Stanley Porter has suggested that the order of circumstantial participles in relation to the verbs on which they depend tends to indicate how they relate temporally: antecedent if before the primary verb and contemporaneous or subsequent if following. Grammarians whom he cites as having partly recognized this do not really anticipate his view. More important, numerous examples of circumstantial participles in the Gospels of Mark and Luke show a different pattern and fail to sustain his formulation. Aorist circumstantial participles typically precede their primary verbs but may be temporally antecedent to or contemporaneous with them. Present circumstantial participles may precede or follow their primary verbs and may be temporally antecedent to or contemporaneous with them regardless of order. Perfect circumstantial participles, whether before or after their primary verbs, are typically contemporaneous with them. The careful exegete should focus on the context alone to determine if any given circumstantial participle is temporally antecedent to, contemporaneous with, or even subsequent to its primary verb.

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