Monday, October 24, 2022

Translating the Present Infinitive in Greek

The infinitive is on schedule for tonight's Greek class. I could not be more excited. In English, we translate the infinitive with the word "to" -- to go, to be, to teach, etc. But in Greek, kind of action often plays a prominent role in the use of the infinitive. A present infinite might suggest a continuous action. This should be brought out in English when possible. A classic example is Phil. 1:21 -- a verse many of us have memorized: "For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain." 

Notice there are two infinitives in this verse:

  • to live
  • to die

But the first one is a present infinitive, again, implying continuous or habitual action. We might render this verse as "For to me, to go on living is Christ, and to die is gain." 

This is called verbal aspect and it merits our careful attention whenever we read the Greek New Testament. For an overview, go here

Happy studying!