The Greek Grammar


As already explained in the article The Concordant Idea, the vocabulary as well as the grammatical forms of the Greek Scriptures were dissected into their smallest elements and examined with regard to their function. This led to a view of grammar different than the ordinary one but with results and explanations which were much more satisfying and, above all, allowing the main texts to be translated uniformly. As a result, the concordant grammar treats the Greek verb primarily as an expression of function or condition and only secondarily with regard to tense. That the more general point of view is different nowadays is not surprising, because man, as a mortal being, is much exercised by the time aspect. Nevertheless, the ancient Greek language teaches something else, especially in the Sacred Scriptures on which texts we focus. According to concordant grammar, the verb is brought before us as an indefinite FACT (aorist), or an on-going ACT (continuous form), or a completed STATE (perfect). For a better understanding let us have a look on several passages:

John 3:16 is commonly translated: ‘For God so loved the world…’ (KJV), but in fact it is: ‘For thus God loves the world…’ (CLV). The verb ‘love’ here is standing in the timeless form of the aorist, not in the past tense, showing the love of God to the world as a fact independent of time and not as a thing of the past. Surely God’s love to the world is timeless, it is a fact not influenced by the time aspect.

2.Tim 1:10 ‘… who hath abolished death…’ (KJV) in accord with the Greek should be: ‘… Who, indeed, abolishes death…’ (CLV). ‘Abolish’ here occurs in the form of the aorist participle and for sure cannot designate a completed action or something already gone, because evidently death is not abolished till now. However, ‘He abolishes’ tells something else, namely that Christ Jesus indeed abolishes death, without speaking about the exact point of time.

Romans 8:30 ‘…them he also glorified’ (KJV) in reality is ‘…these He glorifies also’ (CLV). In accord with our experience, our glorification has not happened yet, but is still future. Because of the fact that this citation of Romans eight is given independently from time, in the indefinite form of the aorist, there is no reason to put this event into the past, if we are simply able to understand the aorist in the right way.

Basically, the same is true for the other verb forms as well, which occur, as mentioned before, as an incomplete act or a completed state.

In Matt 5:46 for example we read: ‘For if ever you should |love those who are loving you…’ (CLV). The verb ‘to-love’ is given here in the form of an incomplete act, first future optative, then present progressive participle. In the etymological sublinear (cles.en) this passage is translated as follows: ‘IF-EVER for YE-SHOULD-BE-LOVING THE ones-LOVING YE’, which idiomatically sounds a bit strange on one hand but on the other hand expresses exactly what is spoken about. The Greek does not simply express a present state of affairs, nor does it show an indefinite fact, but is speaking about our possibly future acting with regard to our actual experience.

Another peculiarity of the ancient Greek language is the so-called middle voice. In modern language we are used to express an action actively or passively, in order to state the relationship between the subject and the object. In ancient Greek another voice exists as well, the middle, which is neither active nor passive, even if we have to translate it thus, because of the lack of other means to express it. Concordant studies have shown that in the middle voice the action is remaining with the subject/object, that means, the action is remaining in a close connection to the subject/object, not going out from it or befalling it. The subject/object is neither the actor nor the affected, but is standing in between, in the midst of the action itself. In order to let the reader know where the Greek has this specific middle voice, which we cannot really translate into English, but have to translate it either in the active or passive voice, the passive expression of the verb form is given in italics ‘I-was-baptizED’ whereas the active translation has an additional sign at the end like ‘I-baptize˜’.

For instance, in Romans 7:24 it is written: ‘A wretched man am I! What will rescue˜ me out of this body of death?’ (CLV). ‘Rescue’ here is not active, but middle, therefore the etymological sublinear (cles.en) like the translation has the sign of the middle voice added to the verb, which had to be translated actively: ‘ANY ME -SHALL-BE-rescuING˜…’ – ‘What or who will be engaged in the process of rescuing me?’ emphasizes not the active deed, but the subject of rescuing as such or with regard to itself. For sure the question of this wretched man is calling for an actor, neglecting the possibility of rescue by himself. However, the true meaning of this sentence is to look for something or someone able to do this act of rescuing, who can be entrusted with this task, who is, so to speak, able to rest in it and is able to be wrapped up in it. Only grace can be considered, which is resting in God and will be received through faith.

The concordant viewpoint of ancient Greek grammar is reflected in the exact equivalents of the Greek forms into the English language. Tables explaining the abbreviations of the concordant parsing (parsing-c.en) are ready for download in PDF format (Conc_Parsing_abbreviation). Regarding the corresponding forms we refer to the file Intro_Conc_Gram.

May these representations of the grammar of the Word of Life contribute to walking in the transfiguring light of even this Word, for the laud of God’s glory, the God Who has graciously given it into our hands.