This blog gains its name from the book Steele's Answers published in 1912. It began as an effort to blog through that book, posting each of the Questions and Answers in the book in the order in which they appeared. I began the project on Dec. 10, 2011. I completed it on July 11, 2015. Along the way, I began to also post snippets from Dr. Steele's other writings — and from some other holiness writers of his times. I still do that every once in a while.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Purification Prior to Pentecost?

QUESTION: Is not the participle "purifying" in Acts 15:9 in the Aorist? If so, should it not be translated "having purified?" If this be so, is it not an evidence that these people had been purified prior to Pentecost? And if this be so, then the Spirit was not given for purifying, but for witnessing God's acceptance of them. Isn't this Wesley's comment?

ANSWER: It is Aorist which, outside of the indicative and certain kinds of participles, is timeless and indicates a single completed act. Circumstantial Aorist participles denoting condition, concession, cause, or means, are always timeless. "Purifying," and "giving" in verse 8, denote means, thus: "And God bare them witness by giving (a single act, not a process) them the Holy Spirit * * * and he made no distinction between us and them by cleansing (a single act) their hearts by faith." See Goodwin's Greek Modes and Tenses, p. 49: "The Aorist Participle is sometimes joined with a verb of past time, to denote. that BY WHICH the action of the verb is performed, or that IN WHICH it consists: here it does not denote time past with reference to the leading verb, but rather coincides with it in time." Hence there is here no "evidence that they were purified prior to Pentecost." Wesley was too good a Greek lecturer in Oxford to make any such comment.

Steele's Answers pp. 203, 204.

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