New Testament Greek Syntax
The Dative Case
Expressing the idea of personal interest, accompaniment and means
Later Greek replaces the dative with a prepositional phrase, which process is evident in the NT
The pure dative expresses personal interest in someone or something where a relationship is specified.
The prime function of the dative is to serve as an object complement - Common
The noun or pronoun in the dative is the person or thing which receives the direct object of an active verb, or the subject of a passive verb, cf. Wallace.
Often the classification merges with the dative of interest and may be classified as such, so Turner
Sometimes with a preposition: en, epi = "to"
I will repay all things TO YOU
panta apodwsw soi
We are manifested TO GOD
Luke will often use proV + acc. instead of a dative for indirect speech
"[They] complained .... TO the disciples"
egogguzon ... proV touV maqhtaV
Most datives can be classified as datives of interest, so Turner
Identifying the one for whose benefit something is done - "for"
Sometimes with a preposition: en, epi = "for", "to", ..
She has done a good thing FOR ME
kalon ergon hrgasato en emoi
Most datives can be classified as datives of interest, so Turner
Identifying the one who will be adversely affected by the action - "against"
Sometimes with a preposition: en, epi = "against"
Herodias had a grudge AGAINST HIM
hJ HJrw/diaV eneicen aurw/
A dative can function adverbially, limiting a verb or adjective
In this usage the dative identifies a person or thing:
a) possessing little or no interest in, but mere reference to; "concerning, about, in regard to, ..."
b) representation or benefit; "on behalf of / for the benefit of"
c) Relation; "in relation to."
Sometimes with a preposition: en, epi = "about" .....
Be not anxious ABOUT your LIFE
mh merminate th/ yuch/ umwn
Identifying the person to whom something belongs
Often translated with a possessive pronoun, "his", "her"
the name TO HIM was John = HIS name was John
onoma autw/ IwannhV
Identifying the person whose feelings or viewpoint are linked to the action of the verb.
Ascriptions fall into this category; "TO GOD be Glory."
Translate: "as far as I am concerned", "in my opinion"
beautiful TO GOD = beautiful as far as God is concerned
asteioV tw/ qew/
"I write TO YOU (soi)"
A dative can function as an adjective limiting a noun or another adjective
Often epexegetic, "consisting in" = "consisting of"
cf. NIV 2Cor.12:12: "the things that mark an apostle - SIGNS, WONDERS and MIRACLES - were done among you.";
Expressing the idea of location, place, position. The dative of time and space, of temporal and spacial relations.
Identifying a spot or place
Note: Wallace includes this class under Dative of Sphere.
Sometimes with a preposition: en, epi, para, proV = "at", "by", "on", "with", "in", "beside", "among", "upon", ......
they put it UPON his HEAD
epeqhkan autou th/ kefalh/
Identifying a metaphorical spacial idea
Sometimes with a preposition: en, epi, para "in the sphere of", "in the realm of" ......
having been found IN APPEARANCE as a man
schmati euJreqeiV wJV anqrwpoV
Identifying a particular point in time "when" the action of the main verb is performed
Sometimes with a preposition: en, epi = "when", "while", "at", "during", "on", .....
ON THE FIRST [DAY] of the week
th/ mia/ twn sabbatwn
Expressing the idea of conforming with a standard, code, or rule of conduct - "in conformity with."
As many as live ACCORDING TO THIS STANDARD.
oJsoi tw/ kanoni toutw/ stoichsousin
Expressing the idea of "to" or "toward" / of traveling "to".
I was not able to speak TO YOU = address YOU.
ouk hdunhqhn lalhsai uJmin
Expressing the idea of means, agent, cause, manner or instrument, indicating that by/with which the action of the verb was performed
Identifying the impersonal means (instrument) by which an action is performed
Sometimes with a preposition: en = "by", "with", "by means of"
Note: personal agency is expressed by uJpo + gentitive
because he had often been bound BY FETTERS and CHAINS
dia to auton pollakiV pedaiV kai aJusesin dedesqai
Identifying what caused the action to be performed
Sometimes with a preposition: en, epi = "because of", "on the basis of"
I am perishing here BECAUSE OF FAMINE
egw limw/ wde apollumai
As an adverb describing an accompanying circumstance, or manner (method), by which the action of the verb is performed.
"Called out WITH A LOUD VOICE"
Sometimes expressed with a preposition: en + dat. = "in", meta+ gen. = "with"
he speaks WITH BOLDNESS (= BOLDLY)
Identifying those persons or things that acompany the action performed
Often occurring with verbs with a sun prefix
Sometimes with a preposition: en, para, sun, meta = "with"
he made us alive WITH CHRIST
sunezwopoihsn tw/ Cristw/
Identifying the intervening measure between two points, usually an interval of time
Sometimes with a preposition: en = Difference by - "during", "much", "in addition to", ...
FOR A LONG TIME he had worn no garment
gronw/ iJkanw/ oiuk ededusato iJmation
Identifying the personal agent by whom the action is performed
Translation: "by", "through"
has been tamed by humankind
dedamastai th/ fusei th/ anqrwpinh/
Identifying the material (rather than tool) used to perform the action
written not WITH INK
eggrammenh ou melani;
Identifying the content that is used by a verb of filling
he was filled WITH WISDOM
being filled WITH WISDOM
Used sometimes instead of the adjective oJmoiV, "like", or the particle wJV, "as".;
The use of the dative after certain words;
The classification "necessary complement / dative complement" is often used for a dative of direct object although best limited to the dative complement of a substantive construction.
A dative will often follow compound verbs with a prefix such as sun, proV, epi, para
Jesus strictly warned them
he having spoken against THEM
oJ epitimhsaV autoiV. The prefix epi + dat. = "against"
As with the dative of indirect object, these datives may be classified as datives of interest
Some verbs naturally take a dative, eg. "I obey him" = "I am obedient to him"; "I rebuke him" = "I speak sternly to him"
Usually translated by to or in, eg pisteuw, followed by the dative, "I believe/trust IN ......."
Applicable to verbs of trusting, obeying, serving, worshipping, thanksgiving, belief, following, rebuking, helping, pleasing, commanding, ....
I serve God's LAW
I submit to LAW of God
douleuw nomw/ qeou
Sometimes with a preposition: en
A dative substantive following a verb with the prepositional prefix sun, "with", could also be classed as a dative of accompaniment.
The following word groupings often take a dative direct object, sometimes an accusative, cf. BDF:
i] Helping: to do good, to benefit, help (bohqew), please / to harm, etc. with dative or accusative
ii] Pleasing: to please (areskw)
iii] Serving: to serve (diakonew), follow, meet, make a slave to, be enslaved to
iv] Revealing: to show, reveal, seem
v] Directing: to command, censure, rebuke (epitimaw) - most times take a dative
vi] Responding: to trust, obey, believe (pisteuw), follow / disbelieve, disobey
vii] Emoting: to be angry, envy, thank (eucaristew), owe
viii] Worshipping: proskunew;
A dative can be prompted by verbal noun and is best classified as a "dative complement"
An adjective which prompts a dative is usually classified as a "dative of reference"
The nouns usually carry the idea of personal interest
service TO THE SAINTS
diakonian toiV aJgioiV;
*A less than common usage*;
For Greek font requirements see Syntax Notes
A Commentary on the Greek New Testament Exegetical Notes