Please click on the link to view Brian J. Abasciano, “Does Regeneration Precede Faith? The Use of 1 John 5:1 as a Proof Text,” Evangelical Quarterly 84.4 (2012), 307-322.
Here is the author’s abstract of the article:
A number of scholars have appealed to the Greek tenses of 1 John 5:1 as definitive
proof that the verse teaches that regeneration precedes faith. But this argument
is untenable. The purposes of the present article are (1) to draw attention
to the falsity of the argument and to explain why it is invalid, and (2) to counter
the contention that the underlying concern of the grammatical argument (i.e.,
that 1 John 5:1 implies that regeneration precedes faith) can be rescued by appeal
to a pattern in 1 John of indicating the results of regeneration. It is questionable
whether the tenses in 1 John 5:1 suggest any chronological or causal
relationship between faith and regeneration since some grammarians deny that
Greek tenses grammaticalize time, and more importantly, one of the tenses in
the passage occurs in a substantival participle, which can be devoid of time significance.
If the tenses are temporally related, as seems most probable, then
Greek grammar suggests either that believing and being begotten of God are
portrayed as contemporaneous, or perhaps more likely, that believing logically
precedes being begotten of God. Invocation of statements elsewhere in 1 John
indicating the results of regeneration does not rescue 1 John 5:1 as a proof text
for regeneration preceding faith because of, inter alia, the distinctive and crucial
role of faith in the epistle and Johannine theology.
Note: This post was originally posted on March 2. 2013, but the actual article was not then available on our site. The post has been revised and re-posted today because we are now able to offer access to the article on our site.