Mastering New Testament Greek Textbook Ted Hildebrandt Baker Academic

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Articular Infinitive

A Greek infinitive may also function adverbially by telling when (before, after, while) a verbal action took place, cause (because), purpose (in order that) or result (so that, with the result that). Greek expresses the adverbial function by using a preposition + an article + infinitive. This type of infinitive is called an “articular infinitive” because it takes a neuter article. The case of the article will match the infinitive’s function in the sentence. The articular infinitive may also be used as a noun or adjective complement. Wallace observes that only 291 of the 2291 uses of the infinitive have the article (Wallace, 264). Hence most infinitives are anarthrous.

Thus, in ei#xon pro> tou? to>n ko soi<, the infinitive ei#nai with the preposition specifies the time of the verb more closely (before). It is translated, “[The glory] I had with you before the world was” (Jn. 17:5; Wenham, Elements, 86).

Infinitives are frequently used with prepositions and the neuter article. In such cases, the prepositions take on rather clearly defined roles:


+ article

+ infinitive

= because [causal usage]


+ article

+ infinitive

= in order that/to [purpose or result]


+ article

+ infinitive

= when, while [temporal, contemporaneous]


+ article

+ infinitive

= after [temporal, antecedent action]


+ article

+ infinitive

= before [temporal, subsequent action]


+ article

+ infinitive

= before [temporal, subsequent action]


+ article

+ infinitive

= in order that [purpose or result]

While often the preposition with the infinitive indicates time, it also is used to indicate purpose (especially with ei]j and proresult (Mounce, Basics, 298).

Complementary Infinitives

As in English, infinitives can be used to complete the idea of the verb (e.g., Zach began to run.) In Greek, several verbs are often followed by a complementary infinitive (Mounce, Basics, 296):


+ infinitive

= It is necessary + to run (inf.)


+ infinitive

= It is permitted + to stand (inf.)


+ infinitive

= I am able + to come (inf.)


+ infinitive

= I am about + to write (inf.)

Infinitives for Indirect Discourse

Machen notes that the infinitive + an accusative is used to express indirect discourse (New Testament Greek, 139). o!ti is also used to introduce indirect discourse (e.g. I told you to go to the store).
e@legon oi[ a@nqrwpoi au]to>n ei]nai to>n profhThe men were saying that he was the prophet.

h]rwn mei?nai par ] au]toi?j.

asking him to remain with them (Jn. 4:40 vid. Wallace, Beyond, 604).

Chant: Infinitives (to loose)—get the rhythm down

ei?n esqai (Present)

ei?n esqai h?nai (2nd Aorist)

ai asqai h?nai (1st Aorist)

nai sqai (Perfect)



I ask (70)


eternal (71)


I kill (74)

kefalh<, -h?j, h[

head (75)


I drink (73)

ploi?on, -ou, to<

boat (68)

pu?r, -o

fire (71)


I keep, guard (70)

u!dwr, -atoj, to<

water (76)


I rejoice (74)


Subjunctive Verbs

You will be able to—

1. understand how subjunctives work in English and Greek to denote potential action that “may” take place;

2. recognize and understand the four types of conditions;

3. recognize and write the subjunctive forms in the present and aorist for the active, middle, and passive voices;

4. learn the many ways the subjunctive can be used;

5. gain more practice in translating and working with Greek; and

6. master ten more high-frequency vocabulary words.

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