasis.

The protasis is expressed by eva.n with the Subjunctive, the apodosis by the Present Indicative. HA. 894, 1; G. 1393, 1.

John 11:9; eva,n tij peripath/| evn th/| h`me,ra|( ouv prosko,ptei, if a man walk in the day, he stumbleth not.

2 Tim. 2:5; eva.n de. kai. avqlh/| tij( ouv stefanou/tai eva.n mh. nomi,mwj avqlh,sh|, and if also a man contend in the games, he is not crowned, unless he contend lawfully. See also Mark 3:24; John 7:51; 12:24; 1 Cor. 7:39, 40.

261. Eiv with the Present Indicative not infrequently occurs in clauses which apparently express a present general supposition. G.MT. 467. Yet in most New Testament passages of this kind, it is possible that a particular imagined instance in the present or future is before the mind as an illustration of the general class of cases. Cf. 242, 256. It is scarcely possible to decide in each case whether the supposition was conceived of as general or particular.
Luke 14:26;Ei; tij e;rcetai pro,j me kai. ouv misei/ . . . th.n yuch.n e`autou/( ouv du,natai ei=nai, mou maqhth,j if any man cometh unto me, and hateth not . . . his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Cf. John 8:51; 12:26 where in protases of apparently similar force eva.n with the Subjunctive occurs, and the apodosis refers to the future.

Rom. 8:25; eiv de. o] ouv ble,pomen evlpi,zomen( diV u`pomonh/j avpekdeco,meqa, but if we hope for that which we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. See also Jas. 1:26.

262 The third and fifth classes of conditional sentences are very similar not only in form, but also in meaning. When the subject or other leading term of the protasis is an indefinite or generic word, the third class differs front the fifth only in that a sentence of the third class tells what will happen in a particular instance or in any instance of the fulfilment of the supposition, while a sentence of the fifth class tells what is wont to happen in any such case. Cf., e.g., Mark 3:24 with 25; also the two sentences of Rom. 7:3.

263. It should he observed that a Present Indicative in the principal clanse after a protasis consisting of  eva.n with the Subjunctive does not always indicate that the sentence is of the fifth class. If the fact stated in the apodosis is already true at the time of speaking, or if the issue involved has already beens determined, thoughs not necessarily known, the Present indicative is frequently used after a protasis referring to future time. The thought would be expressed more fully but less forcibly by supplying some such phrase as it will appear that or it will still be true that. In other instances the true apodosis is omitted, that which stands in its place being a reason for the unexpressed apodosis. In still other cases the Present is merely the familiar Present for Future (15).

John 8:31; eva.n u`mei/j mei,nhte evn tw/| lo,gw| tw/| evmw/|( avlhqw/j maqhtai, mou, evste, if ye shall abide in my word. [ye will show that] ye are truly my disciples. Observe the Future in the next clause.

1 John 1:9: eva.n o`mologw/men ta.j a`marti,aj h`mw/n( pisto,j evstin kai. di,kaioj( i[na avfh/| h`mi/n ta.j a`marti,aj, if we shall confess our sins, [he will forqive us, for] he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins. See also Mark 1:40; John 19:12; Acts 26:5.

264. The difference in force between the fifth class of suppositions and the class described under 243 should he clearly marked. There the issue raised by the protasis is as to the truth or falsity of the principle as a general principle, while the apodosis affirms some other general or particular statement to be true if the general principle is true. Here the protasis raises no question of the truth or falsity of the general principle, but suggests as an hypothesis, that a general statement is in any single case realized, and the apodosis states what is wont to take place when the supposition of the protasis is thus realized. Thus in Matt. 19:10 (243) the disciples say that if the principle stated by Jesus is true, it follows as a general principle that it is not expedient to marry. On the other hand,  evan ou[ywj e;ch|( ouv sumfe,rei gamh/sai would mean, if in any instance the case supposed is realized, then it is wont to happen that it is not expedient to marry. Cf. examples under 260.

265. F. Past General Supposition. The supposition refers to any past occurrence of an act of a certain class, and the apodosis states what was wont to take place in any instance of an act of the class referred to in the protasis.

The protasis is expressed by  eiv with the Optative, the apodosis by the Imperfect Indicative. HA. 894, 2; G. 1393, 2.

There is apparently no instance of this form in the New Testament.

266. Peculiarities of Conditional Sentences. Nearly all the peculiar variations of conditional sentences mentioned in the classical grammars are illustrated in the New Testament. See HA. 901-907; G. 1413-1424.

267. (a) A protasis of one form is sometimes joined with an apodosis of another form.

Acts 8:31; Pw/j ga.r a'n dunai,mhn eva.n mh, tij o`dhgh,sei meÈ pareka,lese,n te to.n Fi,lippon avnaba,nta kaqi,sai su.n auvtw/|, how can I, unless someone shall guide me?
268. (b) An apodosis may be accompanied by more than one protasis; these protases may he of different form, each retaining its own proper force.
John 13:17; eiv tau/ta oi;date( maka,rioi, evste eva.n poih/te auvta,, if ye know these things, blessed are ye if ye do them. See also 1 Cor. 9:11.
269. (c) The place of the protasis with eiv or eva,n is sometimes supplied by a participle, an Imperative, or other form of expression suggesting a supposition.
Matt. 26:15; Ti, qe,lete, moi dou/nai( kavgw. u`mi/n paradw,sw auvto,n, what are ye willing to give me, and I will deliver him unto you.

Mark 11:24pa,nta o[sa proseu,cesqe kai. aivtei/sqe( pisteu,ete o[ti evla,bete( kai. e;stai u`mi/n, all things whatsoever ye pray and ask tar, believe that ye have received them, and ye shall have them. See also Matt. 7:10; Mark 1:17; and exx. under 436.

REMIn Jas. 1:5, aivtei,tw is the apodosis of eiv de, tij u`mw/n lei,petai sofi,aj, and at the same time fills the place of protasis to doqh,setai.  See also Matt. 19:21.

270. (d) The protasis is sometimes omitted. Luke 1:62; Acts 17:18.

271. (e) The apodosis is sometimes omitted.

Luke 13:9; ka'n me.n poih,sh| karpo.n eivj to. me,lloneiv de. mh,ge( evkko,yeij auvth,n, and if it bear fruit thenceforth, — but if not, thou shalt cut it down. See also Luke 19:42; Acts 23:9.
272. Eiv  with the Future Indicative is used by Hebraism without an apodosis, with the force of an emphatic negative
assertion or oath. Cf. Hr. 48, 9, a.
Mark 8:12; avmh.n le,gw u`mi/n( eiv doqh,setai th/| genea/| tau,th| shmei/on, verily I say unto you, there shall no sign be given unto this generation. See also Heb. 3:11; 4:3, 5. On Heb. 6:14 see Th. eiv, III. 11.
273. (f) The verb of the protasis or apodosis may be omitted.
Rom. 4:14;eiv ga.r oi` evk no,mou klhrono,moi( keke,nwtai h` pi,stij, for if they which are of the law are heirs, faith is made void, and the promise is made of none effect.  See also Rom. 8:17; 11:16; 1 Cor. 7:5. 8; 12:19; l Pet. 3:14.  In 2 Cor. 11:16 ka;n stands for kai. eva.n de,xhsqe.
274. (g) Eiv mh, without a dependent verb occurs very frequently in the sense of except. It may be followed by any form of expression which could have stood as subject or as limitation of the Principal predicate. The origin of this usage was of course in a conditional clause the verb of which was omitted because it was identical with the verb of the apodosis.  Both in classical and New Testament Greek the ellipsis is unconscious, and the limitation is not strictly conditional, but exceptive.  Like the English except it states not a condition on fulfilment of which the apodosis is true or its action takes place, but a limitation of the principal statement. It is, however, never in the New Testament purely adversative. Cf. Ltft. on Gal. 1:7, 19.

275. (h) Eiv de. mh, and eiv de. mh,ge are used elliptically in the sense of otherwise, i.e. if so, or if not, to introsluce an alternative statement or command. Having become fixed phrases, they are used even when the preceding sentence is negative; also when the nature of the condition would naturally call for  eva,n rather than eiv. Matt. 9:17; Luke 10:6; 13:9; Rev. 2:5. G.MT. 478; B. p. 393.

276. (i) An omitted apodosis is sometimes virtually contained in the protasis, and the latter expresses a possibility which is an object of hope or desire, and hence has nearly the force of a final clause. In some instances it approaches the force of an indirect question. G.MT. 486-493. In classical Greek such protases are introduced by eiv or eva,n. In the New Testament they occur with eiv only, and take the Subjunctive, Optative, or Future Indicative.

Phil. 3:12; diw,kw de. eiv kai. katala,bw, but I press on, if so be that I may apprehend.

Acts 27:12; oi` plei,onej e;qento boulh.n avnacqh/nai evkei/qen, the more part advised to put to sea from thence, if by any means they could reach Phoenix, and winter there. See also Mark 11:13 Acts 8:22; 17:27; Rom. 1:10; 11:14; Phil. 3:11.

277. (j) After expressions of wonder, etc., a clause introduced by eiv has nearly the force of a clause introduced by o[ti. Mark 15:44; Acts 26:8; cf. 1 John 3:13.