It is written in 1Peter chapter 1 verse 13:

Διὸ ἀναζωσάμενοι τὰς ὀσφύας τῆς διανοίας ὑμῶν νήφοντες τελείως ἐλπίσατε ἐπὶ τὴν φερομένην ὑμῖν χάριν ἐν ἀποκαλύψει Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ

Wherefore having girded up the loins of your mind, being sober, hope perfectly upon the grace that is being brought to you in the revelation of Jesus Christ (YLT)

So, there are three sequential verbs that are adressed to the readers for action: 1. gird up (ἀναζωσάμενοι), 2. be sober (νήφοντες), 3. hope (ἐλπίσατε). I think that the translation brought above put accurately the relation between the verbs: the first two verbs are in participle mood, while the third verb (hope) is in imperative mood, what makes the third verb dependant on the putting to action of the previous two.

However, there is still a little difference between verb 1 (aorist Middle) and verb 2 (present active). Does the fact of verb 1 being in aorist tense comparing to verb 2 being in present tense tell us the exact order of the actions?

Can we put it this way: "By firstly girding up the loins of your mind, then being sober, hope..."?

Or in other words, can we conclude that the message of Peter in this verse is that we may only be able to be sober if we first gird up the loins of our minds?

If not, what can be a proper explanation for the difference between the first two verbs' tenses?

3 Answers 3


I know Greek but I can’t figure out how to properly deal with posts and comments on this website… so bear with me.

Robb is right about aorist not negating present or continuous action.

I think it best to start with the opening term, Διὸ. The first word of the verse. It refers back to 1Peter 1:12.

Διὸ connotes “for this reason” or therefore.

ἀναζωσάμενοι is an middle aorist and might literally be rendered as “The loins of your mind being girded up” an existing state involving the result of an action (gird) but the action is expressed in aorist also as a condition or state of being. There is no perfect parallel to English with this aorist construct… to get into the weeds it is an old construct (Homeric/Iconic)… “The loins of your mind being girded up” is the best I can do…

νήφοντες is present “being sober” also as in existing at the present as a continuous action/condition “be sober” fits

ἐλπίσατε is aorist imperative which I think is better rendered as “expect” not “hope for”. Tyndale renders it as “trust perfectly”. NLT renders it as “look forward to”. The Latin Vulgate “spate” also can be rendered as expect or trust.

νήφοντες and ἐλπίσατε have to do with states of being one is not contingent on the other… be sober, be girded…

Howard's version:

Therefore the loins of your mind being girded up, be sober, and fully expect the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

I need a nap after I try to explain Greek aorist!!


I'm new and by no means a greek expert but I'll take a stab at this:

What I remember from my seminary days, participles need not be translated as English gerunds if the main verb to which they attend is imperative in mood. In those instances (Matt 28:19 is a famous example), the attendant participles are rightly translated/understood as imperative in nature, though they are still subordinate to the main verb. So in this case, I think I would understand ἀναζωσάμενοι and νήφοντες as qualifying attendants to ἐλπίσατε, rather than chronological prerequisites.

In other words, it may be possible to fix your hope on future grace while simultaneously being lazy of mind, but it would not be ideal.

To your specific question, "can we conclude that the message of Peter in this verse is that we may only be able to be sober if we first gird up the loins of our minds?" I would answer NO. The aorist does not negate the notion of a present or continuous action, and in this case I think common sense would say that the girding up must be precisely that.


Here are two translations to think about in trying to answer it. I find that looking at Jonathan Mitchel's NT is helpful since he even looks at the variants and alternatives.

1Pe 1:13 (JMNT)

On which account (or: Wherefore), in preparation for work or action, girding up in yourselves the clothes about the loins (or: waist; = getting ready for action) of your divided thoughts and the things passing through your mind (or: mental perceptions; intellect and comprehension), continuously being perfectly (or: maturely) clear-headed and sober (unintoxicated), direct and set (or: being constantly sober-minded, completely direct and set) your hope and expectation upon the grace and favor being continuously brought (or: periodically and progressively carried) to you within an unveiling (or: in the midst of a disclosure) of Jesus Christ (or: a revelation which is Jesus [the] Anointed One; or: an uncovering which comes from and pertains to Jesus Christ).

In terms of an answer, I see it like:

1) Having girded up (tucking in the lose parts)

2) Continually being free from illusion (and entanglements)

3) Expect it / Anticipate it.

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