Colossians 1:23: a case for translating epimenete (continue) as imperative, not indicative

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This paper presents a morphological observation about a verbal form in Colossians 1:23 that potentially has several significant implications. The paper is, first, a foray into an important new methodological approach, namely the study of the divisions displayed in the earliest Greek manuscript witnesses. Second, it is an exploration of the meaning ofεἴγε(traditionally translated here as ‘provided that’ or ‘if indeed’), and whether in this context the particle γε modalises εἰ in such a way that the meaning of this composite form is ‘if so’, or ‘this being the case’, or ‘accordingly’, followed by the imperative. Third, the paper argues that interpreting ἐπιμένετε (continue) as imperative, not indicative, is a less problematic way of reading Colossians 1:23, both linguistically and theologically, than the traditional reading.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-94
Number of pages10
JournalTyndale Bulletin
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Ancient Greek texts
  • translation
  • Interpretation


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