I know some of you haven't taken Greek, and that it's been a while for some of the rest of us, but as I was preparing for a sermon series in the New Year regarding reconciliation, I got to thinking about Greek imperatives. Maybe some of you experts out there can help me (and perhaps others too). Can you tell us anything about the relative strength of an imperative in Greek?
For example, in English, when there is an emergency, I can say, "Go! Get your phone and call 911!" — that would be a very strong imperative, partly indicated by context and partly indicated by the exclamation marks. However, if I'm having a conversation with a young man at work who is considering asking a girl out on a date and I say, "Go ask her on a date, dummy!" We know from context that it's not nearly as strong an imperative, though it is still an imperative, nonetheless.
Is there a way to know (beyond just context) whether a Greek biblical imperative is a strong one, or a more casual, kind of "common-sense-advice" sort of imperative?
Here's where this connects with my sermon preparation: the advice on confronting a brother who has sinned against you in Mt. 18:15-17. Is that advice a strong imperative in the same way as the great commission? Or is it just good, common sense advice? If the latter, then there is room for modification of the pattern laid out there based on circumstances and the underlying principles, if the former then there would seem to be an exact procedure that must be followed to the letter in each circumstance. What do you think? Are there resources you know if that can help me and others out with this dilemma?