"There is no verb in the second part of the sentence, and some recent commentators supply ... the same verb as in the first part [cf. Beck] .... and since the Greek is cryptic with no verb in the second half, it becomes an important exegetical issue to know what verb to supply." - p. 99, Philippians (Rev.), 'Tyndale New Testament Commentaries', Eerdmans Publ., 1991 printing.
Examine Matt. 14:19 (“gave them” - Mounce; NASB; NIV; ESV; NRSV; NAB; HCSB; ISV.)
The first example of this that I see in the Gospel of John is at John 1:6-8. Bible translators agree that there is a verb missing in the last clause of John 1:8 (lit. “… but that he might witness concerning the light,”). The KJV translators decided the missing verb should be a repetition of a form of “sent” as found in verse 1:6 ( “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.” - KJV). So, it renders John 1:8 as “He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.” (Italics here are from KJV itself to indicate words added by the translators.)
Most modern translators, however, have decided that the missing verb to be repeated in verse 8 is from verse 7 (“He came for a witness, that he might bear witness of the light, that all might believe through him.” - NASB.) And so most modern Bibles render John 1:8 as “He was not the light, but came that he might bear witness of the light.” - NASB.
This interpretation of John 8:58 showing (by an understood repeated verb) that Jesus came into existence at a certain time in the distant past is in agreement with John's further testimony at Rev. 3:14 ("the beginning of God's creation") that Jesus was created by God. - See the BWF study. (Cf. Huparcho - PHIL 9-11.)
there are seven kings: five have fallen, one is [estin] the other has not yet come. - Rev. 17:10.,
Although there are a few quotations of John 8:58 in the writings of the Ante-Nicene Fathers, these earliest Christians of the first through the third centuries A. D. never show any understanding of ego eimi there other than that of existence. We see no connection with the words of John 8:58 meaning that Jesus is the so-called “I Am” (YHWH) of the OT.
"Come, be taught; become as I am, for I ... was as you are." - pp. 161, 272, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, Roberts and Donaldson, Eerdmans Publ., 1993 printing.
"I am most certain that I AM ['absolute'], that I know it, and that I delight in it." And, "certainly I am not deceived in this knowledge that I AM ['absolute']." - On the Two Cities - Selections from The City of God, F. W. Strothmann (ed.), Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., New York, 1957. [Emphasis mine - RDB]
"I have been = ... (ego eimi) after the a'orist infinitive clause ['before Abraham came into existence'] and hence properly rendered in the perfect indefinite tense. It is not the same as ... (ho ohn, meaning 'The Being' or [improperly rendered] 'The I Am') at Exodus 3:14 LXX [Septuagint]." (As usual, emphasis is mine - RDB)
"Indefinite .... 3. not specifying precisely. An indefinite adjective, pronoun, etc., does not determine the person, thing, time, etc., to which it refers" - p. 415.
"Indefinite.... (3) of a verb form or set of verb forms in French.... (4) of a verb form or set of verb forms in English.... ('saw' in 'I saw the show' is the past [indefinite] of see)."
"expresses an action or state completed at the time of speaking or at a time spoken of." - p. 1677, Webster's 3rd New International Dictionary, 1962 ed.
"Indefinite .... 3. Grammar .... b. Applied to those tenses or inflexions of verbs which merely denote an action taking place at some time (past, present, or future), without specifying whether it is continuous or complete" - The Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford University Press, 1933 through 1961 printings.
"there is no rule or precedent in Greek syntax to allow a present [tense] to equal a perfect [tense]." (Cf. KOTC, p. 89.)
"The present [tense] which indicates the continuance of an action during the past and up to the moment of speaking is virtually the same as perfective, the only difference being that the action is conceived of as still in progress.... It is frequent in the NT: Lk 2:48, 13:7... John 5:6, 8:58 (eimi), 14:9 ... 15:27" - T and T Clark, 1963.
"Sometimes the Present includes also a past tense (mdv. 108), viz. when the verb expresses a state which commenced at an earlier period but still continues, - a state in its duration as, Jno. xv. 27 [Jn.15:27]..., viii. 58 [Jn 8:58]." - A Grammar of the Idiom of the New Testament, Andover, 1897, p. 267.
Also see Brooks and Winbery’s Syntax of New Testament Greek, pp. 84-85, “Durative Present,” University Press of America, 1979.
"has to be translated into English by a sort of 'progressive perfect' ('have been')..." - p. 879, A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research.
"b. The present [tense] approaches its kindred tense, the perfect, when used to denote the continuation of existing results [D&M's emphasis in italics]. Here it refers to a fact which has come to be in the past, but is emphasized as a present reality, as we say, 'I learn that you have moved' (that is, information has come to me in the past which I now possess). ....
A. Extending-from-Past Present (Present of Past Action Still in Progress)
(Click here for Part 3)