The aorist tense is characterized by its emphasis on punctiliar
action; that is, the concept of the verb is considered without
regard for past, present, or future time. There is no
direct or clear English equivalent for this tense, though it is
generally rendered as a simple past tense in most translations.
The events described by the aorist tense are classified into a
number of categories by grammarians. The most common of these
include a view of the action as having begun from a certain
point ("inceptive aorist"), or having ended at a certain point
("cumulative aorist"), or merely existing at a certain point
("punctiliar aorist"). The categorization of other cases can
be found in Greek reference grammars.
The English reader need not concern himself with most of these
finer points concerning the aorist tense, since in most cases
they cannot be rendered accurately in English translation,
being fine points of Greek exegesis only. The common practice
of rendering an aorist by a simple English past tense should
suffice in most cases.