Παραπεσόντας in Hebrews 6:6 -- By: John A. Sproule

Journal: Grace Theological Journal
Volume: GTJ 02:2 (Fall 1981)
Article: Παραπεσόντας in Hebrews 6:6
Author: John A. Sproule


Παραπεσόντας in Hebrews 6:6

John A. Sproule

The author defends the view that the participle παραπεσόντας in Heb 6:6 must be understood as an adjectival-substantival participle rather than an adverbial participle. As such, the participle cannot be taken as a conditional participle and translated as the protasis of a conditional statement. Since it is not the purpose of the author to exegete the entire pericope (Heb 6:4–6), appeal is made primarily to the grammatical structure involved and to a survey made of several prominent NT and Greek scholars in the United States, England, and Germany.

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The Problem

How the participle παραπεσόντας is understood in Heb 6:6 will significantly determine how the exegete ultimately will interpret the Heb 6:4–6 pericope. Other factors (immediate context, the overall context of the epistle, theological harmonization with the other warning passages and with established theology in general) must obviously be given full weight also if the passage is to be interpreted adequately.

However, to attempt a full-blown exegesis of this pericope is not the purpose of this brief article.1 It is the intention of this writer to defend the view that παραπεσόντας should not be taken as an adverbial (or, circumstantial) participle and, therefore, it cannot be taken as a conditional participle and translated into English as the protasis (“if “ clause) of a conditional sentence.2 Evidence will be presented to show that παραπεσόντας is the fifth participle in a series

of adjectival (substantival)3 participles, beginning in Heb 6:4, all governed by the masculine, accusative, plural article τούς. Further, a diagrammatical analysis will be presented in defense of the view taken by this writer. Along with the evidence mentioned above, the author will present the results of a survey made in 1979 of several prominent NT and Greek scholars relative to the problem being discussed.

It is fully understood by this writer that many able and experienced Greek exegetes (including some of ...

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