The Greek word "mello" in the Bible


#1

I’ve been reading some materials that say a certain Greek word, that is “mello,” is often mistranslated. The meaning of the word is “about to be.” Supposedly, certain Scriptures contain this word and give a sense of imminency that is obscured by a poor translation. I reviewed a number of these imminency Scriptures and have concluded most are satisfied as predictions fulfilled with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in AD 70. One that has troubled me is Acts 24:15. It reads as follows:

I have the same hope in God as they themselves have that there will be a resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous.

According to the materials I’ve been reading, it is more accurately translated as “I have the same hope in God as they themselves have that there IS ABOUT TO BE “a” resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous.”

My question is, does mello always mean imminent and if it does, what are we to make of an imminent first century resurrection of the dead?


#2

It does mean “close to the point of”, but it also can highlight “certainty”, and can therefore be translated “must”.

I have the same hope in God as they themselves have that there must be a resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous.


#3

Thanks, that was really helpful. Your proposed alternative seems more natural than the previous translation I was working with. Do you have a source I can cite about “mello” also meaning must? I’m dealing with some full preterists and a source would be really helpful. Thanks and God bless. :slight_smile:


#4

Liddell and Scotts’ Greek English Lexicon 1872 fifteenth edition.

  1. To be on the point of doing, to be about to do: hence to intend, design, purpose.
  2. To be fated, destined to do. To be likely, to be certain, often best rendered by ‘must’.

It is important the context in which Paul is making the statement, which if my memory serves me correctly is where he is on trial and is pitting Pharisees against Sadducees.

One group affirms the resurrection, one group negates the resurrection. Paul is affirming that Christians believe there must be a resurrection of the just and unjust.


#5

The best English translation is an informal one:

Mellei means “is gonna”. Sometimes, there isn’t any immediacy to it, though often times there is.


#6

The contemporary english version. There was this rad dude with the handle Paul…:slight_smile:


#7

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.