Greek I; Lesson 5

John 1:9

ην τὸ φῶς τὸ ἀληθινόν

Is ην a linking verb or action verb?

Why is φως nominative?




αληθινον is an adjective meaning “true”

Note the article which precedes it.  Since you have memorized the article paradigm, you are able to parse ἀληθινόν.  It is nominative, singular, neuter.

We can also conclude from the presence of the article that this adjective is in attributive position. (cf. BBG 9.12)


ὃ φωτίζει πάντα ἄνθρωπον, ἐρχόμενον εἰς τὸν κόσμον.

ὃ is the relative pronoun. Since it refers here to a person, use “who” not “which” or “that”.

Notice that ὃ agrees with its antecedent (φως) in number and gender (BBG 14.9).

The reason ὃ is in the nominative case is because it functions as the subject of this clause.

Every relative pronoun is also a DMW. Since the DMW is a relative pronoun, we know the clause is likely to be adjectival. If it is adjectival, it must be modifying some noun.  Which noun?



this verb means he gives light

This verb’s subject is the relative pronoun directly preceding it.  Without looking at it, what case must this pronoun be?



means “all” or “every”.  It is an adjective modifying ανθρωπον.  What case must they both be?

See all the forms of πας.

when πας is singular and anarthrous it means “every” (principle 16).



ερχομενον means “coming”.

Note the case ending and the participle morpheme.  These two things indicate that ερχομενον is a participle, not a verb.

Know the evolution of ερχομενον:

ερχ-           stem
ερχo             add the connecting vowel
ερχομενo        add the participle morpheme
ερχομενον           add the case ending

This participle is anarthrous which means it might be adjectival or adverbial. Here it is adjectival, but what noun is being modified? This is difficult because, simply by its spelling, it can be either nominative or accusative (again use the article paradigm to help parse).

 If ερχομενον is nominative… If ερχομενον is accusative…
…then this participle modifies the relative pronoun ὃ …then this participle modifies ἄνθρωπον
There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. (NASB) That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. (KJV)
It is the light which is coming into the world. It is the man which is coming into the world.

If you have memorized the article paradigm, parsing κοσμον will not be difficult.



John 1:10

ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ ἦν

Note the linking verb ην.

A prepositional phrase.  Adverbial or adjectival?


καὶ ὁ κόσμος δι’ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο καὶ ὁ κόσμος αὐτὸν οὐκ ἔγνω.

ουκ is the exact same word as ου. ου is used when the next word begins with a consonant; ουκ when the next work begins with a vowel. It is an adverb.

The verb εγνω (third singular) is from γινωσκω. The reason it is spelled so strange is because it is a second aorist. Do note the augment, which at least helps you narrow this verb down to either an aorist or an imperfect. There are no imperfects of γινωσκω in the NT.

γνω           the stem
εγνω           add the augment
εγνω           add the verb ending (there is no ending for the third, singular; secondary endings; see here or BBG p. 352)


John 1:11

εἰς τὰ ἴδια ἦλθεν καὶ οἱ ἴδιοι αὐτὸν οὐ παρέλαβον

Does εις here have a spatial meaning or advantage? (GGBB 396)  You can only make this decision by analyzing the context and deciding which meaning best fits this context.  εις is the preposition. What is the OP?

Is this phrase adjectival or adverbial?  What word is modified?  ιδια means “his own”  Why is ιδια accusative?

ηλθεν is from ερχομαι.

Notice that ιδιοι is nominative. Why?  αυτον is accusative. Why?



παρελαβον is a compound verb the preposition παρα and the verb λαμβανω merged into one word. Note the changed stem. This means λαμβανω is a second aorist.  Here is the evolution:

λαμβαν-             present tense stem
λαβ-                    aorist tense stem  (since it differs from the present stem, it is a second aorist)
παραλαβ            add the preposition to make the compound verb
παρελαβ             add the augment
παρελαβο             add the connecting vowel
παρελαβον             add the verb ending

Print Friendly, PDF & Email