Any Greek student is familiar with the basic idea of the perfect tense: completed action. The tense is used
to describe an action or process that (1) has beencompleted and (2) has produced results that are still in effect at the time
Whenever you try to analyze the meaning of a perfect tense more precisely, you should
begin by asking, "Which aspect of the meaning is spotlighted here: the completed action or the existing results?
answer this question, you must examine the context and use your common sense to decide which usage of the tense the writer
1. Intensive perfect -- the perfect tense is used to emphasize the fact that
some results are still in effect. This usage is a particularly strong way to stress the fact that something is. Whenever you have a strong urge to translate a perfect tense with an English present tense, you are
probably looking at an intensive perfect. In fact, many English versions of the New Testament will translate these as present tense.
Romans 14:23 -
"He who doubts is condemned [literally, "has been condemned]."
2. Consummative perfect -- the perfect tense is used to emphasize the completed
action, not the existing results. This does not mean that the results do not exist; it simply means that they are not
highlighted. This type of perfect is usually translated using the word has or
Acts 5:28 -- "You have filled Jerusalem with your teachings."
The difference between these two usages is mainly a difference
of emphasis. It is quite possible to find perfect verbs that put roughly equal emphasis on both the completed action and the enduring results.
3. Dramatic perfect -- Used to describe a fact
in a vivid manner, even though smooth English may demand that we render the verb as a simple past tense.
Matthew 13:48 -- "He went and sold [literally,"has sold"] all