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"Insights" from the New Testament Greek

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5. Insights Derived from the Absense and Presence of the Greek Article "the"

By Bob Jones, Northside Bible Church, Jacksonville Florida



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!

  c. 2 Thess 2:3 "a falling away" in the KJV is the Greek word "apostasia" preceeded by the Greek article "eta", meaning a TITLE of an EVENT that the hearer should already know about, "THE DEPARTURE". The KJV translators chose to transliterate the word "apostasia" in 2 Thess 2:3 as "apostasy", instead of to translate it as the Greek says, "THE DEPARTURE". The major subject of both of Paul's letters to the Thessalonian church concern "THE DEPARTURE", or "Rapture" of the church. The only other use of "apostasia" in the New Testament does not have the article, "the", in Acts 21:21, where the KJV TRANSLATES "apostasia" as "forsake", where the Apostles are teaching the Gentiles to "forsake", or depart from the Law of Moses.

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. Examples:

  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, and the lack of the article to speak of the New Testament "apart from the law method" of righteousness.

  b. 1 Pet 3:1 "Wives save the husband by chaste manner of life" , "THE word" is first, "A word" is second, meaning she should not nag, but that her life should do the witnessing! Tell them about Jesus, then Let our life do the witnessing!

  c. 1 Tim 3:2&12, qualifications of Bishops and deacons, the present tense verb and absence of articles means presently having a QUALITY of non-polygamy or adultry. The one wife type of man. Nothing here concerning divorced pastors!

Bob Jones