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"Insights" from the New Testament Greek

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12. Insights Derived from the Greek Prepositions

By Bob Jones, Northside Bible Church, Jacksonville Florida

Greek prepositions - Adverbs which help to define more clearly the meanings of the nouns and their cases.

Prepositions use the ablative, genitive, locative, instrumental, accusitive, and dative cases. The dative case is used only with "epi" and with "eggus" in Acts 9:38.

The General Meaning of the Greek Prepositions:

Apo = "from, off, away from". Used with the ablative case only.

--- Example, Jn. 16:13, the Spirit will not speak of ("apo","from the source of") himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.

Eis = Commonly meaning "into". Used with the Accusative only.

--- Examples, 2 Tim 2:26 "taken captive by the devil at ("eis" = "into") his will". Heb 2:10, "For it became him, for whom [are] all things, and by whom [are] all things, in bringing many sons unto ("eis" = all the way "into") glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings."

Ek or Ez = "out, out of, from within". (Ez occurs before words beginning with a vowel) Used with the Ablative only.

--- Example, John 12:32 & 33, "And I, if I be lifted up from ("ek" = out of, from within) the earth (speaking of the Resurrection, not the Cross), I will draw all ("pas" = "all types", Jew & gentile, religious & non-religious) [men] unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die". This verse is quite often misused, in thinking that if we "lift up Jesus", he will draw all men unto himself. We must be very careful not to create non-Scriptural "cliches". This passage concerns being "lifted up OUT OF the earth" - "signifying what death he should die", speaking of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, and not our "praising" him.

En = "in". Used with Locative only.

--- Example, Rev. 1:10, "I was in the Spirit on ("en" = "in") the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet." This is the only verse in the New Testament that seems to indicate that any one day of the week should be held in greater esteem than the rest of the days of the week. But, the Apostle John is saying that he "became" in ("en") spirit, IN ("en") the DAY of the LORD". The Greek construction here is stating that, as John sat in prison on the isle of Patmos, he "was made to become" spirit and placed in ("en") the DAY of the LORD, or the Seven Year Tribulation, and told to write what he saw. Col. 2:14-16 states that every day is a sabbath now, for the Christian, where we rest from our own works, and do God's works as we are motivated by His Spirit. Also see Heb. 4:1-10 & Rom. 14:4-13 about every day being alike for the Christian.

Kata = Downward motion, from higher to lower. Used with genitive and accusitive.

--- Example: 2 Cor. 7:10, True "repentance" (Greek "metanoio", a true change of mind) comes "down from" (kata) God. The "Godly sorrow" of the KJV in this verse is the sorrow produced in us that "comes down" from God and produces a true change of mind. (repentance). This is another one of the methods that God uses to help us grow and mature and please Him.


Epi = upon, or adds the idea of super, or "over and above", or "in addition to".

Para = beside. Used with Locative, Ablative, and Accusative.

Peri = Around or about.

Pro = before

Sun = with. Used with Instrumental only.

Upo = Used with the Ablative to denote the agent by.

Verify these "Insights" for yourself, and then use them as your own.

Bob Jones