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Hebrews 1:7


Feel free to ask for help deciphering BDAG any time.

Statistics: Posted by Jonathan Robie — October 21st, 2016, 9:43 am

1 Peter 4:3

Paul-Nitz wrote:
Thanks. That’s simpler and helpful. The addition of either ημιν and υμιν are variant readings here, by the way.
Why would we expect a Dative Ptc?
(I just read Smyth Section 1497 and 1498 about the Dative Ptc. Those descriptions don’t seem to fit here.)

Because ἀρκετός normally takes the dative + infinitive, so a participle modifying ὐμῖν or ἡμῖν would also normally be in the dative, πεπορευομένοις. That’s what motivates people to try to explain the accusative…

Statistics: Posted by Barry Hofstetter — May 3rd, 2014, 6:49 am

John 3:8

cwconrad wrote:
Perhaps I’m simply saying what’s obvious, but the fact that πνευμα in Greek, like ruach in Hebrew and spiritus in Latin, is a metaphoric extension from verbs in these same languages that can mean both “blow” and “breathe” would seem to indicate that the analogy is being drawn to comparable instances of unpredictability in the volatile “substance” for which these languages use the single word.

Yes, that makes sense.

Statistics: Posted by grogers — April 1st, 2014, 12:18 pm

Mark 12:18


If anything, I’d simply like to add here what I think is really pretty clear from the outset: the problem being raised here and the solution(s) being offered don’t hinge on the phrasing of the Greek text.

Statistics: Posted by cwconrad — June 6th, 2014, 1:22 pm

Acts 15:20

cwconrad wrote:
I had read somewhere — and can’t recall where now — that there are four kinds of impurities from which the rabbis insisted that Gentiles should abstain if they were to associate with Jews.

For example Craig Keener: the legendary The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament. Also Hard Sayings of the Bible explains similarly, but doesn’t mention rabbinical opinions. The idea is that those things mentioned are not about morality but necessary compromises so that in mixed congregations both Jews and Gentiles could co-exist and celebrate the Lord’s Supper together.

If you can wait for couple of months, this is the way to go: Keener, Acts: An Exegetical Commentary, Volume 3. If it’s not there (with every imaginable detail), it’s nowhere. (Despite the name it’s not a full exegetical commentary but about the social and historical background. Yes, 3 vols over 1000 pages each!)

Statistics: Posted by Eeli Kaikkonen — July 14th, 2014, 3:16 am

1 Timothy 5:9

cwconrad wrote:

Stephen Carlson wrote:

Randall Tan wrote:One could assume an elided participle–but γεγονυῖα is actually what would need to be elided, not ὤν (a widow is not currently the wife of one husband)–but the contextually-easily-supplied ὤν is more likely to be elided than the more affected form γεγονυῖα in the first place. This consideration contributed further to our conclusion that ὤν was elided in relation to ἔλαττον ἐτῶν ἑξήκοντα & that γεγονυῖα belongs with ἑνὸς ἀνδρὸς γυνή.

I suppose γενομένη could be supplied to get the appropriate sense.

It seems to me that γεγονυῖα is an integral part of the idiomatic expression meaning “x years old”, while construing γεγονυῖα with ἑνὸς ἀνδρὸς γυνή — a Greek equivalent of the idiomatic Latin laudatory epithet univira, “committed life-long to one husband” — strikes me as absurd. I think that the μὴ does qualify just the phrase ἔλαττον ἐτῶν ἑξήκοντα γεγονυῖα and that the genitive phrase is clearly a genitive of comparison construed with ἔλαττον. I see no problem with assuming an elliptical ὢν with ἑνὸς ἀνδρὸς γυνή.

People are duscussing the relatives strengths of the (merel hypothetical /conjectured) participles, I would like to change that emphasis. I think that the strength (or recognisability ) of the element with which the particle is used will have bearing on the tendencies for elision.

If ἑνὸς ἀνδρὸς γυνή was a readily recognisable laudatory epithet (as claimed) (virtually = adjectival unit) for an older woman (alive or no longer alive) then it would be less likely to need the aid of the (a) participle to bring attention to bear on it’s meaning, than the variable phrase ἔλαττον ἐτῶν ἑξήκοντα would need.

I think the force of the statement ἑνὸς ἀνδρὸς γυνή requires a participle that can give the force of “she has always been”. The ούσα suggested above may or may not convey that, and I feel that the suggestion of
γενομένη might do so, but the best would be a doubling of the γεγονυῖα.

If it was doubled, then it would be lost from the strongest (independent – self-standing) element and retained by the weakest (non-independent, the one that needs help to stand, least-able-stand-by-itself) element.

Statistics: Posted by Stephen Hughes — April 29th, 2014, 4:41 pm

Revelation 21:4


point taken.

Just keeping the interface with prosopa clean.

Statistics: Posted by RandallButh — March 10th, 2014, 2:40 am

Romans 3:19


It seems agreed that we distinguish “semantics” and “(discourse) functions” of a word, and
we should not transfer the functions of the word derived from context to the semantics of the word.

In connection with ἱνα I would pose a hypothesis that
ἱνα introduces a non-indicative (modal) content
that is potential, contingent, etc in contrast to the content introduced by a ὁτι clase, which is actual.
That is the semantics of ἱνα. More than that, e.g. wish, intention, purpose, obligation, command, etc
is derived from context.

I think that this is the minimum that Sim proposes after all things that look like over-interpretation are filtered out.

To support this hypothesis, let me cite two more examples in additionn to the one already given.

(1) The original example,

εκηρυσσεν τον Ιησοῦν ὁτι οὗτος εστιν ὁ υἱοσς τοῦ θεοῦ.
He was proclaiming that Jesus is the son of God.
Και εξελθοντες εκηρυξαν ἱνα ὁτιμετανοῶσιν.
Going out, they preached that people should repent.

Here the ὁτι clause and the ὁτι clause correspond to each well.
The only difference seems that the one describes an indicative content, whereas
the other a non-indicative content. The more specific content is derived from the context and the
nature of the main verb.

LXX Exo 6:11.
εισελθε λαλησον Φαρθω βασιλεῖ Αιγυπτου ̔ινα εξαποστειλῃ τους υἱους Ισραελ εκ τῆς αυτοῦ.
KJV: Go in, speak unto Pharaho king of Egypt, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land.

Here ̔the ινα clause specifies the content of the request. To think about “a purposed result”
seems to be an over-interpretation.

(3) Num 21:5
και κατελαλει ὁ λαος προσ τον θοεν και κατα Μωυσῆ λεγοντες ἱνα τι εξͅγαγες ἡμας εξ Αιγυπτου..
The people spoke against God and against Moes, saying “Why did you bring out out of Egypt..”

[Similarly with 2Sa 19:12]

Here ̔the ινα clause introduces a direct question, meaning that Moses shouldn’t have done that,
which is a non-indicative content.

Let me present two verses from LXX as examples where the ̔the ινα clause is the content of speech.

If I apply this idea to Rom 3:19, I could obtain:

[With reference to ] what the law says to those in the law, it (= the law) speaks that every mouth
should be stopped and all the world should be guilty before God.

[ It is difficult to express the subtle nuance of Greek subjunctive in English. So, the use of “should” should
be simply taken to indicate that it is a pointer fo the subjunctive verb in Greek. ]

Here I took ὁσα ὁ νομος λεγει τοῖς εν τῷ νομῳ to be an instance of the accusative of reference.

A similar construction is found in Rom 10:5:

Μωυσῆ γαρ γραφει την δικαιοσυνην την εκ τοῦ νομου ὁτι ὁ ποιησας αυτα ανθρωποσ ζησεται εν αυτοις.
Moses writes with reference to the righteousness from the law that the person who does them shall live in them.

Statistics: Posted by moon — June 29th, 2014, 7:34 am

Luke 1:5

RandallButh wrote:

Yes, you can say that both egeneto structures provide setting material. However, they are two structures and it is useful to track them separately. The subject structure will introduce participants. The subjectless structure will provide a setting.

Commentators on Acts and Luke have led themselves astray by missing the distinction and making statements like “Luke uses the egeneto structure in both Luke-Acts,” implying that there is no qualitative difference. But there is. And it leads to a significant reappraisal of both works and fits well with other data.

Randall, thanks for the answer. So, are you saying:

(1) The EGENETO + subject structure is both found in Luke and LXX, and can be used to introduce a participant/character as sort of “setting” for a story..
(2) But this subject structure is NOT unique to LXX [Hebrew Bible], and can be a good Greek idiom.
(3) So, only the subjectless EGENETO structure can indicate the relatedness to Hebrew source.

Moon Jung

Statistics: Posted by moon — June 21st, 2014, 10:03 pm

Acts 17:8

Ἐτάραξαν δὲ τὸν ὄχλον καὶ τοὺς πολιτάρχας ἀκούοντας ταῦτα

Robert Emil Berge wrote:
The participle doesn’t need to indicate another causality, and if it did it would be strange, and at least there should have been a hint at what that was.

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
Why would the participle indicate a different causality?

The addition of the ταῦτα suggests that meaning may be bigger than the grammatical structures or to say that another way there is a certain ungrammaticalness about the sentence.

If ταῦτα refers to the Ἐτάραξαν δὲ τὸν ὄχλον (a summary (or topicalising restatement) of all that went on before in the previous few verses), then the verb – in an implied form is in καὶ τοὺς πολιτάρχας ἀκούοντας ταῦτα would need to be in the second half too.

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
what they were hearing was the actual cause for their being upset (if we were convert this to some kind of passive construction)

For the second half of the sentence, conversion to a passive makes sense.

The unbelieving Jews aggitated the crowd – they are the first causality and the result is the crowd’s aggitation, then upon hearing about these things, the rulers were upset too – the first cause and result is the second causality. That has been harmonised into a string of accusatives following Ἐτάραξαν, rather than re-stating the verb again in another form (perhaps ἐταράχθησαν). The sense of the text moves on to the city-rulers with the λαβόντες τὸ ἱκανὸν παρὰ τοῦ Ἰάσονος καὶ τῶν λοιπῶν, ἀπέλυσαν αὐτούς. It seems that that picks up on the implied passive construction.

This seems to be a convoluted form of verb ommission involving syntactic rearrangement, without loss of the change of the flow of the sense.

Statistics: Posted by Stephen Hughes — September 9th, 2016, 9:01 pm

Acts 22:5


At least for certain types of verbs, the future ptc is the ‘normal’ way, in literary classical Gk,of expressing purpose. From when I was taught Gk many years ago I remember this as a sort of default setting, as in
ὡρμησαντο ἐπι το τειχισμα ἐπιθησομενοι – they rushed towards the fortification so as to attack it

Statistics: Posted by Dan King — February 13th, 2014, 1:48 am

Acts 13:22

David Lim wrote:

Alan Patterson wrote:Barry wrote:

Well, then, what do you think it means? Yes, it’s God’s heart, but it describes David as being a man after God’s heart, following God. How can it mean otherwise than being devoted to God?

It is not DAVID’s devotion to, but it is GOD’s appreciation of…. At least, that’s how it appears on the surface, imo.

I don’t see “appreciation” written in that phrase, but I see the same that Barry says. The phrase just means “a man who does things according to God’s heart”. That is pretty much the same as “a man devoted to God”.

Right. It’s telling us what David is like, not what God is like.

Statistics: Posted by Barry Hofstetter — May 2nd, 2014, 7:47 pm

1 Thessalonians 4:16


1Th. 4:15 Τοῦτο γὰρ ὑμῖν λέγομεν ἐν λόγῳ κυρίου, ὅτι ἡμεῖς οἱ ζῶντες οἱ περιλειπόμενοι εἰς τὴν παρουσίαν τοῦ κυρίου οὐ μὴ φθάσωμεν τοὺς κοιμηθέντας· 16 ὅτι αὐτὸς ὁ κύριος ἐν κελεύσματι, ἐν φωνῇ ἀρχαγγέλου καὶ ἐν σάλπιγγι θεοῦ, καταβήσεται ἀπ᾿ οὐρανοῦ καὶ οἱ νεκροὶ ἐν Χριστῷ ἀναστήσονται πρῶτον, 17 ἔπειτα ἡμεῖς οἱ ζῶντες οἱ περιλειπόμενοι ἅμα σὺν αὐτοῖς ἁρπαγησόμεθα ἐν νεφέλαις εἰς ἀπάντησιν τοῦ κυρίου εἰς ἀέρα· καὶ οὕτως πάντοτε σὺν κυρίῳ ἐσόμεθα.

Spent some time looking over the exegetical history from John Calvin to J. Weima[1].

He employs the term κελεύσματος, (shout,) and afterwards adds, the voice of the archangel, by way of exposition, intimating what is to be the nature of that arousing shout—that the archangel will discharge the office of a herald to summon the living and the dead to the tribunal of Christ.
John Calvin

Paul is invoking an eschatological – apocalyptic scenario where 98% of the scenario is left to be filled in by the reader. Not sure what can be assumed about the Thessalonian’s familiarity with Second Temple Apocalyptic literature but that isn’t the problem. Paul invokes the scenario as if they were familiar with it. In the apocalyptic literature divine commands are often delivered by a subordinate agent, for example the opening of the seals in the Apocalypse where The Lamb opens the seals but a command is given by one of the living beings:

Rev. 6:1 Καὶ εἶδον ὅτε ἤνοιξεν τὸ ἀρνίον μίαν ἐκ τῶν ἑπτὰ σφραγίδων, καὶ ἤκουσα ἑνὸς ἐκ τῶν τεσσάρων ζῴων λέγοντος ὡς φωνὴ βροντῆς· ἔρχου.

J. Weima[1] disagrees, he thinks that αὐτὸς ὁ κύριος nails down ὁ κύριος as the agent of κελεύσματι. I don’t follow that. ἐν κελεύσματι is an attendant circumstance. The pronoun αὐτὸς ὁ κύριος draws attention to identity of the agent in the main verb καταβήσεται ἀπ᾿ οὐρανοῦ.

Ran across a somewhat tangential observation about the constituent order in this passage. αὐτὸς ὁ κύριος is a point of departure followed by a long marked focal constituent ἐν κελεύσματι, ἐν φωνῇ ἀρχαγγέλου καὶ ἐν σάλπιγγι θεοῦ in the pre-verbal slot[2]. This doesn’t particularly address the question at hand but I thought someone might like to read this paper.

[1] a Google search: φωνῇ ἀρχαγγέλου who is speaking, delivered among others J. Weima 2014,

1-2 Thessalonians (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament)
By Jeffrey A. D. Weima, 2014

[2] See page 25, Greek Word Order in 1 Thessalonians 4:13–5:11 Stephen Wunrow April 16, 2013 … _4_13_5_11

Statistics: Posted by Stirling Bartholomew — January 20th, 2017, 4:06 pm

John 7:49

Rhoover60 wrote:
J. Robie, thanks. I read the passage from Jannaris and noticed this phrase, “Nevertheless, it is not rigidly adhered to even by A[ttic?] writers. etc.” This points out what probably happened in my thinking. I falsely imagined that language had a mathematical precision to it!! Hopefully, I will learn from this. More Regards.

No such thing as mathematical precision in any language. In the case of the neuter plural/singular verb, the verb most often goes into the plural when people are the referent of the noun, though even that is not an absolute usage.

Statistics: Posted by Barry Hofstetter — January 1st, 2017, 9:16 am

Luke 16.16


My rule of thumb is that if a verb is missing and it’s not in immediate parallelism with a preceding clause, try using a form of the verb εἶναι “to be.” That’s how some translations take it anyway.

Statistics: Posted by Stephen Carlson — March 12th, 2014, 1:36 am

Mark 4:29

cwconrad wrote:

Stephen Hughes wrote:

Mark 4:26-29 wrote:Καὶ ἔλεγεν, Οὕτως ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ, ὡς ἐὰν ἄνθρωπος βάλῃ τὸν σπόρον ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, καὶ καθεύδῃ καὶ ἐγείρηται νύκτα καὶ ἡμέραν, καὶ ὁ σπόρος βλαστάνῃ καὶ μηκύνηται ὡς οὐκ οἶδεν αὐτός. Αὐτομάτη γὰρ ἡ γῆ καρποφορεῖ, πρῶτον χόρτον, εἶτα στάχυν, εἶτα πλήρη σῖτον ἐν τῷ στάχυϊ. Ὅταν δὲ παραδῷ ὁ καρπός, εὐθέως ἀποστέλλει τὸ δρέπανον, ὅτι παρέστηκεν ὁ θερισμός.

In BDAG the meaning is παραδῷ “allow”, while the natural sense in the sequence if growth is ”ripen”.

Any thoughts either way?

παραδῷ is aorist; “ripen” is a process word. I’d think that idiomatic English would have to be “is ripe” or better, “is ready for harvest (has yielded its crop)”.

I think Carl’s gloss, “yield”, is the most helpful thing on this thread thus far. “When the crop yields…” It does fit nicely with the more popular usages of the verb.

Statistics: Posted by Jordan Day — May 10th, 2014, 12:15 pm

Acts 2:38

Stephen Carlson wrote:
As a matter of logic, “If you do X and Y, you will get Z” means that X and Y are sufficient for Z, not that they are necessary for Z. Occasionally, people imply “only if” with their conditionals (which makes it necessary rather than sufficient), but that is a matter of context and, I’m afraid in this case, theology. As a matter of language, it is not precise enough to settle without looking beyond the construction.

Imperative -> if -> only if, that is a lot of scafolding already.

Can anyone recall an example of this in Greek, which is very clearly not requiring both things (only if). Perhaps something like, “Smoke 5 packs of cigarettes per day, eat as much saturated fat as you can, never do exercise, and you will die before you’re 60”. Or an example that does seem to require them like, “Put the key in the lock, and turn the key, and the door will open”.

Statistics: Posted by Stephen Hughes — January 31st, 2014, 2:54 am

Romans 1:27


I don’t know if you would find this helpful, but a really technical analysis of Ancient Greek participles and their relation to the main verb is found here in a article by Dag Haug and Corien Bary: A poster of their views in brief can be found here: … poster.pdf

The participles you point out would be considered “elaborations” and their function is to provide more information about the main verb. They are not intended to interact with the time of the context (just that of the main verb) or to introduce a new event time into the discourse. In Wallace’s terms, they would be classified as a circumstance participle of manner or something like that.

Statistics: Posted by Stephen Carlson — February 14th, 2014, 4:31 pm

Matthew 1:22


Thank you, Dr. Carlson. I thought that may have been what you were meaning. I did not notice the “point of departure” in the first example. It is worse when I admit I was reading Levinsohn prior to making that post. :oops:

Dr. Conrad, your post contained some information that I need to investigate. Thank you.

Statistics: Posted by Wes Wood — January 29th, 2014, 8:31 am

Luke 8:12

Wes Wood wrote:
Thank you for your reply. Is it safe to say that ἵνα μὴ only negates a main verb? I cannot think of a time when I have heard/seen ‘lest’ where it did not link to a main verb. What I am not sure of is whether Greek works the same way. I am trying to determine what a good English equivalent for this phrase would be, if such a thing exists.

Also, I cannot find a parallel usage except for the one listed in LSJ. The words used appear to be too common for a Perseus search. If anyone would be willing to provide some examples of this phrase being used in other passages (Koine or otherwise), I would greatly appreciate it.

Well, you now have the listing of ἵνα μή clauses in the GNT. I’m not sure what you’re indicating in your comment. I think that “lest” is more or less archaic English: although I grew up with it, practically the only place I ever saw it was in grammar explanations of Latin ne or Greek ἵνα μή clauses. Certainly the ἵνα μή clauses are subordinate to a main verb, as here where the main verb is αἴρει in αἴρει τὸν λόγον ἀπὸ τῆς καρδίας αὐτῶν. We could raise the question whether the ἵνα μή indicates purpose or result, since ­ἵνα + subj. is being used in the Koine that way: “The devil makes them forget the word so that …” or “The devil comes along and makes them forget, the result being that they … “

Statistics: Posted by cwconrad — December 3rd, 2016, 9:22 am