I am currently in my 3rd semester of Greek, plodding through Dan Wallace’s grammar.  One thing that has fascinated me about the language is how the tense, mood and voice of the verb can so steer the direction of the text.   The syntax that we are currently learning, fine tunes it with many shades of color.  Nonetheless, even the basic elements of the verb dictate so much information.

As I’ve learned the different tenses, moods and voice, it has occurred to me that they can explain basic personality types and their doctrinal/theological persuasions.  So here are some personality types in the active voice (they perform the action) and indicative mood (presents an assertion of certainty).  What a fascinating study!

Present tense:  indicates either a continuous or undefined action usually occurring in the present time.

The Explorer: this personality type is prone to spontaneity.  To them, life is a continual journey that is meant to be explored.  This type has little structure in their life and can usually be found looking for the nearest party.  They most likely will gravitate towards the emerging/emergent church, have Brian McLaren, Rob Bell and Mark Driscoll in their google reader and think John MacArthur is a fascist.

Future tense:  describes an action that will occur in the future

The Dreamer: This personality type is a visionary and dreams big.  Don’t sweat this person with details because they probably can’t remember where they laid their keys five minutes ago or how much money they have in the bank.  People with this personality type suffer from eternal optimism that may not be too grounded in reality.  This type is typically drawn towards megachurches but doesn’t care for any nitpicky doctrinal issues.  As long as Jesus is mentioned is fine because Jesus said ‘greater works that these will you do’.

Imperfect tense:  describes a continuous action that usually occurs in the past

The Realist: Of all these tenses, this personality type is the most grounded.  They understand from whence they came and are comfortable with charting a steady stream.  They are quite responsible and dependable but lack imagination.  If charted off course, they can quickly become a Debbie Downer.  They most likely will choose land surveying as a career and be Presbyterian.

Aorist tense:  describes an undefined action usually occurring in the past

The Sympathizer: This type understands that they don’t have it quite together.  Whatever dings or positives have existed in their life is part of the puzzle to figure out and their life’s mission is to help others figure out their paths.  They might fall asleep in a theology class but thrive on trying to understand what makes their roommate or spouse tick.  Everyone should get Biblical counseling and they are prone to be counselors themselves.  God would call them to no other place than a Bible church with social programs.  Anything else would be less healthy.

Perfect tense:  indicates an action that was completed in the past that has an on-going impact

The Perfectionist: This person has arrived!  They know what they know and why they know it.  They have dotted their own “I”s and crossed their own “T”s and want nothing more than to instruct others in the error of their ways.  They are convinced that Matthew was mistaken in that the log resides in the other person’s eye, not to be compared with the mere speck in their own eyes.  And they wished Jesus had called them out of the boat instead of that faithless Peter.  For this type, counseling is of the devil and the King James version is the only inspired Bible.  This type would not be caught dead in one of those “carnal” churches and feels more comfortable where the holiness movement is praised.

Passive Voice:  All tenses in the passive voice receives the action of the verb.

The Victim: all personality types above in the passive voice are victims.  Whatever has happened in their life has not been their fault and their prayers are constantly directed towards correcting wrongs committed against them by others.  This type is typically a church hopper and longs to be on Dr. Phil.

The next phase of study will explore the imperative and subjunctive moods and middle voice.  Stay tuned!


    7 replies to "The Greek Verb Personality Guide"

    • […] Greek Verbs Personified 2009 October 9 by JohnDave Medina Lisa Robinson gives us “The Greek Verb Personality Guide” on Parchment and Pen here. […]

    • cheryl u

      Oh Lisa,

      I’ll bet you had fun with that one. I’m waiting for the next installment. The lighter touch is good once in awhile!

      How about a poll so we can see where people reading this blog fall in your scheme of things without us all having to confess for all the world to see?

    • mbaker

      What about those of us who find ourselves in between? I think, if we are really honest, we can all see ourselves somewhat in each of these scenarios, at least at one time or another.

      I dislike specific labels for that reason.

    • Lisa Guinther

      Oh Lisa I’m still laughing…I will send this link to my very Presbyterian brother…I know he’ll love it! (we both have a warped sense of humor)

    • Joe

      Very nice.

      There are some similar, classic Rhetoric studies out there, on the character of different tenses, moods. Think about polishing, footnoting, and publishing a version of this? Maybe co-authored with Dan?

      A nice balance of neutral, genderless (Presbyterian?) scholarship … with a feminine insight into character.

    • Lisa Robinson

      Joe, I doubt that Dan Wallace would condescend to this level of scholarship. Hopefully, he would find it amusing and see it as the light-hearted stress reliever it is meant to be. Seriously, there is no real scholarship here only the mad ramblings of an over-worked student 😀

    • Mike

      But they are all just too tense don’t you think?

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