Greek 1; Lesson 3

John 1:5

καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει

καὶ τὸ φῶς

φως is the subject of φαινει. What case is it?


ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ

This is a prepositional phrase with σκοτια as OP.

  1. What is the preposition?
  2. What is the OP?
  3. Is this phrase adverbial or adjectival?
  4. Which word does it modify?

Note the final sigma. cf. λογος, προς, θεος, χωρις, φως but σoκτια

A iota subscript almost always means that the noun is dative singular.



φαινει comes from φαινω and means “to shine”.  The ending indicates how it is to be translated:

  • φαινω means “I shine”
  • φαινεις            “you shine”
  • φαινει              “he/she/it shines”
  • φαινομεν         “we shine”
  • φαινετε            “you shine”
  • φαινουσιν       “they shine”

You can see all these endings here or BBG 16.10.

Translation so far...
καὶ    τὸ     φῶς    ἐν   τῇ    σκοτίᾳ       φαίνει…
and  the   light    in   the   darkness   shines…

καὶ ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν.

Look at its article and think about principle 7.  Why must σκοτια be nominative? How do you know σκοτια is the subject?

What is the gender, number, case of αυτο?

ου is an adverb meaning “not”.



Two things are noteworthy about κατέλαβεν:

First, κατέλαβεν is a compound verb; the preposition κατα and the verb λαβεν.

Second, κατέλαβεν is a second aorist. This means that this verb has a different stem in the aorist than it does in the present. The stem in the present is καταλαμβαν-; the stem in the aorist tense is κατελαβ-. See all the forms here.

Now let’s watch κατέλαβεν evolve:

λαμβαν-          the present tense stem
λαβ-                 the aorist tense stem
καταλαβ          add the preposition to make a compound verb
κατελαβ-          add the augment
κατελαβε         add the connecting vowel
κατελαβεν        this verb always appears with a movable nu

Translation so far...
…καὶ    ἡ     σκοτία      αὐτὸ   οὐ           κατέλαβεν.
…and  the  darkness  it        did not   comprehend.


John 1:6

Ἐγένετο ἄνθρωπος ἀπεσταλμένος

Ἐγένετο ἄνθρωπος

“There was a man…”



απεσταλμενος is a participle. You can see that this participle is a conglomeration of the preposition απο with the verb στελλω (cf. compound verb).  To translate it, we need to find its tense, voice, gender, number, and case.

The first thing to look for when analyzing participles is the participle morpheme.  Here the participle morpheme is -μενο which clearly marks this participle as middle/passive and either masculine or neuter.  So we have the voice and gender.

Finding the tense of this participle is especially difficult, so we will not take the time to explain it now.  It is a perfect tense participle; and since it is perfect, you will use some form of “has”, “have”, or “had” in your translation.

To find the number and case, you will analyze the case endings (just like you would any noun or adjective).  See the chart in BBG 30.8.

So we have a perfect, middle/passive, nominative, masculine, singular participle.

Now it simply remains to determine which noun απεσταλμενος is modifying. Recall that participles are verbal adjectives which means they will modify some noun.  They will agree with that noun in gender, number, and case (principle 7).  Notice that ανθρωπος is also nominative, masculine, singular.  Hence, we conclude that απεσταλμενος is modifying ανθρωπος.


παρὰ θεοῦ

This is a prepositional phrase. παρα is the preposition; θεου is the OP. Is it adverbial or adjectival?

Note that the case of the OP determines its meaning. παρα takes on different meanings depending on the case of its OP.  παρα can take an object in the genitive, dative, or accusative cases (GGBB p. 378). What is the case of its OP here?


Translation so far...

…ἀπεσταλμένος        παρὰ   θεοῦ…

…having been sent   from    God.

ὄνομα αὐτῷ Ἰωάννης·

Literally, this is translated “name to him John”. The translator must add the verb “to be”; “name to him was John” or in better English, “…his name was John”. It is relatively common to see the dative used this way (GGBB p. 150)

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