ἐν ᾧ ἀγαλλιᾶσθε, ὀλίγον ἄρτι εἰ δέον [ἐστὶν] λυπηθέντες ἐν ποικίλοις πειρασμοῖς,
In which you will be rejoicing greatly, although now for a short time, if it is necessary, you are afflicted with trials of various kinds,
Some Grammatical, Lexical, and Syntactical Notes:
- ἐν ᾧ ἀγαλλιᾶσθε. As Michaels notes, interpreters disagree about the antecedent of the relative pronoun (ᾧ ) due to their struggles with the present tense of ἀγαλλιᾶσθε (1 Peter, 27; see Forbes, 1 Peter, 23). The nearest antecedent is not hard to identify. The relative pronoun (ᾧ) agrees in number and gender with καιρῷ at the end of 1:5. Therefore, it is the likely antecedent and the relative clause that begins in 1:6 modifies καιρῷ ἐσχάτῳ (“end time”) at the end of 1:5. So, why do so many interpreters want to find a different antecedent for ᾧ? It is because they do not agree with Michaels that ἀγαλλιᾶσθε makes better sense here as a futuristic present than as a present tense verb with present time. I think that Michaels’s interpretation is correct for ἀγαλλιᾶσθε here and in 1:8. See my next note.
- The verb ἀγαλλιᾶσθε is a good example of a futuristic present and of the importance of understanding verbal aspect. If Stanley Porter is right, then the future tense in Greek does not provide any clear indication of verbal aspect (see Idioms of the Greek NT). This is what accounts for the existence of the futuristic present. If the Greek author wants to choose a verb that can express imperfective aspect in future time, he cannot use a future tense verb to do so. A future tense verb does not provide an indication of the aspect of the action. Therefore, one good option that he has is to use the present tense in order to express an imperfective aspect action in future time. He will accompany the present tense verb with time indicators to show that the time frame for the verb is actually future rather than present. That is what is happening in 1 Peter 1:6. The time frame is communicated by ἐν ᾧ (“in which”). “In which” refers to “in the last time” according to the end of 1:5. Peter wants to communicate that you will be continuously rejoicing (imperfective aspect) in the last time. The continuous rejoicing of the last time stands in sharp contrast with the short time of suffering that is going on now (“now for a short time”).
Coming Up: More grammatical and syntactical notes on 1 Peter 1:6
Note on helpful sources: On 1 Peter 1:6, see the commentary by Michaels that is referred to above.
Ramsey Michaels, 1 Peter.