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1 John 5:14-15

Context

5:14 And this is the confidence that we have before him: that 1  whenever 2  we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 5:15 And if we know 3  that he hears us in regard to whatever we ask, then we know that we have the requests that we have asked from him.

1 tn For the third time in 5:9-14 the author uses the construction αὕτη ἐστίν ({auth estin; 5:9, 11, 14). As in the previous instance (5:11) the ὅτι (Joti) clause which follows is epexegetical (explanatory) to the pronoun αὕτη and explains what the “confidence” (παρρησία, parrhsia) consists of (technically the subject is ἡ παρρησία, the predicate nominative is the pronoun αὕτη, and the ὅτι clause explains the predicate nominative): “And the confidence which we have before him is this, namely, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.”

2 tn A third-class condition is introduced by ἐάν (ean) + present subjunctive. Because the apodosis also contains a present tense verb (ἀκούει, akouei) this belongs in a subcategory of third-class conditional sentences known as present general. In the Koine period ἐάν can mean “when” or “whenever” and is virtually the equivalent of ὅταν (Jotan; see BDAG 268 s.v. ἐάν 2). Thus the meaning here is, “whenever (i.e., if) we ask anything according to his will, then he hears us.”

3 tn This use of ἐάν (ean) with the indicative mood rather than the subjunctive constitutes an anomalous usage. Here ἐάν is used instead of ἐι (ei) to introduce a first-class condition: “if we know (οἴδαμεν, oidamen) that he hears us in regard to whatever we ask, then we know that we have the requests which we have asked from him.” The reality of the condition (protasis) is assumed for the sake of argument; given the protasis, the apodosis follows. The use of ἐάν for ἐι is rare but not without precedent; see M. Zerwick (Biblical Greek §§330-31).



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