Greek I; lesson 19

John 1:46

καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ Ναθαναήλ· ἐκ Ναζαρὲτ δύναταί τι ἀγαθὸν εἶναι; λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Φίλιππος· ἔρχου καὶ ἴδε.


What does RWP note about the position here of ἐκ Ναζαρὲτ?

Note the imperatives ἔρχου and ἴδε.

What kind of infinitive is ειναι (principle 35)?

Why must τι be nominative (principle 1)?


John 1:47

εἶδεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς τὸν Ναθαναὴλ ἐρχόμενον πρὸς αὐτὸν καὶ λέγει περὶ αὐτοῦ· ἴδε ἀληθῶς Ἰσραηλίτης ἐν ᾧ δόλος οὐκ ἔστιν.

ἐρχόμενον is a participle, but what is the entire participial phrase?  Here, it is clearly an attributive participle modifying Ναθαναὴλ. Think of Nathaniel here as “the coming to him” Nathaniel.


ἴδε ἀληθῶς Ἰσραηλίτης ἐν ᾧ δόλος οὐκ ἔστιν.

There is an ellipsis here. “Behold, [he is (εστιν)] truly an Israelite, in whom…”

αληθως is an adverb modifying the understood εστιν.  Just like many English adverbs end in -ly, so many Greek adverbs end in -ως.

Ἰσραηλίτης is the PN of the understood εστιν.

δολος is the subject of the dependent clause ᾧ δόλος οὐκ ἔστιν.


John 1:48

λέγει αὐτῷ Ναθαναήλ· πόθεν με γινώσκεις; ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· πρὸ τοῦ σε Φίλιππον φωνῆσαι ὄντα ὑπὸ τὴν συκῆν εἶδόν σε.

πόθεν με γινώσκεις

This clause is the DO of λεγει.


πρὸ τοῦ σε Φίλιππον φωνῆσαι ὄντα ὑπὸ τὴν συκῆν εἶδόν σε

This clause is the DO of ειπεν.



πρὸ τοῦ σε Φίλιππον φωνῆσαι

Don’t be fooled by πρὸ τοῦ σε Φίλιππον φωνῆσαι. Eliminate σε Φίλιππον and you will now recognize this as an articular infinitive with a preposition (BBG 32.15). Whenever you see a preposition that doesn’t appear to have an OP, look for an infinitive. It is probably one of these constructions (BBG 32.15). Now what does the translator do with σε Φίλιππον? Recall principle 23.

Hence, Φίλιππον is the agent of φωνῆσαι, and σε is the object of φωνῆσαι.

The translation is, “Before Philip called you…”



ὄντα is a participle. The entire phrase is ὄντα ὑπὸ τὴν συκῆν.

ὄντα is anarthrous and accusative case which agrees with σε which is the noun it modifies. Here, however, the emphasis is more on the adverbial side of the participle. Since it is present tense, you can use the word “while” or “when” in your translation.


John 1:49

ἀπεκρίθη αὐτῷ Ναθαναήλ· ῥαββί, σὺ εἶ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, σὺ βασιλεὺς εἶ τοῦ Ἰσραήλ.

τοῦ Ἰσραήλ is a genitive of subordination (GGBB p. 103).

What kind of genitive is τοῦ θεοῦ (GGBB p. 72)?

What case is ραββι?


John 1:50

ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· ὅτι εἶπόν σοι ὅτι εἶδόν σε ὑποκάτω τῆς συκῆς, πιστεύεις; μείζω τούτων ὄψῃ.

Notice the different uses of οτι in this verse (GGBB p. 748).


μείζω τούτων ὄψῃ

Note the comparative degree here. Why is τούτων genitive (principle 32)?

ὄψῃ is from οραω.

Breaking down this sentence into its constituent parts can facilitate translation.


John 1:51

καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ· ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ὄψεσθε τὸν οὐρανὸν ἀνεῳγότα καὶ τοὺς ἀγγέλους τοῦ θεοῦ ἀναβαίνοντας καὶ καταβαίνοντας ἐπὶ τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου.

αμην, αμην – John always repeats the word (twenty-five times) thus giving it the force of a superlative. “Most assuredly I say to you…”

ἀναβαίνοντας and καταβαίνοντας are both are attributive participles modifying αγγελους.



Why can’t οψεσθε be aorist?  Where is the tense formative?



ανεωγοτα is a perfect active participle. It is attributive, modifying ουρανον. RWP recommends “…heaven, standing open and…”

Don’t spend time trying to parse this word. It is very unusual. If you really need to know why, see MBG page 261, footnote #11.


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