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The Accusative Case
This document provides detailed information about the use of the Greek Accusative case. However, it does not discuss the accusative form, with its case endings or inflections. For information about the accusative case endings, see the document The Greek Article and Case Endings.
My own comments are added, but most of the following information came from Daniel B. Wallace's book, Greek Grammar: Beyond the Basics. For a more complete explanation of how the cases are used, and other detailed information regarding Greek New Testament grammar, his book is highly recommended.
There are approximately 23,105 accusative forms in the GNT (8,815 nouns; 5,009 pronouns; 5,889 articles; 957 participles; 2,435 adjectives), making up about 29% of all the declined words in the GNT. Nominative forms make up 31%, genitives 25%, datives 15%, and vocatives less than 1%. Most often, an accusative form is used as a direct object, where the person or thing referred to by an accusative substantive (i.e., noun or word functioning as a noun) receives the action of a transitive verb directly upon it. It is also frequently used as the object of a preposition, and has a number of other uses as well.
In English, a direct object functions in much the same way: "He preached a sermon." "She walked a mile." "The ship headed south." "They sought salvation." It answers the question "what?" after the verb: "He preached what?" "She walked what distance?" "The ship headed what direction?" "They sought what goal or objective?"
The term "unaffected meaning," when applied to a case, refers to implications of the case itself, those common to most words using that case, apart from the specific meanings of lexical definitions of words, and without taking into account particular contexts or other factors. And the unaffected meaning of the accusative case is more general than any other case. Where a nominative indicates a "main subject" and draws attention to itself, where the genitive suggests movement or action "from" or "of" itself, where a dative implies accrual "to" or "for" itself (without any motion involved), the accusative connotes little more than a general movement or general action towards or upon itself, which is why it mostly functions as a direct object.
So the accusative is the first of the three oblique cases (accusative, genitive, dative), and the most common, because it is the most general in its unaffected meaning. In classical Greek, it was the "default" oblique case, "the routine case used unless there was some reason for using the genitive or dative" (Wallace). However, in koine Greek, an accusative form was not used as often, nor in as many diverse ways, as it was in classical Greek. One writing in koine could choose to employ the classical syntax, if desired, and use accusative forms in the wide variety of ways they were used previously. Yet the koine trend towards "greater explicitness" normally meant an increase in the use of nominatives, and of the other oblique cases, as well as prepositions with objects in the other oblique cases. So this caused a somewhat noticeable decline in the use of the more "general" and "default" accusative case.
Wallace gave three reasons for the decline in the percentage of accusatives used in koine (Hellenistic Greek), as compared to the higher percentage of usage in classical Greek:
- Koine became less subtle as it was used by a broader range of people, as their second language and as a language of commerce. The use by an educated elite, for veiled and reserved expressions of thought with political nuance, was primarily set aside for more practical purposes of communication. Wallace points out that the "accusative of address, pendent accusative, accusative of exclamation, accusative as a heading in introductions, accusative in apposition to a sentence, and accusative absolute" were all "frequent enough" in classical Greek, but "rare or nonexistent" in the GNT.
- Koine tended towards "greater explicitness" where prepositions took "a decidedly more prominent role in the New Testament in places where a simple case (in particular the accusative) would have been used in earlier times" (Wallace).
- More genitives were used in the GNT "apparently due, in part, to the Semitic influence (e.g., the 'Hebrew' or attributive genitive)" (Wallace).
Wallace explains that an accusative was the "case of extent or limitation" and "primarily used to limit the action of a verb as to extent, direction, or goal." As a designation of "extent," "direction" and "goal," the accusative substantive implies a general movement towards it, or action upon it. An accusative suggests the object of a verb's action, in terms of answering questions like: "Act upon what?" "Move what distance?" "Move what direction?" and "Seek what goal?" It is mostly about "what" and "quantity." But the dative, although it is also an object of the verb's action, it is more "indirect," mostly about "to what" or "for what." A dative is more about the "quality" or "result" of the verb's action, after the fact, what a dative receives as the result or effect of the verb's already completed action, which had acted directly upon an accusative. Since a dative is more about results and effects after a completed action, it does not imply any movement or action of a verb, just an object at rest, passively accruing or receiving.
Each of the blue main headings below will indicate a general "Grammatical Role" of the accusative case. Under each main heading, related subtopics and more specific semantic categories will be explained under green subtitles. These may be regarding usages of the accusative case which convey particular meanings and implications, more specific than the general grammatical role itself suggests.
Grammatical Role 1:
Accusatives as Substantives
A substantive is a noun, or a word which functions as a noun, and refers to a person or thing. An accusative substantive most often functions as a direct object of a finite verb (i.e., in Greek, a finite verb is a verb form which has a pronoun suffix, indicating person). It can also be used as a complement (to complete the thought of the verb, like an infinitive), as a direct object or "subject" of a verbal (i.e., of a participle or infinitive, in order to build a phrase), and so on.
Of course, an accusative substantive also can be used as the object of a preposition, or adverbially, to describe the action of the verb. But these are classified under different categories, since prepositional phrases and adverbial roles basically modify other words. What is meant by a substantival role here is a grammatical function which is primarily to act as a referent to a person or thing, but not function as a modifier of another word or words.
(1.a) Accusative Direct Objects
This is by far the most common role of an accusative substantive. Because a Greek direct object is often placed before the verb, or just about anywhere else in the sentence, an accusative case ending is often the only indication that the substantive is the direct object. For a Greek finite verb in the active voice, the accusative substantive receives the action of the verb directly upon it. In the sentence, "He loved the disciples," the noun "disciples" functions as the direct object, and directly receives the action of being loved.
A verb that has a direct object which receives its action is called a "transitive" verb. A verb without a direct object, without specifying anything or anyone to receive its action, is called an "intransitive" verb. Since an accusative direct object indicates a specific object receiving the action, it is said to "limit" the action of a transitive verb, that is, the action of a transitive verb is less general and more limited in scope than an intransitive verb. For example, the transitive, "He loved the disciples," is more limited in scope than the intransitive, "He loved," where no direct object is specified, and where it indicates how a man generally performed an action of loving.
In Greek, many verbs are "deponent," in that they basically have an "active-voice" meaning, but a middle or passive inflected form. If a Greek verb is a deponent, it can take a direct object, just like a verb in the active voice. However, if a verb is is passive, and it is not a deponent, then the subject (in the nominative case) will receive the action of the verb, and the passive verb cannot have a direct object (e.g., "He was loved"). A middle-voice verb may indicate an action which bears some kind of reference back to the subject, but can have a direct object (in the accusative case), just like a verb in the active voice, even if it is not deponent. For example, although there is no middle voice in English, a Greek verb in the middle voice, which is not deponent, may mean, "He loved the disciples for himself," possibly because it benefited him, thus the middle verb's action partially reflects back on the subject at the same time.
Also, it should be mentioned that the direct object, especially of certain kinds of verbs, may not be in the accusative case. If the direct object is an accusative substantive, there is generally no additional implication. The accusative case is the default, and its meaning is straight-forward. But if the direct object is in another oblique case (i.e., dative or genitive), there may be additional implications because the default accusative case was not used. A dative may imply accrual by the direct object, or other things. A genitive may imply an action of the direct object in response to the verb's action, or something else. But the default accusative substantive is just a plain direct object, without any additional nuances of meaning.
Examples of accusative direct objects are found below, where each accusative substantive is displayed in bluish green text. The same examples are found in Wallace's book, but my own comments were added.
- ἐὰν γὰρ ἀγαπήσητε τοὺς ἀγαπῶντας ὑμᾶς, τίνα μισθὸν ἔχετε; οὐχὶ καὶ οἱ τελῶναι τὸ αὐτὸ ποιοῦσιν;
Translation: "For if you love those always loving you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?" (Mat. 5:46).
Comment: Here the accusative substantive is a participle phrase, τοὺς ἀγαπῶντας ὑμᾶς ("those loving you"), which functions as the direct object of the verb ἀγαπήσητε ("you love"). The masculine accusative plural article (τοὺς), in front of the participle, indicates that the participle is used as a substantive (i.e., as a noun). Then ἀγαπῶντας is a masculine accusative plural present participle. Also, the participle itself has a direct object, the accusative plural 2nd person personal pronoun ὑμᾶς, which completes the participle phrase. By the way, there are two other accusative direct objects in the clauses of these questions: τίνα μισθόν ("what reward?"), and τὸ αὐτό ("the same thing").
- καὶ ἀκούσας ὁ Ἰησοῦς λέγει αὐτοῖς ὅτι οὐ χρείαν ἔχουσιν οἱ ἰσχύοντες ἰατροῦ ἀλλ᾽ οἱ κακῶς ἔχοντες· οὐκ ἦλθον καλέσαι δικαίους ἀλλὰ ἁμαρτωλούς.
Translation: "And hearing [this], Jesus said to them, 'The ones being sound and healthy do not have need of a physician, but the ones having unsoundness. I did not come to call the righteous, but the sinners.'" (Mark 2:17).
Comment: Here the first accusative (δικαίους, "righteous ones") is the plural accusative direct object of a verb phrase. The phrase begins with a negative and a finite verb form (οὐκ ἦλθον, "I have not come"), then is followed by an infinitive complement (καλέσαι, "to call"). The accusative substantive is really the direct object of this infinitive ("to call the righteous"). The next accusative (ἁμαρτωλούς, "sinners") is placed after the conjunction ἀλλά ("but"). This conjunction implies that an opposing statement should follow, yet only has the accusative substantive behind it. So it implies a repetition of the previous clause, "but" without the negative and with the new direct object (i.e., "but I have come to call sinners"). A similar construction is found before it, where a nominative substantive (a participle phrase) follows the conjunction ἀλλ᾽ (= ἀλλά). This also indicates a repeat of its previous clause, "but" without a negative and with a new subject exchanged for the old one (i.e., "but the ones having unsoundness have need of a physician"). So one accusative substantive (or one nominative) can be used to imply a whole clause.
- οὕτως γὰρ ἠγάπησεν ὁ Θεὸς τὸν κόσμον, ὥστε τὸν Υἱὸν τὸν μονογενῆ ἔδωκεν, ἵνα πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων εἰς Αὐτὸν μὴ ἀπόληται ἀλλ᾽ ἔχῃ ζωὴν αἰώνιον. οὐ γὰρ ἀπέστειλεν ὁ Θεὸς τὸν Υἱὸν εἰς τὸν κόσμον ἵνα κρίνῃ τὸν κόσμον, ἀλλ᾽ ἵνα σωθῇ ὁ κόσμος δι᾽ Αὐτοῦ.
Translation: "For in this way God loved the world, in that He gave [His] one-of-a-kind Son, in order that anyone continuously putting confidence in Him should not perish, but shall have eternal life. For God did not send [His] Son into the world in order that He should judge the world, but in order that the world should be rescued through Him" (John 3:16-17).
Comment: Here both the subject and direct object follow after the verb. Usually, the subject occurs first somewhere in the clause, and is a nominative, like ὁ Θεὸς. Then the direct object occurs somewhere later in the clause, and is accusative, like τὸν κόσμον. Note: Context indicates only some are saved, by believing. Thus, when it speaks of saving or rescuing "the world," it means rescuing some in the world, not everyone.
When Jesus said this, no devout Jew, who knew God's Word, would ever dare say God loves the world! But here Jesus tells us that, although God hates the world, God also loves the world in one way. God loves the world in that He does not yet judge and destroy the world. Instead, He actively works towards saving souls from everywhere in the world. Thus, we are also to love the world in the same way as God, while, at the same time, hate the world in the same way as God. Anyone who loves the world, does not have the love of the Father in him, since the Father hates the world. But now, before we can love or hate the world, we must know what Jesus meant by the term "world."
In Scripture, the word "world" (κόσμος) has an ecclesiastical meaning. In the days of Jesus, it did not bear the same innocuous meaning as it does to most Christians today. When Jesus spoke about the "world" in this context, it meant something completely different. And when this was spoken to His audience, to the Jewish rabbi Nicodemus, the word "world" did not mean the same thing to him as it does to most people today. Nor did the apostle John, when he wrote down this teaching of Jesus, view the "world" in nearly the same way as most do in the church today. What the word "world" referred to here, in this context, was the Gentile world's godless and superficial social cast system, along with its unjust political and economic system, and its whole value system. In particular, at the time, the word "world" mostly connoted a materialistic Roman way of life, and all that the proud and ruthless Romans esteemed and valued in life. It also pointed to materialistic Jews and Christians, who bought into a worldly way of life.
People who love the things of this world, and spend their lives pursuing selfish ambition, need saving and rescuing from the world. They are caught in a trap, and have become slaves of sin, addicted to meaningless things. They need saving, because they cannot turn themselves towards reality, away from living a lie, since all their thoughts are bent on delusions that cause nothing but emptiness and loss, lusts that exploit and oppress others for one's own advantage, or else cause oneself to be exploited and oppressed.
Living for this world is like striving to get the most comfortable seat on a runaway train headed downhill towards the edge of a bottomless ravine, where there is no bridge. This train cannot stop, but is surely going to tumble over the brink into the abyss. God's reliable Witness keeps telling all the passengers that the train is about to crash and kill everyone on board. But who believes His report? One has to jump off that train, or else perish in the dark depths of that bottomless pit with the rest of its passengers.
This life on earth is nothing but a very brief moment in eternity, and we cannot afford to get too comfortable here. Instead, we must trust in the words of Jesus. If we do, we shall not perish, but have eternal life. We must jump off the train, into the real world outside, into spiritually sound reality with its righteously loving ways of God, which will exist safely forever. At this time, and until Jesus returns, God will not judge this carnal world system much. In fact, God will even let the prince of this world, Satan, send his son, the beast, into the world. He will become the most powerful world ruler ever, for a short time. When deluded souls see that evil one, they will admire him greatly, because they also love this world. This world holds their only reward, as fleeting as that might be.
But we must not be caught with them. Nor should we, even now, before the beast comes, try to be like those future fools. When Jesus returns, He will destroy them and their social, political, military, economic and value systems. Jesus will then judge the κόσμος, that is, the world. In the meantime, Jesus can and will save some of His chosen ones out of these things of the world, and put in them a will to do God's good pleasure. In spite of the fact that these chosen ones are ungrateful and wicked, Jesus will persevere and save them. But these will never have a cult leader on this earth to lead them. Each man will be led by God Himself, and each woman by her husband.
- καὶ ἐγένετο φωνὴ πρὸς αὐτόν· ἀναστάς, Πέτρε, θῦσον καὶ φάγε. ὁ δὲ Πέτρος εἶπεν· μηδαμῶς, Κύριε, ὅτι οὐδέποτε ἔφαγον πᾶν κοινὸν καὶ ἀκάθαρτον.
Translation: "An there came a voice to him, 'Rise up, Peter, butcher and eat.' But Peter said, 'Certainly not, Lord! Because I never ate anything common and [ceremonially] unclean.'" (Acts 10:13-14).
Comment: The word πᾶν is the neuter accusative singular form of the adjective πᾶς. This Greek adjective can also function like an article too. But here, this flexible little adjective and article is used substantively as a noun as well. It indicates either a whole quantity ("all," "every," "the whole of"), or a quantity from the whole ("any," "all kinds of"). Here πᾶν is used as a direct object, and means "anything" in this context. Then two other accusative adjectives, joined by a conjunction (κοινὸν καὶ ἀκάθαρτον, "common and [ceremonially] unclean"), modify πᾶν, as two adjectives modifying a substantive.
It is interesting to note that, just before he heard the voice, Peter saw a sheet coming down from heaven, from God. So he knew this voice was from God, and the command to "butcher and eat" came directly from God. Peter even responded by addressing the Speaker as "Lord." Yet Peter refused to obey God, calling what God offered to him "common and ceremonially unclean," according to dietary laws in God's Word.
Of course the principle of the dietary laws, given through Moses, was sanctification. They were given in order for God's people to sanctify or set apart themselves from the other people of the world (e.g., Lev. 11:44). But now the Messiah Jesus had come, and had brought the Holy Spirit. So the Holy Spirit now sanctified God's people inwardly and truly. Thus, they no longer sanctified themselves by outward signs, such as dietary laws. Also, the Messiah Jesus came as a light to the Gentiles (e.g., Is. 42:1-7), Who gathers Gentiles into His flock of Israel, so Gentiles could be one flock with Israel, having one Shepherd (e.g., John 10:16). Thus, sanctification was no longer about physical separation from other people, but rather separation from spiritual evil. And man did not do it physically himself, but it was done to man spiritually by God. This is what God was saying to Peter. At the moment Peter received this vision and command, God was sending three Gentile men to call on Peter. And Peter was to go and minister to the group of Gentiles waiting for them, who would receive the Holy Spirit just like the Jews in the church of Israel.
Even after three years of learning directly from Jesus Himself, and even after the Pentecost, Peter did not yet see the full consequences of the reality which the Messiah Jesus brought to the church of Israel. The principles of outward signs, like the dietary laws, were now being done by the Spirit of Jesus the Christ. The dietary laws were just signs of the real actions of God which were to come later, through Jesus' Holy Spirit. Thus, when the reality came, the signs, like the symbolic dietary laws, were no longer needed. Yet Peter just could not let go of the old. He even said "no" to God Himself!
Later, Peter saw what God was trying to say, and went with the three Gentile men. Peter accepted them as chosen ones of God, along with the rest of the true church of Israel, in the Messiah. However, some time after this incident, Peter again returned to the dietary laws, along with other outward signs which were replaced by the realities of the New Covenant in Christ. Peter even demanded circumcision for Gentiles, along with those other outward symbols performed by Jews of themselves -- which things were all replaced by the reality of what Jesus does Himself, through His Holy Spirit. Peter found it difficult to grasp that none of these things served any good purpose anymore. In fact, they only caused harm. For, as Jesus said, putting new wine in an old wineskin will only burst the old wineskin, causing the loss of both the new wine and the old wineskin.
- καὶ διελθόντες τὴν Πισιδίαν ἦλθον εἰς τὴν Παμφυλίαν.
Translation: "And passing through Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia" (Acts 14:24).
Comment: The accusative here (τὴν Πισιδίαν) is the direct object of a participle, διελθόντες. This participle is the masculine nominative plural 2nd aorist form of διέρχομαι. The whole participle phrase ("passing through Pisida") modifies the verb ἦλθον ("they came"), explaining more about how they came. Regarding this verse, Wallace commented that forms of ἔρχομαι are generally intransitive (do not take a direct object, even participle forms). But when a preposition prefix is placed in front of a form of this verb, the newly created compound word becomes a mostly transitive verb. Here the prefix διά ("through") is joined to a form of the 2nd aorist participle ἐλθόν, i.e., a participle form of the aorist indicative form ἦλθον, which is the 2nd aorist form of ἔρχομαι.
- ὁ δὲ Θεὸς πλούσιος ὢν ἐν ἐλέει, διὰ τὴν πολλὴν ἀγάπην Αὐτοῦ ἣν ἠγάπησεν ἡμᾶς, καὶ ὄντας ἡμᾶς νεκροὺς τοῖς παραπτώμασιν συνεζωοποίησεν τῷ Χριστῷ. χάριτί ἐστε σεσῳσμένοι. καὶ συνήγειρεν καὶ συνεκάθισεν ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, ἵνα ἐνδείξηται ἐν τοῖς αἰῶσιν τοῖς ἐπερχομένοις τὸ ὑπερβάλλον πλοῦτος τῆς χάριτος Αὐτοῦ ἐν χρηστότητι ἐφ᾽ ἡμᾶς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ.
Translation: "But God, being rich in mercy, because of His abundant love [with] which He loved us, made us alive together with Christ, [those of us] also being dead in transgressions. You are those having been saved by grace. He both raised [us] up together with [Christ] and seated [us] together with [Christ] in the heavenly places in [the sphere of influence of] Christ Jesus, in order that He might prove the surpassing riches of His grace in the current and coming ages, by kindness upon us in [the sphere of influence of] Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:5-7).
Comment: The direct object (in bluish green) seems to have an odd construction. Now the first neuter participle, τὸ ὑπερβάλλον ("the surpassing or excellent thing"), might be either accusative or nominative. And the participle seems that it should modify the masculine nominative singular noun (πλοῦτος, "wealth, riches") immediately following it. Then the nominative noun is followed by a genitive noun and pronoun (τῆς χάριτος Αὐτοῦ, "of His grace"). But why is the preceding participle an articular neuter form instead of an articular masculine form, if it modifies the following noun? And why is the noun a nominative instead of an accusative? So the noun seems to be in the predicate position to the articular neuter participle (i.e., "the surpassing thing is riches of His grace"), that is, if the participle is a nominative substantive, which it appears to be. This looks like it may be a quote used as the direct object of the verb (ἐνδείξηταῖ, 3rd person singular 1st aorist subjunctive, "He might completely prove"). So a translation might be: "in order that He might conclusively prove [that] 'the surpassing thing is riches of His grace' ..."
I don't know, but perhaps this is supposed to be a quote from a teaching regarding the well-known proverb often quoted by impoverished devout disciples: "A good name is to be more desired than great riches, favor is better than silver and gold" (Prov. 22:1, NASB). A rabbi might ask disciples a question like: "What is the surpassing thing, which is better than riches of silver and gold?" And the answer may have been a standard reply like, "The surpassing thing is riches of His grace / favor." No one knows. But some scribes did not seem to like this grammatical construction, and possibly thought it was a previous scribe's error. So some later editions of the Greek text changed both the noun and participle into masculine accusative singular forms, then placed the participle in the normal attributive position: τὸν ὑπερβάλλοντα πλοῦτον ("the surpassing riches").
Note also that this passage has three verbs which all begin with the prefix σύν (meaning "together with"). The direct object of such a verb receives the action of the simplex verb. Then it will often have a dative form following it, to indicate the object of the preposition prefix σύν, that is, who the action of the verb is performed upon, "together with" the direct object. The first of these three compound verbs is in the clause of verse 5: ἡμᾶς ... συνεζωοποίησεν τῷ Χριστῷ ("made us alive together with Christ"), where the accusative pronoun ἡμᾶς ("us") is the direct object, and the dative Χριστῷ ("Christ") is the object of the preposition prefix. But the other two compound verbs beginning with σύν do not have an accusative direct object, nor a dative object of the preposition prefix. Thus, we must assume the same ones as before. That is, συνήγειρεν would mean "raised [us] together with [Christ]," and συνεκάθισεν would mean "seated [us] together with [Christ]."
Notice also the past time of many verbs in this passage. First, συνεζωοποίησεν is a past time aorist indicative active form, meaning that God has already made us alive together with Christ, from the death of our trespasses. But the passage also implies a future resurrection, since that is a doctrine always on the minds of the apostles who faced death on a regular basis. Then σεσῳσμένοι is a perfect passive participle, indicating that God has saved us in the past, with continuing present results and effects. Then συνήγειρεν and συνεκάθισεν are also aorist active indicatives, meaning God has already raised us up and seated us together with Christ, in the spirit. Then it switches to a deponent aorist subjunctive δjνδείξηται ("He might entirely prove"). This is followed by two more participles, a deponent present participle ἐπερχομένοις ("the [ages] continuously coming upon [us]"), and a present active participle ὑπερβάλλον ("surpassing").
- ἀκούσατε, ἀδελφοί μου ἀγαπητοί. οὐχ ὁ Θεὸς εξελέξατο τοὺς πτωχοὺς τῷ κόσμῳ πλουσίους ἐν πίστει καὶ κληρονόμους τῆς βασιλείας ἦς ἐπηγγείλατο τοῖς ἀγαπῶσιν Αὐτόν; ὑμεῖς δὲ ἠτιμάσατε τὸν πτωχόν. οὐχ οἱ πλούσιοι καταδυναστεύουσιν ὑμῶν, καὶ αὐτοὶ ἔλκουσιν ὑμᾶς εἰς κριτήρια;
Translation: "Listen [to me], my beloved brothers. Has not God chosen the impoverished ones in the world [to be] rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised for those loving Him? But you have dishonored the impoverished. Do not the wealthy ones oppress you, and they drag you into court?" (James 2:5-6).
Comment: Of course, this is a reference to the words of Jesus, from His sermon on the mount (Mat. 5:3; Luke 6:20,24). Again, this direct object (in bluish green) is an adjective used substantively. As an adjective, it has a neuter nominative / accusative singular form which is the same as the masculine accusative singular form. But we can tell it is masculine because a masculine plural form (πτωχούς) was used in the previous verse, in the same context and paragraph. So the direct object here is also masculine, but singular. This singular form refers to the entire body of impoverished people everywhere. Here James is accusing these people of a sin against all impoverished people as a whole.
- οἴδαμεν δὲ ὅτι τοῖς ἀγαπῶσιν τὸν Θεὸν πάντα συνεργεῖ ὁ Θεὸς εἰς ἀγαθόν, τοῖς κατὰ πρόθεσιν κλητοῖς οὖσιν. ὅτι οὓς προέγνω, καὶ προώρισεν συμμόρφους τῆς εἰκόνος τοῦ Υἱοῦ Αὐτοῦ, εἰς τὸ εἶναι Αὐτὸν πρωτότοκον ἐν πολλοῖς ἀδελφοῖς.
Translation: "So we know that, for [the benefit of] those loving God, God works together with those being called according to a purpose, [to produce] all things unto a good [result]. Because whom He foreknew, He also predestined [to become] those transformed into the image of His Son, in order for Him to be [the One having] firstborn [status] among many brothers" (Rom. 8:28-29).
Comment: Here the subject of the first clause is either the articular nominative ὁ Θεός ("God"), or the neuter adjective πάντα (if we assume it is nominative, not accusative). Now, in some ancient manuscripts, ὁ Θεός is not found (particularly in the second most important 4th century uncial Codex Sinaiticus). Thus, many prefer to interpret πάντα as the nominative subject, instead of as the accusative direct object. However, even if ὁ Θεός was not written in the original text, the 3rd person singular verb still implies that God is the subject performing the action of the verb, according to the context of the previous verses. And, since the verb means "work," how can we logically assume that "work" is performed by the inanimate "all things"? Rather, "work" suggests a rational person acting to achieve a planned result. Thus, God must be the subject of this verb.
In the end, as much as I prefer the beautiful English implications of the interpretation with πάντα as the subject, it is not likely the best interpretation, and does not fit the Greek verb. Considering the context, and the Greek verb, and the early witness of manuscripts that include ὁ Θεός (i.e., the 2nd century papyrus #46, which is the best witness of the text of Romans; and the Codex Vaticanus, which has proven to be the most reliable of all the uncials; and the third most important uncial, the Codex Alexandrinus), I would have to say that the most likely and logical interpretation of this passage is with "God" as the subject. But here are my comments on both ways of interpreting this text:
Therefore, the most logical interpretation probably would be something like the one given above, immediately underneath the Greek quote. It more accurately fits the whole context of verses 26 to 30 (where the last word of verse 30, which is often translated as "glorified," means that we will receive a "good opinion" from God and from His people and angels, regarding what He makes us become). In other words, God "works together with" us to produce all things which are good. God works both in us and through us.
- "God" as the subject performing the action of the verb: Because of the prefix σύν on the verb συνεργεῖ (3rd person singular present indicative active form of συνεργέω), it implies that the subject "works together with" someone. Whomever the subject "works together with," will be indicated by a dative substantive (i.e., a dative substantive is provided as the object of the preposition prefix, as though σύν were a separate word). And the dative will usually follow after the verb with its preposition prefix. Then a direct object will usually be an accusative substantive placed anywhere in the text, and indicates what both have worked upon or produced by the work. Here, the direct object is πάντα ("all things") (or παν in some texts, which means basically the same, "everything").
This passage has two dative substantives though, and both appear to be intentionally separated from each other, as two distinct groups of people. The first might be the preposition's object, that is, indicating the ones whom God "works together with," in order to produce the direct object, "all things." Then the second dative substantive would be the indirect object, which indicates "for whom" the work was done, that is, who benefits from the work and receives the product of the work done. In other words, it possibly could be interpreted as: "So we know that God, [toiling] together with the ones loving God, works all things unto a good [result], for [the benefit of] those being called according to a purpose." But the opposite seems more likely, where the first dative accrues the benefit as the indirect object, and the second dative substantive indicates the ones whom God "works together with." After all, God most likely works together with "those being called according to a purpose," where their "purpose" is to do work under God's leadership. Also, as mentioned, the object of the preposition would most likely follow after the preposition in the verb. Therefore, this interpretation was chosen for the translation displayed under the Greek quote.
Wallace points out that, even if we assume that ὁ Θεός was not in the original text, we could still assume God is the subject performing the action of the verb. Yet he would translate this as "He works all things together for good." Here it seems Wallace takes the preposition prefix to apply to the accusative direct object, that God works "all things together." Although this is theologically true, the interpretation is unlikely, since a dative substantive is present in the clause. Wallace's interpretation leaves both dative substantive phrases to refer to the same group of people: "for those loving God, [who are also] those being called according to a purpose." Yet both dative phrases seem intentionally separated, and both begin with an article. So the dative phrases are not in apposition to each other, and one likely does not predicate the other. Since this verb's preposition prefix takes a dative object, one phrase is most likely the object.
Either way, we know from context that the Spirit of God works inside us, helps us in our weakness, and begs God for things on our behalf, according to God's will (verses 26-27). Thus, God also causes us to do His works, as He prompts us to do them. Our walk with God is a life built upon active responses to the inner words and commands of God upon our spirits. We work as God is doing a work inside us, a work in which we participate, for our own good and for the good of others, and for all things which will be good results in the very end.
- "All things" as the subject performing the action of the verb: In English, this is the most comforting translation, in that it more clearly conveys the message that all things will work out for good in the end. Still, the more logical interpretation suggests this same thing too. Anyway, it is not likely that Paul meant that "things" perform work. Theologically and logically, this is not actually the best interpretation. Still, if the neuter substantive πάντα is to be taken as a nominative, instead of an accusative, Wallace says the interpretation would be something like: "all things work together for good." However, this again assumes that the "object" of the preposition prefix is the subject of the verb. That is, he suggests that "all things" work together with each other. This again ignores the separation of the two dative phrases, and treats both as one referent to one indirect object. Yet that seems highly unlikely. If πάντα is taken as the subject, it appears that this text should read: "So we know that, for [the benefit of] those loving God, all things work, together with those being called according to a purpose, for a good [result]." And that does not make logical sense either. How can inanimate "things" be involved in helping or working "together with" those who are called for a purpose? People work with tools and things. But tools and things do not work with people. And this Greek verb indicates a work done with volition and purpose, by an intelligent subject leading and helping other people. So it is God leading and helping us, working together with those being called.
Wallace ends the discussion on this passage with some insightful comments, which may be good to repeat here. To begin with, he quotes Cranfield: "What is expressed is a truly biblical confidence in the sovereignty of God." Any way one looks at this passage, it indicates that God produces a good result through all He causes to happen to His people on earth, even through the suffering we must endure until we receive the goal of our faith. Wallace adds: "It is difficult to pass over a verse such as this without noting two additional items: (1) the good that is accomplished is specifically for believers; and (2) that good is in connection with conformity to Christ through suffering (so v 17-30)."
After stating this, Wallace concludes: "Thus to say (as is frequently done nowadays, even in non-Christian circles), 'Everything will work together for the good,' as if things work out by themselves and the good is human comfort, is hardly Pauline and hardly biblical. Such a worldview C.H. Dodd rightly derided as 'evolutionary optimism.'" This passage in Romans speaks of an optimism which is strictly a hope in God alone, and solely for those who put confidence in God, for those who walk in faith, for those being directed by God's words spoken directly to their spirits in their hearts. But many are children of the devil, and there is no good result for them. Nor does anything work out by itself, but all works by God's power alone. Nor is the goal for physical comfort, and what the world calls "good." After all, the topic is about "hope" in God even during times of suffering, in a life on earth which will end. It is not about "natural selection" which makes things better and better. Actually, the Bible prophesies that things will get worse and worse on earth, which is always proving true, contrary to "evolutionary optimism."
(1.b) Double Accusatives
Wallace delineates "two types of double accusative constructions," the "person-thing" construction and the "object-complement" construction. There are also other instances of double accusatives too, such as where one accusative is used in apposition to another, or where an infinitive has two accusatives with it. These are discussed under separate headings, however. The semantics or implied meanings of the two double accusative constructions Wallace specified is discussed below, and compared with accusatives used in apposition.
The Semantics of Double Accusative Constructions
Correctly understanding the semantics of double accusatives can be important to us in some instances. That is, the way we interpret how the GNT used double accusatives can imply very different meanings. If we correctly understand the implications, we can gain some important and useful knowledge, which can positively affect how we relate to our God, how we conduct our lives, and so on. But a misunderstanding can cause harmful errors in some ways.
Of course, to interpret double accusatives properly, one must first identify them as being of one kind of construction or another. Those who spoke Greek fluently "just knew" what was meant when they saw it written in a particular way. The meaning came naturally to them, since they experienced the use of the language all their lives. But this is not so easy for us. To understand the GNT, we need to consciously recognize the grammatical indicators for each construction. More about this is discussed below, along with more examples of each kind of construction. A few double accusative constructions are debatable, and might belong in either of two categories. But most are fairly clear, and have distinct implications in context.
This section compares the semantics of three kinds of double accusatives: (1.) If the two accusatives are a person-thing construction, the accusative of "person" is affected by the action of the verb upon the accusative of "thing." (2.) If an accusative is used in apposition to another accusative, the second one describes or explains something further about the first. (3.) If the two are an object-complement construction, the "complement" accusative asserts something about the other, in much the same way as using a linking verb between the two, where one functions something like a subject and the other something like a subject complement, but both on the predicate side of the action verb.
The clause, ἐκεῖνος ὑμᾶς διδάξει πάντα ("that One will teach you all things," John 14:26) is a person-thing construction. The construction has double accusatives, where it might have used a dative and an accusative instead. The accusative of "person" is in green, and we might expect it to be a dative. The accusative of "thing" is in bluish green, which functions as a direct object, so we normally expect it to be an accusative. This use of double accusatives may add the implication that those taught "all things" will be "affected" by the things they are taught, and respond to those things. But if a dative indirect object is used instead, such as in ὃς ἐδίδασκεν τῷ Βαλὰκ βαλεῖν σκάνδαλον ("who taught Balak to cast a stumbling block," Rev. 2:14), it may simply indicate that an act of teaching took place, but the affect upon the one taught is conditional, that the one receiving the teaching may or may not accept or respond. Yet, both in the GNT and in secular writings, forms of the verb διδάσκω usually take an accusative indirect object, not a dative, likely to indicate an affect of the teaching upon the one(s) being taught.
Still, such a use of double accusatives is simply stating a something about an event. It is implying that a person is affected in response to whatever "thing" the subject of the verb used in acting upon the "person." But exactly how is one affected? From this kind of construction, we cannot squeeze out very much additional information concerning how one accusative affects the other, since it is simply a description of an event. Most of the information we can obtain about the relationship between the two accusatives must come from observing or reading about this actual event itself. We might study how this event occurred elsewhere in Scriptures, or perhaps we have experienced the same event ourselves. In the above example, basically the only things relevant to understanding how the teachings of the Holy Spirit affect those being taught are facts observed from an event of someone actually being taught by the Holy Spirit.
Next, we can look at two accusatives used in apposition, like: ἐν ᾧ ἔχομεν τὴν ἀπολύτρωσιν διὰ τοῦ αἵματος Αὐτοῦ, τὴν ἄφεσιν τῶν παραπτωμάτων, κατὰ τὸ πλοῦτος τῆς χάριτος Αὐτοῦ ("in Whom we have the redemption payment through His blood, the release from offenses, according to the riches of His grace," Eph. 1:7). Here the two accusatives both have the accusative article τήν in front of them, and both have phrases with them. The second accusative phrase immediately follows the other, and is used to describe or explain the first.
Sometimes this kind of construction can be exegeted to a much greater extent, since this is no longer just an objective statement of an event. Here the author puts the two accusative terms together solely because he saw a direct relationship between them, where he thought the second term described or further explained the first. So, if we know the author's views about each term, as we might discover from his other writings, and from other Scriptures in general (since the ultimate Author of all Scripture is God Himself), then we can find out more about why he put these two accusatives together. We ask ourselves, exactly what did the author mean by each term, and precisely how does the second term further describe or explain the first? Perhaps many principles and teachings are involved, and we can explore their relationships.
Lastly, the two accusatives might stand in an "object-complement" relationship, such as in the sentence: Πατέρα ἴδιον ἔλεγεν τὸν Θεόν ("He reasoned God [to be] His Own Father," John 5:18). Here the relationship between the two accusatives might be more direct at times. This quote makes the term "His Own Father" predicate something about the word "God." That is, the two accusatives function as though a linking verb were implied between them, as in: "God is His Own Father." The phrase "to be His Own Father" also completes the thought of the verb, like an infinitive complement, while it asserts something about the object "God."
In context, Jesus previously stated that He is currently doing the very same work as God, while calling God His Father. So Jesus had just claimed to be causing all things to happen in the universe, just as God was currently doing. Because Jesus claimed that He was doing the same things as God, and called God His Father in this particular kind of relationship with God, Jesus claimed to be One in substance with almighty Spirit of the Father who creates and causes all things. So Jesus was not merely claiming to be a child of the Father in the general sense, like all created human beings. Rather, Jesus claimed that God is His Own Father in a very unique way, and that God is not anyone else's Father in that same way. In fact, the ones who said Jesus "reasoned God to be His Own Father," defined this statement as meaning that He was "making Himself equal to God," and they wanted to stone Him to death for blasphemy.
The exegesis of an object-complement construction can be more complex and deeper than either of the other two double-accusative constructions. Of course, here again the author has deliberately established the relationship of the accusative complement in predicating something about the accusative object, and completing the thought of the verb. So we might need to ask ourselves exactly what is meant by each accusative term he chose, and what the complement term is asserting about the object term. Again, we can use other things the author said about each term, and all of God's Word, to further and more clearly define the terms, and to determine how they relate to each other. But there are other considerations as well. Especially word order, but also context and other factors, affect the meaning.
(1.b.i) Double Accusatives in a Person-Thing Construction
After translation, this Greek construction often looks something like our English construction with an indirect object, such as the clause: "that One will teach you all things" (John 14:26). But the Greek construction here used two accusatives, and implies a little bit more. In our English example, the "person" is "you," which we would call an indirect object, and which we would normally expect to be a dative form in Greek, because it usually is a dative form in Greek. Then the "thing" in the example clause is the phrase "all things," which we would call the direct object and expect to be an accusative form in Greek, as it actually is in this construction. But here, as is the case with several kinds of Greek verbs, two accusatives are used instead of a dative and an accusative. And using the two accusatives seems to indicate that the accusative "indirect object" ("person") is more affected in some way by receiving the "thing."
The sematics of this kind of construction indicates that the "thing" receives the direct action of the verb upon it, as a direct object, like a normal accusative in Greek. But the action upon the "thing" will be received by the "person" in a way that affects the "person." So the "thing" is the "nearer object," that is, what is directly "effected" or "acted upon" by the action of the verb. Then the "person" is the "more remote object," that is, somewhat like an indirect object, yet it is "affected" by the whole transaction (of the verb's action upon the "thing"). Since, in this construction, the accusative "indirect object" is a little more directly affected than a normal indirect object, this seems to be why the Greeks used an accusative instead of a dative.
For example, if we said, "He gave the disciples a copy of the prayer," then there is nothing really "affecting" the disciples -- other than the fact that they passively received a material item. They physically obtained a copy of a prayer. It does not imply much more. In Greek, a dative form indicates accrual, but not action or movement as a result of accruing or receiving something. However, there is an implication of movement or action from an accusative. When it said, the Holy Spirit "will teach you all things" (where two accusatives were used, instead of a dative and an accusative) it implies that there will be some additional action among those being taught, that is, in response to being taught. It suggests that those being taught will learn something, that they will be affected by the action of being taught. It does not say how, but they will be.
This construction, using two accusatives (instead of a dative and an accusative) is "fairly common" in the GNT. But it only occurs with certain kinds of verbs, those which perform an action with or upon a "thing" to more directly affect a "person" in some way. Basically, Wallace classifies these kinds of verbs into four categories. Each of these are listed below, each with two examples selected by Wallace. In the examples, the accusatives of "person" is highlighted in green, and the accusative of "thing" is highlighted in bluish green.
- Verbs Expressing Actions of Teaching, Reminding
- ὁ δὲ Παράκλητος, τὸ Πνευμα τὸ Ἅγιον ὃ πέμψει ὁ Πατὴρ ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί Μου, Ἐκεῖνος ὑμᾶς διδάξει πάντα καὶ ὑπομνήσει ὑμᾶς πάντα ἃ εἶπον ὑμῖν Ἐγώ.
Translation: "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, that One will teach you all things and will [initiate interactions to] remind you [of] all things which I said to you." (John 14:26).
Comment: Here, the "thing" in the accusative case is πάντα ("all things"), for both clauses. It functions like a normal direct object, and receives the action directly. It refers to the content of what is being taught, or of what is being said as a reminder, and refers to what is actually conveyed by the action of teaching or reminding. Then the "person" accusative is also the same in both clauses, the pronoun ὑμᾶς ("you"). This seems it should be a dative, since the teaching is "to" or "for" them. But, since the actions of teaching and reminding are actions more directly affecting people, Greeks sometimes preferred to use an accusative to indicate the person being taught or reminded. Here it implies that, when the Holy Spirit teaches or reminds us of things, we will be affected by it. We will learn and respond actively to what He teaches us, or to what He reminds us about.
- διὰ τοῦτο αὐτὸ ἔπεμψα ὑμῖν Τιμόθεον, ὅς ἐστίν μου τέκνον ἀγαπητὸν καὶ πιστὸν ἐν Κυρίῳ, ὃς ὑμᾶς ἀναμνήσει τὰς ὁδούς μου τὰς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ καθὼς πανταχοῦ ἐν πάσῃ ἐκκλησίᾳ διδάσκω.
Translation: "On account of this same thing, I sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved child and faithful in the Lord, who will again remind you [of] my ways in Christ Jesus, just as I teach everywhere in every church." (I Cor. 4:17).
Comment: Here the "thing" accusative is a whole phrase. The articular accusative τὰς ὁδούς is followed by a genitive pronoun, then by a repeat of its accusative plural article in front of a prepositional phrase, τὰς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, indicating that the prepositional phrase modifies the accusative noun. The church is expected to respond to these reminders from Timothy.
- Verbs Expressing Actions of Clothing, Anointing (putting on / taking off)
- καὶ ὅτε ἐνέπαιξαν Αὐτῷ, ἐξέδυσαν Αὐτὸν τὴν χλαμύδα καὶ ἐνέδυσαν Αὐτὸν τὰ ἱμάτια Αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἀπήγαγον Αὐτὸν εἰς τὸ σταυρῶσαι.
Translation: "And when they had derided Him, they took off of Him the cloak and put on Him His garments, then led Him away in order to crucify [Him]" (Mat. 27:31).
Comment: The taking off or putting on of things affects the way the person looks, and the person also responds by carrying the clothing wherever that person goes. It also affects behaviour, whether one can walk in public or not, and so on. But it seems there is often nothing more than this implied.
- ἠγάπησας δικαιοσύνην καὶ ἐμίσησας ἀνομίαν· διὰ τοῦτο ἔχρισέν Σε, ὁ Θεός, ὁ Θεός Σου, ἔλαιον ἀγαλλιάσεως παρὰ τοὺς μετόχους Σου.
Translation: "You loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; on account of this, God, Your God, anointed You [with] oil of gladness along side Your companions [who share it]" (Heb. 1:9).
Comment: The double accusatives seem to imply a response to the action of being anointed. Then, in this instance, the genitive noun specifies that the response is one of gladness by the one who is anointed.
- Verbs Expressing Actions of Inquiring, Asking
- ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· ἐρωτήσω ὑμᾶς κἀγὼ λόγον ἕνα, ὃν ἐὰν εἴπητέ Μοι, κἀγὼ ὑμῖν ἐρῶ ἐν ποίᾳ ἐξουσίᾳ ταῦτα ποιῶ· τὸ βάπτισμα τὸ Ἰωάννου πόθεν ἦν; ἐξ οὐρανοῦ ἢ ἐξ ἀνθρώπων;
Translation: "So answering, Jesus said to them: 'I also will ask you [for] one explanation, which, if you tell Me, I also will tell you in what decision-making authority I do these things. The baptism of John, from where was it? From heaven or from men?" (Mat. 21:24-25).
Comment: Of course, the accusative of "person" is "affected" in that, when they are asked for an explanation, they must respond by giving an explanation, or else respond in some other way, such as by refusing to do so.
- ὁ δὲ βασιλεὺς εἶπεν τῷ κορασίῳ· αἴτησόν με ὃ ἐὰν θέλῃς, καὶ δώσω σοι.
Translation: "So the king said to the girl, 'Ask me whatever you wish, and I will give [it] to you'" (Mark 6:22).
Comment: The neuter relative pronoun ὅ can be either nominative or accusative. Here it is accusative. The relative clause with it, ὃ ἐὰν θέλῃς, serves as the accusative substantive, the accusative "thing." The "person" is "affected" in that "whatever she wishes" will be asked of him, and he must respond.
- Verbs Expressing Actions of Other Causitive Ideas
- κἀγώ, ἀδελφοί, οὐκ ἠδυνήθην λαλῆσαι ὑμῖν ὡς πνευματικοῖς ἀλλ᾽ ὡς σαρκίνοις, ὡς νηπίοις ἐν Χριστῷ. γάλα ὑμᾶς ἐπότισα, οὐ βρῶμα· οὔπω γὰρ ἐδύνασθε.
Translation: "And I, brothers, was not able to speak to you as to spiritual ones, but as to fleshy ones, as to infants in Christ. For drink I offered you milk, not solid food" (I Cor. 3:1-2).
Comment: Here the accusative "thing" is placed in front of the accusative "person," and both accusatives are located in front of the verb. The "person" is affected by being offered "milk" in that they then respond by "drinking" the "milk." They are not given milk to just hold as a possession, or to take home with them. Rather, it is given for them to "drink," to take action upon that "milk."
- καὶ ὑμῖν τοῖς νομικοῖς οὐαί, ὅτι φορτίζετε τοὺς ἀνθρώπους φορτία δυσβάστακτα, καὶ αὐτοὶ ἑνὶ τῶν δακτύλων ὑμῶν οὐ προσψαύετε τοῖς φορτίοις.
Translation: "Also woe to you, the teachers of [God's] law, because you burden men [with] burdens hard to bear, and for your selves, you do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers" (Luke 11:46).
Comment: When a person is burdened with burdens, the person is affected and must respond by bearing or carrying those burdens.
(1.b.ii) Double Accusatives in an Object-Complement Construction
The Definition and Semantics of a Subject-Complement Construction
Now you likely have already seen how a nominative can be in a "predicate position," in relation to another nominative, where a linking verb is implied. These two nominatives are translated into clause with a linking verb. For example, ὁ Θεός Πατήρ implies a linking verb, and can be translated as, "God is the Father." Something similar is true of some double accusatives. One accusative may be in a sort of "predicate position" to the other. An example can be:
Πατέρα ἴδιον ἔλεγεν τὸν Θεόν.
The translation of this can be, "He called God His Own Father" (John 5:18). It also can be translated as, "He reasoned God to be His Own Father," or, "He claimed God is His Own Father," or, "He claimed God as His Own Father." Here the first accusative term is separated from the other accusative. But this first anarthrous accusative (in bluish green, without an article) is in a sort of "predicate position" to the articular accusative (in green, with an article). Remember, the anarthrous term is in a predicate position to the articular term (if both are the same case).
In other words, the accusative without the article in front of it (the first, in bluish green) predicates something about the other, that is, the object-complement construction with double accusatives implies that a linking verb, or something like it, should be placed between the two accusatives. So this construction might be translated as, "Jesus called God His Father." But, in the Greek, the words "His Own Father" actually predicate and assert something about "God." So, in the Greek, it really says something more like, "Jesus claimed God is His Own Father."
Of course, when we translate this construction into English, we may translate the "subject" accusative term as an indirect object, and the "subject complement" accusative term as the direct object, as was done above ("Jesus called God His Father"). Here "God" is translated as an indirect object, and "the Father" is translated as the direct object. Of course, this may not be quite as strong as saying "God is His Father."
On the other hand, we could also translate the accusative term "God" as the direct "object," and the accusative term "His Own Father" as a verb "complement," as in: "He claimed God [object] to be His Own Father [complement]." Remember, a verb's complement "completes" the thought of the verb, and is usually an infinitive (like "to be") or infinitive phrase (like "to be His Own Father"). So this translation more accurately conveys what this construction implies, since "to be" is a form of the linking verb, and this implies a linking verb. This is why this construction is called a "object-complement" construction. An object-complement construction has an accusative direct object which another accusative predicates something about, and that other accusative may function as a complement of the verb.
But, as you will see from the examples below, the subject-complement constructions with double accusatives can be translated in a variety of ways. Some translate the object as an indirect object, and the complement as the direct object. But most translate the object as the direct object, then use key words like "to be" or "as" or other similar terms to join the complement accusative to the object. Sometimes the Greek will actually include a key word like εἶναι ("to be"), ὡς ("as"), or εἰς ("into, unto, for, as") before the complement accusative. To give the idea that something is being asserted about the "object" accusative, by the "complement" accusative, it may be best to use a key word, even if none exists in the Greek text.
As mentioned previously, the interpretation of the double accusatives in an object-complement construction is especially affected by word order. The context, lexical definitions of words, and other factors are also considerations, but word order is a major consideration. In particular, the position of the complement accusative affects whether it is definite (like it has the definite article "the," clearly defined in terms of who or what it refers to, and specific in its limits or dimensions or scope, etc.), qualitative (describing the quality or attributes, defining, specifying, telling something more about the object, providing additional information), or indefinite (like it has the indefinite article "a," not specific, general). The object accusative is usually definite, no matter where it is found in the sentence. But, basically, the closer that the complement object is to the beginning of the clause or sentence, the more "specific" and definite it is.
Basically, Wallace divides the order of double accusatives in an object-complement construction into two semantic categories:
The Structure of a Subject-Complement Construction
- Complement - Object: Here the complement accusative precedes the object accusative. The complement accusative generally ranges from definite to qualitative, and becomes more definite the closer it is to the beginning of the clause or sentence. In the example used above, Πατέρα ἴδιον ἔλεγεν τὸν Θεόν ("He claimed God to be His Own Father," John 5:18), the complement accusative is not only found before the object accusative, but it is placed right at the very beginning of the clause, in the place of highest emphasis. It is anarthrous, to indicate that it is the complement accusative, but it is still very definite, clearly referring to thee only Father of Himself. Just because it has no article, does not mean we can translate it as an indefinite reference, as in, "He was calling God a Father of His." Nor can we translate it as qualitative, as in, "He was calling His own father [i.e., father in the flesh, Joseph] God," where the complement simply describes the object accusative. Wallace also points out, "To clear up this confusion, [John] could have used the article, but this would have created a problem for distinguishing the object from the complement. The wording here is a concise theological statement."
- Object - Complement: Here the object accusative precedes the complement accusative. The complement accusative generally ranges from qualitative to indefinite, and becomes more indefinite the closer it is to the end of the clause or sentence. It is as though, if the complement accusative is placed as the very end of the clause, its indefiniteness is emphasized. One example can be: καὶ γὰρ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου οὐκ ἦλθεν διακονηθῆναι ἀλλὰ διακονῆσαι καὶ δοῦναι τὴν ψυχὴν Αὐτοῦ λύτρόν ἀντὶ πολλῶν ("For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life [to be] a ransom on behalf of many," Mark 10:45). In other words, Jesus came to be "a" general kind of ransom for many different kinds of people from all places and all ages. Placing this complement accusative phrase at the very end of the clause emphasizes how Jesus came as a ransom for all kinds of people, and many of them.
In an object-complement construction with two accusatives, we must be able to determine which of the two accusatives is the "object" (the term which functions and is often translated as the direct object), and which accusative is the "complement" (which asserts something about the object accusative, and may be translated after the key words "to be" in the English translation). For the most part, basically the same rules apply as when we find two nominatives, where one of them is in the "predicate position" to the other. That is:
- If only one of the two accusatives has a article, the object will be the articular accusative (with the article). In the main example above, it was the accusative term τὸν Θεόν. ("God," displayed in green). Conversely, the complement will be the anarthrous accusative (without the article). In the example above, it would be the accusative term Πατέρα ἴδιον ("His Own Father," displayed in bluish green).
- If neither has an article, or if both have articles, the object will normally be the first term. For example, πᾶσαν πίστιν ἐνδεικνυμένους ἀγαθὴν would mean, "proving all faith [to be] good" (Titus 2:10). Here both accusatives are anarthrous, so the first is the object and the second is the complement. About 80% of the time, the object precedes the complement. In the other 20%, the object is clearly distinguished from the complement, because the object will have an article and the complement will not -- or else the object will not need to be distinguished from the complement (see next two points).
- If one of the two is a pronoun, and the other is not, the pronoun will be the object. Note: The pronoun carries the most weight, in terms of receiving the main focus, as the accusative which has something asserted about it by the other accusative. With double accusatives, in an object-complement construction, the pronoun will always be the object (unless both accusatives are pronouns, in which case the first will be the object).
- If (a) one accusative is a proper name or title; (b) the other accusative is not a pronoun, proper name, or title; and (c) both accusatives are articular, or if both are anarthrous, then the one which is a proper name or title will be the object accusative. Note: Proper names and articular accusatives are about the same level. Either will be weightier than an anarthrous accusative (i.e., than one which is not a pronoun, name or title), since the anarthrous is the lowest level. But both are lower than a pronoun.
- The object will usually be a noun, or a substantive of some kind. The complement can be a noun, adjective or verbal (participle or infinitive). Just like any clause with a linking verb, the complement is often an adjective or participle, instead of a substantive. When one accusative is an adjective, it will always be a complement accusative.
- The object accusative "usually combines with the verb to form a new verbal idea that has another accusative (the complement) as its object" (Wallace). But this, I believe Wallace means that the direct object does not really receive the action of the verb in the same way as a normal direct object does. This can be seen in the main example above, "He claimed God to be His Own Father." Here the direct object, "God," almost combines with the verb, with the idea of "making a claim about God." Then the complement, "to be His Own Father," receives the main action of making a claim about God.
- Only particular kinds of verbs can be used with an object-complement construction, just like only certain kinds of verbs can be used with a person-thing construction. Thus, these two constructions are said to be "lexically nuanced." Only verbs which bear a lexical meaning that is "causative" will generally be able to have a double accusative object-complement construction. But, as Wallace warns, a verb which can take an object-complement construction does not always need to take one. Most often, most of these kinds of verbs do not take double accusatives. Still, it is important to know which verbs can take a double accusative object-complement construction. In some cases, if you come across double accusatives, and you know whether that kind of verb can or cannot take an object-complement construction, it may help you determine whether the second accusative is in apposition to the other, or part of an object-complement construction. Wallace indicated that that the following three verbs "regularly or almost exclusively take object-complements":
Wallace also provided the following list:
- ἡγέομαι (with double acc. = "look upon / regard / consider [someone / something] as / to be [someone / something]")
- ὀνομάζω ("name / call [someone / something] [name / title / noun]")
- φάσκω ("claim / assert [someone / something] to be [something]")
Examples of Object-Complement Constructions
The object-complement construction with double accusatives is "common" in the GNT. Wallace categorized six different kinds of verbs which take this kind of construction and gave examples for each kind. For these examples, the object accusative is highlighted in green, and the complement accusative is highlighted in bluish green.
- Verbs Expressing Actions of Calling, Designating, Confessing
- ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτοὺς ὁ Ἰησοῦς λέγων· τι ὑμῖν δοκεῖ περὶ τοῦ Χριστοῦ; τίνος υἱός ἐστιν; λέγουσιν Αὐτῷ· τοῦ Δαυίδ. λέγει αὐτοῖς· πῶς οὖν Δαυίδ ἐν Πνεύματι καλεῖ Αὐτὸν Κύριον λέγων· Εἶπεν Κύριος τῷ Κυρίῳ μου· κάθου ἐκ δεξιῶν Μου ἕως ἄν θῶ τοὺς ἐχθρούς Σου ὑποκάτω τῶν ποδῶν Σου; εἰ οὖν Δαυὶδ καλεῖ Αὐτὸν Κύριον, πῶς υἱὸς αὐτοῦ ἐστιν;
Translation: "Jesus questioned them saying, 'What do you think, concerning the Messiah? Whose son is he?' They said to Him, 'Of David.' He said to them, 'How then [did] David, in the Spirit, call Him [his] Lord saying, "The Lord said to my Lord, 'Sit on My right side until I should put Your enemies under Your feet.'" If then David calls Him [his] Lord, how is He his son?'" (Mat. 22:41-45).
Comment: Considering the context and the kind of verb used here, we can conclude that the second accusative is definitely not in apposition to the other. Since the pronoun is first, and because it is a pronoun, it is the object accusative in an object-complement construction. Therefore, the complement accusative "Lord" is asserting something about "Him." And it is positioned after the object accusative, so it is qualitative, defining the object. In other words, Jesus was expressing the idea that David made a claim that the Messiah is his Lord.
At one time, many Jews knew that the Old Testament prophecies indicated that the Messiah would be God incarnate. But many Pharisees said the Messiah would be only a mortal man (although not all did, apparently). Now almost all Pharisees do. After Jesus came, and Christians began to state that Jesus is the prophesied Messiah and God, most Jewish rabbis decided that God's Word in the Old Testament must be wrong. So they got busy and explained the truth away, to prove Christians wrong. Actually, Scripture is blatantly clear on this point (like Is. 9:6, Jer. 23:6, and everywhere it refers to the Messiah and Yahweh as the same Person), but they refuse to admit it. Now, since these church scholars so badly mangled the clear and obvious Scriptures concerning this, and would spend hours screaming about how ignorant Jesus was to think those Scriptures actually said what they obviously said, it seems Jesus chose to confront them with a Scripture indicating the deity of the Messiah, but one upon which the scholars had not spent as much time rehearsing their lies in front of a mirror. So Jesus used this Scripture to point out that David, prophesying in the Holy Spirit, called the Messiah his Lord, which no father would ever say about a mortal son. For it would be contrary to God's law, unless that son in the flesh were actually God in the Spirit. Thus, Jesus shut their mouths, and turned them away.
Jesus quoted the Septuagint almost verbatim: Εἶπεν ὁ Κύριος τῷ Κυρίῳ μου, κάθου ἐκ δεξιῶν Μου, ἕως ἂν θῶ τοὺς ἐχθρούς Σου ὑποπόδιον τῶν ποδῶν Σου ("The Lord said to my Lord, 'Sit on My right side until I should put Your enemies [as] a footstool for Your feet,'" LXX, Ps. 109:1, which is Ps. 110:1 in our Bible).
- καὶ διὰ τοῦτο ἐδίωκον οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι τὸν Ἰησοῦν, ὅτι ταῦτα ἐποίει ἐν σαββάτῳ. ὁ δὲ ἀπεκρίνατο αὐτοῖς· ὁ Πατήρ Μου ἕως ἄρτι ἐργάζεται κἀγὼ ἐργάζομαι· διὰ τοῦτο οὖν μᾶλλον ἐζήτουν Αὐτὸν οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι ἀποκτεῖναι, ὅτι οὐ μόνον ἔλυεν τὸ σάββατον, ἀλλὰ καὶ Πατέρα ἴδιον ἔλεγεν τὸν Θεον, ἴσον Ἑαυτὸν ποιῶν τῷ Θεῷ.
Translation: "And on account of this, the Jews pursued Jesus, because He did these things on a Sabbath day. So He answered them, 'My Father, to this moment, is working [as] also I am working.' Therefore, because of this, the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, since not only did He break the Sabbath, but He also claimed God [to be] His Own Father, making Himself equivalent with God" (John 5:16-18).
Comment: Here the object accusative is the articular one, and the complement accusative is the one at the very beginning of the clause (after the conjunctions, which are not considered to be the beginning of the clause). As mentioned above, this makes the complement accusative very definite, indicating that it means "thee" Father of Himself (ἴδιος, "His Own"), as in His one and only Father. This complement accusative asserts something about the articular object accusative, "thee God." The statement is carefully worded, crafted to convey the idea that Jesus was reasoning to them that thee One God is His Own one and only Father. He is thus claiming to be fully God, and not mortal like others.
These Jews knew Jesus was "making Himself equivalent with God," and was not calling God His Own Father in the same way a normal created human being might call God his Father. This was why they wanted to kill Him for blasphemy, since there is one God, and they assumed that the one God could never have enough power to come to them in a body of flesh. But the reason they accused Him of this was because Jesus actually did say exactly what they accused Him of saying. Jesus did indeed make Himself equivalent with God, state that He is the same Person as God, that He is God who came to them inside a body of flesh.
These Jews correctly understood exactly what Jesus said. But this must be understood in context. It was a Sabbath day, and Jesus had just healed a man. Jesus also told that man to take up the mat he was lying upon and walk with it. According to Jewish tradition, the carrying of his mat was breaking the Sabbath law of God. Of course, it was not truly breaking any real Sabbath law in God's Word, only breaking the extremely foolish and false interpretations of God's law by self-absorbed rabbis. But, to them, breaking their man-made traditions threatened their man-made authority and fake prestige. They received tremendous respect from the people, as though they were professional interpreters of God's Word. Now, if the people found out that God Himself had actually given them nothing, and that they simply taught the self-serving false interpretations of men, as complete fakes, their whole life's work, years of striving to steal what was not rightfully theirs from God, would be lost.
By both His words and miracles, the people began to believe in Jesus as a more authoritative teacher of God's Word than the rabbis, as one truly sent from God, as one who spoke the real truth from God. Therefore, these Bible scholars and leaders of the church had to find some way to suppress that truth. Jesus did too many real things from God, and said too much real truth from God. He had to be stopped. So they grasped at any straw, and used any little thing they could, in order to make Jesus look bad. This day, on a Sabbath day, they jumped at the opportunity of calling Jesus a Sabbath-breaker. Not only did Jesus "break the Sabbath" by healing a man (which is a form of work in their eyes), and by causing a man to carry a mat, but Jesus also commanded both these things without doing so by first saying, "Thus says the Lord," like a true prophet should. Instead, Jesus simply stated, in His own authority, "Rise up! Pick up your mat and walk!" Even if one of their own rabbis had prayed, "If it is Your will, Holy Name, heal this man," then saw the man healed, they could accept it. For God would have done the work, and no man would have done any "work" on the Sabbath. And they certainly would never tell a man to carry his mat. But it was not OK for Jesus to heal the way He healed, by His own authority, as a "work" done on a Sabbath, then to tell that healed man to take up his mat and walk.
Now every Jew knew that God worked on the Sabbath, because, if God even stopped working for one moment, all creation would cease to exist. So they might allow God to heal on a Sabbath. But God alone had the right to work continuously, even on the Sabbath. No mortal man had any right to do so. Thus, Jesus told them, "My Father, to this moment, is working as also I am working." They knew exactly what He meant by this. Jesus was claiming to do the very kind of work the Father God was always doing, causing all things to occur in the universe. Since God is One, and God is Spirit, Jesus was claiming to be the one and only God in a body of flesh, working as God, controlling the universe.
As Jesus said this, He also called God His Father. The combination of claiming to do the work of God with God, while calling God His Father, meant Jesus was calling Himself God incarnate. Though the Pharisees liked to explain it away, they knew that God could be a sort of "Father" of a Person who walked in human flesh, but only in the sense that God put His one indivisible Spirit inside a body of human flesh, just as God walked with Adam (Gen. 3:8), or ate with Abraham (Gen. 18). In this sense, God was the "Father" of those human bodies, who were both called "Yahweh" (i.e., the name of the one God). Just as a human son has the same physical substance of his biological father in him, so too the Spirit in the body (which came to Adam and Abraham), was the same spiritual substance as God, who is one Spirit. So those human bodies were actually the same Person, the one God incarnate. This is the only way God could be "thee" Father of a man, by being God incarnate, since God cannot propagate His Own Spirit.
Immediately after the verses quoted above, Jesus also told them: "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son certainly is not able to do anything from Himself, except whatever He sees the Father doing. For whatever things that One does, these things the Son also does likewise ... the Son makes alive whom He wills ... in order that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father having sent Him" (v. 19,21,23). So this explained why Jesus commanded a healing by His own authority, and why He claimed to be working the works only God can do. Jesus surely was, in fact, stating that He is God incarnate. God is one, and Jesus does exactly what the Father does, and is not able to do otherwise, since God cannot be divided. Now what mortal man can ever see, much less do, what God does? So too, God alone has power to make alive, and Jesus Himself makes alive by His Own will. God alone should be honored, since all men are sinners, and all else is just a creation owned by God. But Jesus is to be honored in just the same way as the one God, the Father, because Jesus is the one God, with the Father. So Jesus was saying that the Father works in His creation in one role, and the Son works in His creation in another role, but both are one and the same God.
In conclusion, by calling Himself the Son of God in this unique sense, unlike created human beings are children of God, Jesus claimed to be fully God, to be God incarnate, to be the one and only Spirit of the Creator God dwelling in a human body. Even His enemies recognized that Jesus was indeed claiming this, and wanted to kill Him because of it. To say Jesus did not claim such a thing, and that the Jewish enemies of Jesus exaggerated the claims of Jesus, in order to falsely accuse Him of blasphemy, is a complete misunderstanding of what was actually written in the GNT. While it is true that the Pharisees did not rightly interpret the Old Testament, they knew what was written there, and also clearly understood what Jesus said. Perhaps one could manipulate some English versions of the Bible, to make one think Jesus did not claim to be fully God here. But the original GNT is clear. Yes, Jesus did indeed claim to be the one God.
- ὑμεῖς φίλοι Μού ἐστε, ἐὰν ποιῆτε ὃ Ἐγὼ ἐντέλλομαι ὑμῖν. οὐκέτι λέγω ὑμᾶς δούλους, ὅτι ὁ δοῦλος οὐκ οἶδεν τί ποιεῖ αὐτοῦ ὁ Κύριος· ὑμᾶς δὲ εἴρηκα φίλους, ὅτι πάντα ἃ ἤκουσα παρὰ τοῦ Πατρός Μου ἐγνώρισα ὑμῖν. οὐχ ὑμεῖς Με ἐξελέξασθε, ἀλλ᾽ Ἐγὼ ἐξελεξάμην ὑμᾶς, καὶ ἔθηκα ὑμᾶς ἵνα ὑμεῖς ὑπάγητε καὶ καρπὸν φέρητε καὶ ὁ καρπὸς ὑμῶν μένῇ, ἵνα ὅ τι ἂν αἰτήσητε τὸν Πατέρα ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί Μου δῷ ὑμῖν. ταῦτα ἐντέλλομαι ὑμῖν, ἵνα ἀγαπᾶτε ἀλλήλους.
Translation: "You are My friends, if you do what I authoritatively instruct you [to do]. No longer do I call you slaves, because the slave does not know what his Lord is doing. But I have called you friends, because all that I heard from My Father, I made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, in order that you should go and bear fruit and your fruit will last, in order that whatever you might ask the Father in My name, He may give to you. These things I authoritatively declare to you, in order that you love one another" (John 15:14-17).
Comment: The first accusative is a pronoun and is the object. The second is the complement accusative. It is behind the object and is qualitative, indicating that it is a description or a view, and is asserting something with the negative in this clause, "you are not [viewed as] slaves." Of course, the reason Jesus gives for telling them they are not slaves, is because they are given to know more than a slave. In other words, although slaves are given commands, the disciples are given commands with knowledge of the inner workings and reasons for those commands, like a superior might give to a cherished one or friend. And this is done so they can bear fruit for God, where this fruit is essentially defined here as righteous love for God and man. The righteous kind of love, the kind that God has for us, depends wholly on fully understanding His truth inwardly, then doing according to our spirit's hearing of Him in right understanding.
This chapter in John is very important in terms of understanding how Jesus, our God, viewed the commands of God. In context, the verb ἐντέλλομαι and the noun ἐντολή hold a deeper ecclesiastical meaning, more clearly defined through the context of this chapter. These two words do not just indicate bare and lifeless commanding or commands, but authoritative teachings, precepts, instructions, declarations, counsellings, wisdom, truth and all that is required for the practice of righteous love towards both God and man, things to be cherished in the heart and meditated upon in the day and in the night, throughout the days of our lives. The authoritative words of God are seen as critical to the working of real love, and therefore are to be guarded in the heart (15:10). In the same way Jesus guarded the commandments revealed to man from God, so too are we.
Jesus did not make God's commands into a complicated set of rules and traditions to regulate one's external behaviour in the flesh, and to interpret by the mind of flesh, like the Pharisees did. Instead, Jesus loved God's words, taught the true meaning and application of those words, and taught if first concerning the very heart, in order to fill the thoughts of the spirit with those teachings, because the spirit is from where true love comes. To Jesus, first the understanding and acceptance of God's Word was internal. Then it overflowed out of the heart to the external behaviours, and bore real fruit for the real God.
Religion and God's commands are not about looking good to others. It is not about looking better than others. God's words are about helping us to truly be God's chosen ones, inside, in the core of our beings, becoming personally changed inside, becoming better than we personally were yesterday and each day -- all worked by the power of God, all by relying on the food from the Vine, who is Jesus. We live by faith, not by regulating our lives according to man-made interpretations of cold, hard commands. We do not make the real commands of God, who is Spirit, into commands of men, into things of the flesh. Rather, we worship in spirit and in truth, by hearing the teachings of Jesus' Spirit Himself upon our hearts. After this, then our external behaviour is truly affected, so works and deeds that truly glorify God are accomplished. But, even so, each of these deeds can only be effective if God wills, and by the power of God Himself.
Jesus, our God, is the Vine, and we are merely the branches who die without being attached to Him and feeding upon Him. We are entirely dependent upon Him -- on His power and His Spirit's personal revelations about the truth of His Word directly to our spirits, on His commands to do things when He speaks directly to our hearts. And our worth is not by what we do, in comparison to others, since all that all do is from God. Thus, overall, a soul who is given less physical cognitive ability in certain parts of the brain can never do "better" than someone who is given much greater physical cognitive ability in certain parts of the brain. Some branches are just made with a greater capacity to put out more beautiful leaves, to always look more full and rich. But, in Christ the Vine, a little branch, with just a few leaves, even with leaves chewed by a worm, can still bear much real fruit of love through His Holy Spirit, and make more fruit each day.
- Verbs Expressing Actions of Making, Appointing
- καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς· δεῦτε ὁπίσω Μου, καὶ ποιήσω ὑμᾶς ἁλεεῖς ἀνθρώπων. οἱ δὲ εὐθέως ἀφέντες τὰ δίκτυα ἠκολούθησαν Αὐτῷ.
Translation: "And He said to them, 'Come follow Me! And I will make you [to be] fishers of men.' So, immediately abandoning their nets, they followed after Him [as disciples]." (Mat. 4:19-20).
Comment: The pronoun is the object accusative, and the accusative phrase after it is the complement. This complement seems to be both qualitative and indefinite. It describes what these persons will be made into by Jesus, but is also indefinite -- in that they will generally become "fishers of men," in the same way as many others are "fishers of men," and not in any specific or limited way.
- ἦλθεν οὖν πάλιν εἰς τὴν Κανὰ τῆς Γαλιλαίας, ὅπου ἐποίησεν το ὕδωρ οἶνον.
Translation: "Therefore, He came again into Cana of Galilee, where He made the water [to be] wine" (John 4:46).
Comment: Here the articular noun is the object and the anarthrous noun is the complement. The complement comes after the object and is indefinite. Jesus turned some water into "a wine" in general, without any details specified.
- ὃς δὲ ἀπεκρίθη αὐτοῖς· ὁ ποιήσας με ὑγιῆ, ἐκεῖνός μοι εῖπεν· ἆρον τὸν κράβατόν σου καὶ περιπάτει.
Translation: "But [the one] whom [they spoke to] answered them, 'The One making me [to be] healthy, that One told me, "Take up your mat and walk"'" (John 5:11).
Comment: Again, the pronoun is the object accusative, and the accusative singular form of the adjective ὑγιής ("sound, healthy, well," 3rd declension) is the complement. As an adjective, it is qualitative. Like most adjective complement accusatives, it is placed after the object accusative. Note that adjective accusatives assert something about the nouns they qualify, like a predicate adjective after a linking verb. The linking verb can be a form of "to be" or "become." So this is saying Jesus made him "become healthy." This is different from an adjective attributing something. If the adjective was attributive, this would be interpreted, "The One making a healthy me, that One ..."
- Verbs Expressing Actions of Sending, Expelling
- ἐν τούτῳ γινώσκομεν ὅτι ἐν Αὐτῷ μένομεν καὶ Αὐτὸς ἐν ἡμῖν, ὅτι ἐκ τοῦ Πνεύματος Αὐτοῦ δέδωκεν ἡμῖν. καὶ ἡμεῖς τεθεάμεθα καὶ μαρτυροῦμεν ὅτι ὁ Πατὴρ ἀπέσταλκεν τὸν Υἱὸν Σωτῆρα τοῦ κόσμου. ὃς ἐὰν ὁμολογήσῃ ὅτι Ἰησοῦς ἐστιν ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ, ὁ Θεὸς ἐν αὐτῷ μένει καὶ αὐτὸς ἐν τῷ Θεῷ.
Translation: "In this we know that we remain in Him, and He in us, because He has permanently given to us out of His Spirit. Also, we have physically seen [and remember the sight] and testify that the Father has sent the Son [to be] Saviour of the world. Whoever might solemnly declare and acknowledge the principles of God's truth, and agree with the principles of God's truth, [then] God remains in him and he in God, because Jesus is the Son [sent] from God" (I John 4:13-15).
Comment: Here the articular noun is the object accusative and the anarthrous noun phrase is the complement. The complement phrase is placed after the object, so it is qualitative, and asserts that "the Son is [the one having the attribute of being] Saviour of the world." Then this statement goes on to explain exactly which ones Jesus saves, from those now in the wicked world system.
The next phrase might mean, "whoever might confess that Jesus is the Son of God," or, "acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God." But that definitely does not seem likely. After all, even all the devils can do that much, and so do many very wicked men. Or it may mean, "Whoever might solemnly declare and agree that Jesus is thee Son of God." This is a little better, but not much, and many evil sons of Satan can do this as well. However, this can also mean, "Whoever might solemnly declare and acknowledge the principles of God's truth, and agree with the principles of God's truth, [then] God remains in him and he in God, because Jesus is the Son [sent] from God." This seems best, since only true believers would do this. In the Bible, the verb ὁμολογέω bore this kind of implication, as a sort of short-hand way of indicating the act of solemnly committing oneself to declaring, acknowledging and agreeing with all the truth of all the "rational principles" taught in God's Word. Even in secular writings, this word bore the implication of a solemn declaration, acknowledgment, and agreement, in order to make a commitment to something. So it does in the GNT as well, but to Jesus.
- μακάριοί ἐστε ὅταν μισήσωσιν ὑμᾶς οἱ ἄνθρωποι, καὶ ὅταν ἀφορίσωσιν ὑμᾶς καὶ ὀνειδίσωσιν καὶ ἐκβάλωσιν τὸ ὄνομα ὑμῶν ὡς πονηρὸν ἕνεκα τοῦ Υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου. χάρητε ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ καὶ σκιρτήσατε· ἰδοὺ γὰρ ὁ μισθὸς ὑμῶν πολὺς ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ· κατὰ τὰ αὐτὰ γὰρ ἐποίουν τοῖς προφήταις οἱ πατέρες αὐτῶν.
Translation: "You are blessed when people hate you, and when they excommunicate you, then denounce and cast out your name as evil for the sake of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day, and leap [for joy]. For behold, your reward [is] much in heaven. For their fathers did the same things to the prophets" (Luke 6:22-23).
Comment: Here the phrase with the articular accusative noun and genitive modifier is the object. The anarthrous accusative adjective follows it, as a complement adjective usually does. But this example includes an adverb of comparison, ὡς ("as, like"), between the object and complement. This adverb functions something like a linking verb, since it equates and links both terms.
- Verbs Expressing Actions of Considering, Regarding
- εἴ τις δοκεῖ ἄλλος πεποιθέναι ἐν σαρκί, ἐγὼ μᾶλλον ... κατὰ ζῆλος διώκων τὴν ἐκκλησίαν, κατὰ δικαιοσύνην τὴν ἐν νόμῳ γενόμενος ἄμεμπτος. ἀλλὰ ἅτινα ἦν μοι κέρδη, ταῦτα ἥγημαι διὰ τὸν Χριστὸν ζημίαν. ἀλλὰ μενοῦν γε καὶ ἡγοῦμαι πάντα ζημίαν εἶναι διὰ τὸ ὑπερέχον τῆς γνώσεως Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ Κυρίου μου, δι᾽ ὃν τὰ πάντα ἐζημιώθην, καὶ ἡγοῦμαι σκύβαλα ἵνα Χριστὸν κερδήσω καὶ εὑρεθῶ ἐν Αὐτῷ, μὴ ἔχων ἐμὴν δικαιοσύνην τὴν ἐκ νόμου, ἀλλὰ τὴν διὰ πίστεως Χριστοῦ, τὴν ἐκ Θεοῦ δικαιοσύνην ἐπὶ τῇ πίστει ...
Translation: "If any other supposes [he is able] to put unwavering confidence in the flesh, I moreso ... according to zeal, persecuting the church, according to righteousness in the law, being blameless. But whatever was gain to me, I have always considered these things [to be] loss [with hardship] for the sake of Christ. But of course indeed I also consider all things to be loss [with hardship] on account of the surpassing excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, on account of whom I suffered loss [with hardship] of all things, and consider them refuse, in order that I might fully gain and be entirely found in Him, not having my righteousness out of the law, but through faith in Christ [i.e., Χριστοῦ as a genitive of source, Christ as a source of personal righteousness and all else], the righteousness out of God [built] upon faith" (Philp. 3:4b,6-9).
Comment: Here the object accusative is pushed forward, in front of the verb and a prepositional phrase, perhaps emphasizing that he means "surely these things" before knowing Christ, and not "maybe these things." The verb ἥγημαι is the deponent perfect indicative of ἡγέομαι, where "the perfect indicates a completed action with continuing results, 'I have counted (and they are now to me)'" (R&R). The prepositional phrase, meaning "on account of Christ" or "for the sake of Christ," is made to bear greater emphasis than the complement accusative. It appears to subtly imply that whatever "loss" he might have incurred, now doing things for the sake of the Messiah makes all loss worth it.
Finally, the complement accusative is placed at the very end of the clause, to emphasize its indefiniteness. Basically, this seems to be saying that the former things (related to what Paul had previously born religious pride) are to be counted as "a loss" in a general sense. That is, perhaps the knowledge or experience of all the previous religious things might now be used of Christ, and thus be of profit to Christ and in his service to Christ. But before knowing Christ Jesus, none of those things were useful to Christ, and were generally "a loss." The word meaning "loss" here indicates hardship and suffering with the loss. In other words, not only were they a waste of the precious years of his early life, but they were also painful to give up and abandon. After Paul became a Christian, those who were once his closest companions wanted to kill him. Paul's family were proud Pharisees, so they also would have rejected him completely. They would have had a funeral for him, as though he were now dead. His wife would have been treated as a widow, and would have divorced Paul. His whole life, before Christ, would have been violently and permanently torn from him.
- ὃ γὰρ ἀπέθανεν, τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ ἀπέθανεν ἐφάπαξ· ὃ δὲ ζῇ, ζῇ τῷ Θεῷ. οὕτως καὶ ὑμεῖς λογίζεσθε ἑαυτοὺς εἶναι νεκροὺς μὲν τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ, ζῶντας δὲ τῷ Θεῷ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ. μὴ οὖν βασιλευέτω ἡ ἁμαρτία ἐν τῷ θνητῷ ὑμῶν σώματι εἰς τὸ ὑπακούειν ταῖς ἐπιθυμίαις αὐτοῦ ...
Translation: "For [in that] He died, He died for [payment of] sin once for all time, but [in that] He lives, He lives for God. Likewise you also always count yourselves to be dead indeed for [payment of] sin, but living for God in [the sphere of all that is] Christ Jesus. Therefore, do not allow sin to reign in the mortal body of yours, in order to obey the strong desires of it ..." (Rom. 6:10-12).
Comment: The object accusative is the pronoun, and the complement accusative is an adjective phrase. Like most adjective complements, it is placed after the object, even at the end of the clause, and is qualitative, asserting an attribute of the object. Here we do not need to add the key words "to be," as we often do when they are merely implied. For the word εἶναι ("to be") is actually written into the text: "count yourselves to be dead indeed for [payment of] sin."
The verb λογίζεσθε is the deponent present imperative of λογίζομαι, so it is a command to perpetually or repeatedly "count" or "reckon" ourselves as being already dead, already past the stage where we must pay the required death penalty for sin. We need to repeatedly remind ourselves of this fact, that the payment for our sins has already been completed by the work of Jesus upon the cross. Now we must turn our focus away from fearing God's wrath concerning our sins, since Jesus is finished paying for those sins once and for all time. Instead, we must now concentrate on the task ahead of us, which is to live for God, in Christ. But, if we now live for God, then we do not live for ourselves. For we are also commanded not to allow sin to reign in our mortal bodies of flesh.
- μηδὲν κατ᾽ ἐριθείαν μηδὲ κατὰ κενοδοξίαν, ἀλλὰ τῇ ταπεινοφροσύνῃ ἀλλήλους ἡγούμενοι ὑπερέχοντας ἑαυτῶν, μὴ τὰ ἑαυτῶν ἕκαστοι σκοποῦντες, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὰ ἑτέρων ἕκαστοι. τοῦτο φρονεῖτε ἐν ὑμῖν ὃ καὶ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, ὃς ἐν μορφῇ Θεοῦ ὑπάρχων οὐχ ἁρπαγμὸν ἡγήσατο τὸ εἶναι ἴσα Θεῷ, ἀλλα Ἐαυτὸν ἐκένωσεν μορφὴν δούλου λαβών, ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων γενόμενος.
Translation: "[Do] nothing according to selfish-ambition nor according to empty glory, but, in humility, [be those] considering one another [to be] always having greater priority than yourselves; not each one paying attention to things of himself, but also each one [paying attention to] things of others. Have this opinion among you, which also [is] in Christ Jesus, who, continuously existing in the form of God, regarded the [state of] being equal Beings with God [as] not the claim to keep grasping onto, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, becoming in the likeness of men" (Philp. 2:3-7).
Comment: The first example here is with the masculine accusative plural present participle form of the verb ἡγέομαι. The object accusative is the pronoun in front of it. The complement accusative is the present active participle of ὑπερέχω with its direct object. This participle phrase generally means "continuously having above yourselves." In this context, it would indicate always holding the needs of others above one's own desires, as a first priority.
The second example has an articular infinitive after the aorist indicative form of the verb. This articular infinitive would be the object accusative. "The most natural reason for the article with the infinitive is simply to mark it out as the object" (Wallace). If an infinitive functions as a substantive, and if an article is also placed in front of it, that article will always be a neuter article. Here it would be an accusative singular neuter article. As a substantive, τὸ εἶναι would refer to the "state of being." It is followed by the adjective ἵσα, the neuter plural form of ἵσος. This adjective is used substantively as the direct object of the infinitive, and means "equal things," or here, "equal Beings." Then the dative form follows, meaning "with God." So the phrase is, "the state of being equal Beings with God," indicating complete equality with God. Both Jesus and God are "equal Beings."
The complement accusative in this second example would be the anarthrous accusative form of the noun ἁρπαγμός, referring to "something to which one can claim or assert title by gripping or grasping, something claimed" (BDAG3). The negative in front of it makes it mean, "not the claim to keep grasping onto." Since it is pushed forward in the clause, it is more definite, which is why the definite article "the" is used with the noun: "the claim." It suggests that Jesus showed no interest in striving to maintain His title as being equal to God. Rather, it was just a fact of continuing existence from before time began, a fact which none can possibly change. So Jesus did not have to defend His title and claim to being God. He simply stated it a few times. But Jesus' main focus was upon others. He focused on serving His creation for their good, not on Himself.
- Verbs Expressing Actions of Having, Taking
- καὶ οἱ ἑπτὰ οὐκ ἀφῆκαν σπέρμα. ἔσχατον πάντων καὶ ἡ γυνὴ ἀπέθανεν. ἐν τῇ ἀναστάσει, ὅταν ἀναστῶσιν, τίνος αὐτῶν ἔσται γυνή; οἱ γὰρ ἑπτὰ ἔσχον αὐτὴν γυναῖκα. ἔφη αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς· οὐ διὰ τοῦτο πλανᾶσθε, μὴ εἰδότες τὰς γραφὰς μηδὲ τὴν δύναμιν τοῦ Θεοῦ;
Translation: "'And the seven did not leave seed [i.e., children]. Last of all, the wife also died. In the resurrection, when they rise again, which of them will she be the wife of? For the seven had her [as] a wife.' Jesus said to them, 'Do you not err according to this, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God?" (Mark 12:22-24).
Comment: Here the pronoun is the object accusative, and the anarthrous accusative singular noun is the complement. It should be noted here that this is a classic example of how good logic can lead to erroneous conclusions. There was nothing wrong with the logical process of the Sadducee's here. They did not believe in the resurrection of the dead, and they pointed out how illogical it would be to believe in the resurrection, because it would lead to irreconcilable disorder. And they would have been right, if their premises were right, since their logic definitely pointed to a major problem. However, their first assumptions were wrong, upon which they built their whole logical argument. Therefore, their conclusion was also wrong, in spite of their good logical process. If we do not start out with the right facts and true doctrines to begin with, no amount of perfect logic will ever be able to build a correct conclusion from those lies. First we must begin with correct facts and doctrines. Then we can come to correct conclusions. Always ask first, are these premises true? Then make a decision.
- μακροθυμήσατε οὖν, ἀδελφοί, ἕως τῆς παρουσίας τοῦ Κυρίου.... ὑπόδειγμα λάβετε, ἀδελφοι, τῆς κακοπαθίας καὶ τῆς μακροθυμίας τοὺς προφήτας, οἳ ἐλάλησαν ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι Κυρίου.
Translation: "Therefore, be longsuffering, brothers, until the arrival of the Lord.... Brothers, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, [to be] a clear example of enduring hardship and longsuffering." (James 5:7,10).
Comment: Here the object accusative is the articular noun, τοὺς προφήτας. The complement accusative is the anarthrous noun, ὑποδειγμα. Since the complement accusative is pushed right to the front of the clause, it seems to indicate that it is definite. In this instance, it may emphasize this is a good or clear "example."
- Verbs Expressing Actions of Declaring, Presenting
- Νυνὶ δὲ χωρὶς νόμου δικαιοσύνη Θεοῦ πεφανέρωται, μαρτυρουμένη ὑπὸ τοῦ νόμου καὶ τῶν προφητῶν, δικαιοσύνη δὲ Θεοῦ διὰ πίστεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, εἰς πάντας τοὺς πιστεύοντας· οὐ γάρ ἐστιν διαστολή· πάντες γὰρ ἥμαρτον καὶ ὑστεροῦνται τῆς δόξης τοῦ Θεοῦ, δικαιούμενοι δωρεὰν τῇ Αὐτοῦ χάριτι διὰ τῆς ἀπολυτρώσεως τῆς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ· ὃν προέθετο ὁ Θεὸς ἱλαστήριον διὰ πίστεως ἐν τῷ Αὐτοῦ αἵματι, εἰς ἔνδειξιν τῆς δικαιοσύνης Αὐτοῦ διὰ τὴν πάρεσιν τῶν προγεγονότων ἁμαρτημάτων ἐν τῇ ἀνοχῇ τοῦ Θεοῦ, πρὸς τὴν ἔνδειξιν τῆς δικαιοσύνης Αὐτοῦ ἐν τῷ νῦν καιρῷ, εἰς τὸ εἶναι Αὐτὸν δίκαιον καὶ δικαιοῦντα τὸν ἐκ πίστεως Ἰησοῦ.
Translation: "But now, apart from law, a righteousness from God [i.e., Θεοῦ as a genitive of source, God as source of righteousness and all else] has been manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets, yet a righteousness from God [i.e., Θεοῦ as a genitive of source, God as source of righteousness and all else] through faith in Jesus Christ [i.e., Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ as a genitive of source, Christ as source of righteousness and all else] unto all those believing. For there is no difference, since all sinned and fail to attain a good opinion from God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption of that which is in Christ, whom God intended [to be] a payment of the just penalty set for the crimes of sins through faith in His blood, unto a demonstration of His righteousness according to the passing over of sins having previously occurred, in the tolerance of God, towards the demonstration of His righteousness in the present appointed time, in order for Him to be just and justifying the one [who is] out of faith in Jesus [i.e., Ἰησοῦ as a genitive of source, Jesus as source of forgiveness, righteousness and all else]" (Rom. 3:21-26).
Comment: The object accusative is the relative pronoun ὅν at the beginning of the clause. The relative pronoun functions as the direct object of its own dependent clause, and its antecedent is "Jesus" (Ἰησοῦ) immediately in front of it. The complement accusative is the other accusative, the adjective ἱλαστήριον, referring to a propitiation for sins, an atonement sacrifice made for sins, that is, the payment of the full penalty for a criminal who is justly sentenced to pay that penalty for the crimes of his sins. This accusative adjective is qualitative, describing one of the attributes of Jesus, "Jesus is an atonement sacrifice."
The verb in this relative clause is προέθετο, the 3rd person singular 1st aorist indicative middle of προτίθημι. This form of the verb means "He set before." Temporally, it can mean, "He previously set down or laid down," or, "He set down beforehand," as in to "plan, propose, intend" (BDAG3). And it likely has this temporal meaning, considering the local and global context, and that it is a past-time indicative form. But it can also refer to setting something before the viewing of others, a public setting down, "He publicly presented." This is unlikely, since it does not fit the context, which is about past and present times, former days of being under the law and sin, and the present appointed times of Christ's redemption. The middle voice also implies that God "set down a propitiation for sins beforehand for Himself," that is, for His own reasons and purposes.
One other thing should be mentioned here. There is now a trend to overlook the use of genitives as indicating a "source." Therefore, some now try to translate phrases like δικαιοσύνη Θεοῦ as something like "God's righteousness" instead of "righteousness from God [as a source]," even though Scriptures like Rom. 3:21-22 are clearly, in context, about our own personal righteousness and its source. Likewise, some say phrases like πίστεως Χριστοῦ mean "Christ's faithfulness" instead of "faith in Christ [as a source of all things]," even though verses like Rom. 3:22 and 26 are clearly about our personal faith in God, and its effects upon us. This is a serious matter, since this trend steals a Christian's knowledge of the source of righteousness and all power for all salvation.
The genitives of source are found in some of the most important theological passages in the entire New Testament! Now it is obvious that the GNT writers knew enough grammar to be able to use the genitive of source. It is equally obvious that they considered one of the chief attributes of God to be His sovereign power, to be the source of all creation and all that happens in the universe. God's name is "He is," primarily expressing that He existed before all things and is the source of all things. Therefore, it would be natural for the apostles to commonly use genitive forms the words "God" or "Jesus" or "Christ" as genitives of source. (Also, they may have been reticent about using any other noun as a genitive of source, since God alone is the ultimate source of all.) Especially with Paul, the use of the genitive of source with the word "God," "Jesus" or "Christ" is very frequent, and certainly cannot be overlooked.
This particular passage is a very good example of how Paul frequently used the genitive of source. Here God is portrayed as the source of our righteousness. We become righteous through our faith in Him to use His power to change us inwardly. We place our confidence in His "redemption," the payment of sin's penalty, with "justification" given to us freely through pure unmerited grace alone. We trust the power of God to make us subjectively righteous, in our real thoughts and deeds performed on earth. We need to place our faith, trust, confidence and belief in His power and ability, not in our own ability to interpret and perform the law. We need Him to change us inwardly, to personally teach us the true meaning and application of His Word, to grant us effective wisdom. Then we need Him to personally call each of us to act on His behalf, each in a specific way, regarding particular deeds which He personally calls each to do according to the unique destiny He has assigned to each one individually. Our faith is in God as our source for all this. Christ Jesus is our source. There is no other source, and we shall utterly fail to please God or gain any of the promises of salvation unless we rely entirely upon God as our only source. We simply have no power to be our own source for any of these things we so desperately need. God must act personally upon each individual, or everyone is lost forever.
However, in context, the genitive pronouns and nouns referring to God in verse 25 and 26, δικαιοσύνης Αὐτοῦ (twice) and ἐν τῇ ἀνοχῇ τοῦ Θεοῦ, are not genitives of souce. These phrases refer to God's Own personal righteousness and God's Own tolerance. Here it is speaking about how God had intended Christ to be a propitiation for sin, a just payment for sins we ourselves committed against Him. Thus, it is stating that God, who freely justified and redeemed us, was righteous and just in doing so. God did not just overlook our sins, without requiring the just payment for our sins. Rather, the full and just penalty was indeed paid by Jesus Christ on the cross. Therefore, God is righteous and just in His toleration of our sins, because He has fully paid the just penalty required for those sins.
Furthermore, this passage limits and defines who it is that freely receives this salvation. God justifies τὸν ἐκ πίστεως Ἰησοῦ, "the one who is [living] out of faith in Jesus [as the source of justification and all things]." God does not grant this justification to everyone. Some will need to pay their own penalty of death, even eternal "death" in the darkness and fires of hell, because they were never justified and worked upon by Jesus, never made to become righteous inside.
- Χριστὸς ἐν ὑμῖν ... ὃν ἡμεῖς καταγγέλλομεν, νουθετοῦντες πάντα ἄνθρωπον καὶ διδάσκοντες πάντα ἄνθρωπον ἐν πάσῃ σοφίᾳ, ἵνα παραστήσωμεν πάντα ἄνθρωπον τέλειον ἐν Χριστῷ· εἰς ὃ καὶ κοπιῶ ἀγωνιζόμενος κατὰ τὴν ἐνέργειαν Αὐτοῦ τὴν ἐνεργουμένην ἐν ἐμοὶ ἐν δυνάμει.
Translation: "Christ in you ... whom we proclaim, admonishing every person and teaching every person [doctrine] in all kinds of wisdom, in order that we may present every person [to be] complete in Christ; for which I also labour, struggling according to the working of Him working in me in power" (Col. 1:27,28-29).
Comment: The first accusative noun is the ojbect accusative. It is modified by the adjective πάντα, which sometimes functions much like the Greek article. The second accusative is an adjective as well, τέλειον ("complete, perfect, mature"). As Wallace points out, if this adjective were taken to be attributive, this statement would read, "in order that we may present every perfect person in Christ," which certainly would not make any sense in context, nor in the global context of all biblical doctrine. So this is an object-complement construction and a linking verb is implied. Actually, the idea of the implied linking verb would be "to become," rather than "to be." In context, Paul and the elders proclaim Christ, admonishing and teaching, in order for people to "become complete in Christ."
- Passages for Debate and Discussion
- ἔγνω οὖν ὁ πατὴρ ὅτι ἐκείνῃ τῇ ὥρᾳ ἐν ᾗ εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς· ὁ υἱός σου ζῇ· καὶ ἐπίστευσεν αὐτὸς καὶ ἡ οἰκία αὐτοῦ ὅλη. τοῦτο δὲ πάλιν δεύτερον σημεῖον ἐποίησεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐλθὼν ἐκ τῆς Ἰουδαίας εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν.
Translation: "Therefore, the father knew that [it was] at that hour in which Jesus told him, 'Your son lives.' Then he believed, and his whole household. So Jesus further made this [to be] the second sign, having come out of Judea into Galilee" (John 4:53-54).
Comment: Here the demonstrative pronoun is placed at the beginning of the clause, and would be the object accusative, if it is an accusative. It might be a nominative in the predicate position with the next neuter word (δεύτερον σημεῖον), which also might be a nominative. If so, then it should be translated in the way it is most often translated: "This [was] the second sign Jesus did ..." But there is the adverb πάλιν ("again, further") stuck between the two neuter terms. And exactly how does this fit in? Surely this modifies the main verb, ἐποίησεν ("further made"). It looks like John placed the adverb here to signal that the two neuter terms are separate and belong with the verb, as accusatives. If they are accusatives, they must be part of an object-complement construction.
There are other things to consider here as well. This is regarding an incident where Jesus healed a boy without ever having gone to see the boy physically, presumably without even being told exactly where the boy lived. Now, in the way in which this is worded, it makes this sound like this was the second miracle Jesus performed. But it definitely was not. In fact, John previously stated, "But as He was in Jerusalem during the Passover at the feast, many believed unto His name, observing His signs which He was doing" (John 2:23). So this was clearly not the second sign Jesus performed, according to the words of John himself.
One could then argue that this was the second sign Jesus did in Galilee, since it adds the the phrase "having come out of Judea into Galilee." After all, it says the beginning of signs which Jesus did was in Galilee too (John 2:11). But how likely is it that John would have differentiated between signs done in Galilee, and signs done elsewhere, then only numbered the first two signs done in Galilee? John might have pointed out where Jesus was when He did signs. But why would John have specifically pointed to this as a "second sign" unless he had a good reason?
Although this is mostly conjecture, we can identify two distinct similarities between these two events, which John pointed to as the first and second signs, similarities other than that they were both performed in Galilee. And both of these characteristics mark these signs as being different from other signs Jesus did. (1)In both circumstances, Jesus protested at having to perform the miracles (John 2:4 and 4:48). But He only did so by uttering a negative comment, not by saying "no" directly. Then, in both circumstances, He did the miracles anyway. (2) In both circumstances, the miracles were done without the direct presence or intervention of Jesus. When Jesus turned the water into wine, the water was poured into the vessels without Him immediately present. Then it was turned into wine without Jesus directly commanding it to turn into wine, just by telling the servants to pour some for the master of the wedding banquet.
This might suggest a couple of things. (1) Jesus was not eager to do the miracles, but did them for the sake of those who asked, out of love for those who asked. (2) These miracles were beyond the capability of any magician or sorcerer to ever perform. Now a deceiver or false prophet can fake healings and other signs or wonders. But: (1) A fake does not do anything he does not want to do. His only concern is his own glory. He does not act out of pure love. (2) A fake, and his helpers, must be directly involved in every sign or wonder, and work to manipulate things, to make each event appear to be a miraculous sign.
Yet no fake would or could ever reproduce these two miracles of Jesus. For the first, someone else's servants themselves got the water from their own source (like a local well), and took that same water to the master of the feast. If Jesus Himself, or even His disciples, had filled the water pots, or had poured the wine for the master of the feast, then one might suspect Him. If Jesus healed people in front of Himself, and one did not know those people personally before and after the healing, one might also suspect Him. But when Jesus healed a boy from a distance, at the exact hour He said the boy was to be healed, and was not even told who or where the boy was, that is just about impossible to explain.
Therefore, I think that John was likely indicating that "Jesus further made this to be a second sign," that is, as a sign in a special way. The same can be said of Jesus turning water into wine, when John said: ταύτην ἐποίησεν ἀρχὴν τῶν σημείων ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐν Κανὰ τῆς Γαλιλαίας καὶ ἐφανέρωσεν τὴν δόξαν Αὐτοῦ ("Jesus made this [to be] the beginning of the signs, in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory," John 2:11). Perhaps these were signs John considered to be of a special kind, those which proved He is God, because a cynic has no other explanation for either of these signs, other than that Jesus is God.
- ἀλλὰ τί λέγει; ἐγγύς σου τὸ ῥῆμά ἐστιν, ἐν τῷ στόματί σου καὶ ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ σου· τοῦτ᾽ ἔστιν τὸ ῥῆμα τῆς πίστεως ὃ κηρύσσομεν. ὅτι ἐὰν ὁμολογήσῃς ἐν τῷ στόματί σου Κύριον Ἰησοῦν, καὶ πιστεύσῃς ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ σου ὅτι ὁ Θεὸς Αὐτὸν ἤγειρεν ἐκ νεκρῶν, σωθήσῃ· καρδίᾳ γὰρ πιστεύεται εἰς δικαιοσύνην, στόματι δὲ ὁμολογεῖται εἰς σωτηρίαν. λέγει γὰρ ἡ γραφή· πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων ἐπ᾽ Αὐτῷ οὐ καταισχυνθήσεται.
Translation: "But what does it say? 'The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.' This is the word from faith which we proclaim. Because if you solemnly acknowledge with your mouth and agree that Jesus [is your] Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him out of the dead, you will be saved. For with a heart one believes unto righteousness, but with a mouth one solemnly commits unto salvation. For the Scripture says, 'Everyone believing upon Him will not be cast down in shame" (Rom. 10:8-11).
Comment: Here the second accusative might be in apposition to the first, as in "Lord Jesus." Yet it hardly seems likely that the verb ὁμολογέω would be used to indicate that we must make a solemn declaration with the mouth by just stating a name, "Lord Jesus." Rather, these two anarthrous accusatives are most likely used in an object-complement construction, as Wallace also says. The object accusative would be the proper name "Jesus." The complement accusative is pushed forward in front of the name, and thus is made to be more definite. The definiteness might indicate "thee" Lord, as in God, Yahweh. Or more likely, since it is about a personal commitment with "your" mouth, and your agreement to a principle, the definite term would be "your Lord." The complement asserts something definite about the object, as to the person: "Jesus [is your] Lord."
This is actually a difficult passage, yet so critical to understand correctly, since it describes salvation in a nutshell. When we see a brief summary of a broad doctrinal subject like this, we have to interpret it with all the knowledge about what is taught everywhere else in the Scriptures, as well as in its local context. The verb indicates a formal and often public declaration to be taken very seriously, with one's life on the line. Here it would be somewhat public, since it states that this formal declaration is "with your mouth." Now, considering what is told about salvation elsewhere, this meant declaring that Jesus ruled your life, and told you what to do or say. Then, to take orders from Jesus, one also had to believe that Jesus was raised from the dead, and is now alive to give you your orders. At the time of writing, declaring Jesus to be your Lord was dangerous as well. It meant that you took orders from Jesus above any orders from Caesar, which the Roman's did not like. Some would even kill a person for saying this.
Just before this, it spoke about an actual and veritable "word" being "near," also "in your mouth and in your heart." This is speaking about a ῥῆμα or "word" that is literally spoken and heard, that is, heard by the spirit in the heart, but actually spoken out loud by the physical mouth. God's words to a person are real, spoken directly to the heart and able to be expressed from the physical mouth. Then it says "this is the word from faith which we proclaim." We speak out of first believing what God actually does speak to our hearts. We do so from faith, believing that those words are not only real, but true. Now our solemn declaration, as indicated by the verb ὁμολογέω, is related directly to this, since the next verse begins with the conjunction "because." The next verse, about our solemn declaration, is telling us why the actual "word from faith" is proclaimed.
After it tells us to solemnly declare that Jesus is our Lord, it states that with the heart (i.e., the spirit), "one believes unto righteousness." Now just confessing "Jesus is Lord" does not lead to righteousness. Even the devils, and many of Satan's children, can and do confess that Jesus is Lord. But they do not confess that Jesus is their own personal Lord whom they will follow and obey. They are not those who are "believing upon Him," for all things, including the power to make them righteous. Nor do they even listen in their spirits for words from God, much less hear and trust in those words. But those who hear and trust, for them there will be salvation, and they will not be cast down in shame.
By the way, the Old Testament quotes are from the Septuagint. The first is: ἐγγύς σου ἐστὶ τὸ ῥῆμα σφόδρα ἐν τῷ στόματί σου, καὶ ἐν τῇ καρδία σου, καὶ ἐν ταῖς χερσί σου ποιεῖν αὐτό ("The word is exceedingly near you, in your mouth, and in your heart, and in your hands to do it," Deut. 30:14, LXX). The second is: ἰδοὺ Ἐγὼ ἐμβάλλω εἰς τὰ θεμέλια Σιὼν λίθον πολυτελῆ, ἐκλεκτὸν, ἀκρογωνιαῖον, ἔντιμον, εἰς τὰ θεμέλια αὐτῆς, καὶ ὁ πιστεύων οὐ μὴ καταισχυνθῇ ("Behold! I lay for the foundations of Zion a costly stone, a chosen one, a corner-stone, an honored one, for the foundations of it, and the one believing certainly shall not be entirely cast down in shame," Isaiah 28:16, LXX).
- δούλους ἰδίοις δεσπόταις ὑποτάσσεσθαι ἐν πᾶσιν, εὐαρέστους εἶναι, μὴ ἀντιλέγοντας, μὴ νοσφιζομένους, ἀλλὰ πᾶσαν πίστιν ἐνδεικνυμένους ἀγαθὴν, ἵνα τὴν διδασκαλίαν τὴν τοῦ Σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Θεοῦ κοσμῶσιν ἐν πᾶσιν.
Translation: "Slaves [are] to be subject to their own masters in all things, to be rightly acceptable, not in opposition, not pilfering, but proving all faith [to be] good, in order that they will outwardly adorn the doctrinal teaching of our Saviour God in all things" (Titus 2:9-10).
Comment: As Wallace points out, many translate this as something like, "showing all good faith," as though the adjective ἀγαθὴν was attributive, and modified the noun πίστιν, along side the adjective πᾶσαν. However, concerning slaves, and all others bound under the inordinate rule of others, are they supposed to show or display "good faith" as opposed to "bad faith"? Here the context is about those who have true faith only, about those who are truly saved with a real knowledge of Christ. This injunction is addressed only to them. So is there such a thing as "bad true faith" in Christ? No, it is not possible.
If a person finds oneself bound under the rule of anyone who bears absolute life-and-death power over his or her life, and this oppressed one is a Christian, one who knows that Jesus is his or her actual Lord, and knows that the despot has usurped undue authority from God, and know that the despot has done so in all wickedness, what is this exploited one supposed to do? That Christian slave, or that oppressed and exploited Christian, is to prove that all true faith is good. If the exploiter and oppressor sees that there is nothing good in himself, and that the ones he exploits and oppresses have more love, joy, peace, and good in their lives than he does, perhaps he will turn to God, and God will grant him repentance. Then he will not be a fool, but become a brother in Christ, one who manages affairs of men for the sake of his Lord and God, serving those under his power for their good, knowing himself to be a slave of Christ, answerable to Jesus on the judgment day. If the despot does not repent, then at least the oppressed and exploited ones can gain freedom in spirit, to gather up the real treasures of God in this life, even while they live under the despotic rule of the wicked. For the self-serving spirits of the wicked are empty and dead.
In our day, there is more virtual slavery existing in the world than at any other time in history. So this passage is very important and relevant to them. Most middle-class Christians may not even begin to know what oppression is like, to be a slave or a virtual slave. But many millions of souls surely do know this situation today, even individuals in our own society, bound under illegal (or sometimes legal) oppression. And, even if we could physically free all of them, it would do no good, if we could not also spiritually set them free in Christ. A person who has suffered severe oppression for any length of time, but especially those who have known it for an extended period of time, cannot seem to free themselves from the inner power of that Satanic delusion, even after they are physically set free. Only in Christ can they be set free to see the reality of the whole situation, the gift of seeing beyond the small earthly delusions of men which steal the thoughts of their souls. Above all, these must be internally freed into the broad truths of eternity in Christ. Then they are free indeed.
"Proving all faith to be good" means living a life of faith, a life which proves the power of Jesus' Holy Spirit, and the power of His freeing truth, which proves Him to be above the flesh. It is faith which hears about reality from God, and sees truth through God. It is finding out and knowing how small those big monsters actually prove to be in reality, after they are exposed in the revealing light of God's eternal bright day. It is seeing beyond the small, dark worlds of evil men, who are trapped in pathetic delusions, in black pits of selfish ambition, chained and bound worse than physical slaves, driven by demons to continuously grasp for worthless power and self-indulgent wealth, without a moment's rest. A Christian is given entrance into the realm of the everlasting morning, into the free expanses of Christ's eternal reality, seeing the internal reality of all men.
So how does one know this verse exhorts a slave to be one who is "proving all faith to be good"? Wallace gives four reasons (repeated here in my own words):
- The verb ἐνδίκνυμι can and does take double accusatives in an object-complement construction. For example, an object-complement construction is also found in Rom. 2:15, "who prove the work of the law [to be] written in their hearts."
- One cannot object by saying that the noun πίστιν is anarthrous, and therefore cannot be the object of this construction. The object-complement construction can and does have anarthrous objects (e.g., Luke 3:8; John 9:1; Acts 10:28; Col. 1:28).
- An attributive adjective is not usually separated from an anarthrous noun it is modifying. If the noun is separated from an attributive adjective, an identical article will most often used in front of both the noun and the adjective. This is especially true if an anarthrous noun is separated by a verb, as it is here. When a verb separates the noun from the adjective, the adjective is almost always a predicate adjective, implying a linking verb, where the adjective asserts something.
- The logical meaning of taking it to be a predicate adjective fits best with the meaning of the immediate context. Wallace points out that there is a "parallel between the two halves of verse 10: 'Slaves should be wholly subject to their master ... demonstrating that all [genuine] faith is productive, with the result [ecbatic ἵνα] that they will completely adorn the doctrine of God.' If taken this way, the text seems to support the idea that saving faith does not fail, but even results in good works."
Wallace also provided a list of other verses in which double accusatives are used as object-complement constructions: Mark 1:3; Luke 6:22; John 7:23; 10:35; 14:18; Acts 10:28; 26:29; I Cor. 4:9; 7:26; Eph. 5:2; Phil. 2:20; I Tim. 2:6; 6:14; I John 4:10.
(1.c) Cognate Accusatives
or "The Accusative of the Inner Object"
A cognate of a word is another word that belongs to the same family of words, most often another word which derived from the same original word, and likely has the same root or stem as the other word. For example, the verb πειθώ basically means "persuade, convince or influence by persuation." From this one word, a whole family of words was derived, and they are all cognates of each other. So the cognates in this family of words would include this original verb πειθώ as well as the adjective πειθός ("persuasive"), the noun πεισμονή ("assent, a yielding to persuasion"), the noun πεποίθησις ("trust, confidence"), the noun πίστις ("faith, belief, confidence, trust, the conviction of being fully persuaded"), the verb πιστεύω ("believe, be fully persuaded, trust, have faith and confidence"), the adjective πιστός ("faithful, trustworthy, believing, being of faith and confidence"), and the verb πιστόω ("prove oneself faithful and trustworthy," passive: "be assured, be confident or convinced").
All the above cognates are called lexical cognates, in that they all are derived from the same lexal of the same original verb. They are all related to each other because they were all derived from the one word πειθώ. But there are also conceptual cognates, words which are not derived from the same lexal of an original word, but all belong in the same family of words that have similar meanings, almost as synonyms.
Now a cognate accusative is just a direct object which is a cognate of the verb. It can be a lexical cognate of the verb, or it can be a conceptual cognate of the verb. And a cognate accusative also can be found in a double accusative construction; as the thing in a person-thing construction, or as the complement in an object-complement construction. The cognate accusative seems to be a literary device used to strengthen the force of the verb's action, to express the action of the verb in a more powerful way, to emphasize or place focus on the verb's action. If the cognate accusative is modified with an adjective, participle, genitive or something else, it is usually even more emphatic. But the cognate accusative is not often used in an adverbial way (emphasizing the verb's action, while also defining or limiting the scope of the verb's action, like a cognate dative, which can sometimes even be translated as an adverb). A cognate accusative simply adds general emphasis or force to the verb's action.
Examples of Cognate Accusatives
The cognate accusative is relatively "rare" in the GNT. But Wallace gave a number of examples, some with lexical cognates and some with conceptual cognates. They are repeated below. Regarding these examples, the verb is highlighted in green, and the cognate accusative is highlighted in bluish green. In some passages, there may even be another cognate (nominative or accusative) used with a verb. It seems, if a construction of verb-noun cognates was used once, another was sometimes used in close proximity, to turn a passage into "poetry."
- Lexical Cognate Accusatives
Wallace also listed other verses with lexical cognate accusatives: Mat. 22:3; Mark 4:41; Luke 2:8-9; John 7:24; Acts 2:17; Col. 2:19; II Tim. 4:7; I Pet. 5:2; and I John 5:16.
- ἰδόντες δὲ τὸν ἀστέρα ἐχάρησαν χαρὰν μεγάλην σφόδρα. καὶ ἐλθόντες εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν εἶδον τὸ Παιδίον μετὰ Μαρίας τῆς μητρὸς Αὐτοῦ, καὶ πεσόντες προσεκύνησαν Αὐτῷ.
Translation: "So, beholding the star, they rejoiced [with] exceedingly great joy. And coming into the house, they saw the Child with Mary His mother, and falling down, they worshiped Him" (Mat. 2:10-11).
Comment: Here the author could have simply said "they rejoiced." Or he could have added the cognate accusative alone, as in ἐχάρησαν χαρὰν ("they rejoiced with joy"), to strengthen the action of the verb, to indicate a generally stronger rejoicing. Or he could have added one adjective to make it even more emphatic and strong, as in ἐχάρησαν χαρὰν μεγάλην ("they rejoiced with great joy"). But here the author added a cognate accusative, a strong adjective, then an even stronger adjective. This is trying to say that beholding that star caused the greatest kind of rejoicing these men could ever feel in their entire lives.
- μὴ θησαυρίζετε ὑμῖν θησαυροὺς ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, ὅπου σὴς καὶ βρῶσις ἀφανίζει, καὶ ὅπου κλέπται διορύσσουσιν καὶ κλέπτουσιν. θησαυρίζετε δὲ ὑμῖν θησαυροὺς ἐν οὐρανῷ, ὅπου οὔτε σὴς οὔτε βρῶσις ἀφανίζει, καὶ ὅπου κλέπται οὐ διορύσσουσιν οὐδὲ κλέπτουσιν. ὅπου γάρ ἐστιν ὁ θησαυρός σου, ἐκεῖ ἔσται καὶ ἡ καρδία σου.
Translation: "Do not treasure up treasures for yourselves upon the earth, where moth and rust cause to disappear, and where thieves dig through and steal. But treasure up treasures for yourselves in heaven, where neither moth nor rust cause to disappear, and where thieves do not dig through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will be your heart also" (Mat. 6:19-21).
Comment: Here the verb θησαυρίζω means "store up," with an implication of being the storage of goods or money. Then the noun θησαυρός basically means "goods or money." So there really was no point to using the noun here, except for emphasis. An accusative indefinite pronoun, or more specific nouns, would have made the meaning even more clear, although less emphatic.
- ἓν σῶμα καὶ ἓν Πνεῦμα ... ἑνὶ δὲ ἑκάστῳ ἡμῶν ἐδόθη ἡ χάρις κατὰ τὸ μέτρον τῆς δωρεᾶς τοῦ Χριστοῦ. διὸ λέγει· ἀναβὰς εἰς ὕψος ᾐχμαλώτευσεν αἰχμαλωσίαν, ἔδωκεν δόματα τοῖς ἀνθρώποις.
Translation: "[There is] one body and one Spirit ... But to each one of us grace was given according to the proportion of the gift from Christ. Therefore He says, 'Having ascended into the height, He led captive captivity, He gave gifts to men" (Eph. 4:3,7-8).
Comment: Here the context first speaks of one body and one Spirit, how true Christians are all one in all things. Then it goes on to explain that we are not all the same, however. God gives a different ministry of service to each one, by giving different gifts to each one, according to the allotment of gifts from Christ. After this, Paul tells us why Jesus does this, the purpose of the gifts. To do this, he refers to Psalm 68, and assumes the readers know this Psalm. This Psalm prophecies about God (Jesus), who ascended from us, thus also previously descended to dwell among us. And He did this in order to destroy His enemies, who oppressed the needy, to bring justice for His people. Paul infers that Jesus gives us gifts to do this kind of just work among men, to do the works of Christ.
So this quote from the Psalm is emphatic, expressing how God, that is Jesus, will take all forms of captivity, exile and imprisonment under His Own sovereign hand, to keep these unjust systems of men away from His people, to take the systems themselves captive, or to send them away from us into exile. Now this statement could have been expressed less poetically and more clearly. But using this literary device strengthens its impact. In Hebrew, the quote from the Psalm seems to say almost the same thing, "You have ascended on high. You led into captivity captivity, You brought gifts for men, also for those turning away, that Yahweh God might dwell [among them]." The Septuagint reads: ἀναβὰς εἰς ὕψος, ᾐχμαλώτευσας αἰχμαλωσίαν· ἔλαβες δόματα ἐν ἀνθρώπῳ, καὶ γὰρ ἀπειθοῦντες τοῦ κατασκηνῶσαι ("Having ascended into the height, He led captive captivity, He took gifts [to distribute] among man, for also [they were] refusing to be pursuaded that You might dwell [among man]," Ps. 67:18, LXX, which is Ps. 68:18 in our Bibles). In other words, the Messiah God ascended to power, in order to bring gifts down to men. And He gave men gifts so He could dwell among them. The purpose of His gifts are to do His works among men, even among those turning away because they are not pursuaded to put confidence in Him. In this way, God lives among us and fulfills all promised justice among men.
- σὺ δέ, ὦ ἄνθρωπε Θεοῦ, ταῦτα φεῦγε· δίωκε δὲ δικαιοσύνην, εὐσέβειαν, πίστιν, ἀγάπην, ὑπομονήν, πραϋπαθίαν. ἀγωνίζου τὸν καλὸν ἀγῶνα τῆς πίστεως, ἐπιλαβοῦ τῆς αἰωνίου ζωῆς, εἰς ἣν ἐκλήθης καὶ ὡμολόγησας τὴν καλὴν ὁμολογίαν ἐνώπιον πολλῶν μαρτύρων.
Translation: "But you, O man of God, flee these things. Rather, pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, godly love, endurance, mild and gentle ways. Fight the good fight of the faith, take hold of eternal life, unto which you were called and did solemnly commit to the good solemn commitment in front of many witnesses" (I Tim. 6:11-12).
Comment: The context has Paul warning Timothy that many have loved money and wanted to be rich. But Timothy is to flee from the desire to pursue wealth. Instead, he is to pursue the service of God. It is treated as a war, where much harm has come into the world through greed and foolish lusts of the flesh. Now Timothy must "fight the good fight" against the enemy, against materialism. He is to remember the true purpose of the battle, to gain eternal life. And he is not to forget his calling, and his solemn declaration committing himself to a solemn commitment as a servant of God. He apparently made this commitment in front of many witnesses too, indicating ὁμολογέω often referred to a public declaration.
So you can see here how Paul was trying to be emphatic about fighting the good fight, and about how important it was that Timothy remember the magnitude of his very serious and solemn commitment to this serious and solemn work. The adjective ἀγαθος ("good") increases the emphasis, and makes the verbs even stronger. "Really fight hard" because it is a good fight. Remember you "very seriously and solemnly committed yourself" to a good solemn commitment.
- Conceptual Cognate Accusatives
- οὕτως γάρ ποτε καὶ αἱ ἅγιαι γυναῖκες αἱ ἐλπίζουσιαι εἰς Θεὸν ἐκόσμουν ἑαυτάς, ὑποτασσόμεναι τοῖς ἰδίοις ἀνδράσιν, ὡς Σάρρα ὑπήκουσεν τῷ Ἀβραάμ, κύριον αὐτὸν καλοῦσα· ἧς ἐγενήθητε τέκνα ἀγαθοποιοῦσαι καὶ μὴ φοβούμεναι μηδεμίαν πτόησιν.
Translation: "For likewise then indeed the holy women, those hoping upon God, adorned themselves, arranging their lives under their own husbands, as Sara acted upon the words of Abraham, calling him 'lord,' of whom you became daughters, doing good and not fearing absolutely any intimidation" (I Pet. 3:5-6).
Comment: Here the exhortation towards "not fearing" is strengthened and clarified by the use of double negatives, and by using this literary device, a cognate accusative. It also could be argued that Peter wanted to specify the exact kind of fear he was talking about here. This passage is speaking to some women believers who had unbelieving husbands, or husbands who might have claimed to be believers, but did not truly hear the Word of God. The noun πτόησις is only used once in the GNT, here, and means "experience of being intimidated" (BDAG3). The connotation is giving in to irrational thoughts because of fear. Its verb cognate, πτοέω, is used twice in the GNT (Luke 21:9; 24:37), where it can mean "intimidate" both times, but can also mean "terrify, frighten."
Women need courage, and some women need much courage, to remain free in Christ in their hearts and minds, and to overcome the pressure of intimidation, because they live with willful and sometimes oppressive husbands. (If a man is too abusive and out of control, it may be better for a woman to take her children and flee her husband, and for the church to help her.) A wicked man may attempt to exert complete control over a woman's thoughts, either through veiled mental intimidation or physical threats, and lead her to destruction.
When Peter was addressing "wives" in this portion of Scripture, he began by telling them to be submissive to their own husbands, in a way where a woman arranges her life around the schedule and general pattern of her husband's life (ὑποτάσσω). Now it is generally true that most women are more flexible than most men, in terms of being able to adapt to different lifestyles, to respond better to others by listening or reading visual cues and feelings, to compromise in order to keep peace, and also to be able to heal because they can talk about their troubles more openly with friends. This is very good for purposes of building and maintaining family and community relationships. But it also means women are more prone to falling into error, and to being swayed or turned from a truth or a true course by influences of stronger personalities or intimidation.
So women must listen to God in their spirits above all, with courage. And they need the frequent teachings of godly men to keep their thinking straight. At the same time, men naturally do not trust the teachings of women as much as they do the teachings of men. Therefore, after telling women to be submissive to their own husbands, speaking as he was moved by Jesus' Holy Spirit, Peter added, "in order that, even if some [husbands] are not persuaded by the Word, [then] through the conduct of their wives, without a word, they might be won over" (verse 1). It is better for a woman to win over a husband by living truth, since an elect or inwardly honest man will not trust a woman's teachings much.
If an elect man sees the power of God in a woman's life, it will convict his heart much more effectively than hearing a woman teach him like another man might. Thus, Peter was telling women to do good but not teach husbands, yet certainly not (i.e., the use of the double negative for emphasis) to fear any "intimidation." Like Abigail (I Sam. 25), a woman must do what is right, and believe what is true from God -- but not stubbornly, nor through vain imaginings, only as she is taught of God's Holy Spirit in the purity of Christ's reality, and in a wise way, sometimes even secretly. Or like Sarah with Abraham, she must not oppose and teach her husband, but bend to his ways, then wait upon God to correct his heart, yet stand up for what is right (e.g., Gen. 16:5-6; 21:9-13) -- for, although Abraham was truly a godly man, he was also very weak in some critical ways.
- καὶ ἤγειρεν κέρας σωτηρίας ἡμῖν ἐν οἴκῳ Δαυὶδ παιδὸς Αὐτοῦ ... ποιῆσαι ἔλεος μετὰ τῶν πατέρων ἡμῶν καὶ μνησθῆναι διαθήκης ἁγίας Αὐτοῦ, ὅρκον ὃν ὤμοσεν πρὸς Ἀβραὰμ τὸν πατέρα ἡμῶν, τοῦ δοῦναι ἡμῖν ἀφόβως ἐκ χειρὸς ἐχθρῶν ῥυσθέντας λατρεύειν Αὐτῷ ἐν ὁσιότητι καὶ δικαιοσύνῃ ἐνώπιον Αὐτοῦ πάσαις ταῖς ἡμέραις ἡμῶν.
Translation: "and raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of David, His servant ... to produce mercy among our fathers, and to remember His holy covenant, an oath which He swore to Abraham our father, to grant to us [the state of] having been delivered out of the hand of enemies, in order to serve Him without fear, in a devout attitude and righteousness before Him during all our days" (Luke 1:69,72-75).
Comment: The accusative relative pronoun ὃν is the direct object of the verb in its relative clause. Its antecedent is the noun preceding it, ὅρκον ("an oath"). There is also an adverbial use of an accusative substantive, following after the kind of verb which indicates the making of an oath. But that kind of accusative describes "by whom" or "by what" the oath is made (e.g., "swear by heaven"), and is more like an adverb than a direct object. Here, the substantive functions as a direct object, and is a conceptual cognate (at least its antecedent is).
This is from a prophecy of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, who spoke as he was filled with the Holy Spirit. It begins by saying that Jesus came to redeem "His people" (v. 68). Who are "His people"? They are the people of His true church. But what is His church? And when did God create a people to be His church? Here Zechariah uses first person plural pronouns several times in this prophecy, referring to the people of Israel, to the physical descendents of the fathers of Israel. Here he also speaks of the oath God swore to Abraham, which is the oath that formed and established God's people, the church (Gen. 17). Obviously, God clearly indicates, through Zechariah's prophecy in the GNT, that His people are the people of Israel. Jesus came to save Israel. Of course, this includes all the elect of Israel whom God has not allowed to yet believe in their Messiah Jesus (Rom. 11:25-32), as well all those of Israel who now do. And it also includes all those Gentiles who join the true Israel in the faith of Abraham.
- ὅτε οὖν ἠρίστησαν, λέγει τῷ Σίμωνι Πέτρῳ ὁ Ἰησοῦς· Σίμων Ἰωάννου, ἀγαπᾷς Με πλέον τούτων; λέγει Αὐτῷ· ναί. Κύριε, Σὺ οἶδας ὅτι φιλῶ Σε. λέγει αυτῷ· βόσκε τὰ ἀρνία Μου. λέγει αὐτῷ πάλιν δεύτερον· Σίμων Ἰωάννου, ἀγαπᾷς Με; λέγει Αὐτῷ· ναί. Κύριε, Σὺ οἶδας ὅτι φιλῶ Σε. λέγει αὐτῷ· ποίμαινε τὰ προβάτιά Μου. λέγει αὐτῷ τὸ τρίτον· Σίμων Ἰωάννου, φιλεῖς Με; ἐλυπήθη ὁ Πέτρος ὅτι εἶπεν αὐτῷ τὸ τρίτον· φιλεῖς Με; καὶ εἶπεν Αὐτῷ· Κύριε, πάντα Σὺ οἶδας, Σὺ γινώσκεις ὅτι φιλῶ Σε. λέγει αὐτῷ Ἰησοῦς· βόσκε τὰ προβάτιά Μου.
Translation: "Therefore, when they had taken breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?' He said to Him, 'Yes. Lord, surely You know [in Your mind] that I cherish You.' He said to him, 'Feed My lambs.' He said to him again, a second time, 'Simon, son of John, do you love Me?' He said to Him, 'Yes. Lord, surely You know [in Your mind] that I cherish You.' He said to him, 'Shepherd My little sheep.' He said to him the third time, 'Simon, son of John, do you cherish Me?' Peter was grieved that He said to him the third time, 'Do you cherish Me?' And he said to Him, 'Lord surely You know [in Your mind] all things. Surely You know [through experience] that I cherish You.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed my little sheep.'" (John 21:15-17).
Comment: Here Jesus gave three similar commands to Peter in three different ways, each time after asking Peter three similar questions in three different ways, and after getting a response from Peter, which was not satisfactory. Note the difference between the devout Jewish perception of the verb ἀγαπάω ("love, God's kind of righteous love") and φιλέω ("cherish, hold dear"). Also note the difference between οἶδα ("know intellectually and through rational thought, know in the mind") and γινώσκω ("know generally and usually through experience").
First Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him more than the others with them. Here Jesus was referring to God's kind of agape love. Peter responded affirmatively, but merely spoke of a philos kind of love for Jesus, normal human affection. He also said that Jesus knew in His mind that he cherished Him. Then Jesus commanded Peter to feed His lambs, to teach His untaught people, those with no knowledge. This is a high calling in the church, reserved for very few men.
The second time Jesus reiterated the question, He simply asked Peter if he loved Him, again speaking of God's kind of agape love. But this time Jesus did not ask Peter if he loved Him more than the others. So this was a weaker question. Peter replied the same. However, this time Jesus commanded Peter to shepherd His sheep. This was clearly a stronger command, implying a higher calling than just teaching the untaught. Now Jesus was commanding Peter to lead and guide all kinds of people, both the untaught and those who are taught. Peter was to become an elder or leader in the church. The use of the cognate accusative even emphasizes the action of shepherding in this command. Thus, Jesus asked a weaker and less demanding question, yet He gave a stronger command.
Finally Jesus asked Peter the weakest and least demanding question of all, "Do you cherish Me?" Now Jesus was merely asking Peter if he had any normal human affection for Him, like Peter would have for a common acquaintance. Because this was the third time Jesus asked the same kind of question, and because the pattern of questions implied that Jesus was wondering whether Peter cared for Him at all, Peter was grieved. So Peter answered that Jesus both knew in His mind, and knew through experience, that he cherished Him. At this point, Jesus commanded Peter to feed His sheep. That is, He commanded Peter to teach even the mature ones, those who are already taught. This is the highest calling. First one becomes a teacher of the untaught, then a leader among all, then a teacher of the more advanced disciples. So, while asking the weakest question, Jesus gave the greatest command, to fulfill the highest calling.
If you think about it, and if you know a little about how Jesus taught in a Jewish way, you can see these opposite trends working together in this conversation. The questions were becoming more and more "insulting," but the commands, which commissioned Peter into God's service, became more and more "flattering." I have often thought about what Jesus said to Peter here, and puzzled over the meaning. Perhaps Jesus was saying that, as one's ministry advances, one increasingly doubts one's own strength and ability to be godly.
(1.d) Pedicate Accusatives
An accusative joined to another accusative with a participle or infinitive form of a linking verb.
In the GNT, particularly in the writings of Luke and Paul, a verbal (participle or infinitive) form of a linking verb was sometimes used together with two accusatives. One of the two accusatives was normally a direct object of another verb, or else an object of a preposition. This same accusative then functioned as the "subject" of the verbal. Then the other accusative functioned as the direct object of the verbal (to form a participle phrase or infinitive clause). Now, since the verbal was a form of a linking verb, this construction often acted very much like any other clause with a linking verb. That is, the accusative direct object of the verbal would assert or predicate something about the other accusative "subject" of the verbal. Depending on whether a participle or infinitive was involved, the implications would be a little different:
Examples of Predicate Accusatives
- With a participle form of a linking verb: This kind of participle phrase often will be used in apposition to the other accusative, in order to explain or add information about that other accusative. In translating this, a comma may be placed immediately after the direct object of the finite verb (or object of a preposition), followed by the participle phrase. If the participle is articular, it may be slightly more emphatic than a normal accusative used in apposition. But it frequently is not more emphatic.
But the participle phrase (particularly if it is anarthrous) also can be used to predicate something about the other accusative, in much the same way as an object-complement construction with double accusatives. That is, the participle phrase asserts something about the other accusative as its subject, and implies a linking verb. In translating this, a linking verb ("is, was, to be"), or "as," possibly with a relative pronoun ("who, whom, which"), might be placed after the subject accusative, followed by the participle phrase.
- With an infinitive form of the linking verb: One accusative functions as the subject of the infinitive form of the linking verb, and the other accusatives acts as the predicate (i.e., direct object of the infinitive). Thus, it forms an "infinitive clause," and the predicate asserts something about the subject, just like a normal clause with a linking verb. It functions much like double accusatives in an object-complement construction, with some emphasis. The "rules" used to determine which accusative will be the "subject" and which will be the predicate, are the same as always. The subject accusative will be: (1) a pronoun, (2) a name or articular substantive, or (3) the first of two equal substantives.
The predicate accusative is relatively "rare" in the GNT, and the examples Wallace gave mostly come from the works of Luke and Paul, with a few exceptions. The first set illustrates the use of predicate accusatives with participles, and the second with infinitives. For these examples, the infinitive or participle is highlighted in blue, the subject of the participle or infinitive is highlighted in green, and the predicate accusative is highlighted in bluish green.
- Predicate Accusatives with Participles
- ὡς δὲ ἐγεύσατο ὁ ἀρχιτρίκλινος τὸ ὕδωρ οἶνον γεγενημένον, καὶ οὐκ ᾔδει πόθεν ἐστίν, οἱ δὲ διάκονοι ᾔδεισαν οἱ ἠντληκότες τὸ ὕδωρ, φωνεῖ τὸν νυμφίον ὁ ἀρχιτρίκλινος καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ· πᾶς ἄνθρωπος πρῶτον τὸν καλὸν οἶνον τίθησιν, καὶ ὅταν μεθυσθῶσιν τὸν ἐλάσσω. σὺ τετήρηκας τὸν καλὸν οἶνον ἕως ἄρτι.
Translation: "But as the master of the feast tasted the water [which was] having had become wine, and did not know from where it was [drawn] (but the servants, the ones having drawn the water, knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, 'Every man first sets down the good wine. And when they become intoxicated, [sets down] the worse [wine]. You have guarded [and kept safe] the good wine until this moment" (John 2:9-10).
Comment: Now if the participle was articular and used substantively, perhaps like: τὸ ὕδωρ τὸ γεγενημένον οἶνον ("the water, having become wine"), the participle phrase would be interpreted as being in simple apposition to the articular noun in front of it. A simple apposition of the participle phrase would be slightly less emphatic than having a phrase predicate or assert something about the first noun. But here we see an anarthrous accusative noun and anarthrous participle, οἶνον γεγενημένον, suggesting they are in a predicate position to the previous articular noun, τὸ ὕδωρ . So they may be interpreted as a predicate, with the first noun as a sort of subject. To do so, a relative pronoun might be added to represent the subject, and another linking verb, to make the English translation sound better: "tasted the water [which was] having had become wine," or more simply, "tasted the water [which] was made into wine." Now the phrase more clearly asserts something about the first accusative, and is slightly stronger. Wallace also points out that this construction could be treated as an object-complement construction, which would be translated in basically the same way, or perhaps like this: "tasted the water [which] had become wine."
- ὁ δὲ Κύριος πρὸς αὐτόν· ἀναστὰς πορεύθητι ἐπὶ τὴν ῥύμην τὴν καλουμένην ευθεῖαν καὶ ζήτησον ἐν οἰκίᾳ Ἰούδα Σαῦλον ὀνόματι Ταρσέα· ἰδοὺ γὰρ προσεύχεται.
Translation: "And the Lord [indicated] to him, 'Rising up, journey upon the street [which was] the one being called Straight, and seek [a man] named Saul, [of] Tarsus, in the house of Judas. For behold, he is praying." (Acts 9:11).
Comment: Notice that the participle is articular. Thus, it could be also translated as being in simple apposition to the previous accusative noun: "upon the street being called Straight." But it can be a predicate accusative too, which asserts something about the previous accusative in a slightly more emphatic way than just an accusative participle phrase used in simple apposition. In this particular example, it does not really matter much, since the meaning is not affected much, and the implications are not important. We actually do not care much whether calling a street "Straight" asserts something or is merely a name. But, in other passages, the nuances do indicate theologically important subtleties.
- καὶ ὑμᾶς ὄντας νεκροὺς τοῖς παραπτώμασιν καὶ ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις ὑμῶν, ἐν αἷς ποτε περιεπατήσατε κατὰ τὸν αιῶνα τοῦ κόσμου τούτου, κατὰ τὸν ἄρχοντα τῆς ἐξουσίας τοῦ ἀέρος, τοῦ πνεύματος τοῦ νῦν ἐνεργοῦντος ἐν τοῖς υἱοῖς τῆς ἀπειθείας· ἐν οἷς καὶ ἡμεῖς πάντες ἀνεστράφημέν ποτε ἐν ταῖς ἐπιθυμίαις τῆς σαρκὸς ἡμῶν, ποιοῦντες τὰ θελήματα τῆς σαρκὸς καὶ τῶν διανοιῶν, καὶ ἤμεθα τέκνα φύσει ὀργῆς ὡς καὶ οἱ λοιποί· ὁ δὲ Θεὸς πλούσιος ὢν ἐν ἐλέει, διὰ τὴν πολλὴν ἀγάπην Αὐτοῦ ἣν ἠγάπησεν ἡμᾶς, καὶ ὄντας ὑμᾶς νεκροὺς τοῖς παραπτώμασιν συνεζωοποίησεν τῷ Χριστῷ ...
Translation: "And you [were] continuously existing [as] dead ones in your transgressions and sins, in which you once walked according to the [current] age [being] this world system, according to the ruler of the air [possessing] decision-making authority [i.e., Satan, subject ruler over all that exists in and below the earth's atmosphere], [which is] the spirit now operating in the sons of rebellion [i.e., the spirit causing them to put no inner confidence in God, as ἀπειθείας suggests]; among whom also we all once conducted our lives, in the strong desires of our flesh, performing the will of the flesh and of [its] thoughts, and were by nature children of wrath, as also the rest; thus God -- being rich in mercy, because of His abundant love [with] which He loved us, even while we [were continuously] dead in trespasses -- made [us] alive together with Christ ..." (Eph. 2:1-5).
Comment: Wallace comments: "This text is similar to John 2:9 in its semantics and structure. The participle is circumstantial, most likely with concessive force." So this construction is like an object-complement construction, where the second accusative νεκροὺς ("dead," plural) asserts something about the first accusative ὑμᾶς ("you"). Then the masculine (gender indefinite) accusative plural present (durative) participle ὄντας ("continuously being") may be redundant ("circumstantial") in a way. Yet it was intentionally placed here for a very good reason. The 2nd accusative predicates something about the first accusative, but the participle suggests this is done in a way that implies continual or constant existence in a state. So here some theological implications are quite relevant.
Of course, Paul did not want to say: "you, dead in trespasses and sins, ..." If the second accusative was an attributive adjective, this would indicate we had a "dead" attribute, that is, we could be described as being at least partly "dead in trespasses and sins." But this would not necessarily imply that the attribute of "deadness" was our most prominent attribute, or at least it would not strongly suggest that. We might even have been far more alive than dead, yet just had a minor and relatively harmless attribute of being a little bit "dead" in our sins.
But, as an object-complement construction, this implies: "you [were] dead in trespasses and sins ..." This asserts something, and is stronger. Now the plural form of the adjective νεκρός could be used substantively too, as in "dead ones," although possibly not. Either way, it would assert that "deadness" was a stronger and more emphatic attribute. However, it was still not strong enough.
Thus, the present and durative form of the participle was also added with the adjective νεκρός. This participle would indicate that we existed in a continuous or constant state of existence. Then the adjective νεκρός would describe the chief characteristic of that state of existence indicated by the participle, since the participle was deliberately placed in the text to indicate this very thing. The adjective and participle are together the expression of one idea. By the way, all the reliable papyri and uncials read the same way, with this participle inserted.
Therefore, the implication is: "you were continuously existing in a state of being dead," or, "you were continuously existing as dead ones." It implies that this is the major attribute, or even that this is the only attribute. Spiritual deadness, by the effect of our transgressions and sins, is all that existed in us at one time. Deadness is asserted to be the essential or only quality of existence back then.
This bears a strong theological implication. In the verses before this, it states that the might and strength of God the Father worked in Christ, raising Him from the dead, and seating Him far above all rule, authority and power. Now this verse indicates that we once were totally helpless dead people, in our spirits. We were unable to become spiritually alive any more than the physically dead can make themselves physically alive. We were entirely bound under the ruling power of Satan, and we did not rule our own lives. Our very inner "nature," every inclination of our will, was fleshy, centered on preserving and appeasing the flesh. Our thoughts were not truly about pleasing God or worshiping Him in spirit and truth, in eternal spirit life. Even our religion was dead fleshy thinking.
Now Christ alone had the power to save us from that former state, in which all of us once existed. It was not our power of our will which saved us, as though something alive still existed in our nature or thoughts, whereby we "willed" to be saved. No, this is about as strong as a description could possibly get concerning how helpless and hopeless and bound and trapped we were before He freed us.
- χάριν ἐχω τῷ ἐνδυναμώσαντί με Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ τῷ Κυρίῳ ἡμῶν, ὅτι πιστόν με ἡγήσατο θέμενος εἰς διακονίαν, τὸ πρότερον ὄντα βλάσφημον καὶ διώκτην καὶ ὑβριστήν· ἀλλὰ ἠλεήθην, ὅτι ἀγνοῶν ἐποίησα ἐν ἀπιστίᾳ, ὑπερεπλεόνασεν δὲ ἡ χάρις τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν μετὰ πίστεως καὶ ἀγάπης τῆς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ. πιστὸς ὁ λόγος καὶ πάσης ἀποδοχῆς ἄξιος, ὅτι Χριστὸς Ἰησοῦς ἦλθεν εἰς τὸν κόσμον ἁμαρτωλοὺς σῶσαι· ὧν πρῶτός εἰμι ἐγώ.
Translation: "I hold favor for the One empowering me, for Christ Jesus our Lord, because He led me [to become] faithful, appointing [me] into the ministry, the one previously being a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent criminal. But I received mercy, because, being ignorant, I acted in unbelief. So the grace of our Lord overflowed exceedingly, among faith and love in Christ Jesus. Trustworthy [is] the reasoning, and in a manner worthy [to be] from the good opinion of all, that 'Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,' of whom I am foremost" (I Tim. 1:12-15).
Comment: First let me mention the verb is a deponent aorist indicative form of ἡγέομαι. In the perfect tense, this means "regarded, considered," and often means this with double accusatives too. But here it is in the aorist tense, and in the context of Christ doing all "empowering" and "appointing" for the author Paul, the verb would bear a normal past tense meaning of "ruled, led, guided."
The articular accusative adjective τὸ πρότερον can be a substantive, "the previous one." But, in the English translation, it is used as both a substantive and adverb, "the one previously." It is followed by a participle form of the linking verb, ὄντα ("being"). The three accusatives after it are direct objects of the participle. The whole phrase is used in apposition to the direct object of the verb, "me," even though it is not placed immediately behind the direct object, possibly because the author wanted it in a position of emphasis at the end of the clause. The phrase simply provides additional information or an explanation of the direct object, telling more about Paul. He emphasizes this very negative description of himself in order to clearly contrast it to the exceedingly abundant grace which overflowed upon him, among faith and love, which he received from Jesus. He is expressing how awesome Christ's salvation is for a horrible sinner like himself.
Wallace also provided a list with other predicate accusatives with participles: Mat. 4:18; 9:9; Luke 21:37; 23:33; Acts 3:2; 15:37; 17:16; 27:8,16; Rom. 16:1; Col. 1:21; 2:13; Rev. 16:16.
- Predicate Accusatives with Infinitives
- καὶ ἐπιτιμῶν οὐκ εἴα αὐτὰ λαλεῖν, ὅτι ᾔδεισαν τὸν Χριστὸν Αὐτὸν εἶναι.
Translation: "And rebuking [them], He did not allow them to speak, because they knew Him to be the Messiah" (Luke 4:41).
Comment: Here we have a verb with two accusatives and an infinitive form of a linking verb. One of the accusatives will serve as the direct object of the verb, and also as a sort of "subject" of the infinitive. The other accusative will be translated after the infinitive, as the direct object of the infinitive, and the resulting infinitive phrase will complete the thought of the verb as a complement. The infinitive phrase also asserts something about the direct object. So which accusative is which? The pronoun always comes first, as the direct object of the verb. Then the other accusative will be placed after the infinitive in a translation.
In this example, the other accusative is τὸν Χριστόν ("the Messiah, the Christ"), which we place after the infinitive in the English translation. But in the Greek, it is placed ahead of the pronoun. This Greek position, along with its article, makes it very definite, "thee one and only Messiah." Thus, it asserts something quite strong about the direct object. Note that Wallace translated this as, "they knew that He was the Christ [i.e., Messiah]." At times, the infinitive can be changed into an active form of the linking verb, to produce a more idiomatic translation.
- ἐλθὼν δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἰς τὰ μέρη Καισαρείας τῆς Φιλίππου, ἠρώτα τοὺς μαθητὰς Αὐτοῦ λέγων· τίνα λεγουσιν οἱ ἄνθρωποι εἶναι τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου;
Translation: "So Jesus, coming into the parts of Caesarea of Philippi, questioned His disciples saying, 'Whom do the people explain the Son of Man to be?" (Mat. 16:13).
Comment: Here is the same construction, but in a question. An interrogative pronoun is the direct object, and the other accusative, τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ("the Son of Man") goes with the infinitive. However, when this is translated, our English clause signals a question by changing the word order. So, instead of saying, "The people do explain whom to be the Son of Man," we say, "Whom do the people explain the Son of Man to be?" Note again that Wallace translates this into more idiomatic English: "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"
- διὰ τοῦτο ἐκ πίστεως, ἵνα κατὰ χάριν, εἰς τὸ εἶναι βεβαίαν τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν παντὶ τῷ σπέρματι, οὐ τῷ ἐκ τοῦ νόμου μόνον ἀλλὰ καὶ τῷ ἐκ πίστεως Ἀβραάμ, ὅς ἐστιν πατὴρ πάντων ἡμῶν, καθὼς γέγραπται ὅτι πατέρα πολλῶν ἐθνῶν τέθεικά σε, κατέναντι οὗ ἐπίστευσεν Θεοῦ τοῦ ζωοποιοῦντος τοὺς νεκροὺς καὶ καλοῦντος τὰ μὴ ὄντα ὡς ὄντα· ὃς παρ᾽ ἐλπίδα ἐπ᾽ ἐλπίδι ἐπίστευσεν, εἰς τὸ γενέσθαι αὐτὸν πατέρα πολλῶν ἐθνῶν κατὰ τὸ εἰρημένον· οὕτως ἔσται τὸ σπέρμα σου.
Translation: "According to this, [it is] out of faith, in order that [it may be] according to grace, so that the promise [is] to be firm for all the seed [i.e., for all Abraham's descendants]. [The promise is] not for the [seed] out of the law only, but also for the [seed] out of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of all of us, just as it has been written, 'I have permanently appointed you [as] a father of many nations.' In [God's] presence, he believed God -- the One making alive the dead and calling things not being as being. [Though he was] past hope, upon hope he believed, with the result that he [was] to become a father of many nations according to what was said, 'As such will be your seed.'" (Rom. 4:16-18).
Comment: Two grammatical constructions are almost identical in structure in this passage, one in the first sentence and one in the last. Each begins with the preposition εἰς. When this preposition is followed by an infinitive, it indicates purpose ("in order that, so that") or result ("with the result that"). The first prepositional phrase uses the infinitive εἶναι ("to be"), and the second uses the infinitive γενέσθαι ("to become"). Both infinitives are linking verbs. The object of the preposition in the first phrase is the articular accusative noun, τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν ("the promise"). Then the anarthrous accusative adjective, βεβαίαν ("firm"), is the predicate placed after the infinitive linking verb. In the second construction, the pronoun is the object, and the anarthrous noun is placed after the infinitive.
Note here that the promise is for those whom God transforms into the seed of Abraham, who believe in God's redemption through Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, who trust in His power to make them righteous. This promise is for all the seed of Abraham, both for Jews and for Gentiles, who are the seed of Abraham too, by faith. But if some say the church did not begin with Abraham, then there is no promise for them. They do not believe they are spiritual seed of Abraham, because they do not believe God created His church then. But Jesus came to save only the people He created for Himself, His church of Israel, which He created through Abraham, and taught and disciplined through the prophets. Whomever God will not join to Israel, Isaac and Abraham, is not of His church, and is not saved. Unless a spirit is made one with Israel, who will all be saved, that spirit has no light. So, for them, there is no promise, and thus no salvation in the Messiah Jesus, who came to save only those given the promise. Only for those whom God causes to believe like Abraham, who know they are the seed of Abraham, is there a promise of salvation through the Messiah Jesus our God.
- ... πρὸς ὃ δύνασθε ἀναγινώσκοντες νοῆσαι τὴν σύνεσίν μου ἐν τῷ μυστηρίῳ τοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὃ ἑτέραις γενεαῖς οὐκ ἐγνωρίσθη τοῖς υἱοῖς τῶν ἀνθρώπων ὡς νῦν ἀπεκαλύφθη τοῖς ἁγίοις ἀποστόλοις Αὐτοῦ καὶ προφήταις ἐν πνεύματι, εἶναι τὰ ἔθνη συγκληρονόμα καὶ σύσσωμα καὶ συμμέτοχα τῆς ἐπαγγελίας ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ διὰ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου, οὗ ἐγενήθην διάκονος κατὰ τὴν δωρεὰν τῆς χάριτος τοῦ Θεοῦ τῆς δοθείσης μοι κατὰ τὴν ἐνέργειαν τῆς δυνάμεως Αὐτωοῦ.
Translation: "... to which you are able, when reading, to understand my insight regarding the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed in spirit to His sanctified apostles and prophets, [that] the Gentiles [are] to continuously be fellow-heirs together with, and a body joined together with, and sharers together with [those partaking] of the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel, for which I became a minister according to the free gift of God's grace, given to me according to the operation of His power" (Eph. 3:4-7).
Comment: Here the three anarthrous nouns are in a predicate position to the articular noun. All three are prefixed with the preposition σύν ("together with"). The articular noun τὰ ἔθνη ("the nations, the Gentiles") is the direct object of the aorist passive verb ἀπεκαλύφθη ("was revealed to"). So the three anarthrous nouns assert something about this direct object, and imply a linking verb. Then the infinitive, which was not really otherwise necessary, was likely added to indicate a firm and lasting state of existence: "to always / continuously be ..."
This is talking about the "mystery" or "revealed truth" which was not made known to former generations. But which former generations does the Jewish apostle to the Gentiles refer? Clearly, he is speaking about God not allowing the former generations of Jews to understand the past prophets' revelations to the church of Israel. But these things were "revealed" in spirit to both the apostles and past prophets, who were sanctified or set apart for service to God. And what is this "mystery" or "revealed truth"? It is that the Gentiles or "nations" are to be heirs together with Israel, joined together with the church of Israel, and sharing the promise made to the church of Israel, the very promise given to Abraham and now fulfilled in the Messiah Jesus. The main thrust of that promise was that God would be God to Abraham's descendants after him, and that God will be their God (Gen. 17:7-8). In other words, God will take care of them as His people, and they will serve God as His people, as His church. Jesus died and rose again to fulfill this very promise, to truly make a people into God's Own people.
The Old Testament prophets saw that this was to be the case, that the Messiah would also come to be a light to the Gentiles. But former generations of Jews did not understand this, that God established His church, through the Gentile Abraham, in order to sanctify and separate unto Himself a people from all the world. Abraham was to be the "father" of many nations, or beginning of a world-wide church. Yes, Israel did accept many Gentile converts to Judaism, even whole tribes of Gentiles. However, they did not quite see the full scope of what God planned through Abraham and his descendants. Now many in the "Christian" church do worse. Now many think God abandoned the church which He created through Abraham. They think God made a blunder, so He had to create or "build" a new Gentile church though Christ. Yet God merely "built up" His church of Israel through Christ, and fulfilled it in righteousness by writing His law directly on the hearts and in the minds of His people, Israel, and those whom He joined "together with" them. He added and "built up," but did not replace.
It is difficult to comprehend how some Christians can possibly teach that God made a very stupid mistake and so was forced to submissively abandon the stronger-willed Jews, in order to begin a new Gentile church. It clearly states here that Gentiles are "heirs together with" and "a body joined together with" and "sharers together with" someone. Who exactly is Paul referring to here? Who are the Gentiles "joined together with" in all these things? Obviously, they are "joined together with" those who originally were given the "promise." But who were those who originally had the "promise"? And what is this "promise" which Paul speaks about? Without a doubt, it is plain that Paul is saying that the Gentiles have been "joined together with" the church of Israel, with those who have received the promise of Abraham. Thus, it is not for us to make Jews join a Gentile so-called "Christian" church. Rather, it is for us to teach, when Jesus wills it to be taught, that the Jewish Messiah Jesus has indeed come to His Own people of Israel, and is now their Lord and King, and King of all men forever.
- πᾶσα δόσις ἀγαθὴ καὶ πᾶν δώρημα τέλειον ἄνωθέν ἐστιν καταβαῖνον ἀπὸ τοῦ Πατρὸς τῶν φώτων, παρ᾽ ᾧ οὐκ ἔνι παραλλαγὴ ἢ τροπῆς ἀποσκίασμα. βουληθεὶς ἀπεκύησεν ἡμᾶς λόγῳ ἀληθείας, εἰς τὸ εἶναι ἡμᾶς ἀπαρχήν τινα τῶν Αὐτοῦ κρισμάτων.
Translation: "All beneficial giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom no inner variation exists, even a turning of a shadow [i.e., perhaps indicating that God's character, purpose for giving gifts, and will cannot shift even as slowly and slightly as the shadow on a sundial]. Having [already] been decided [i.e., temporal aorist passive participle with aorist active verb following it], He gave us birth by a word of truth, for the purpose that we [were] to be a kind of firstfruit from His creations [i.e., firstfruits are to be the first and best parts of the harvest, which must be dedicated to God alone, and not taken for common use]" (James 1:17-18).
Comment: Here the infinitive is added after the preposition in order to have the prepositional phrase indicate the purpose of God, i.e., in giving rebirth to us through His Holy Spirit according to the work of Jesus. The pronoun is the object of the preposition. Then the anarthrous noun, modified by an indefinite pronoun, asserts something about the preposition's object. In other words, the purpose of being born again by God is in order for us to be a "firstfruit" of His creations. We are all as only one firstfruit, reckoned as one body and one bunch together. And, as a firstfruit, we are a body of people set apart and dedicated to God. All the rest of His creations are for common use, but we are only for God's use.
Wallace also provided a list of other examples of predicate accusatives with infinitives: Luke 11:8; 20:6,41; 23:2; Acts 17:7; 18:5,28; 27:4; Rom. 2:19; 3:26; 4:11,16; 7:3; 15:16; II Cor. 9:5; Philp. 1:13; I Tim. 3:2; Titus 2:2; I Pet. 5:12.
(1.e) Accusative Subjects of Infinitives
Because an infinitive is frequently used as a complement of the main verb, in a verb phrase (e.g., "able to do"), the "subject" of an infinitive is most often also the subject of the main verb. For example, in the clause, "he is able to do it," the subject of the verb "is able" and the subject of the infinitive "to do" is the same pronoun "he." Thus, in Greek, the subject of the infinitive is most often the nominative subject of the verb.
A Greek example of how the subject of the verb also serves as the subject of the infinitive can be found in the following question posed by Jesus: δοκεῖτε ὅτι εἰρήνην παρεγενόμην δοῦναι ἐν τῇ γῇ; ("Do you think that I came to grant peace on the earth?" Luke 12:51). In this example, the infinitive δοῦναι ("to give, to grant") functions as a complement to the deponent aorist verb παρεγενόμην ("I came, arrived"). So the whole verb phrase παρεγενόμην δοῦναι takes one subject, the pronoun "I" embedded in the verb's pronoun suffix: "I came to grant."
Then an infinitive may not even have a subject or direct object, and can even be the subject (e.g., "To die is gain"). After all, an infinitive can function as a noun. It is not a finite verb, with someone performing an action in real time. However, if a Greek infinitive clause does need a subject (other than the subject of the verb), an accusative substantive is almost always used, usually an accusative form of a pronoun.
Infinitive clauses, where the subjects of the infinitives will be either a direct object of a verb or else an object of a preposition, can be found above, in the examples of predicate accusatives with infinitives. One example was: ᾔδεισαν τὸν Χριστὸν Αὐτὸν εἶναι ("they knew Him to be the Christ [i.e., Messiah]," Luke 4:41). Here the subject of the infinitive εἶναι is the accusative form of the pronoun Αὐτόν ("Him"), which is also the direct object of the verb ᾔδεισαν.
In English, the above translation still sounds a little awkward. But the Greek text itself apparently did not sound awkward to the Greeks. An accusative subject of an infinitive was common in Greek. Nevertheless, since translating the Greek so literally into English may not sound as smooth and idiomatic as some would like, the previous Greek clause could be translated as, "they knew He was the Messiah," or, "they knew that He was the Messiah." Often the infinitive is translated into a finite verb form, and its subject into an English subjective (nominative) form.
How to Determine When an Accusative is the Subject of an Infinitive
Note: Some grammars do not like to use the term "subject" when referring to the subject of an infinitive clause. They prefer to call it an "accusative of reference" or an "accusative of respect." So, for example, they might think a more grammatically correct translation of ᾔδεισαν τὸν Χριστὸν Αὐτὸν εἶναι would be: "they knew to be, with reference to Him, the Messiah." But the translation "they knew Him to be the Messiah" is much more clear than that "more grammatically correct" translation. Wallace says, "from a descriptive and functional perspective, it is better to treat it as a subject." The accusative subject of an infinitive is truly a "subject," since it bears the main focus of the infinitive's action. Interpreting it as a subject makes a translation clearer and more understandable.
When the infinitive is a form of a linking verb, in order to determine which accusative is the infinitive's subject, and which accusative is its predicate, we apply the rules discussed above. That is, the priorities for determining the subject accusative will be: (1) a pronoun; (2) a proper name or an articular substantive; then (3) the first of two equal substantives. And, if one accusative term is an adjective, unless it is used substantively, it will be the predicate, translated after the infinitive. But the rules for determining the subject of an infinitive form of a transitive verb, when there are two accusatives with it, or even one, are different.
In the following example, there are two infinitives with subjects. The first infinitive is a form of a transitive verb, where its subject is the direct object of another transitive verb. The second infinitive is a form of a linking verb, and it has two accusatives with it. Here the subject of each infinitive is displayed in green and each infinitive is shown in blue:
γινώσκειν δὲ ὑμᾶς βούλομαι, ἀδελφοί, ὅτι τὰ κατ᾽ ἐμὲ μᾶλλον εἰς προκοπὴν τοῦ εὐαγγελίου ἐλήλυθεν, ὥστε τοὺς δεσμούς μου φανεροὺς ἐν Χριστῷ γενέσθαι ἐν ὅλῳ τῷ πραιτωρίῳ καὶ τοῖς λοιποῖς πᾶσιν ...
A more literal translation: "But I want you to know, brothers, that the things happening down through me came [and now continue] rather for the advance of the Gospel, so [as a result] my bonds [were] to become well-known [as being] in Christ throughout the whole palace and to all the rest ..." (Philp. 1:12-13).
A more idiomatic translation: "I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ" (Philp. 1:12-13, English Standard Version).
Here the infinitive γενέσθαι is a form of a linking verb used in a "result clause," after the particle ὥστε. The subject of this infinitive is the first plural accusative, τοὺς δεσμούς ("bonds, chains"), which is also articular. The second plural accusative, φανερούς ("manifest, clear, well-known") functions as the predicate, and it is also anarthrous and an adjective. In the more idiomatic translation, the infinitive is transformed into a finite verb, "has become." Then its subject is "it," which is an expletive representing the delayed subject, "my imprisonment." So, either way, τοὺς δεσμούς is translated as the subject of the infinitive form of a linking verb.
As usual, the rules for determining the subject of an infinitive form of a linking verb apply here in a regular manner. But the first infinitive, γινώσκειν ("to know"), is not as easy. It is an infinitive form of a transitive verb and has only one accusative in its clause. It is also with a finite verb, which is a transitive verb too. Very literally, the Greek clause can be translated: "to know but you I want." So one's first instinct might be to translate the infinitive as a complement of the finite verb: "But I want to know you." However, that clearly does not make any sense in context. The only way it makes any sense is to translate the accusative as the direct object of the finite verb, then use that as the subject of the infinitive: "but I want you to know."
There does not seem to be any real set of rules for determining if and when an accusative should be interpreted as the subject of an infinitive form of a transitive verb. About the best that one can say is that one needs to look at the context, then use common sense. Most often, if there are two accusatives with an infinitive form of a transitive verb, the first accusative will be the subject. But 14 out of 81 of such constructions (17% of those involving two accusatives with an infinitive form of a transitive verb) actually place the accusative direct object before the accusative subject. Still, only four such constructions are "potentially ambiguous passages" according to Wallace (Luke 18:5; II Cor. 2:13; 8:6; Philp. 1:7).
In conclusion, not word order, but only common sense can determine which of two accusatives will be the subject of an infinitive form of a transitive verb, and which will be the direct object. Also, like the example above, even with one accusative, only common sense can determine whether it will be the subject or direct object of an infinitive form of a transitive verb.
Examples of Accusative Subjects of Infinitives
The accusative used as a subject of an infinitive is common in the GNT. Wallace provided examples under four different headings. For all the following examples, the infinitive is highlighted in blue, the subject of the infinitive is highlighted in green, and, if there is one, the accusative direct object of the infinitive, or predicate accusative, is highlighted in bluish green.
- Unambiguous Constructions
- καὶ ἀπέστειλεν τοὺς δούλους αὐτοῦ καλέσαι τοὺς κεκλημένους εἰς τοὺς γάμους, καὶ οὐκ ἤθελον ἐλθεῖν.
Translation: "And he sent his slaves to call those having been invited unto the feast, yet they did not want to come" (Matt. 22:3).
Comment: Here the first accusative is translated as the direct object of the finite verb, and also serves as the subject of the following infinitive. Then the second accusative is the direct object of the infinitive form of the transitive verb καλέω ("call"). Clearly, there is no other order in which to translate this.
- ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς προσεκαλέσατο αὐτὰ λέγων· ἄφετε τὰ παιδία ἔρχεσθαι πρὸς Με καὶ μὴ κωλύετε αὐτά· τῶν γὰρ τοιούτων ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ. ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ὃς ἂν μὴ δέξηται τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ ὡς παιδίον, οὐ μὴ εἰσέλθῃ εἰς αὐτήν.
Translation: "So Jesus called to them saying: 'Allow the little children to come to Me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God is for such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever should not welcome the kingdom of God as a little child, certainly shall not enter into it'" (Luke 18:16-17).
Comment: Here the accusative is clearly the direct object of the aorist imperative form of the finite verb. After it, the infinitive form of a transitive verb takes this accusative as its subject. This infinitive uses a prepositional phrase, πρὸς Με ("to Me"), to complete its thought, but does not have a direct object.
- ἐν δὲ τῷ ἄρξασθαί με λαλεῖν ἐπέπεσεν τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον ἐπ᾽ αὐτοὺς ὥσπερ καὶ ἐφ᾽ ἡμᾶς ἐν ἀρχῇ. ἐμνήσθην δὲ τοῦ ῥήματος τοῦ Κυρίου, ὡς ἔλεγεν· Ἰωάννης μὲν ἐβάπτισεν ὕδατι, ὑμεῖς δὲ βαπτισθήσεσθε ἐν Πνεύματι Ἁγίῳ. εἰ οὖν τὴν ἴσην δωρεὰν ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς ὁ Θεὸς ὡς καὶ ἡμῖν, πιστεύσασιν ἐπὶ τὸν Κύριον Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν, ἐγὼ τίς ἤμην δυνατὸς κωλῦσαι τὸν Θεόν;
Translation: "So when I began to speak, the Holy Spirit permanently fell upon them just as also upon us at the beginning. Then I remembered the word of the Lord, as He said, 'John indeed baptized with water, but you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit.' Therefore, if the gift God gave for them [is] equal, also like [His gift] for us, [after] having believed upon the Lord Jesus Christ, how was I able to hinder God?" (Acts 11:15-17).
Comment: Here there are two infinitives separated by an accusative pronoun. The pronoun is actually the direct object of the first infinitive, of ἄρξασθαί ("to begin"). Now after the preposition ἐν, that first infinitive takes a temporal meaning and cannot really be translated into English directly. It literally means, "when the [time] to begin me." So it is changed into a finite verb form, and its direct object becomes the subject: "when I began." But the direct object of the first infinitive ("me") still remains the subject of the second infinitive, λαλεῖν ("to speak"). Since the first infinitive is changed into a finite verb for the English translation, the second infinitive becomes a complement of that first verb, so the direct object of the first verb becomes the subject of both verbs: "when I began to speak," which is much better than, "when the [time] to begin me to speak."
- ὥστε ὁ δοκῶν ἑστάναι βλεπέτω μὴ πέσῃ. πειρασμὸς ὑμᾶς οὐκ εἴληφεν εἰ μὴ ἀνθρώπινος, πιστὸς δὲ ὁ Θεός, ὃς οὐκ ἐάσει ὑμᾶς πειρασθῆναι ὑπὲρ ὃ δύνασθε, ἀλλὰ ποιήσει σὺν τῷ πειρασμῷ καὶ τὴν ἔκβασιν τοῦ δύνασθαι ὑπενεγκεῖν.
Translation: "Thus then, the one having the opinion [that he is able] to stand, let him watch lest he might fall. Testing has not permanently taken you, [nothing] except [what is] human. Yet God [is] faithful, who will not allow you to be tested beyond what you are able [to bear], but He will also create, together with the testing, the way out, in order for [you] to be able to bear up under [the testing]" (I Cor. 10:12-13).
Comment: Here the infinitive form of a transitive verb takes the object of the previous finite verb as its subject. However, this infinitive is an aorist passive form. Therefore, the whole event of the action of testing comes upon the subject ("you") from outside, not from the subject, nor by the subject's own causing. The fact is, in the next clause, it basically states that both the testing and the way out are created "together" by God. Now God does not "tempt" us with evil (James 1:13), but God does "test" us with hardship. Like metal is refined by fire, so is the spirit of one of God's people, to make it stronger in faith.
- καὶ λέγουσίν μοι· δεῖ σε πάλιν προφητεῦσαι ἐπὶ λαοῖς καὶ ἔθνεσιν καὶ γλώσσαις καὶ βασιλεῦσιν πολλοῖς.
Translation: "And they said to me, 'It is necessary for you to prophesy again before many people groups and nations and [people with different] languages and kings" (Rev. 10:11).
Comment: The infinitive is sometimes be separated from its accusative subject by a genitive, adjective, or adverb. Here the adverb could be translated before the infinitive, "for you to once more prophesy," or after it, "for you to prophesy again." But some do not like to split an infinitive, so they translate it after.
Other unambiguous examples listed by Wallace are Mat. 5:32; John 6:10; Acts 7:19; 8:31; Rom. 1:13; Gal. 2:14; I Thes. 5:27; II Tim. 2:18; Heb. 9:26; Rev. 19:19; 22:16.
- More Complex Constructions, Each With Two Accusatives, and
Infinitive Forms of Linking Verbs, Subject / Predicate Accusatives
- πάλιν ὁ ἀρχιερεὺς ἐπηρώτα Αὐτὸν καὶ λέγει Αὐτῷ· Σὺ εἶ ὁ Χριστὸς ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ Εὐλογητοῦ; ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν· Ἐγώ εἰμι, καὶ ὄψεσθε τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐκ δεξιῶν καθήμενον τῆς δυνάμεως καὶ ἐρχόμενον μετὰ τῶν νεφελῶν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ. ὁ δὲ ἀρχιερεὺς διαρήξας τοὺς χιτῶνας αὐτοῦ λέγει· τί ἔτι χρείαν ἔχομεν μαρτύρων; ἠκούσατε τῆς βλασφημίας· τί ὑμῖν φαίνεται; οἱ δὲ πάντες κατέκριναν Αὐτὸν ἔνοχον εἶναι θανάτου.
Translation: "Again the high priest interrogated Him and said to Him, 'Are You the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?' So Jesus said, 'I am, and you will see the Son of Man sitting [to rule] from the right hand of power and coming with the clouds of heaven.' Then the high priest, tearing his inner garments, said, 'What further need do we have for witnesses? You heard the blasphemy! How does it appear to you?' So they all condemned Him to be guilty, [worthy] of death" (Mark 14:61b-64).
Comment: Both accusative terms are anarthrous. But the second accusative term is the accusative singular form of the adjective ἔνοχος ("guilty and liable"). So, is it in the predicate position to the first accusative pronoun? That is, should it be translated as, "condemned Him [as] guilty, to be [worthy] of death"? Or is this a predicate to the infinitive form of the linking verb εἶναι, as it is interpreted above? Either way, an adjective or participle (if it is not used substantively, which Wallace says is rare), "must be considered to be a predicate term" (Wallace).
As a theological note, look at the process of trial which took place here. In the Jewish law, it was a crime to falsely claim to prophesy or teach in God's name, a crime punishable by death, since false prophecies and teachings could lead to much serious trouble, disunity, exploitation, oppression and even physical death. Now these prosecutors almost routinely condemned a man as soon as they proved that he claimed to be a prophet or messiah. They usually felt that they did not need to ask the man to prove that his claim was true, because most of those who made this kind of claim were obviously not real prophets or messiahs from God. So, as soon as Jesus clearly confessed that He was the long-awaited Messiah sent from God, this court condemned and sentenced Jesus to death.
But, in this instance, the court condemned themselves. After all, if a person makes a claim, no matter how outrageous or unbelievable that claim might be, a just court is duty bound, under God's law, to take the next step, which is to prove that the person's claim is false. Otherwise, if the court cannot prove this, the court cannot condemn the man. Now that was easy for the prosecutors, concerning others who falsely claimed to be prophets. All they needed to do was to prove that any detail of the prophet's words was indeed false, or failed to come to pass. Or, even if a prophet proved to have real signs and wonders, all the prosecutors needed to prove was that those signs and wonders came from the devil, and not from God. So they needed to ask the people who experienced the signs and wonders, questions like: "Did those signs and wonders cause you to praise and glorify God alone, and not men? Were the miracles unconditional, or did they come with conditions that bound you to other men in contravention of God's law? Did the miracles lead you to greater respect for all God's Word?"
Under most circumstances, the prosecutors did not need to even ask those kinds of questions when a false prophet was brought before them. But that was because those questions had already been answered a thousand times over, and very clearly, even long before the accused was brought before them. Yet Jesus was clearly different. Yes, Jesus made a spectacular claim. However, Jesus also came with many real signs and wonders, unconditional healings leading to repentance, freedom from sin and righteous behaviour. All He did worked for the good, and for the glory of God. Also, every time Jesus opened His mouth about something which could only be known by the power of God, Jesus proved totally correct in every instance. Not once did they ever prove Jesus wrong.
About the most they could bring against Jesus was that He broke their Sabbath traditions. Yet they could not even accuse Him of breaking God's Sabbath law, as it is written in the Word of God. And they knew it too. All they could manage to accuse Jesus of doing, was to say He broke Pharisaical speculations and imaginings about that law. But the Pharisees did not even always agree among themselves in their idle ramblings and their constant search for new ways to heavily burden their people, with foolish traditions to outwardly appear to be religious. Nor did all priests and Jewish leaders agree with them. So they knew they could not prove to the whole court that Jesus truly broke the Sabbath, since Jesus actually did not ever truly break any real Sabbath laws of God.
Therefore, since all these men, sitting in the court (Sanhedrin), including the high priest (who took it upon himself to function as the chief prosecutor), were entirely familiar with this case, yet refused to complete the line of questioning, they all knowingly condemned themselves to death. These men all knew God's law. They had studied it all their lives. Every one of them knew that it is not enough to condemn a man for making a claim, even a claim to be Thee Messiah prophesied in God's Word. One must also prove that claim to be false. And every single one of these men knew that there were valid arguments to substantiate the claim Jesus made. Yet they all found Jesus guilty of blasphemy (slandering God's name by falsely claiming to teach, prophesy and/or hold authority in God's name, thus breaking the third of the Ten Commandments).
Since these judges willfully and intentionally bypassed the completion of this judicial process, and deliberately condemned a man to death, without the due process of God's law, they directly condemned themselves to death. And they did this as a council sworn to guard God's name. Likewise, all the people who agreed with this verdict made themselves guilty, in various degrees, depending on their level of knowledge. But every man on that council was clearly guilty and worthy of death, and they all knew it too. They knew God's law commanded them to investigate each claim. Also, every one knew that, under God's law, if you falsely accuse a person, you yourself must receive the very same penalty that you intended the innocent person to falsely receive (e.g., Deut. 19:15-21).
- ὁ μὲν οὖν ἀποτινάξας τὸ θηρίον εἰς τὸ πῦρ ἔπαθεν οὐδὲν κακόν. οἱ δὲ προσεδόκων αὐτὸν μέλλειν πίμπρασθαι ἢ καταπίπτειν ἄφνω νεκρόν. ἐπὶ πολὺ δὲ αὐτῶν προσδοκώντων καὶ θεωρούντων μηδὲν ἄτοπον εἰς αὐτὸν γινόμενον, μεταβαλόμενοι ἔλεγον αὐτὸν εἶναι θεόν.
Translation: "Thus, indeed shaking off the snake into the fire, he suffered no harm. But they expected him to be about to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. Yet, upon much [time having elapsed], after their expecting [him to be harmed], though observing nothing out of place happening unto him, they, changing [their] minds, reasoned him to be a god" (Acts 28:5-6).
Comment: A pronoun almost always serves as the subject of an infinitive form of a linking verb. However, Wallace states that an interrogative pronoun (a form of τίς) "lexically fills the slot of predicate." Then he gave the example: τίνα Με οἱ ὄχλοι λέγουσιν εἶναι; ("Whom do the crowds consider me to be?" or, "The crowds consider me to be whom?" Luke 9:18). Of course, two accusative pronouns are found in this clause. And, because the accusative interrogative pronoun τίνα is found first, before the other accusative pronoun (Με), one might think it should be the subject of the infinitive εἶναι. Yet, it functions as the predicate of the infinitive clause, whether it is placed at the beginning or end of an English translation. Aside from the interrogative pronoun, though, every other pronoun normally serves as the subject of an infinitive linking verb.
- εἴ τις ἑτεροδιδασκαλεῖ καὶ μὴ προσέρχεται ὑγιαίνουσιν λόγοις τοῖς τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, καὶ τῇ κατ᾽ εὐσέβειαν διδασκαλίᾳ, τετύφωται, μηδὲν ἐπιστάμενος, ἀλλὰ νοσῶν περὶ ζητήσεις καὶ λογομαχίας, ἐξ ὧν γίνεται φθόνος, ἔρις, βλασφημίαι, ὑπόνοιαι πονηραί, διαπαρατριβαὶ διεφθαρμένων ἀνθρώπων, τὸν νοῦν καὶ ἀπεστερημένων τῆς ἀληθείας, νομιζόντων πορισμὸν εἶναι τὴν εὐσέβειαν.
Translation: "I anyone teaches other doctrines, and is not moving towards being sound in reasoning regarding that from our Lord Jesus Christ, and in doctrine [which is] according to godliness, [he is] remaining blinded by empty pride, understanding nothing, but always unsound regarding inquirings and disputes about meanings, out of which comes envy, rivalry, blasphemies, wicked conjectures, perpetual quarreling from men remaining in complete corruption, the mind also remaining completely robbed of truth, always expecting [their kind of] godliness to be a means of personal gain" (I Tim. 6:3-5).
Comment: If there are two accusative substantives with an infinitive linking verb, the articular accusative will be the subject and the anarthrous one will be the predicate. In the last participle phrase above, the first accusative is the noun πορισμόν ("a furnishing or supplying of oneself, a means of personal gain"), and it is anarthrous. Then the infinitive form of the linking verb follows. After it is found the articular accusative noun τὴν εὐσέβειαν ("the[ir] godliness"). Since the second accusative is articular, it is the subject and is translated into English in front of the infinitive. Yet the predicate accusative was deliberately placed in front of the infinitive and subject accusative, thus asserts something more definite about the subject accusative. It is like having an article in front of both terms, but with more emphasis on the predicate term. So this construction is pointing to both terms. It seems to be implying something like an egocentric kind of thinking: "expecting [their kind of] godliness to be [their] means of personal gain."
With two accusatives, if the predicate accusative is placed before the subject accusative, it is more definite, and the further towards the front of the clause it may be, the more definite it usually will be. By definite, I mean it is treated like it has an article in front of it, or may imply a possessive pronoun. It is a more precise reference. But a predicate placed after the subject is less definite, more general. So a very rough guideline for constructions with two substantives and a linking verb may be as follows (where ANAR is an anarthrous substantive, ART is an articular one, SUB is a subject term, PRED is a predicate term, "Indef." is indefinite, "Qual." is qualitative, "Def." is definite, and "+" is extra definite):
- ANAR SUB + ANAR PRED translates into: Indef.SUB is Indef/Qual.PRED
- ANAR SUB + ART PRED translates into: Indef.SUB is Def.PRED
- ART SUB + ANAR PRED translates into: Def.SUB is Indef/Qual.PRED
- ART SUB + ART PRED translates into: Def.SUB is Def.PRED
- ANAR PRED + ANAR SUB translates into: Indef.SUB is +Def.PRED
- ANAR PRED + ART SUB translates into: Def.SUB is +Def.PRED
- ART PRED + ANAR SUB translates into: Indef.SUB is ++Def.PRED
- ART PRED + ART SUB translates into: Def.SUB is ++Def.PRED
- τὸ βάπτισμα Ἰωάννου ἐξ οὐρανοῦ ἦν ἢἐξ ἀνθρώπων; οἱ δὲ συνελογισαντο πρὸς ἑαυτοὺς λέγοντες ὅτι ἐὰν εἴπωμεν· ἐξ οὐρανοῦ, ἐρεῖ· διὰ τί οὐκ ἐπιστεύσατε αὐτῷ; ἐὰν δὲ εἴπωμεν· ἐξ ἀνθρώπων, ὁ λαὸς ἅπας καταλιθάσει ἡμᾶς· πεπεισμένος γάρ ἐστιν Ἰωάννην προφήτην εἶναι. καὶ ἀπεκρίθησαν μὴ εἰδέναι πόθεν.
Translation: "'Was the baptism of John from heaven or from men?' So they reasoned together with themselves concluding that, 'If we say, "From heaven," He will say, "Because of what [reason] did you not believe him?" Yet if we say, "From men," all the people will cast stones down upon us, for [the crowd] is currently in a state of being entirely persuaded [that] John [is] to be [accepted as] a prophet.' So they answered, '[It is] not [possible] to know from where'" (Luke 20:4-7).
Comment: If one of two accusative substantives is a proper name, it will be the subject of the infinitive form of the linking verb. Then the other accusative will be the predicate, translated after the infinitive. Note that the participle πεπεισμένος is a perfect passive form, indicating that they were persuaded completely and currently remained in that state of being entirely persuaded.
- More Complex Constructions, Each With Two Accusatives, and
Infinitive Forms of Transitive Verbs, Subject / Direct Object Accusatives
- καὶ ἰδοὺ ἄνθρωπος ἦν ἐν Ἰερουσαλὴμ ᾧ ὄνομα Συμεών, καὶ ὁ ἄνθρωπος οὗτος δίκαιος καὶ εὐλαβής, προσδεχόμενος παράκλησιν τοῦ Ἰσραήλ, καὶ Πνεῦμα ἦν ἅγιον ἐπ᾽ αὐτόν· καὶ ἦν αὐτῷ κεχρηματισμένον ὑπὸ τοῦ Πνεύματος τοῦ Ἁγίου μὴ ἰδεῖν θάνατον πρὶν ἢ ἂν ἴδῃ τὸν Χριστὸν Κυρίου. καὶ ἦλθεν ἐν τῷ Πνεύματι εἰς τὸ ἱερόν· καὶ ἐν τῷ εἰσαγαγεῖν τοὺς γονεῖς τὸ Παιδίον Ἰησοῦν τοῦ ποιῆσαι αὐτοὺς κατὰ τὸ εἰθισμένον τοῦ νόμου περὶ Αὐτου. καὶ αὐτὸς ἐδέξατο Αὐτὸ εἰς τὰς ἀγακάλας καὶ εὐλόγησεν τὸν Θεὸν ...
Translation: "Now you see, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name [was] Simeon. This man was just and godly, expecting the counsel of Israel, and the Spirit was holy upon him. Thus, to him was given a confirmed revelation from the Holy Spirit [that he was] not to see death unless he should first see the Messiah of the Lord. Then he came by the Spirit into the temple [grounds], also when the parents [came] to bring the Child Jesus, in order for them to perform [what was] according to the custom of the law concerning Him. So he received Him into his arms, and praised God ..." (Luke 2:25-28).
Comment: Here the aorist infinitive is a form of a transitive verb εἰσάγω, and means "to bring in." It used with the preposition ἐν and therefore has a dative singular neuter article placed in front of it. An infinitive used in a prepositional phrase with ἐν is often temporal, indicating "when." Actually, this kind of construction, with the preposition and infinitive, is normally translated something like, "when the parents brought the Child Jesus." But here it is translated into less idiomatic English to highlight the use of the infinitive. After the infinitive, the first accusative plural is τοὺς γονεῖς ("the parents") and the second accusative neuter is τὸ Παιδίον Ἰησοῦν ("the Child Jesus"). Even if one accusative was articular and the other was not, or if the order was reversed, only context and logic can be used to determine which accusative term is the infinitive's subject and which is its direct object. Wallace comments, "Obviously, common sense is helpful in determining which accusative is the subject and which is the object."
- εἶδεν Ἰησοῦς τὸν Ναθαναὴλ ἐρχόμενον πρὸς Αὐτὸν καὶ λέγει περὶ αὐτοῦ· ἴδε ἀληθῶς Ἰσραηλίτης, ἐν ᾧ δόλος οὐκ ἔστιν. λέγει Αὐτῷ Ναθαναήλ· πόθεν με γινώσκεις; ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· πρὸ τοῦ σε Φίλιππον φωνῆσαι ὄντα ὑπὸ τὴν συκῆν εἶδόν σε. ἀπεκρίθη Αὐτῷ Ναθαναήλ· Ῥαββί, Σὺ εἶ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ, Σὺ Βασιλεὺς εἶ τοῦ Ἰσραήλ.
Translation: "Jesus saw Nathanael coming towards Him and said, regarding him, 'Behold, a true Israelite, in whom is no deceit.' Nathanael said to Him, 'From where do You know me?' Jesus answered and said to him, 'Before Philip [was] to call you, being under the fig tree, I saw you.' Nathanael answered Him, 'Rabbi, You are the Son of God, You are the King of Israel!'" (John 1:47-49).
Comment: The preposition πρό takes a genitive object, and the object of this preposition is an infinitive, so it is followed by a neuter genitive singular article τοῦ, to link it to the infinitive. Between this article and the infinitive, there are two accusatives; the accusative pronoun σε and the accusative form of the proper name Φίλιππον. Again, common sense and context must be used. Since this is an infinitive form of a transitive verb (not a linking verb), the pronoun, which is also the first accusative, cannot be the subject, because the translation would not make sense. Philip went to get Nathanael (1:45), not the other way around.
Also, other logic can be applied here. Now when Philip called Nathanael, he may or may not have been under the fig tree. But, at the very least, we know that Jesus knew he was under the fig tree at some time during that day. Because Jesus knew this, it somehow made Nathanael believe Jesus knew all things. Still, why would he believe just because Jesus said He saw him under the fig tree? After all, apparently many Jews often used to study God's Word under the cool shade of a fig tree. So Jesus could have just guessed he was studying under the fig tree that day. Thus, there was very likely something more to this, something which shocked Nathanael into believing Jesus was a true prophet from God.
Actually, it seems likely that Jesus must have known Nathanael had some kind of personal experience that day, while under the fig tree, something related to him being a "true Israelite in whom is no deceit." Perhaps Nathanael previously prayed a fervent prayer to God, while under the fig tree. Or maybe, while studying, he found something in God's Word that convicted him of a sin related to deceit, concerning him being a true member of God's people. Or it is possible that he found a truth in God's Word, one that was contrary to teachings of most rabbis, but one which he accepted, because he believed God's Word more than the rabbis. We cannot know, based on this scant evidence. But we can assume that, when Jesus said He saw him under the fig tree, it seemed to be some kind of confirmation of the statement that he was a "true Israelite in whom is no deceit." If Philip called Nathanael, then we know that his hearing Jesus make both statements together made him truly believe Jesus to be the real Messiah.
On the other hand, what if the word order of the two accusatives is correct? What if Jesus knew that Philip went to find Nathanael and, while searching for him, decided to rest under a fig tree? Perhaps Nathanael saw Philip and called out to him, instead of what one would expect in a case where Philip had gone to get Nathanael. Perhaps this should be translated as, "Before you [were] to call Philip, being under the fig tree, I saw you." Possibly this is why Philip so readily believed Jesus to be a true prophet and the Messiah. Either way, we know Nathanael was a very honest man, "in whom is no deceit." So, whatever made him believe must have seemed to be very profound and extraordinary to him.
- περὶ οὗ πολὺς ἡμῖν ὁ λόγος καὶ δυσερμήνευτος λέγειν, ἐπεὶ νωφροὶ γεγόνατε ταῖς ἀκοαῖς. καὶ γὰρ ὀφείλοντες εἶναι διδάσκαλοι διὰ τὸν χρόνον, πάλιν χρείαν ἔχετε τοῦ διδάσκειν ὑμᾶς τινα τὰ στοιχεῖα τῆς ἀρχῆς τῶν λογίων τοῦ Θεοῦ, καὶ γεγόνατε χρείαν ἔχοντες γάλακτος, οὐ στερεᾶς τροφῆς.
Translation: "Concerning whom, the Word [has] much for us, yet [it is] hard to explain [what it has] to say, because you have come to exist in a state of being dull in your understanding. For indeed, being obligated to be teachers by this time, you have need again of someone to teach you the elementary things from the beginning, concerning the words of God, and you have come to exist in a state of having need of milk, not of solid food" (Heb 5:11-12).
Comment: Here again we see two accusatives with an infinitive form of a transitive verb, and both are pronouns. The first, after the infinitive, is a 2nd person plural personal pronoun, ὑμᾶς ("you," pl.). And the second is the indefinite pronoun τινα ("someone"). But it is obvious, according to context and common sense, that the second pronoun (τινα) is the infinitive's subject, not the first one. With an infinitive form of a transitive verb, there seems to be no definite set of rules or guidelines concerning which accusative should be interpreted as the subject, and which as the direct object. Only context and logic are relevant.
Wallace also provided a list of other verses with infinitive forms of transitive verbs, which one may examine: Mark 8:31; Acts 16:30; Rom. 12:2; I Cor. 7:11; Phil. 1:10; II Tim. 3:15.
- Problematic Texts
- Εὐχαριστῶ τῷ Θεῷ μου ἐπὶ πάσῃ τῇ μνείᾳ ὑμῶν ... πεποιθὼς αὐτὸ τοῦτο, ὅτι ὁ ἐναρξάμενος ἐν ὑμῖν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἐπιτελέσει ἄχρι ἡμέρας Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ· καθώς ἐστιν δίκαιον ἐμοὶ τοῦτο φρονεῖν ὑπὲρ πάντων ὑμῶν, διὰ τὸ ἔχειν με ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ ὑμᾶς, ἔν τε τοῖς δεσμοῖς μου καὶ ἐν τῇ ἀπολογίᾳ καὶ βεβαιώσει τοῦ εὐαγγελίου συγκοινωνούς μου τῆς χάριτος πάντας ὑμᾶς ὄντας.
Translation: "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you ... remaining fully confident of this very thing, that the One having begun a good work in you will continue to perfect [it] until the day of Christ Jesus. Accordingly, it is right for me to think this on behalf of you all, because of my [being caused] to have you in [my] heart -- in both my bonds, and in the defense with confirmation of the Gospel -- all of you being fellow partakers of grace together with me" (Philp. 1:3,6-7).
Comment: Here we see that τὸ ἔχειν, an articular infinitive form of a transitive verb, functions as the object of the preposition διά. This construction indicates a reason or indirect cause for a result or effect. Then the infinitive has two accusatives following it, along with another prepositional phrase embedded between them. The embedded prepositional phrase, ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ ("in the heart"), can refer to the collective heart of multiple persons, or to the heart of one person. So which of the two accusative pronouns, με or ὑμᾶς, should be interpreted as the subject of the infinitive? Is it to be translated, "because I have you in my heart," or, "because you have me in your heart"? Context suggests that Paul is explaining that he is caused to have them in his own heart when he suffers for the sake of the Gospel, as a sort of reason for enduring these hardships, in that he does so for their sakes. But some suggest it could also be the other way around, that, because Paul knows they love him, he struggles onward, for their sakes. By default, the first is taken as the subject term.
- ἐλθὼν δὲ εἰς τὴν Τρῳάδα εἰς τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τοῦ Χριστοῦ, καὶ θύρας μοι ἀνεῳγμένης ἐν Κυρίῳ. ουκ ἔσχηκα ἄνεσιν τῷ πνεύματί μου, τῷ μὴ εὑρεῖν με Τίτον τὸν ἀδελφόν μου, ἀλλὰ ἀποταξάμενος αὐτοῖς ἐξῆλθον εἰς Μακεδονίαν.
Translation: "So, coming into Troas, also a door [was] opened for me by the Lord, for the Gospel of Christ. I did not have lasting rest in my spirit, in that I [was] not to find Titus, my brother, but, arranging departing instructions for them, I went out into Macedonia" (II Cor. 2:12-13).
Comment: Some of the background for these two verses can be found in Acts 16:8-11. While in Troas, Paul saw a vision of a man from Macedonia, calling for him to come and help. This was the "door" that was opened for Paul when he was in Troas. Apparently, at that time, even though Paul "did not have lasting rest" (i.e., perfect tense of verb in οὐκ ἔσχηκα ἄνεσιν) in his spirit, because he could not find Titus, he left for Macedonia. Titus was the one who eventually settled down as a pastor on the island of Crete, to whom Paul later wrote the Epistle to Titus. But, at this time, Titus often traveled with Paul. So Titus had been doing work in Corinth, but was evidently supposed to meet Paul in Troas, in Asia Minor (now Turkey), before Paul went to Macedonia. Still, Paul had heeded the call to go to Macedonia even though Titus had not made contact with him. Later, Titus did find Paul in Macedonia (II Cor. 7:5-7), and the news he brought from Corinth instigated the writing of this very letter to the Corinthians.
Here again, we need to take the default order of the two accusatives. The first is the pronoun με, followed by the proper name Τίτον. From context, and from other accounts, however, it is not clear as to whether Paul had no lasting rest in his spirit because he could not find Titus, or because Titus might not find him, since Paul had left for Macedonia. Therefore, this infinitive could be translated either way: "in that I was not to find Titus, my brother," or, "in that Titus, my brother, was not to find me." Still, since we cannot know, it is translated according to the default order, with the first accusative used as the subject.
Wallace also indicated that II Cor. 8:6 and Acts 18:5,28 are problematic texts. In II Cor 8:6, the context strongly suggests that εἰς τὸ παρακαλέσαι ἡμᾶς Τίτον means, "so we counseled Titus." In both texts of Acts 18, Paul is said to be testifying and proving from Scripture that εἶναι τὸν Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν. Since Paul was speaking to Jews in both instances, τὸν Χριστὸν is referring to thee Messiah, which they were waiting to receive. So this can mean either that Paul was testifying and proving "the Messiah to be Jesus," or, "Jesus to be the Messiah." Either way, it means basically the same thing. With most problematic texts, doctrine is not affected. It seems that, where a doctrinal inference might be involved, just as we do in writing today, the text was worded more carefully.
(1.f) Accusative Retained Objects
A retained object is a passive verb's object. Basically, this construction has an accusative direct object of a verb in the passive voice, most often an accusative direct object of a passive causitive verb (i.e., a causative verb expresses a cause of an effect). It is like a person-thing construction, only the verb is passive and the "person" term becomes a nominative instead of an accusative. Yet the "thing" still retains its accusative form and serves as a direct object.
In a person-thing construction with double accusatives, the "person" accusative is often translated as the indirect object, almost as though it were a dative. The "person" accusative term is affected by the action of the verb, while the "thing" accusative term is directly effected. The person-thing construction also uses certain kinds of verbs, often causative verbs, but in the active voice. For example, γάλα ὑμᾶς ἐπότισα (I Cor. 3:2) has an accusative thing, followed by an accusative pronoun representing persons, and uses an active causative verb. So it means, "I, for drink, gave you milk." Here the "person" term ("you") received the action of being given the "thing." But the action of giving was done by directly handling the "thing" ("milk").
If a person-thing construction has a passive verb, the "person" term becomes the subject of the passive verb, and is written in the nominative case. For example, a passive form of the causative verb in the above example can be found in this construction: πάντες ἓν πνεῦμα ἐποτίσθημεν (I Cor. 12:13). This still has an accusative "thing" (ἓν πνεῦμα, "one spirit"). But a nominative adjective represents persons (πάντες, "all"). So this can be translated as: "all, for drink, were given one spirit." Here the "person" term still receives the action of being given the "thing." And the action of giving is still done by directly handling the "thing" ("one spirit").
Examples of Accusative Retained Objects
The accusative retained object is rare in the GNT, but Wallace provided the following examples. Here, the passive verb is highlighted in blue and the accusative retained object is highlighted in green.
- καθάπερ γὰρ τὸ σῶμα ἕν ἐστιν καὶ μέλη πολλὰ ἔχει, πάντα δὲ τὰ μέλη τοῦ σώματος πολλὰ ὄντα ἕν ἐστιν σῶμα, οὕτως καὶ ὁ Χριστός. καὶ γὰρ ἐν ἑνὶ Πνεύματι ἡμεῖς πάντες εἰς ἓν σῶμα ἐβαπτίσθημεν, εἴτε Ἰουδαῖοι ἔτε Ἕλληνες, εἴτε δοῦλοι εἴτε ἐλεύθεροι, καὶ πάντες ἓν Πνεῦμα ἐποτίσθημεν.
Translation: "For just as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of the body, being many, are one body, so also the Messiah [is one body]. For surely, in one Spirit, we all were baptized into one body, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether slaves or free persons, and all were given to drink one Spirit" (I Cor. 12:12-13).
Comment: Here the "thing" term, ἓν Πνεῦμα ("one Spirit") is really a Person, the Person of the Holy Spirit. But this term is used in a metaphor of drinking a fluid. Just as Jesus metaphorically told us to "eat" Him, by nourishing our spirits with the truths He taught, so too we are refreshed and strengthened by "drinking" in the counsel of Jesus' Holy Spirit, who is one of the three Persons through whom the one God chooses to interact with His creation. So, grammatically, we treat this metaphor as a "thing" term. If an active verb was used in a person-thing construction with double accusatives, it may have been: καὶ πάντας ἓν Πνεῦμα ἐπότισεν ὁ Χριστός ("and Christ, for drink, gave all one Spirit").
- λέγω ὑμῖν, μείζων ἐν γεννητοῖς γυναικῶν Ἰωάννου οὐδείς ἐστιν. ὁ δὲ μικρότερος ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τοῦ Θεοῦ μείζων αὐτοῦ ἐστιν. καὶ πᾶς ὁ λαὸς ἀκούσας καὶ οἱ τελῶναι ἐδικαίωσαν τὸν Θεόν, βαπτισθέντες τὸ βάπτισμα Ἰωάννου.
Translation: "'I tell you, among those born of women, none is greater than John. But the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.' And all the people hearing, even the tax collectors, declared the righteousness of God, having been baptized with the baptism of John" (Luke 7:28-29).
Comment: Here the passive aorist participle βαπτισθέντες takes a direct object, which is a neuter accusative τὸ βάπτισμα.
- ... ὅτι εἵλατο ὑμᾶς ὁ Θεὸς ἀπαρχὴν εἰς σωτηρίαν ἐν ἁγιασμῷ πνεύματος καὶ πίστει ἀληθείας, εἰς ὃ καὶ ἐκάλεσεν ὑμᾶς διὰ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου ἡμῶν, εἰς περιποίησιν δόξης τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. ἄρα οὖν, ἀδελφοί, στήκετε, καὶ κρατεῖτε τὰς παραδόσεις ἃς ἐδιδάχθητε εἴτε διὰ λόγου εἴτε δι᾽ ἐπιστολῆς ἡμῶν.
Translation: "... because God chose you from the beginning, [bringing you] into salvation by sanctification of spirit and [by] faith in truth; unto which He also called you through our Gospel, for producing gain regarding a good opinion from our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, in conclusion, brothers, stand, and firmly take hold of the teachings handed down, which you were taught, either through speech or through our written correspondence" (II Thes. 2:13b-15).
Comment: The verb ἐδιδάχθητε is the 2nd person plural 1st aorist indicative passive form of διδάσκω, and means "you were taught." Here an accusative feminine plural relative pronoun ἅς is placed in front of this verb, thus serves as the direct object of the verb. Its antecedent is the feminine plural word τὰς παραδόσεις ("teachings or traditions handed down from one person to another" or literally "things given from"). In this context, it refers strictly to doctrinal teachings passed on to them, not any ritualistic traditions.
- καὶ ὁ τέταρτος ἐξέχεεν τὴν φιάλην αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ τὸν ἥλιον. καὶ ἐδόθη αὐτῷ καυματίσαι τοὺς ἀνθρώπους ἐν πυρί. καὶ ἐκαυματίσθησαν οἱ ἄνθρωποι καῦμα μέγα, καὶ ἐβλασφήμησαν τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ Θεοῦ τοῦ ἔχοντος τὴν ἐξουσίαν ἐπὶ τὰς πληγὰς ταύτας, καὶ οὐ μετενόησαν δοῦναι Αὐτῷ δόξαν.
Translation: "Then the fourth [angel] poured out his bowl upon the sun. For it was given to him to burn the people by fire. Thus, the people were burnt with a great heat. Then they blasphemed the name of God, the One having the decision-making authority over these plagues. Yet they did not repent, in order to give Him the glory" (Rev. 16:8-9).
Comment: The verb ἐκαυματίσθησαν is the 3rd person plural 1st aorist indicative passive form of καυματίζω, and means "be burned up." It is a more complete or full action than a form of καυματόω ("scorch"). In other words, the verb in this text indicates much destruction and death, not just hot weather, although many survive. After the verb, the subject (οἱ ἄνθρωποι, "the people") is found, those who will be burned up. Then the accusative anarthrous neuter singular noun καῦμα ("heat, a burning") is placed behind the subject. This is the passive verb's direct object, and is also a cognate accusative, with emphasis. It is modified by an accusative neuter singular adjective μέγα ("great").
Wallace also provided references to three other examples of retained objects: Gal. 2:7; Phil. 1:11; and Heb. 6:9.
(1.g) Pendent Accusatives
The pendent accusative is a little like the pendent nominative. It is an accusative term which:
- Functions as a grammatically independent element, in that it does not serve as a direct object or any other part of the sentence.
- Is found at or near the beginning of the sentence or clause, where the sentence or clause is "completed in a syntactically awkward manner, leaving the accusative dangling" (Wallace).
- Is replaced in the sentence with a pronoun of any case (as required by syntax), where that pronoun refers to the pendent accusative.
- Can be normally translated with the key words "with reference to" in front of the pendent accusative.
Wallace says this is subset of the "accusative of reference" or "accusative of respect," which simply provides additional information. It is a reference to other relevant facts. It provides some data which is regarding or concerning or with respect to something else. However, Wallace also made the comment that a clause or sentence with the pendent accusative is more of a "poorly constructed sentence, syntactically speaking."
Since there are only a few examples of pendent accusatives in the GNT, only two were provided by Wallace. Here, the pendent accusative is highlighted in green, and the pronoun referring to it is highlighted in bluish green.
(1.h) Accusatives Used in Simple Apposition
A substantive, in any case, may have another substantive, in the same case, placed immediately behind it, where the second substantive provides additional information about the first, and is used to explain or describe the first. The second substantive is said to be in apposition to the first. In order to determine whether the second substantive is used in apposition to the first (and is not in a predicate position or otherwise), the following guidelines may help:
- It is found immediately after the substantive it describes or explains.
- It refers to exactly the same person or thing as the substantive it describes or explains.
- It serves in the same grammatical role as the substantive it describes or explains.
- Thus, it normally takes the same case as the substantive it describes or explains.
This use of accusatives (or substantives in just about any other case, except vocatives) is common in the GNT. Very often you will see a substantive used in apposition to another of the same case. Wallace provided the four examples below, where the first accusative will be highlighted in blue, and the accusative used in apposition to it will be highlighted in green.
- καὶ παράγων παρὰ τὴν θάλασσαν τῆς Γαλιλαίας εἶδεν Σίμωνα καὶ Ἀνδρέαν τὸν ἀδελφὸν Σίμωνος ἀμφιβάλλοντας ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ ἦσαν γὰρ ἁλεεῖς. καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς· δεῦτε ὀπίσω Μου, καὶ ποιήσω ὑμᾶς γενέσθαι ἁλεεῖς ἀνθρώπων. καὶ εὐθὺς ἀφέντες τὰ δίκτυα ἠκολούθησαν Αὐτῷ.
Translation: "Then, traveling beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting out [a net] into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, 'Come after Me, and I will cause you to become fishers of men.' So, immediately abandoning the nets, they followed Him [as disciples]" (Mark 1:16-18).
Comment: The name Ἀνδρέαν is the accusative form of Ἀνδρέας. It is followed by an articular accusative form of the noun ὁ ἀδελφός immediately after it. Then this is followed by a genitive which modifies the noun, τὸν ἀδελφὸν Σίμωνος ("the brother of Simon"). The second substantive, and the genitive modifying it, are used to provide more information, to describe or explain or clarify, telling us that Andrew is the brother of Simon (Peter).
This account is clearly meant to be a brief illustration of a principle, showing how Jesus works in all those whom He calls to serve God in any kind of ministry. Notice that Jesus chose and called these two men, and that they felt so compelled to follow Jesus that they abandoned their jobs and livelihood to follow Him. Not all His disciples are called to work full time in the ministry, although some are. However, the main point made here is that following Jesus involves sacrifice, but a forsaking of worldly pursuits by His calling and compelling, with inner desire. The verb ἀκολουθέω connotes a close following in life and friendship, and was a term used in reference to a disciple following a rabbi or teacher. Back then, a rabbi or teacher was not like the secular teachers we have today. Rather, the teacher was a close friend and esteemed guide in every aspect of life. This is how Jesus wants us to follow Him today. And our relationship with Him begins in the same way. First He calls us, in whatever circumstance we may exist. At that time, we feel an almost irresistible compulsion to follow Him, as His close friend and disciple. Then He causes us to become whatever He wills us to become. We do not choose our calling. Instead, He chooses our calling or ministry for us, then causes us to fulfill His calling.
We have to also remember that Jesus is God, the Creator, One with the Father. So all our genetics and circumstances in life were ultimately caused or allowed to occur by His will. Are we going to deny those destinies, lessons and testings in our lives, which all can be used to His purpose? Or are we going to use them to His purpose, to strengthen and train our hearts, through His teaching and wisdom and power? If we follow Him, all begins to make sense, and the purpose is found. We begin to find a deep satisfaction in our labours, even in our pains of life, by doing our chosen work for Him. It brings joy and reward to our spirits. And none can ever steal or destroy that spiritual profit and treasure He gives to us. In fact, since our spirits cannot die, but must live forever, those great and highly valued spiritual treasures and rewards given to our hearts on earth, can even go with us into heaven, and stay with us eternally. But anything else received on earth, which is of the earth, will be burned and extinguished with the earth. Earthly treasures all will end someday, even the good opinions of men who know nothing of the truth. So it is better, and more satisfying, to work for Jesus, to gain His true rewards.
- καὶ προαγαγὼν αὐτοὺς ἔξω ἔφη· κύριοι, τί με δεῖ ποιεῖν ἵνα σωθῶ; οἱ δὲ εἶπαν· πίστευσον ἐπὶ τὸν Κύριον Ἰησοῦν, καὶ σωθήσῃ σὺ καὶ ὁ οἶκός σου. καὶ ἐλάλησαν αὐτῷ τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ σὺν πᾶσιν τοῖς ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ αὐτοῦ.
Translation: "And leading them outside, he said, 'Sirs, what is necessary for me to do in order that I may be saved?' So they said, 'Believe upon the Lord Jesus, then you, and your household, shall be saved.' So they [read] out loud the Word of God for him, together with all those in his household" (Acts 16:30-32).
Comment: Often a title is followed by the name of the person bearing that title. So the name is in appostion to the title, like the phrases: "the Lord Jesus" or "the Messiah Jesus." Or the title may be placed in apposition to the name, as in "Jesus the Christ / Messiah."
Clearly this man was terrified by the previous event, and knew there was some great Power which he must acknowledge and come to terms with in his heart. So he asked the apostles how he was to be saved from the wrath of that great Power. Note how simple the apostles answered the man. All they told him was that he must place his confidence and trust in Jesus. Then look at what they did. They simply read aloud the Word of God to the man and his family. They did not need professional music or emotionally charged "power sermons," delivered by skilled orators who practice their craft in front of a mirror, to perfect every worldly technique they can possibly use to manipulate their audience. I grow so tired of the church, with its artificial ways designed to increase the head count in their local assemblies. What we need is to put more confidence and trust in Jesus, and to read aloud the Word of God, with plain and honest teachings about it.
- ... προορίσας ἡμᾶς εἰς υἱοθεσίαν διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ εἰς Αὐτόν, κατὰ τὴν εὐδοκίαν τοῦ θελήματος Αὐτοῦ, εἰς ἔπαινον δόξης τῆς χάριτος Αὐτοῦ, ἧς ἐχαρίτωσεν ἡμᾶς ἐν τῷ ἠγαπημένῳ, ἐν ᾧ ἔχομεν τὴν ἀπολύτρωσιν διὰ τοῦ αἵματος Αὐτοῦ, τὴν ἄφεσιν τῶν παραπτωμάτων, κατὰ τὸ πλοῦτος τῆς χάριτος Αὐτοῦ ...
Translation: "... having predestined us for adoption [as His children] through Jesus Christ, for Himself, according to the good judgment of His will, unto the praise of the glory of His grace, from which He favored us in the One having been loved, in whom we have the redemption through His blood, the permanent abandoning of [His right to take up a just legal recourse regarding our] transgressions, according to the riches of His grace ..." (Eph. 1:5-7).
Comment: Here a prepositional phrase separates the accusative term from the other accusative substantive (to which it is used in apposition). So one term used in apposition to another term is not always immediately after the first, but is usually found as close as possible after the first. The second accusative (τὴν ἄφεσιν, "the forgiveness," or the "abandoning, forsaking [of legal recourse]") further explains and defines what is meant by the first term (τὴν ἀπολύτρωσιν, "redemption [from being held in bondage], payment of a ransom [to set one free]"). In other words, we were held in bondage by a debt owing for crimes committed against God, a debt requiring the entirely just payment of both physical death (removal from God's property on earth) and eternal hell (separation from God's spiritual property in heaven). But God freed us from that debt, by forsaking all His legal rights to justly demand the full payment for our transgressions. Yet, as the prepositional phrase explains, this redemption payment was "through His blood." That is, the full just payment for our debt was actually paid. God did not unjustly declare that no payment was needed to pay for our crimes and sins. Rather, Jesus paid for it in full. So the transaction of justice was indeed completed in full, but for us, on our behalf by another, by Jesus. This is God's grace, His free and unmerited favor towards us.
- καὶ ὑμᾶς ὄντας νεκροὺς τοῖς παραπτώμασιν καὶ ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις ὑμῶν, ἐν αἷς ποτε περιεπατήσατε κατὰ τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ κόσμου τούτου, κατὰ τὸν ἄρχοντα τῆς ἐξουσίας τοῦ ἀέρος, τοῦ πνεύματος τοῦ νῦν ἐνεργοῦντος ἐν τοῖς υἱοῖς τῆς ἀπειθείας ...
Translation: "And you being dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you then walked about according to the [current] age of this world system, according to the ruler having decision-making authority over the air [i.e., Satan, who holds secondary authority over all that is in the earth, all that is in and below the earth's atmosphere], of the spirit now operating in the sons of rebellion [those who put no confidence in God]" (Eph. 2:1-2).
Comment: In this example, there are two prepositional phrases, each beginning with the same preposition, and each having an object in the same case, that is, each having an object in the accusative case. The second prepositional phrase is used in apposition to the first. The first prepositional phrase is further defined and explained by the second. The first prepositional phrase talks about the "age of this world system" (τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ κόσμου τούτου), that is, the current world order. This age will only last until Jesus returns to personally rule the earth, causing all to function according to His ways. But the current age of this world system is run by "the ruler having decision-making authority over the air." That is, after Adam and Eve sinned, God gave Satan secondary authority over the earth. The "air" refers to the first "heaven," the atmosphere surrounding the earth, and everything below that. Of course, God always retains primary authority, and rules over Satan. But God basically allowed the whole current world system to be designed and run by Satan. God only sets limits, and intervenes with Satan's desires, according to His purposes and will, to achieve His plan for a greater good in the end, worked through His allowing Satan to rule this small, temporary part of His kingdom.
Wallace points out that, for a term to be used in apposition to another, both must refer to the same person or thing. If they do not, then the two terms may be parallel terms, each one beginning with the same preposition for emphasis, but both used to further develop some other thought. Here the first prepositional phrase is about a thing, a walk in a world system. Then the second prepositional phrase is also about that same walk in a world system, further defining and explaining who controls that walk. So the second may be considered to be in apposition to the first. But they could both be further developing the thought that we walked about in our lives under the influence of a world system, totally controlled by the devil, who worked our rebellion against God, by making us forsake all confidence in God. So the two phrases might be used in parallel as well.
For further study, Wallace provided a list of accusatives used in apposition: Mat. 2:6; Acts 1:23; 2:22; 3:13; Philp. 2:25; Col. 1:14; I Thes. 3:2; Heb. 13:23 and Rev. 2:20. Some texts with accusatives which one may have a problem in classifying as being in apposition (similar to the last example given above), are: Luke 3:8; Acts 11:20; 13:23; Rom. 13:14; Col. 2:6; I Pet. 3:15 and Rev. 13:17.
Grammatical Role 2:
Accusatives Used in Adverbial Functions
Of course, an adverb is used to qualify the action of a verb, or else to modify another modifier (like an adjective or adverb). In English, we might use an adverb in phrases like "freely give" or "firstly seek." But we never use an adjective as an adverb, unless we first alter its form, as we did in these two examples, where we added an "ly" suffix to "free" and "first."
However, in Greek, neuter accusative singular forms of some adjectives were used, unaltered, as adverbs in the comparative degree (then in the positive degree as well). Also, unaltered neuter accusative plural forms of some adjectives were used as adverbs in the superlative degree. Even accusative forms of a few nouns were used as adverbs too. But the positive degree often used a modified genitive plural form of an adjective, with the ων ending converted to ως. Thus, an adverb in the positive degree was often a separate form, an adverb cognate of the adjective, and easily distinguishable from all the adjective or noun case forms.
Still, not all adjective accusative forms, and certainly not all noun accusative forms, could be used as adverbs. Then the overall use of accusatives as adverbs further declined in koine Greek. The practice was actually more common in more ancient forms of Greek. As Wallace says, "The accusative in classical Greek was the workhorse of the oblique cases, functioning in many different capacities," including its use as an adverb. But, when many foreigners began to speak koine Greek as a second language, the use of adjectives as adverbs seemed strange to them. So they mostly preferred to use datives or prepositional phrases to modify a verb.
(2.a) Adverbial Accusatives
Accusative of Manner
This is the use of an accusative form as a real adverb, where it "functions semantically as an adverb" (Wallace). In other words, its meaning is interpreted just like a regular adverb, and it functions in the same way. Even an accusative noun, used in this way, does not function as a substantive which describes something about the verbs action. Rather, it acts as an adverb which modifies or qualifies the verb, which directly defines or describes the verb's action.
However, Wallace says that, although an accusative in this category may qualify or describe the action of the verb, it most often does so as an "adverb of manner." That is, it indicates how the action of the verb is performed, the way it is done. This is differentiated from an "accusative of measure," which is an accusative used substantively (as a noun direct object), to indicate the quantity or extent of the verb's action (see the next category below).
As previously mentioned, during the koine period, only the accusative forms of a few nouns and adjectives (mostly the neuter forms) were still used as adverbs. The accusative forms of nouns used as adverbs are called nominal adverbs, and the accusative forms of adjectives are called adjectival adverbs. Of course, the number of nouns used as adverbs was quite small, and the most frequent example is δωρεάν ("freely, without price / cost / value"), the accusative singular form of the feminine noun ἡ δωρεά ("a gift, a free gift"). But examples of accusative forms of adjectives used as adverbs are far more numerous (although definitely not all adjectives can have their accusative forms used as adverbs, only a certain adjectives are used adverbially).
Examples of Adverbial Accusatives
The use of adverbial accusatives is not very common in the GNT. But Wallace gave the examples below, listed under two categories, "nominal adverbs" (accusative forms of nouns) and "adjectival adverbs" (accusative forms of adjectives). Here, the adverbial accusative will be highlighted in green, and the verb it modifies will be highlighted in blue.
- Nominal Adverbs
- πορευόμενοι δὲ κηρύσσετε λέγοντες ὅτι ἤγγικεν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν. ἀσθενοῦντας θεραπεύετε, νεκροὺς ἐγείρετε, λεπροὺς καθαρίζετε, δαιμόνια ἐκβάλλετε· δωρεὰν ἐλάβετε, δωρεὰν δότε.
Translation: "And going, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of the heavens has drawn near!' Heal weakened ones. Raise up dead. Cleanse lepers. Cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give" (Mat. 10:7-8).
Comment: Almost every anarthrous instance of δωρεὰν in the GNT is used an adverb, although some treat it as a noun where it seems to be used adverbially. Wallace gave this list of Scriptures where it appears to be used as an adverb: John 15:25; Rom 3:24; II Cor. 11:7; Gal 2:21; II Thes. 3:8; Rev. 21:6 and Rev. 22:17. If this is treated as a noun [direct object] here, Wallace would call it a cognate accusative, and translate it: "You received a gift, [so] give a gift." This would focus on the ability to give as being a gift one must receive from Jesus, our God, before one is able to give. Adverbially, the meaning is similar, but it is more clearly telling "how" to give, the "manner" of giving expected. So either interpretation is theologically sound, in fitting both local and global context.
- εἰ γὰρ ἃ κατέλυσα ταῦτα πάλιν οἰκοδομῶ, παραβάτην ἐμαυτὸν συνιστάνω. ἐγὼ γὰρ διὰ νόμου νόμῳ ἀπέθανον ἵνα Θεῷ ζήσω. Χριστῷ συνεσταύρωμαι. ζῶ δὲ οὐκέτι ἐγώ, ζῇ δὲ ἐν ἐμοὶ Χριστός. ὃ δὲ νῦν ζῶ ἐν σαρκί, ἐν πίστει ζῶ τῇ τοῦ Υἱοῦ τοῦ Θεοῦ τοῦ ἀγαπήσαντός με καὶ παραδόντος Ἑαυτὸν ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ. οὐκ ἀθετῶ τὴν χάριν τοῦ Θεοῦ. εἰ γὰρ διὰ νόμου δικαιοσύνη, ἄρα Χριστὸς δωρεὰν ἀπέθανεν.
Translation: "For if what things I destroyed, these things I build up again, I stand together with a transgressor against myself. For I, through the law, died to the law, in order that I might live to God. I have been crucified together with Christ. But what I now live in the flesh, I live by faith for what [is] of the Son of God, of the One loving me and giving from Himself on behalf of me. I do not reject the grace of God. For, if righteousness [is] through the law, then Christ died without value." (Gal. 2:18-21).
Comment: This is a clear instance of δωρεὰν used adverbially, since it could not possibly be used as a noun in this context. The passage is answering the question, "Is Christ a servant of sin?" In other words, since we all prove to be sinners, does Christ cause us to sin, because we are no longer bound to the moral law of the Old Covenant? Paul answers this by saying we died to law, but only so that we might live in the flesh for Jesus. Yes, we prove to be sinners regardless. And so do those who claim to be bound by the moral law. But there is a difference between them and us. We live by faith in what Jesus, the Messiah and God, can work inside us. We were crucified together with Christ, and have died to the law, because the law convicted us of sin and we required the death penalty. So, if we try to build up a new life based on obedience to our own interpretations of the law in our minds of flesh, we are saying Christ died for nothing, and that we are able to obey the moral law, even without becoming a new creation by the miraculous creative power of Jesus our God. But, no, we died in Christ and destroyed that past life, never to build it up again. We live to God by faith. We live for Jesus, the One loving us. And we live by grace. For righteousness cannot come by trying to obey the law, but by Christ teaching and recreating us inwardly, to know and love and guard and spontaneously perform His calling and words given to our spirits. His words fulfill all the law. Now we have a righteousness through Christ Jesus, a real righteousness.
- Adjectival Adverbs
- μὴ οὖν μεριμνήσητε λέγοντες· τί φάγωμεν; ἤ· τί πίωμεν; ἤ· τί περιβαλώμεθα; πάντα γὰρ ταῦτα τὰ ἔθνη ἐπιζητοῦσιν. οἶδεν γὰρ ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος ὅτι χρῄζετε τούτων ἁπάντων. ζητεῖτε δὲ πρῶτον τὴν βασιλείαν καὶ τὴν δικαιοσύνην Αὐτοῦ, καὶ ταῦτα πάντα προστεθήσεται ὑμῖν. μὴ οὖν μεριμνήσητε εἰς τὴν αὔριον, ἡ γὰρ αὔριον μεριμνήσει ἑαυτῆς. ἀρκετὸν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἡ κακία αὐτῆς.
Translation: "Therefore, do not be anxious saying, 'What might we eat?' or 'What might we drink?' or 'What might we wear?' For all these things the Gentiles seek after. For your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things. But seek first the kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be set before you. Therefore, do not be anxious regarding tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious of itself. Sufficient for the day [is] the evil of it" (Mat. 6:31-34).
Comment: The adverb πρῶτον is really the neuter accusative singular form of the adjective πρῶτος. In the same way that those outside the church (i.e., Gentiles) seek first to provide for the necessities of their flesh (food, drink, clothing), we seek first to provide for the necessities of our spirits. Life is meaningless without them. So, above all, our hearts desire the things of God's kingdom, and righteousness from Him. Our hearts even hate our flesh, since it gets in the way of the things of God, and desires against God's calling in us.
- εἶπεν οὖν πάλιν ὁ Ἰησοῦς· ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι Ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ θύρα τῶν προβάτων. πάντες ὅσοι ἦλθον πρὸ Ἐμοῦ κλέπται εἰσὶν καὶ λῃσταί· ἀλλ᾽ οὐκ ἤκουσαν αὐτῶν τὰ πρόβατα. Ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ θύρα· δι᾽ Ἐμοῦ ἐάν τις εἰσέλθῃ, σωθήσεται, καὶ εἰσελεύσεται καὶ εξελεύσεται καὶ νομὴν εὑρήσει. ὁ κλέπτης οὐκ ἔρχεται εἰ μὴ ἵνα κλέψῃ καὶ θύσῃ καὶ ἀπολέσῃ. Ἐγὼ ἦλθον ἵνα ζωὴν ἔχωσιν καὶ περισσὸν ἔχωσιν.
Translation: "Jesus therefore said again, 'Truly, truly I say to you that I am the sheep gate. Everyone, as many as came before Me, were thieves and robbers. But the sheep did not hear them. I am the gate. If anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and will go out and will find pasture. The thief does not come except in order that he might steal and butcher and destroy. I came in order that they may have life, and may have [it] in greater abundance'" (John 10:7-10).
Comment: In this instance, the positive form of the adverb περισσῶς ("abundantly, more than enough") was available in common use. Yet Jesus here chose to use the neuter accusative singular form of the adjective, περισσόν, to modify the verb. Thus, since neuter accusative singular forms of adjectives were used as adverbs in the comparative degree, περισσόν here means "more abundantly, in greater abundance." Now we all have a purpose in this life, a reason for living through this temporary existence on earth. Each elect spirit is being prepared for a different eternal role in heaven, to be an eternal child of our Father, to be eternal friends and companions of our Lord and Master Jesus. This means that we will not all have easy lives on earth. In fact, Scriptures say that those who have easy lives now, with self-indulgent health and wealth, have already had their reward on earth, and most will go to hell, receiving no reward in heaven (e.g., Luke 6:24-26). We must heed this warning of Jesus, so we do not let our minds of flesh lead us into the pursuit of too much selfish ambition and pride. Still, what Jesus promised is a "more abundant" life here on earth. Whatever life an elect soul is given to live here, be sure that a close communion with the living Jesus will make it more abundant and satisfying to the spirit.
It may be noted that the compative form of the adjective (περισσότερον) was used in some manuscripts. But the comparitive form of the adjective was not necessary to make the comparative form of the adverb. The neuter accusative singular form of the adjective in the positive degree was enough to use as an adverb in the comparative degree, and the neuter accusative plural form in the positive degree could be used as an adverb in the superlative degree.
- τὸ λοιπόν, ἀδελφοί μου, χαίρετε ἐν Κυρίῳ. τὰ αὐτὰ γράφειν ὑμῖν ἐμοὶ μὲν οὐκ ὀκνηρόν, ὑμῖν δὲ ἀσφαλές. βλέπετε τοὺς κύνας. βλέπετε τοὺς κακοὺς ἐργάτας. βλέπετε τὴν κατατομήν. ἡμεῖς γὰρ ἐσμεν ἡ περιτομή, οἱ Πνεύματι Θεοῦ λατρεύοντες καὶ καυχώμενοι ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ καὶ οὐκ ἐν σαρκὶ πεποιθότες.
Translation: "From now on, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. [It is] indeed not tedious for me to write the same things to you, in order for you [to be] firmly stable. Continuously watch out for dogs. Continuously watch out for evil workmen. Continuously watch out for those cutting down. For we are the circumcision, the ones worshipping by the Spirit of God and taking pride in Christ Jesus, yet never putting any confidence in flesh." (Philp. 3:1-3).
Comment: There are actually two instances in this passage. The first is the neuter accusative singular form of the adjective λοιπός ("remaining"). The adverb is used with following verb to mean, "hereafter, from now on, finally." Some say that this is when Paul intended to draw his letter to a close, or at least to finish off his general admonitions. Thus, they think it should be translated as "finally." But about 40% of the letter remained to be written after this, and there were admonitions in 4:8-9. So in this context, with the following verb, it most likely means, "rejoice from now on." The second example is the neuter accusative singular form of the adjective ὀκνηρός ("being in a state of shrinking back, lazy, reluctant"). Used as an adverb, it would describe the action which causes one to shrink back, "tedious, troublesome." The verb here is γράφειν ("to write").
The way this passage is worded, Paul is commanding the people of this church: "You rejoice from now on." He uses the imperative χαίρετε, because it appears that they had not been rejoicing previously. Instead, it seems they had been worried about what their critics were saying about them, especially the "Christians" from the circumcision party, a heresy which required their church to remain bound to the Old Covenant law. Now Paul tells them that those people are nothing but dogs and evil workmen. One way Paul described them was to say they are those who are κατατομή, which is a noun that literally means "a cutting down," and could refer to a cutting of the flesh. It is similar to the word περιτομή ("circumcision, a cutting around"). So there is likely a word play involved, where κατατομή refers to a negative action, likely a "cutting down" of the grace and freedom of Christ which the true Christians enjoyed. So Paul is commanding them to continuously watch out for those who corrupt and cut down the truth delivered by the apostles sent by Christ. This is the only way to keep one's joy in Christ. For we are the true circumcision, with the real circumcision of the heart, done by the hands of God Himself, who removes the desires of the flesh from us. We are the ones worshipping by the Spirit of God Himself. So our pride is not in ourselves, never in our deeds of the flesh, pride in obeying the moral law or rituals of the Old Covenant. Our pride and glorying is in the Messiah Jesus.
Wallace also suggests that the adjective μακράν ("far, far away, far off") can be classified as either an adverbial accusative (accusative of manner) or as an accusative of measure (of extent of space). An example of its use adverbially is found in Mat. 8:30 ("was far off"). Other adjectives used adverbially include πολλά in Mat. 9:14 (in some manuscripts), ἀκμὴν in Mat. 15:16, πρῶτον in Luke 17:25 and John 1:41, and λοιπόν in Acts 27:20 and II Cor. 13:11.
(2.b) Accusatives of Measure
(Indicating Extent of Time or Space)
This is an accusative which modifies or qualifies a verb by indicating the extent of its action -- telling how long the action took to complete (i.e., "accusative of time"), or how far an action went in terms of physical distance (i.e., "accusative of space"). And it usually functions as a substantive (i.e., noun) rather than an adverb, as in "days," "hours," or "miles."
Wallace says that, if it makes good sense when you translate the verb, then add the key words for the duration of or for the extent of in front of the accusative, the accusative can likely be classified as an "accusative of measure." However, especially with the word ὥρα ("hour"), the accusative may sometimes indicate "when" the action took place, the hour of the day. In this instance, Wallace says it should be called simply an "accusative of time," not "extent of time."
Examples of Accusatives of Measure
In the GNT, accusatives of measure were not very common, and the accusative of time was more common than the accusative of space. Wallace provided the following examples, under the two categories "Accusatives of Space" and "Accusatives of Time." Here, the accusative of measure will be highlighted in green, and the verb it modifies will be highlighted in blue.
- Accusatives of Space
- καὶ ὅτε ἐγένετο ἐτῶν δώδεκα, ἀναβαινόντων αὐτῶν κατὰ τὸ ἔθος τῆς ἑορτῆς, καὶ τελειωσάντων τὰς ἡμέρας, ἐν τῷ ὑποστρέφειν αὐτοὺς ὑπέμεινεν Ἰησοῦς ὁ παῖς ἐν Ἰερουσαλήμ, καὶ οὐκ ἔγνωσαν οἱ γονεῖς Αὐτοῦ. νομίσαντες δὲ Αὐτὸν εἶναι ἐν τῇ συνοδίᾳ ἦλθον ἡμέρας ὁδὸν καὶ ἀνεζήτουν Αὐτὸν ἐν τοῖς συγγενεῦσιν καὶ τοῖς γνωστοῖς, καὶ μὴ εὑρόντες ὑπέστρεψαν εἰς Ἰερουσαλὴμ ἀναζητοῦντες Αὐτόν.
Translation: "And when He became twelve years [old], at their going up [to Jerusalem] according to the custom of the [Passover] feast, and having completed the days [of the feast], at the time [for] them to return, Jesus, the boy, remained in Jerusalem. Yet His parents did not know. Then, thinking Him to be in the company with them, they went a day's journey and repeatedly looked for Him among their relatives and the people they knew. But, not finding [Him], they returned to Jerusalem, searching places over and over again for Him" (Luke 2:42-45).
Comment: The noun ὁδόν is the accusative form of ὁδός ("road, way; journey"). This noun is modified by the genitive form ἡμέρας ("of a day"). So the two nouns together describe how far they went. Thus, ὁδόν is used substantively, but as a modifier of the verb ἦλθον, and is an accusative of the extent of space, indicating distance. A "day's journey" would have been about ten miles, with luggage, women and children. Jesus said He stayed in Jerusalem because, "it is necessary for me to be [busy] in the things of My Father" (2:49). In other words, a boy at twelve years of age began to do the work of his father. So Jesus, whose Father is God, began to do the work of God. And this work was to teach. But, if a man was called to serve God by teaching, he was not allowed to teach directly and authoritatively until he was about forty years old, or until he was at least thirty years old, if he was very gifted. Younger men were only permitted to ask questions during the teaching times. And all sat during the teaching times. Only when one was reading from God's Word did one stand. So Jesus, at twelve years old, was found sitting in the temple, in the midst of the teachers. He was both hearing what they had to say, as well as asking them questions in response to what they said -- the kind of questions which point out logical contradictions in doctrine, or force one to dig deeper into further understanding God's wisdom, by relating various applications and principles of God's teachings to one another.
- καὶ σκοτία ἤδη ἐγεγόνει καὶ οὔπω ἐληλύθει πρὸς αὐτοὺς ὁ Ἰησοῦς, ἥ τε θάλασσα ἀνέμου μεγάλου πνέοντος διηγείρετο. ἐληλακότες οὖν ὡς σταδίους εἴκοσι πέντε ἢ τριάκοντα θεωροῦσιν τὸν Ἰησοῦν περιπατοῦντα ἐπὶ τῆς θαλάσσης καὶ ἐγγὺς τοῦ πλοίου γινόμενον, καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν. ὁ δὲ λέγει αὐτοῖς· Ἐγώ εἰμι. μὴ φοβεῖσθε.
Translation: "And darkness had come already, but Jesus had not yet come to them. Then the sea was raised through a great wind blowing. Therefore, having rowed about twenty-five or thirty stadia, they observed Jesus walking upon the sea and coming near the boat. Thus they grew afraid. But He said to them, 'It is I. Do not fear.'" (John 6:17b-19).
Comment: The plural accusative σταδίους ("stadia") is a form of the noun στάδιον ("stadion"), and is about 202 yards or 185 meters. The accusative indicates a distance travelled by rowing. Therefore, it modifies the verb and tells "how far" the action of the rowing had taken them. Twenty-five or thirty stadia is equal to about 5,050 to 6,060 yards, or 2.9 to 3.4 miles, or 4.6 to 5.5 kilometers. The Sea of Galilee is about 7 miles wide at its broadest point, and 13 miles long.
Wallace also gave the following Scriptures as examples: Mat. 4:15; Mark 12:34 and Luke 22:41.
- Accusatives of Time
- καὶ ἐκείνοις εἶπεν· ὑπάγετε καὶ ὑμεῖς εἰς τὸν ἀμπελῶνα, καὶ ὃ ἐὰν ἦ δίκαιον δώσω ὑμῖν. οἱ δὲ ἀπῆλθον. πάλιν δὲ ἐξελθὼν περὶ ἕκτην καὶ ἐνάτην ὥραν ἐποίησεν ὡσαῦτως. περὶ δὲ τὴν ἑνδεκάτην ἐξελθὼν εὗρεν ἄλλους ἑστῶτας, καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς· τί ὧδε ἑστήκατε ὅλην τὴν ἡμέραν ἀργοί; λέγουσιν αὐτῷ· ὅτι οὐδεὶς ἡμᾶς ἐμισθώσατο. λέγει αὐτοῖς· ὑπάγετε καὶ ὑμεῖς εἰς τὸν ἀμπελῶνα.
Translation: "And he said to those ones, 'You also go into the vineyard, and whatever might be fair, I will give to you.' So they went. Then going out again, about the sixth and ninth hour, he did the same. But, about the eleventh [hour], going out he found others standing [idle], and he said to them, 'Why stand here the whole day idle?' They told him, 'Because no one hired us.' He said to them, 'You also go into the vineyard.'" (Mat. 20:4-7).
Comment: Here the feminine accusative singular adjective (ὅλην, "whole") is used with the feminine accusative singular noun it modifies (ἡμέραν, "day"). And once again, the accusative phrase is a direct object of the verb. However, this substantive also modifies the verb, indicating "how long" the men stood. Therefore, this noun phrase is adverbial, an accusative of extent of time.
In parables, the "vineyard" usually represents the church, God's people. So this is speaking about those called to do the work of God in His church. The work day would represent our life upon this earth. The work day's hours start at sunrise, at about six o'clock in the morning. So the eleventh hour would be five o'clock in the afternoon, and the day ended at six o'clock in the evening. Thus, those hired at five only worked one hour in the vineyard. Some are called to work in the vineyard their whole adult lives, while others only serve God for a portion of their lives, some even only during the last "hour" of their lives.
The "wages" paid to the workers (20:8-16) represent the payment at the end of a life. After six o'clock, the new day began (by Jewish and biblical reckoning). Thus, our new life in heaven begins with our payment of our reward in heaven. So the wages represent the reward we will receive at the end of our lives, but also the internal reward we receive during our lives on earth, the treasures we store up for life in heaven. Yet all were paid the same. Those who worked twelve hours, or nine hours, or six hours, or three hours, or one hour, received a whole day's wage. All God's servants receive what our Lord deems to be "lawful" and "fair," which is the same reward for all. Why do those who work their whole lives for the Lord receive the same wage as those who only work one hour? And why do those who accomplish more during the day not receive a bonus?
Jesus seems to be saying that working in His vineyard is a reward in itself, a privilege. The longer we are allowed to work for Him, and the sooner we are called to do so, the more blessed we are in this life. Work is not about receiving a reward. Nor is life measured by how much one can earn. Our quality of life is measured by the satisfaction we receive inwardly from our service to our Lord. He will also provide a physical living, a modest amount to cover our daily needs on earth, regardless of how long we work, or how much we get done. Then He will provide our final reward in heaven, and it will be the same for everyone. After all, in the very end, all that is accomplished is by the Lord's will, providence, and power. All we are given to enable us to work is from Him. Also, no matter how hard a man works, if the Lord does not bless it, it will accomplish nothing. Yet if a man is able to do but a little, and the Lord blesses it, it will accomplish much. The Lord alone stirs our hearts to do His work, and motivates us to desire to work zealously, and gives us all abilities or skills, and places before us all tools or circumstances, and makes some of our works to bear true and good fruit.
- τότε ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἀνήχθη εἰς τὴν ἔρημον ὑπὸ τοῦ Πνεύματος πειρασθῆναι ὑπὸ τοῦ διαβόλου. καὶ νηστεύσας ἡμέρας τεσσεράκοντα καὶ τεσσεράκοντα νύκτας ὕστερον ἐπείνασεν.
Translation: "Then Jesus was led up into the wilderness under [the influence of] the Spirit, to be tempted under [the power of] the devil. And having fasted forty days and forty nights, He afterward hungered" (Mat. 4:1-2).
Comment: Wallace pointed out that, if the accusative nouns and adjectives were exchanged for genitives, it would indicate that Jesus fasted "during" the forty days and nights, but not necessarily continuously for the whole time. Genitives may even imply a fast only during the daylight hours of forty 24-hour days. Then, if datives were used, it would indicate that Jesus fasted at one point during the forty days and nights, yet not necessarily the whole period. Only the accusatives indicate a continuous fast for the whole duration of the forty days, without any break in the fast. Mark 1:13 also uses accusatives, but only indicates that Jesus was continuously in the desert for forty days, mentioning nothing about fasting. Luke 4:2 first uses accusatives to say Jesus was in the desert for forty consecutive days. Then, when Luke writes about Jesus fasting, he says He did not eat anything "during those days," which could mean either a fast only during daylight hours, or a continuous fast for forty full 24-hour days. Only Matthew is clear that Jesus ate nothing for forty days (which actually means a part of the first day, all the next 38 days, then part of the 40th day).
- ἐν ᾧ καιρῷ ἐγεννήθη Μωϋσῆς, καὶ ἦν ἀστεῖος τῷ Θεῷ· ὃς ἀνετράφη μῆνας τρεῖς ἐν τῷ οἴκῳ τοῦ πατρός.
Translation: "At which time Moses was born (and was well-bred for God), who was raised three months in the house of [his] father" (Acts 7:20).
Comment: Again, the accusatives indicate that Moses remained continuously with his father's household for three months.
- καὶ προσελθὼν ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐλάλησεν αὐτοῖς λέγων· ἐδόθη Μοι πᾶσα ἐξουσία ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς. πορευθέντες οὖν μαθητεύσατε πάντα τὰ ἔθνη, βαπτίζοντες αὐτοὺς εἰς τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ Πατρὸς καὶ τοῦ Υἱοῦ καὶ του ἁγίου Πνεύματος, διδάσκοντες αὐτοὺς τηρεῖν πάντα ὅσα ἐνετειλάμην ὑμῖν. καὶ ἰδοὺ Ἐγὼ μεθ᾽ ὑμῶν εἰμι πάσας τὰς ἡμέρας ἕως τῆς συντελείας τοῦ αἰῶνος.
Translation: "Then Jesus, approaching, spoke to them saying: 'All decision-making authority, in heaven and upon the earth, was given to Me. Therefore, journeying out, disciple all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to guard all things, as much as I spoke authoritatively to you. And behold, I am with you all the days until the end with the completion of the age" (Mat. 28:18-20).
Comment: Here most manuscripts have Ἐγὼ μεθ᾽ ὑμῶν εἰμι rather than Ἐγὼ εἰμι μεθ᾽ ὑμῶν. So Jesus is saying He with us exists, rather than He is with us. It is a subtle difference, but seems to indicate He is together with us in existence, not just that He will come to us occasionally. This, together with the accusatives, means more of a continuous existence together with us, always with us, never apart from His people, until the end. Genitives would mean that He would sometimes be with us, but accusatives mean He will constantly be with us, never leaving, and will remain until the end. Also, this "end" is "together with" the completion of the "age." In Revelation, we see the end of the age refers to the end of the earth, when there will be no more earthly time. It is the end of the whole physical universe, the current creation of this space-time continuum.
- καὶ ἦν Ἅννα προφῆτις, θυγάτηρ Φανουήλ, ἐκ φυλῆς Ἀσήρ· αὕτη προβεβηκυῖα ἐν ἡμέραις πολλαῖς, ζήσασα μετὰ ἀνδρὸς ἔτη ἑπτὰ ἀπὸ τῆς παρθενίας αὐτῆς, καὶ αὐτὴ χήρα ἕως ἐτῶν ὀγδοήκοντα τεσσάρων, ἣ οὐκ ἀφίστατο τοῦ ἱεροῦ νηστείαις καὶ δεήσεσιν λατρεύουσα νύκτα καὶ ἡμέραν. καὶ αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ ἐπιστᾶσα ἀνθωμολογεῖτο τῷ Θεῷ καὶ ἐλάλει περὶ Αὐτοῦ πᾶσιν τοῖς προσδεχομένοις λύτρωσιν Ἰερουσαλήμ.
Translation: "And Anna, a prophetess, was there, a daughter of Phanuel, out of the tribe of Asher. This one -- having advanced by many days [i.e., she was very old], having lived with a husband seven years from her virginity, but she [was] a widow until [that current time, when she was] eighty-four years [of age] -- [was one] who did not leave the temple, with fastings and petitionings, continuously serving night and day. And at the same hour, standing near, she professed on behalf of God and spoke about Him in Jerusalem, to all those looking forward to redemption" (Luke 2:36-38).
Comment: In this instance, the context indicates that Anna served "throughout the night and day" (Wallace). However, Wallace also adds, "It could be translated 'all the time,' but in a distributive or iterative sense." As we see, she was a prophetess, serving with fastings and petitionings of prayer, and so would serve God in various ways, repeatedly, at any time of the day or night. A genitive might connote a set time when she regularly served, and a dative might suggest one point of time when she served. So an accusative was used to indicate frequent service throughout the years, but not at regular or appointed times of the day or night. It seems -- although Anna was from the northern tribe of Asher in Galilee, and not a Levite -- she lived in the temple grounds. As far as I can tell, there must have been women's quarters on the temple grounds, since Levitical women served as singers and performed other duties there. So the women had to have some place to stay. There was also food and drink at the temple, as well as baths and places to wash clothes, since the people had to bathe and wash clothes before going to the mikvah. And they went to the mikvah, in the temple grounds and near the temple grounds, by the thousands during the holy days.
Time References in Oblique Cases
When a time is indicated by a substantive after a verb, often by the nouns ἡμέρα or ὥρα, Wallace advises one "to remember the root idea of each case." That is, an accusative is general, a genitive modifies, and a dative is locative in this instance. Regarding references to time in the oblique cases, these "root ideas" are:
- Accusative: Extent of time. It can refer to a continuous or frequent or repeated action occurring during the whole of the indicated time. It answers the question, "How long did the activity last?" It indicates from one point in time to another.
- Genitive: Kind of time which existed during the activity, or in which the activity took place. It answers the question, "What kind of time was it?" (i.e., nighttime or daytime?). It indicates that the action took place during that period of time or on occasions of that kind of time.
- Dative: Point in time, as in a locative dative, expressing a position in time. It answers the question, "When did it take place?" It indicates an action took place at that point in time.
A few examples, along the lines of what Wallace gave in his book, might be:
- Accusative: εἰργασάμην νύκτα ("I worked throughout [all] the night")
εἰργασάμην νύκτας ("I worked throughout the nights")
- Genitive: εἰργασάμην νυκτός ("I worked during the night")
εἰργασάμην νυκτῶν ("I worked during the nights," "I worked nighttimes")
- Dative: εἰργασάμην νυκτί ("I worked at a point of time in the night")
εἰργασάμην νυξίν ("I worked at a point of time in one of the nights")
It should be noted that, in the GNT, Jews expressed the counting of time from a different perspective. We tend to view time as theoretical units. So a day is any 24-hour period of time, starting and ending at any hour. And, to an employer, a full 8-hour block of time is one work day, but anything less is not a work day. Yet the Jews viewed time in terms of real calendar days. So a day is what it is, with a distinct beginning and end, which is from sundown to sundown for their calendar days. Then the actual daylight hours available for work are a work day.
Therefore, when we say the rain lasted three days, we generally mean about 72 hours. Or, if we say a job took three days, we mean three full work days, perhaps about 24 hours of labor. But if a Jew spoke of rain lasting three days, it meant the rain began sometime before the first day ended, and lasted until sometime after the third day began. Thus, it could mean anything from just over 24 hours to almost 72 hours. Or, if they said a job took three days, it could mean an hour on the first day, then a full day's work, then an hour on the third day.
An example would be the accusatives in the following: ὥσπερ γὰρ ἦν Ἰωνᾶς ἐν τῇ κοιλίᾳ τοῦ κήτους τρεῖς ἡμέρας καὶ τρεῖς νύκτας, οὕτως ἔσται ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ τῆς γῆς τρεῖς ἡμέρας καὶ τρεῖς νύκτας ("For just as Jonah was in the belly of the sea monster three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights, Mat. 12:40).
In the quote from the previous paragraph, the accusatives indicate Jonah's continuous stay in the belly of the "sea monster" or giant fish. In the same way, the accusatives indicate that Jesus' body stayed continuously in the "heart of the earth" or tomb. However, this expression means that the continuous stay could have begun at any point in time during daylight or nighttime hours of the first 24-hour day, then ended at any point in time during the third 24-hour day.
Thus, Jesus was put into the tomb just before sunset, during the last hour or so of the first day. The next day, according to Jewish reckoning, began at sunset. Then Jesus rose at sunrise on the third day, which is about 12 hours after the third day began (it began at sunset the night before). Therefore, Jesus was in the tomb for a little more than about 36 hours. Yet that continuous lapse of time occurred over a period of three separate calendar days. Jonah could have been in the belly of the giant fish for a similar amount of time (and it is proven scientifically, he could have actually survived on the air sack in the fish for that length of time).
Another example, this time with a dative, could be: ἀπὸ τότε ἤρξατο Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς δεικνύειν τοῖς μαθηταῖς Αὐτοῦ ὅτι δεῖ Αὐτὸν εἰς Ἰεροσόλυμα ἀπελθεῖν καὶ πολλὰ παθεῖν ἀπὸ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων καὶ ἀρχιερέων καὶ γραμματέων, καὶ ἀποκτανθῆναι καὶ τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ ἐγερθῆναι ("From that time, Jesus Christ began to reveal to His disciples that it was necessary for Him to go into Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, also to be killed and to be raised on the third day," Mat 16:21, cf. Mat. 17:23; 20:19). Here the dative indicates that, at some point of time on the third day, Jesus said He would be raised from the dead. That point in time was just before sunrise.
When a reference to time in an oblique case serves as the object of a preposition, the meaning of the preposition must be taken into account, of course. But the same Jewish reckoning of time by calendar days must be considered, where the beginning of a time period could be during any part of the first day, and/or the end could be during any part of the third. The following could be examples:
- Accusative: μετὰ τρεῖς ἡμέρας ("after three days" = "after the third day begins," Mark 8:31; cf. Mat. 27:63; Mark 9:31; 10:34)
- Genitive: διὰ τριῶν ἡμερῶν ("through three days" = "through to the third day," Mat 26:61, cf. Mark 14:58)
- Genitive: ἕως τῆς τρίτης ("until the third day," Mat. 27:64)
- Dative: ἐν τρισὶν ἡμέραις ("in three days" = "on a point of time in the third day" John 2:19, cf. Mat. 27:40; Mark 15:29; John 2:20)
(2.c) Accusatives of (General) Reference
Accusatives of Respect
This kind of accusative is used to indicate any grammatically independent reference to something or someone. In an adverbial role, it might limit or define the scope of a verb or adjective. But it is not always used adverbially. An accusative of reference can even modify a noun, or nothing at all. It is simply used to provide a reference, and thus can be generally called a "frame of reference accusative" or a "limiting accusative." And it is a substantive (in the role of a noun). It does not function directly as an adverb. Often, you can supply the key words "with reference to" or "regarding" or "concerning" in front of its translation as well.
An accusative of reference is not very common in the GNT. Although classical Greek most often used an accusative to indicate a reference, koine Greek most often used a dative, "no doubt, because the dative more naturally connotes reference to nonnative speakers" (Wallace). The same holds true for Greek genitives and nominatives of reference as well.
So this category is a last resort. Basically, to identify an accusative of reference: (1) exclude all other grammatical categories; (2) ensure it is a grammatically independent element, not part of the sentence structure; and (3) ensure it makes a reference to something.
As mentioned, the use of accusatives of reference is not very common in the GNT. Wallace provided the four examples below, where the word it refers to will be highlighted in blue, and the accusative of reference will be highlighted in green.
- ὀψίας δὲ γενομένης ἦλθεν ἄνθρωπος πλούσιος ἀπό Ἁριμαθαίας τοὔνομα Ἰωσήφ, ὅς καὶ αὐτὸς ἐμαθητεύθη τῷ Ἰησοῦ. οὖτος προσελθὼν τῷ Πιλάτῳ ᾐτήσατο τὸ σῶμα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ. τότε ὁ Πιλᾶτος ἐκέλευσεν ἀποδοθῆναι.
Translation: "But [before] evening happened, a rich man from Arimathea came (Joseph by name, who himself also was discipled to Jesus). This one, approaching Pilate, asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded [the body] to be given [to him]" (Mat. 27:57-58).
Comment: This accusative noun, τοὔνομα, is actually a crasis of τὸ ὄνομα ("the name"). While τοὔνομα is an accusative, and functions as a reference, is it really an "accusative of reference," where it is used adverbially? This clause or phrase actually modifies the noun ἄνθρωπος, and is therefore adjectival. But ἄνθρωπος is a nominative, so τοὕνομα is not used in apposition to it. The two substantives, τοὕνομα and Ἰωσήφ, might be treated as being both accusatives in a predicate position to each other ("the name [is] Joseph"). But it is clearly not a person-thing construction, since neither term is used as a direct object of the verb. The resulting clause, with the relative clause following it, are a reference and grammatically independent from the sentence, like a pendent accusative, yet at the end of the sentence, and without a pronoun reference to it in the sentence. So what else can this be called? As a last resort, it is therefore categorized as an accusative of reference.
- εἶπεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς· ποιήσατε τοὺς ἀνθρώπους ἀναπεσεῖν. ἦν δὲ χόρτος πολὺς ἐν τῷ τόπῳ. ἀνέπεσαν οὖν οἱ ἄνδρες τὸν ἀριθμὸν ὡς πεντακισχίλιοι. ἔλαβεν οὖν τοὺς ἄρτους ὁ Ἰησοῦς καὶ εὐχαριστήσας διέδωκεν τοῖς ἀνακειμένοις, ὁμοίως καὶ ἐκ τῶν ὀψαρίων ὅσον ἤθελον.
Translation: "Jesus said, 'Cause the people to recline [on the ground].' Now there was much grass in the place. Therefore, the men reclined (the number [was] about five thousand). Thus, Jesus took the loaves and, having given thanks, distributed [them] to the ones reclining, likewise also from the fish, as much as they desired" (John 6:10-11).
Comment: Again, the accusative substantive τὸν ἀριθμὸν ("the number"), with the particle ὡς ("as, about") and the masculine nominative adjective πεντακισχίλιοι ("five thousand"), is a reference indicating the number of men (mature males). It modifies the noun ἄνδρες, so it is adjectival. But what is it, if it is not an accusative of reference? Classifying it as an accusative of reference is a last resort, since it is an accusative which provides a reference, and because it cannot possibly fit under any other classification.
- ἀγνοοῦντες γὰρ τὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ δικαιοσύνην, καὶ τὴν ἰδίαν ζητοῦντες στῆσαι, τῇ δικαιοσύνῃ τοῦ Θεοῦ οὐχ ὑπετάγησαν. τέλος γὰρ νόμου Χριστὸς εἰς δικαιοσύνην παντὶ τῷ πιστεύοντι. Μωϋσῆς γὰρ γράφει ὅτι τὴν δικαιοσύνην τὴν ἐκ νόμου ὁ ποιήσας ἄνθρωπος ζήσεται ἐν αὐτῇ.
Translation: "Thus, not knowing the righteousness from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to the righteousness from God. For Christ [is] the final completion of law, unto righteousness for everyone believing. After all, Moses wrote that the man doing the righteousness out of law, shall live [of himself] by it" (Rom. 10:4-5).
Comment: I really do not think this is an example of an accusative of reference. It seems to be the direct object of the participle, receiving the action of the participle. But Wallace translates it as, "for Moses writes that, with reference to the righteousness which comes from the law, ..." Yet this would leave the participle to be interpreted as: "the practicing man shall live by it." And that is not too clear. Even if the rest of the clause is translated as: "The man doing [it] shall live by it," one would need to insert a pronoun as a direct object after the participle, and that pronoun would refer to phrase at the beginning of the clause. Thus, the phrase at the beginning would be more like a pendent accusative. Perhaps I am wrong, but this accusative looks more like a direct object.
Context suggests this too. This whole passage is difficult, but one thing is clear, that Paul is contrasting the failure of those who try to make themselves righteous by obeying the law, against the success of those who gain real righteousness from God through faith. We do not make ourselves righteous, since the righteousness is "from God," not from ourselves. Rather, we submit to the righteousness from God. An operative verb is ὑπετάγησαν, a 2nd aorist indicative passive form of ὑποτάσσω ("subject, subordinate"). This passive form, with the negative, means "they did not submit." But we learn to let go and let God rebuild us. We believe in Him, and trust Him to do what we cannot do ourselves.
Therefore, if we interpret verse 5 in light of this, Paul is contrasting Moses to Christ. Moses commanded us to do our own work, to live according to the law by our own efforts and strength. The future indicative middle verb, ζήσεται ("he shall live of himself"), seems to indicate an emphatic command: "You shall live by the law in your own power." Before this, the masculine nominative singular 1st aorist active participle, ποιήσας, modifies the nominative singular noun ἄνθρωπος, because it is placed in the attributive position, behind that noun's article. In front of this participle, we see an article in front of an accusative noun, τῃν δικαιοσύνην. This article is repeated in front of a prepositional phrase behind the noun, indicating that the phrase modifies the accusative noun. So the whole accusative phrase is placed in front of the participle, as the direct object of the participle. Thus, it means: "The man doing the righteousness out of the law, [is commanded that he] shall live [of himself] by it." This is in direct contrast to living by what Jesus does for us, in us, and through us -- by grace, as we submit in trusting faith.
- τὸ μυστήριον τῶν ἑπτὰ ἀστέρων οὓς εἶδες ἐπὶ τῆς δεξιᾶς μου, καὶ τὰς ἑπτὰ λυχνίας τὰς χρυσᾶς· οἱ ἑπτὰ ἀστέρες ἄγγελοι τῶν ἑπτὰ ἐκκλησιῶν εἰσιν, καὶ αἱ λυχνίαι αἱ ἑπτὰ ἑπτὰ ἐκκλησίαι εἰσίν.
Translation: "[Concerning] the mystery of the seven stars which you saw upon my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands; the seven stars are angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are seven churches" (Rev. 1:20).
Comment: The accusative phrases located at the front of the real sentence are grammatically independent from the sentence itself, and are not represented in the sentence by pronouns. So they are not pendent accusatives. Thus, the only category these accusatives seem to fit is that of "accusatives of reference."
Wallace gave these other Scripture references, where one might find accusatives of reference: Acts 2:37; I Cor. 9:25; II Cor 12:13; Eph. 4:15 and Heb. 2:17 (possibly Rom. 8:28 and Philp. 1:27 as well).
(2.d) Accusatives in Oaths
When using certain verbs, related to oaths, those verbs might take two or more accusatives. One accusative may be the person or persons to whom the subject is swearing the oath. The other accusative or accusatives would indicate "by whom" or "by what" the oath was sworn. That is, when one swore an oath, one might say, "I swear to you by the Lord's name ..." The accusative which indicates "by whom" or "by what" the oath was sworn is added to make the oath or statement sound sincere, in that one swearing it is basically saying that he expects to be punished by whomever or whatever he swears "by," if he should break his oath.
In those days, and also in our day, swearing an oath presumed two basic ideas: (1) A person remains in complete control over his own situation in life; and (2) Whoever or whatever one swears by is held dear or sacred by the person who swears by it, so that one will be punished by not fulfilling the oath according to one's own will and power. So, if a man swore "by my mother's grave," it meant that he would put a curse on his beloved mother's grave if he did not fulfill his oath. If he swore by something sacred, like God's name, it meant that he would slander God's name by not fulfilling the oath, and thus incur God's wrath and punishment.
Of course, both these concepts were foreign to biblical Christians, and blasphemous, against the teachings of God's Word, and against Jesus the Lord. The Bible taught that one could not control one's own situation in life. Only God could. One could not even make oneself grow one inch by one's own will, and one had to admit that nothing could be done if God did not allow it or desire it to be done. We always pray before we decide, then do the best we know to do, and even then say, "God willing, I will do this or that." Furthermore, we cannot presume to bring blessings or curses on anything or anyone, nor manipulate God or nature or anything else into doing so. We do not exert any control over the will and purposes of God. To try to manipulate or cause God to do anything is the sin of "testing God," trying to force God to act according to our own will and according to our own words or deeds. Thus, swearing oaths was generally considered to be arrogant and presumptuous in the eyes of believing biblical Christians. Swearing oaths was mostly practiced by either humanists, humanistic false "Christians," or ritually driven religious people, that is, by those whose focus is on man's ability and man's control over his own destiny. But such things were rare among biblical believers in the GNT.
Therefore, in the GNT, there are not many examples of swearing oaths, or adjuring and imploring people to do what they were bound by an oath to do. But where oaths were mentioned in the GNT, cognates and forms of two verbs in particular were used. One verb is ὀμνύω, which is more often found in the older form ὄμνυμι in the GNT. This verb means, "affirm the veracity of one's statement by invoking a transcendent entity, frequently with implied invitation of punishment if one is untruthful; swear; take an oath" (BDAG3). The other verb is ὁρκίζω, and means, "give a command to someone under oath; adjure, implore" (BDAG3).
After one of these verbs, one might find one or two accusatives. If only one accusative existed, it could either represent the person "to whom" the oath was sworn, or it could represent the person or thing "by whom" or "by what" the oath was sworn. Context would make this clear, but it often was not the person or thing "by whom" or "by what" the oath was sworn. In koine Greek, this accusative may have been replaced with a dative form (e.g., Acts 2:30), or with the prepositional phrase ἐν + a dative ("by ...," Mat. 5:34,36; 23:16; Rev. 10:6), or with the prepositional phrase κατά + a genitive ("through ...," Mat. 26:63; Heb. 6:13).
If there were two accusatives with the verb, the semantics or meanings of those two verbs must not be interpreted like the person-thing or object-complement constructions with double accusatives. Concerning the actions of making oaths or adjuring others by oaths made, one of the two accusatives receives the action of the verb ("to whom"), but the other functions adverbially, describing "by whom" or "by what" the action is confirmed or made firm. Although the other accusative is not functioning directly as an adverb, and cannot be translated as one, it does serve an adverbial function. So the following semantic differences exist:
- It is not like a person-thing construction because: Both the accusatives found with an "oath" verb can be persons, which means that it cannot be a person-thing construction. Yet, even if one accusative is a thing, it still cannot be translated like a person-thing construction. With an "oath" verb, the person receives the action of the verb, in that the oath is made to that person, or that person is adjured or implored. Yet the other accusative is the thing "by what" (or the person "by whom") the action of the verb is made firm, and therefore functions adverbially. In a person-thing construction, the "person" accusative receives the action of the verb as the direct object too, but the "thing" accusative is what is used by the action, and is effected by the verb's action.
- It is not like a object-complement construction because: Each of the accusatives found with an "oath" verb refer to different persons, or else one accusative refers to a person while the other accusative refers to a thing. But, in an object-complement construction, both accusatives refer to the same person or to the same thing.
As mentioned, the use of an accusative or accusatives with an "oath" verb is not very common in the GNT. Wallace gave the three examples below, where the verb is highlighted in blue, the accusative "to whom" the oath was made, or "to whom" the adjuring or appeal is made, is highlighted in green, and the accusative or accusatives which represent "by whom" or "by what" the oath is made will be highlighted in bluish green.
- καὶ ἐξελθόντος Αὐτοῦ ἐκ τοῦ πλοίου, εὐθὺς ὑπήντησεν Αὐτῷ ἐκ τῶν μνημείων ἄνθρωπος ἐν πνεύματι ἀκαθάρτῳ ... καὶ ἰδὼν τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἀπὸ μακρόθεν ἔδραμεν καὶ προσεκύνησεν Αὐτὸν, καὶ κράξας φωνῇ μεγάλῃ λέγει· τί ἐμοὶ καὶ Σοί, Ἰησοῦ Υἱὲ τοῦ Θεοῦ τοῦ ὑψίστου; ὁρκίζω Σε τὸν Θεόν, μή με βασανίσῃς.
Translation: "And when He went out from the boat, immediately a man out of the tombs, unclean in spirit, came to meet Him ... So seeing Jesus from far off, he ran and prostrated [himself] before Him. Then, crying out in a loud voice, he said: 'What have You to do with me, Jesus, Son of God the Most High? I adjure You by God, You shall not torment me!" (Mark 5:2,6-7).
Comment: Here the demonic spirit in the man knew exactly who Jesus is, the Son of God Most High, the incarnate God walking among men upon His creation of the physical earth. And the demonic spirit also seemed to know that God had declared, in His own name, that there had not yet come the time for the demons to be cast into hell eternally. Since God made that decision by His own name, it is as an oath. Therefore, the demon adjures or implores Jesus not to torment him, and does so "by God." (Thus the demon demanded this, since βασανίσῃς is the 2nd person singular 1st aorist subjunctive active of βασανίζω, used with the negative in a prohibition or command, where this verb usually implied torment or torture after a judicial process found a person guilty.) So the demon knew that Jesus could not cast him into hell yet, in spite of all the harm he had done.
Yet there are a few interesting things in this transaction, in this adjuring of Jesus "by God." First, the demon assumed Jesus held the power to cast demons into hell. But only God Himself has the power or the right, as the supreme Judge, to do so. Thus, the demon knew Jesus is fully God Himself. Second, the demon knew correct theology. It is not true that demons do not know any truths of God's Word. They know much, but try to use truth to their advantage, to destroy or corrupt. Yet they can only do what God permits, and only when God allows it. Still, this implies the difference between a true Christian with the Holy Spirit, and a false "Christian" with a demonic spirit. One mark of a Christian is that one begins to grasp the truth, concerning what God's Word actually says. Even if one's whole church says one is wrong, and one understands something in the Bible, because the Holy Spirit taught it and granted one insight into how it is true, and how it fits with all the rest of the truth God teaches, that one truly begins to believe and trust it as being true. But the true Christian not only realizes it is true, and believes it is true, but also wants to act upon that truth, if possible. A believer desires to follow truth for the sake of God, with longing, with a beloved desire of the heart, while trusting Jesus as one's personal Lord, seeking to do His will. But demons, and their children, simply try to use any truth they might learn for their own advantage, in a selfish way, and actually care nothing for the real Jesus, nor for His truth, even if they do know some true truth.
- ἀσπάσασθε τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς πάντας ἐν φιλήματι ἁγίῳ. ἐνορκίζω ὑμᾶς τὸν Κύριον ἀναγνωσθῆναι τὴν ἐπιστολὴν πᾶσιν τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς. ἡ χάρις τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ μεθ᾽ ὑμῶν.
Translation: "Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss. I adjure you by the Lord to have this epistle read to all the brothers. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be] with you." (I Thes. 5:26-28).
Comment: These are the closing remarks for the first epistle to the Thessalonians. And Paul adjures the ones receiving this letter to read it to the rest of the brethren. It assumes the brethren are all committed to the Lord, having confessed Jesus, by laying down their lives in orderly agreement with all He stands for and teaches. The act of confessing the Lord (represented by the verb ὁμολογέω), involved this kind of serious and deep commitment. It was not so much an oath as a statement of fact concerning what one was caused to believe, and could not help but believe. Still, it is related to an oath, in that the drive from commitment exists. It is even stronger than an oath, in a big way, since a Christian's commitment is from the heart, spontaneous and part of the very spirit and inner essense of oneself, a creation of a new inner thing put there by Jesus. But an oath is merely a matter of one's own will, sometimes even against one's desires. Thus, by the Lord, by the compelling of Christ, Paul adjures them to read his epistle to the church.
- πρὸ πάντων δέ, ἀδελφοί μου, μὴ ὀμνύετε, μήτε τὸν οὐρανὸν μήτε τὴν γῆν, μήτε ἄλλον τινὰ ὄρκον. ἤτω δὲ ὑμῶν τὸ ναὶ ναί, καὶ τὸ οὒ οὔ, ἵνα μὴ ὑπὸ κρίσιν πέσητε.
Translation: "But most important of all things, my brothers, never swear an oath, neither by the heaven nor by the earth, nor any other oath. Rather let your yes be yes, and no [be] no, lest you fall under judgment" (James 5:12).
Comment: The verb ὀμνύετε is a 2nd person plural present imperative active form. With the negative, this durative form expresses the command, "never swear an oath." All the negatives here suggest a strong prohibition, or at least an extremely negative attitutude towards oaths. This was written near the close of the letter, and James had previously written about how one cannot control what will happen to one in life. Therefore, one must say, "If the Lord wills, both we will live and we will do this or that" (4:13-17). However, an oath assumes the opposite, that man controls what happens, whether he will live and do things. When James commands us to not swear "by heaven" or "by earth," he means we have no power over either things in heaven or on earth. Wallace comments that μήτε ἄλλον τινὰ ὄρκον seems to be a cognate accusative. Whether it is or not, it cinches the matter. We are here commanded not to make oaths of any kind.
Instead, we should pray to make a right decision, one that is pleasing to God. Then we decide according to what we know, and by what Jesus is leading our hearts to do. After this, we simply intend to do, or not to do, something. Then we do whatever we know we are to do, with the best of our ability, with all our hearts, as unto the Lord. If the situation causes us to fail to do what we intended, or to do what we did not intend to do, then so be it, because we tried. Perhaps we made a wrong decision. Or perhaps we could not forsee how difficult it would be to carry out our intentions. Many things could get in the way. So we just develop our plans or intentions, then we do whatever God allows us to do. But an oath brings judgment -- not just when we fail, but always, because every oath is actually denying the sovereignty of God over all that happens. One who makes an oath is really saying, "I, by my own will and power, will make this or that happen." Yet, in reality, no man can actually make anything happen, nor stop anything from happening. Truly, absolutely no one but God Himself can really say such a thing in any way at all.
Wallace also gave references to two more examples of accusatives of oaths: Acts 19:13 and II Tim. 4:1.
Accusatives Objects of Prepositions
The grammatical characteristics and semantics of objects of prepositions are governed by the preposition. Each accusative used with a preposition will take whatever meaning that preposition implies when used with an accusative object, plus it lexical meaning, of course. See the document Prepositions for a more lengthy discussion on the implications of the cases with prepositions.
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