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Study Notes from the New Testament Greek
By Bob Jones, Northside Bible Church, Jacksonville Florida
RULES CONCERNING THE GREEK DEFINITE ARTICLE "THE"
A collection of Koine Greek study notes, by Robert T. Jones III. Page numbers in parenthesis are where further amplification can be found in "Beginners Grammar of the Greek New Testament", by William Hersey Davis, published in 1923 by Harper and Row. For in-depth study, see "A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in Light of Historical Research", by A.T. Robertson, published by Hodder & Stoughton, New York, 1914.
1. The Greek language "definite" article is "the". Greek has no "indefinite" article (a), so, "adelphos" means either "brother", or "a brother", depending on the context. The English article "the" should NEVER be added when the Greek definite article is absent. In the plural, Greek, like English, has no indefinite article (a), but "anthropoi" means "men", not "the men". The absence and presence of the Greek definite article "the" is VERY VERY significant! The definite article "the" is an adjective, and its gender, number, and case ALWAYS match the word it modifies. (See page 32-34, 52, and 56-58)
2. For example, the definite article `o (pronounced "ho"), (the), is an ADJECTIVE, and as such is declined and agrees in gender, number and case with the noun it modifies:
3. The masculine article "`o" (ho) indicates masculine gender.
The feminine article "`eta" (hay) indicates feminine gender.
The neuter article "to'" (toe) indicates neuter gender.
THE DEFINITE ARTICLE WITH AN ADJECTIVE:
1. The ATTRIBUTE ADJECTIVE: When the definite article "the", IMMEDIATELY PRECEDES an ADJECTIVE, and it agrees with the adjective and the noun being modified in case number and gender, it is called an "ATTRIBUTE" adjective, and this indicates that the adjective is stating an attribute or quality of the noun it modifies.
a. Example of the "ATTRIBUTE ADJECTIVE":
"Ho pistos doulos" = "the faithful servant" (attribute).
"Ho pistos ho doulos" = "the faithful servant" (attribute).
(Note that the adjective "faithful" is immediately preceded by the article, making the adjective an attribute or quality of the noun).
2. The PREDICATE ADJECTIVE: When the definite article "the", IMMEDIATELY PRECEDES the NOUN, but NOT the ADJECTIVE, and it agrees with the adjective and the noun being modified in case number and gender, it is called a "PREDICATE" (statement of fact) adjective, and is stating NEW INFORMATION about the noun.
a. Example of the "PREDICATE ADJECTIVE":
"Ho doulos pistos" = "the servant (is) faithful" (predicate).
"pistos ho doulos" = "the servant (is) faithful" (predicate).
Note: - The adjective "faithful" is NOT immediately preceded by the article. The "(is)" is also understood and added in the English BECAUSE of the PREDICATE ADJECTIVE.
b. The difference in the "predicate" adjective and an "attribute" adjective:
(1) The PURPOSE of the PREDICATE adjective PHRASE is to REVEAL NEW INFORMATION about the noun, ("The servant IS faithful"), and the adjective IS NOT IMMEDIATELY preceded by the article.
(2) The ATTRIBUTE adjective just states an attribute or quality of the noun IN PASSING, within a LARGER CONTEXT. ("Along the way the faithful servant drew a pail of water"). The attribute adjective is ALWAYS immediately preceded by the article.
3. When the article is TOTALLY ABSENT, the CONTEXT must decide if the adjective is attributive or predicate.
THE DEFINITE ARTICLE USED WITH NOUNS:
1. The ARTICULAR NOUN: When the definite article "the", IMMEDIATELY PRECEDES a NOUN, and it agrees with the NOUN in case number and gender, the NOUN is called an "ARTICULAR NOUN". The presence of the article marks CONTRAST, makes the noun stand out, and adds emphasis. The ARTICULAR NOUN also IDENTIFIES, or reveals identity. For example:
a. Titles in scripture are normally ARTICULAR NOUNS. Ho Theos (the God) and Ho Christos (the Jesus) are identifying God and Jesus as the one God of the Bible, (there are many God's), and Jesus the Son of God, the Savior. (Jesus was a common name among the Jews and many men were named Jesus).
b. In Romans chapter 6, Paul repeatedly places the definite article before the word "sin" (hamartia) indicating that he is not talking in this chapter about "a sin", some "amount" of sin, or "sinning" in general, but, THE SIN NATURE! He is contrasting our new nature and our old nature and urging us to live in the new nature!
2. The ANARTHROUS NOUN: When a noun is NOT immediately preceded by the definite article, the noun is called an "ANARTHROUS NOUN". The ABSENCE of the article is just as important as the presence of the article, and its ABSENCE emphasizes the QUALITY or CHARACTER of the person or thing designated in the context.
a. In Rom 3:21, the KJV says "but now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested". Paul did not place the definite article with "nomas" (law). This means he is not speaking of "the Old Testament Law", but "apart from the law method, the righteousness of God has now been manifested". All through this context, Paul USES THE DEFINITE ARTICLE to speak of "the" OLD TESTAMENT LAW itself, and the lack of the article to speak of the "law method" of attempting to be righteous. NOUNS CONNECTED BY "IS", OR "WAS"
TWO Greek NOUNS CONNECTED BY THE VERB "TO BE"
1. When two nouns are connected by a verb "to be", the English reads as though the two nouns are equal, but the absence and presence of the article indicates whether the two nouns are equal, or whether the second noun is a further description of the first. Examples:
a. In 1 Jn 4:8, "Ho Theos agape estin" is translated in the KJV as "God is love". "Ho Theos" here is ARTICULAR, indicating that the noun "theos" is the one God of the Bible, but, the ABSENCE of the article immediately preceding "agape" makes "agape" an ANARTHROUS noun, indicating that agape is a "quality" of God. If agape HAD the article and matching case, the statement would mean that God EQUALS love, but love is here stated to be ONE of the many QUALITIES of God's character.
b. In John 1:1, the statement "In the beginning was THE Word, and THE Word was with THE God, and THE Word was God" requires attention to the articles to determine if there two equal God's here, or if it indicates that "the Word was divine", or "had the nature of God". Of course, the presence of the article with "Word" and absence of the article with "God" means the Word possesses Deity.
c. When Theos (God) HAS the article, (articular), it refers to the person of Almighty God. When Theos DOES NOT have the article, (anarthrous), it refers to the divine character or essence of God. John 1:1, in its context, is a statement of the Deity of Jesus Christ.
2. The EQUAL STATEMENT: When two ARTICULAR NOUNS are connected by "estin" (is) and they agree in case, number and gender, the two nouns are being said to be EQUAL. Example:
a. In 1 Jn 3:4, "hay hamartia estin hay anomia" is translated in the KJV as "sin is the transgression of the law". Here, in the Greek, the two agreeing articular nouns and the present tense, indicative mode of the verb, mean that John is DEFINING what he means by "hamartia" in his epistles as "continual lawlessness". For Johns purpose, when he says "hamartia" (to miss the mark) it EQUALS "continual lawlessness" (not just simply disobeying the Old Testament Law).
b. John's use of the two equal articular nouns in 1 John 3:4 above becomes even more important when in verse 9 it appears in the English that the child of God is incapable of sinning!:
(1) 1 Jn 3:9 in the KJV says "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God". (Religious denominations are formed on the basis of this verse in the English)
(2) 1 Jn 3:9 in the Greek says "Everyone that has been permanently born (perfect tense) out from the source of (ek) the God is not continually practicing lawlessness, because His seed abides in him and he is incapable of continually practicing lawlessness, because he has been permanently born out from the source of the God." (God will either straighten him out, or take him out.)
NOUNS CONNECTED BY THE CONJUNCTION "kai" (and)
1. If BOTH the nouns connected by "kai" are articular, the two nouns are SEPARATE AND DISTINCT from each other.
2. If NEITHER noun connected by "kai" is articular, the nouns are just being SEQUENTIALLY LISTED.
3. When two SINGULAR nouns are connected by "kai", and the FIRST noun is ARTICULAR (has the article), and the SECOND is ANARTHROUS (doesn't have the article), the second noun is a FURTHER DESCRIPTION of the first noun. This rule is called GRANVILLE SHARP's FIRST RULE , and it applies to nouns of the same case, connected by "kai", where the first is articular, and the second is anarthrous.
Examples of rule one from Granville Sharp's book:
a. 2 Thess. 1:12, the KJV reads "the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ". God "theos" here is articular, and Christ "christou" is anarthrous. Both nouns are in the same case, and therefore should read "the grace of Jesus Christ, our God and Lord".
b. Titus 2:13, the KJV reads "the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ". God "theos" here is articular, and Christ "christou" is anarthrous. Both nouns are in the same case, and therefore should read "our great God and Savior Jesus Christ".
The Granville Sharp Rule and Plural Substantives
The Granville Sharp rule number one, as stated above, only applies absolutely to singular, personal, and non-proper nouns.
BUT, Granville Sharp himself, on page 13 of his book, under Rule number one, states:
"There is no exception or instance of the like mode of expression, that I know of, which necessarily requires a construction different from what is here laid down, EXCEPT the nouns be proper names, or plural in the number; in which cases there are many exceptions; though there are not wanting examples, even of plural nouns, which are expressed exactly agreeable to this rule ."
So, even in the case of "proper names" and the "plural number", there are many exceptions to the rule for the plurals, but I agree with Sharp that there are also examples of the plurals which DO agree with Sharp's rule number one.
I believe that in MOST of the plural TSKS (The, Substantive, Kai, Substantive) constructions in the Textus Receptus Greek New Testament, that match Sharp's rule number one, the second (anarthrus) noun is a further description of the first (articular) noun. (There are many missing definite articles in the Nestle, WH and other Greek texts, so there are many MORE instances in the Textus Receptus where the plural TSKS constructions match Sharp's rule number one)
An example of the plural TSKS construction that matches Sharp's rule number one:
a. In Eph 4:11, God gave the church "pastors and teachers". The first noun "pastors" has the article, and the second "teachers" doesn't, so "teachers" is a further description of "pastors", not a separate category of individuals. This Greek construction means "pastors who are teachers", or "pastor - teachers". There is the gift of "teacher", in 1 Cor 12:28, but, all of God's true "pastors" must be also "teachers", meaning that they also have the gift of communication. The man who considers himself a "pastor only", and LEADS the sheep all over the countryside, but doesn't FEED them, violates some 22 New Testament passages that exhort the man of God to "teach the Word".
-----> I would think that Eph. 4:11 is the very first example of the plural "TSKS" constructions that Mr. Granville Sharp would point to in illustrating that His rule number one is "agreeable" also to many plural constructions.
-----> Sharp stated, concerning his rule number one, "there are not wanting examples, even of plural nouns, which are expressed exactly agreeable to this rule."
-----> The Greeks even had a name for the construction "pastors and teachers" of Eph. 4:11 as referring to one gift and one person. E.W. Bullinger, in his book "Figures of speech used in the Bible", states that the ancient Greeks had more that 200 "figures of speech". He states that in modern times, men tend to say "oh, that's just a figure of speech", but that the unusual form in the scriptures (figura) is never used except to add force and emphasis to the truths being conveyed.
Bullinger lists and discusses his examples of nearly 200 forms of figures of speech in the Scriptures, and it is amazing how often the discussion of Granville Sharp constructions matches Bullinger's English examples.
One of his "figures" is the "hendiadys", (from "hen" meaning "one, "dia" meaning "by", and "dis" meaning "two". Two words, but one thing meant. Bullinger lists Eph. 4:11 as "pastors who are also teachers", an example of an "hendiadys".
-----> Add to this the fact that the noun "pastor" (poimenas, shepherd) is never used anywhere else in the N.T. (at least, not in the TR) except referring to Jesus Himself or to literal shepherds.
-----> Jesus in His post-resurrection discourse with Peter in John Chapter 21 verses 15-17 asks Peter 3 times "do you love me?" (agapas, agapas, phileis), Peter replies "philO" 3 times (probably because Peters actions have not been demonstrating "agape"), and Jesus replies "feed my little lambs", "shepherd my sheep", and "feed my sheep". The replies of Jesus describe a combination "pastor-teacher".
-----> In 1 Peter 5:1 - 3, First, Peter states that he is also an "elder" (presbuteros), (that makes him an "apostle who is also an elder", by the way. Then Peter, in verse 2 & 3 tells the elders to feed the flock of God and be overseers (episkapas), not being lords over the flock but examples. Again, a pastoral example, with emphasis on "feeding".
-----> My best Greek reference books and my most trusted commentators, such as Vincent, Hodge, Kenneth Wuest, and Dr. Boyce Blackwelder, take the plural TSKS of Eph 4:11 to be one of the plural TSKS constructions that Sharp meant when he stated, concerning his first rule, that there are examples: "even of plural nouns, which are expressed exactly agreeable to this rule ."
-----> All of this confirms to me that the TSKS construction of "the pastors and teachers" in Eph 4:11 does, in fact, fit Sharp's rule number one, and there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that if we could ask Mr. Granville Sharp himself to give us examples of some of the plural TSKS constructions, that he considered "agreeable" to his first rule, his first example would be Eph 4:11.
Everywhere in the New Testament Greek when we see two nouns connected by "and", (kai), we must check the Greek text to know if the nouns are merely being listed (no articles), or separate and distinct from each other (both articular), or if the nouns are singular, and the first noun is articular and the second noun is anarthrous, the second noun is adding a further description to the first noun. In the case of the plural TSKS constructions, we must determine from the context whether the second noun is adding a further description to the first noun, or whether the two nouns are joined together for some mutual purpose.