NT Greek Substantive, Adjective & Adverbs

(1) The parts of speech are connected with each other more or less. It is simply mechanical to think of anything else. Adverbs bulk largely in furnishing various parts of speech in the development of language, such as prepositions, conjunctions, particles, etc. The higher organization of speech calls for fine distinctions which are made of possible by new uses of adverbs. Adverbs themselves have various origins as verbs, substantive, adjective, pronouns. As a rule, adverbs is the fixed case-form like χαριν(freely), which also is used as preposition with genitive. In itself it is merely the accusative of χαρις. But compare ομολογουμενως and even νουνεχως.

(2) The elements of speech are probably verb, noun, and pronoun. It is not clear which is the earliest, verb or noun. Perhaps now one, now the other arose first. In truth there is little real distinction between a verb root and a noun. Compare the modern English use of the word “work.” The pronoun itself is of independent origin and has been remarkably persistent in the Indo-Germanic languages. Compare “me,” for instances, in the various tounges. This shows the personal and social side of speech. Book language is an afterthought.

(3) The adjective is merely a variation of the substantive, both of which are nouns (ονοματα). Some substantives came to be employed in a descriptive sense like brother man, αδελφος ανθρωπος. Out of this descriptive usage the adjective (επιθετον) grew. The adjective is then strictly an evolution from the substantive and is often is used substantively as τω αγαθω (Rom 12:9). The substantive itself continues also to be employed in a descriptive sense. Therefore no hard and fast line of distinction can be drawn between substantive and adjective. They are inflected alike and often are used alike, though for particle purposes a line of cleavage can be noted. Observe εν τω ιορδανη ποταμω (Matt 3:6 and Mark 1:5).

(4) The Greek has its own genius in the use of the adjective. It uses the adjective where other languages might not. So (Acts 28:13) δευτεραιοι ηλθομεν.

Acts 28:13

οθεν περιελθοντες κατηντησαμεν εις ρηγιον και μετα μιαν ημεραν επιγενομενου νοτου δευτεραιοι ηλθομεν εις ποτιολους

thence having gone round, we came to Rhegium, and after one day, a south wind having sprung up, the second day we came to Puteoli;

A distinction is to be observed between πρῶτος (Rom 10:19) and πρῶτον (John 1:41).

Romans 10:19

αλλα λεγω μη ουκ εγνω ισραηλ πρωτος μωσης λεγει εγω παραζηλωσω υμας επ ουκ εθνει επι εθνει ασυνετω παροργιω υμας

But I say, Did not Israel know? first Moses said, `I will provoke you to jealousy by that which is not a nation; by an unintelligent nation I will anger you,’

John 1:41

ευρισκει ουτος πρωτος τον αδελφον τον ιδιον σιμωνα και λεγει αυτω ευρηκαμεν τον μεσσιαν ο εστιν μεθερμηνευομενον ο χριστος

he finds this one first his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah,” which is, being interpreted, the Anointed,

Compare πρῶτος in John 20:4,8. Cf. English “feel bad” and “feel badly.”

John 20:4

ετρεχον δε οι δυο ομου και ο αλλος μαθητης προεδραμεν ταχιον του πετρου και ηλθεν πρωτος εις το μνημειον

and the two were running together, and the other disciple did run forward more quickly than Peter, and came first to the tomb,

John 20:8

τοτε ουν εισηλθεν και ο αλλος μαθητης ο ελθων πρωτος εις το μνημειον και ειδεν και επιστευσεν

then, therefore, entered also the other disciple who came first to the tomb, and he saw, and did believe

So also μονος (Luke 24:18) is different from the adverb μονον (2 Tim 4:8).

Luke 24:18

αποκριθεις δε ο εις ω ονομα κλεοπας ειπεν προς αυτον συ μονος παροικεις εν ιερουσαλημ και ουκ εγνως τα γενομενα εν αυτη εν ταις ημεραις ταυταις

And the one, whose name was Cleopas, answering, said to him, “Are you alone such a stranger in Jerusalem, that you have not known the things that came to pass in it in these days?”

2 Timothy 4:8

λοιπον αποκειται μοι ο της δικαιοσυνης στεφανος ον αποδωσει μοι ο κυριος εν εκεινη τη ημερα ο δικαιος κριτης ου μονον δε εμοι αλλα και πασιν τοις ηγαπηκοσιν την επιφανειαν αυτου

henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of the righteousness that the Lord the Righteous Judge shall give to me in that day, and not only to me, but also to all those loving his manifestation.

(5) The adjective is either predicate or attributive. Take απαραβατον (Heb 7:24) as an example of predicate adjective and αιωνιον (John 6:47) as an example of attributive adjective.

Hebrews 7:24

ο δε δια το μενειν αυτον εις τον αιωνα απαραβατον εχει την ιερωσυνην

and he, because of his remaining to the age, has the priesthood unchangeable

John 6:47

αμην αμην λεγω υμιν ο πιστευων εις εμε εχει ζωην αιωνιον

Verily, verily, I say to you, He who is believing in me, has life eternal

(6) The adjective is rarely used in the superlative form in the New Testament and even then it is usually elative in the sense of “very” as (2 Peter 1:4).

2 Peter 1:4

δι ων τα μεγιστα ημιν και τιμια επαγγελματα δεδωρηται ινα δια τουτων γενησθε θειας κοινωνοι φυσεως αποφυγοντες της εν κοσμω εν επιθυμια φθορας

through which to us the most great and precious promises have been given, that through these you may become partakers of a divine nature, having escaped from the corruption in the world in desires.

A few examples of the true superlative survive as ακριβεστατην (Acts 26:5)

Acts 26:5

προγινωσκοντες με ανωθεν εαν θελωσιν μαρτυρειν οτι κατα την ακριβεστατην αιρεσιν της ημετερας θρησκειας εζησα φαρισαιος

knowing me before from the first, if they may be willing to testify, that after the most exact sect of our worship, I lived a Pharisee

The comparative is often, as in Modern Greek, used like the superlative. So μειζων in 1 Cor 13:13.

1 Corinthians 13:13

νυνι δε μενει πιστις ελπις αγαπη τα τρια ταυτα μειζων δε τουτων η αγαπη

and now there remains faith, hope, love – these three and the greatest of these is love

(7) The adjective is used frequently as an adverb. So πολυ, το πρωτον (John 12:16), το λοιπον, etc. This is probably the earliest and simplest adverb.

John 12:16

ταυτα δε ουκ εγνωσαν οι μαθηται αυτου το πρωτον αλλ οτε εδοξασθη ο ιησους τοτε εμνησθησαν οτι ταυτα ην επ αυτω γεγραμμενα και ταυτα εποιησαν αυτω

Now his disciples knew not these things at the first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things to him.

(8) Adjectives are frequently used without substantives as πνευματικοις πνευματικα (1 Cor 2:13), τη τε επιουση (Acts 16:11)

1 Corinthians 2:13

α και λαλουμεν ουκ εν διδακτοις ανθρωπινης σοφιας λογοις αλλ εν διδακτοις πνευματος αγιου πνευματικοις πνευματικα συγκρινοντες

which things also we speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Holy Spirit, with spiritual things spiritual things comparing,

Acts 16:11

αναχθεντες ουν απο της τρωαδος ευθυδρομησαμεν εις σαμοθρακην τη τε επιουση εις νεαπολιν

having set sail, therefore, from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, on the morrow also to Neapolis

Sometimes only the context can decide what is the gender of the adjective. So απο του πονηρου (Matt 6:13).

Matthew 6:13

και μη εισενεγκης ημας εις πειρασμον αλλα ρυσαι ημας απο του πονηρου οτι σου εστιν η βασιλεια και η δυναμις και η δοξα εις τους αιωνας αμην

And may You not lead us to temptation, but deliver us from the evil, because Yours is the reign, and the power, and the glory to the ages. Amen.

(9) Adjectives may be used with the infinitive as ικανος βαστασαι (Matt 3:11), with ινα as αρκετον ινα γενηται (Matt 10:25), with the associative-instrumental as ομοιον υιον ανθρωπου (Rev 14:14), with the ablative as μειζων του πατρος (John 8:53), with the dative as τα αρεστα αυτω (John 8:29), ενοχος τη κρισει (Matt 5:21), with the genitive as πληρης χαριτος (John 1:14), etc.

Matthew 3:11

εγω μεν βαπτιζω υμας εν υδατι εις μετανοιαν ο δε οπισω μου ερχομενος ισχυροτερος μου εστιν ου ουκ ειμι ικανος τα υποδηματα βαστασαι αυτος υμας βαπτισει εν πνευματι αγιω και πυρι

I indeed do baptize you with water to repentance, but he who after me is coming is mightier than I, of whom I am not worthy to bear the sandals, he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire

Matthew 10:25

αρκετον τω μαθητη ινα γενηται ως ο διδασκαλος αυτου και ο δουλος ως ο κυριος αυτου ει τον οικοδεσποτην βεελζεβουβ εκαλεσαν ποσω μαλλον τους οικιακους αυτου

sufficient to the disciple that he may be as his teacher, and the servant as his lord; if the master of the house they did call Beelzebub, how much more those of his household?

Revelation 14:14

και ειδον και ιδου νεφελη λευκη και επι την νεφελην καθημενον ομοιον υιον ανθρωπου εχων επι της κεφαλης αυτου στεφανον χρυσουν και εν τη χειρι αυτου δρεπανον οξυ

And I saw, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud one sitting like to a son of man, having upon his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle

John 8:53

μη συ μειζων ει του πατρος ημων αβρααμ οστις απεθανεν και οι προφηται απεθανον τινα σεαυτον συ ποιεις

Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? and the prophets died; whom do you make yourself?

John 8:29

και ο πεμψας με μετ εμου εστιν ουκ αφηκεν με μονον ο πατηρ οτι εγω τα αρεστα αυτω ποιω παντοτε

and He who sent me is with me; the Father did not leave me alone, because I, the things pleasing to Him, do always

Matthew 5:21

ηκουσατε οτι ερρεθη τοις αρχαιοις ου φονευσεις ος δ αν φονευση ενοχος εσται τη κρισει

You heard that it was said to the ancients: You shall not kill, and whoever may kill shall be in danger of the judgment

John 1:14

και ο λογος σαρξ εγενετο και εσκηνωσεν εν ημιν και εθεασαμεθα την δοξαν αυτου δοξαν ως μονογενους παρα πατρος πληρης χαριτος και αληθειας

And the Word became flesh, and did lived among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of an only begotten of a Father, full of grace and truth.

(10) Adverbs are either the neuter accusative of an adjective like πολυ, καλλιον, μαλιστα; the accusative of a substantive like χαριν; the article with an adjective as το πρῶτον, or with a substantive as την αρχην (John 8:25) as an adverbial phrase; or the ablative case of an adjective like καλως or pronoun as ουτως; or some other case of noun or pronoun as παντη (instrumental), εκει (locative), etc.

Confer ποιας in Luke 5:19, and εκεινης in Luke 19:4 as examples of the genitive.

Luke 5:19

και μη ευροντες δια ποιας εισενεγκωσιν αυτον δια τον οχλον αναβαντες επι το δωμα δια των κεραμων καθηκαν αυτον συν τω κλινιδιω εις το μεσον εμπροσθεν του ιησου

and not having found by what way they may bring him in because of the multitude, having gone up on the house-top, through the tiles they let him down, with the little couch, into the midst before Jesus

Luke 19:4

και προδραμων εμπροσθεν ανεβη επι συκομωραιαν ινα ιδη αυτον οτι δι εκεινης ημελλεν διερχεσθαι

and having run forward before, he went up on a sycamore, that he may see him, because through that way he was about to pass by

Confer το καθ ημεραν (Luke 19:47) and τουναντιον (Gal 2:7).

Luke 19:47

και ην διδασκων το καθ ημεραν εν τω ιερω οι δε αρχιερεις και οι γραμματεις εζητουν αυτον απολεσαι και οι πρωτοι του λαου

And he was teaching daily in the temple, but the chief priests and the scribes were seeking to destroy him also the chiefs of the people

Galatians 2:7

αλλα τουναντιον ιδοντες οτι πεπιστευμαι το ευαγγελιον της ακροβυστιας καθως πετρος της περιτομης

but, on the contrary, having seen that I have been entrusted with the good news of the uncircumcision, as Peter with that of the circumcision

(11) The so-called ‘improper’ preposition like εξω are adverbs as indeed all prepositions are as περι, for instance.

(12) Adverbs may be used with the article and thus as the equivalent of substantive (εως του νυν, Matt 24:21), or adjective (εν τω νυν καιρω Rom 3:26).

Matthew 24:21

εσται γαρ τοτε θλιψις μεγαλη οια ου γεγονεν απ αρχης κοσμου εως του νυν ουδ ου μη γενηται

for there shall be then great tribulation, such as was not from the beginning of the world till now, no, nor may be.

Romans 3:26

εν τη ανοχη του θεου προς ενδειξιν της δικαιοσυνης αυτου εν τω νυν καιρω εις το ειναι αυτον δικαιον και δικαιουντα τον εκ πιστεως ιησου

that the tolerance of God for the demonstration of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

(13) Many prepositional phrases have an adverbial sense like απο μερους (2 Cor 1:14), εις το παντελες (Heb 7:25)

2 Corinthians 1:14

καθως και επεγνωτε ημας απο μερους οτι καυχημα υμων εσμεν καθαπερ και υμεις ημων εν τη ημερα του κυριου ιησου

according as also you did acknowledge us in part, that your glory we are, even as also you are ours, in the day of the Lord Jesus

Hebrews 7:25

οθεν και σωζειν εις το παντελες δυναται τους προσερχομενους δι αυτου τω θεω παντοτε ζων εις το εντυγχανειν υπερ αυτων

whence also he is able to save to the very end, those coming through him unto God ever living to make intercession for them

(14) Participle often have an adverbial idea as προσθεις ειπεν (Luke 19:11).

Luke 19:11

ακουοντων δε αυτων ταυτα προσθεις ειπεν παραβολην δια το εγγυς αυτον ειναι ιερουσαλημ και δοκειν αυτους οτι παραχρημα μελλει η βασιλεια του θεου αναφαινεσθαι

And while they are hearing these things, having added he spoke a parable, because of his being near to Jerusalem, and of their thinking that the Kingdom of God is about presently to be made manifest

(15) Adverbs may be compared like ανωτερον, μαλιστα and compounded like υπερεκπερισσου (Eph 2:20 and 1 Th 3:10).

Ephesians 3:20

τω δε δυναμενω υπερ παντα ποιησαι υπερ εκ περισσου ων αιτουμεθα η νοουμεν κατα την δυναμιν την ενεργουμενην εν ημιν

and to Him who is able above all things to do exceeding abundantly what we ask or think, according to the power that is working in us

1 Thessalonians 3:10

νυκτος και ημερας υπερ εκπερισσου δεομενοι εις το ιδειν υμων το προσωπον και καταρτισαι τα υστερηματα της πιστεως υμων

as we night and day keep praying most earnestly that we may see your face, and may complete what is lacking in your faith?

This entry was posted in Grammar and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.