It’s All Greek to Me; And That’s a Good Thing!
That, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
Paul’s letter to the Ephesians 4:22-24
When I attended Asbury Seminary in the mid 80’s I was required to take classes on the Greek New Testament. I will never forget the day I spoke with my teacher after class expressing my concern as to how I would be able to handle Greek when I struggled with English syntax from time to time. He smiled and said, “Louie, don’t worry, keep coming to class for I assure you that as you learn the Greek, your English will improve.” And you know what? He was right!
Paul uses two different original Greek verbs in the passage above translated “lay aside” and “put on.” The wonderful and amazing thing is that God is a mighty God right down to the details! And although they are different words, these two verbs are both of the aorist tense of the Greek verb and in the middle voice of the verb. Now don’t worry if that’s Greek to you, for the meaning can be transformational to you daily Christian walk!
The aorist tense of the verb as used here denotes an action that has occurred in the past, but continues on, without limit. The middle voice means the subject (the Ephesians Christians) initiate the action as they participate intimately in the results of the action. Wow! Paul tells us by experience, that when one becomes a Christian, his or her filthy robe of sin is exchanged for Christ’s robe of righteousness at the cross and by His blood we are cleansed forever! Then, in the day to day, we don’t have to walk “in the former manner” in which we lived before we were saved, but as Paul says in effect, we are to “lay aside, lay aside, lay aside…” the old self and “put on, put on, put on…” the new self.
Invite God to help you live New Testament Greek style each day! And He will.
Praise God for Jesus (the Subject) who became flesh and dwelt among us!