Ephesians 1:3: is, be or let?

I’m starting a sermon series on Ephesians soon. This is probably the first of a number of posts I’ll write as I think through some of the grammar and syntax of the letter/epistle.

There is no verb in verse 3.  “Εὐλογητὸς (…) ὁ θεὸς…”. This means we need to supply one in our interpretation and translation of the passage. Clearly the missing verb is a form of ειμι. But there are three options (see Hoehner):

Continue reading “Ephesians 1:3: is, be or let?”

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Grammar Revision

Some notes from my revision of 1st Year Greek:

Word classes – there are 8

  • verbs
  • nouns
  • pronouns
  • determiners – e.g. the article
  • adjectives
  • prepositions
  • adverbs
  • conjunctions – words that join clauses
  • particles – words that don’t change form

Phrase types – there are 5

  • verb phrase – a verb/predicate and any dependants
  • noun phrase – a noun and any modifiers
  • prepositional phrase – headed by a preposition
  • adjective phrase – a phrase that modifies a noun
  • adverb phrase – a phrase that modifies a verb

Clause elements – there are 7

  • subject (S)
  • verb/predicate (P)
  • direct object (Od)
  • indirect object (Oi)
  • subject complement (Cs)
  • object complement (Co)
  • adverbial (A)

Clause patterns – there are 5

  1. intransitive: S P
  2. monotransitive: S P Od
  3. ditransitive: S P Oi Od
  4. copular: S P Cs
  5. complex transitive: S P Od Oc

Examples of the 5 different patterns (from the Greek teacher)

  1. She (S) was breathing (P).
  2. Jesus (S) healed (P) the blind man (Od).
  3. The disciples (S) had given (P) him (Oi) the loaves (Od).
  4. You (S) are (P) my friends (Cs).
  5. They (S) made (P) him (Od) king (Co).

Aramaic Cheat Sheet

This cheat-sheet is derived from the Basics of Biblical Aramaic by Miles V. Van Pelt, as far as possible it is based on the format of the “Get an A! Study Guide” which Van Pelt wrote as a students companion for his book Basics of Biblical Hebrew. So the numbers in brackets alongside the headings refer to the page numbers in BBA. It’s assumed the user will have a fair working knowledge of Hebrew.

Aramaic Cheat Sheet (pdf)

Awkwardness of Luke 7:29-30

All the commentators (that I have access to) write about the “awkwardness” of vv29-30. It is debated whether these verses continue Jesus words from vv24-28; or whether they are a narrators’ comment inserted by Luke.

Most (Bock, Culy, Nolland) conclude that they are narrators comments; while Morris argues for a continuation of Jesus’ works.

It is the “awkwardness” of the third-person references (e.g. “the crowd”) that lead many to argue for narrators comments. But it is just as awkward that there is neither any conjunction or re-introduction of speech in v31.

This, I fear, is an example of the lack of attention that is paid to discourse features by many commentators and exegetes.

Given the way Luke (and other NT authors) purposefully use conjunctions and other discourse features to mark and structure their work (see e.g. my notes on Luke 1:5-38) it seems strange that so many commentators are happy so simply recognise the strange absence in v31 without letting it influence their decision about vv29-30.

I’m not (necessarily) claiming that vv29-30 are Jesus words – but I am suggesting that the lack of the discourse features should at least be weighed alongside the awkwardness of the grammar.