Tag Archives | grammar

The Passive Voice Should Be Avoided, Right?

The Elements of StyleLike most of you who have taken classes with teachers who provided grammatical and stylistic critiques of your papers, I was told to avoid the passive voice as much as possible. Yet I was never really completely convinced of the notion. The Greek New Testament is full of passives, I rebutted, and a grammatical active may be a semantic passive (yet these, strangely, never got marked as improper). I just never felt like the case against passives was convincing. It was more of an unquestionable rule of proper writing style.

But not everyone is afraid to question this prevailing notion. I just read a scathing (understatement!) review of Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style that addresses the issue of passives, among other things. It was written by Geoffrey K. Pullum, who is the head of linguistics and English language at the University of Edinburgh.

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Basics of Verbal Aspect in Biblical Greek by Constantine R. Campbell

About two months ago, I happened to catch a Zondervan blog post that mentioned that they were giving away 20 review copies of Constantine Campbell’s Basics of Verbal Aspect in Biblical Greek. I enjoy studying Greek, needed to learn more about the verbal aspect theory, and like free books, so I sent off my email and managed to snag a copy.

I got a friendly email yesterday reminding me that I still needed to write my review and mentioning the week-long series of blog posts on verbal aspect from the book’s author next week at the Zondervan Koinonia blog. It appears that I’m not alone as I’ve seen several other reviews coming out today.

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No More Sea?

Sunset over the SeaDoes Revelation 21:1 teach that the new earth will not have large bodies of water (θαλάσσας)—no more lakes, seas, or oceans? Most think so.

The “sea” . . . must disappear before the eternity of joy can begin.1

The first hint of what the new heaven and new earth will be like comes in John’s observation that there will no longer be any sea. That will be a startling change from the present earth, nearly three-fourths of which is covered by water.2

Why would this be? Most argue that the sea symbolizes evil (or death or disorder), and thus the eradication of evil necessitates the removal of the sea.
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  1. Grant R. Osborne, Revelation, BECNT (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2002), 743.
  2. John MacArthur, Revelation 12–22 (Chicago: Moody, 2000), 263.