New Testament Greek Syntax
A verbal adjective possessing some of the characteristics of a verb as well as an adjective
Once the function of participle (and infinitives?) in the NT is mastered, the rest is child's play
1. Substantival Participle
A participle functioning as a substantive, or substantival phrase or cluase
i] Independent substantive
A participle, not accompanied by a noun, that functions as a substantive, especially as a noun.
The participle may function as a subject nominative, an accusative direct object, or a dative indirect object of a finite verb
Most times with an article, but sometimes without, eg.
BELIEVERS (ONES BELIEVING) were added to the Lord
prosetiqento pisteuontaV tw/ kuriw/
In Mark, an article + de + a participle is often adverbial rather than substantival
but some, WHILE FOLLOWING, were afraid
the ones and FOLLOWING were afraid
oiJ de akolouqounteV efobounto
ii] Nominative Absolute (Hanging nominative)
A substantival participle functioning as a nominative pendens (Note iii)
A nominative article + a genitive participle, without a verb
the ONE WHO CONQUERS
iii] Dependent statement of perception
A participle forming an object clause, sometimes with it's own subject (accusative), after verbs of feeling, seeing, or knowing (rarely saying)
This construction is usually formed by an accusative infinitive construction, or a clause introduced by oJti + ind. verb, or by iJna + subj.
Accusative anarthrous participle with acc. noun
For I see THAT YOU ARE full of bitterness and captive to sin
eiV gar colhn pikriaV kai sundesmon adikiaV oJrw se onta
iv] Object Complement
A Participle (more commonly an acc. adj., noun, pro., rarely an inf.) may be used to complement the direct object of a verb.
It usually predicates / states / asserts a fact about the accusative object.
Similar to an appositional function, except that it asserts a fact about the substantive.
Most often translated as a simple participle.
With the direct object it forms an object complement double accusative construction.
Some grammarians will tend to classify participles asserting a fact about a substantive as adjectival, predicative. The issue is somewhat technical and doesn't affect our understanding of the text, but can be an issue for exam purposes. See Goodell Attic Greek Grammar, Predicative Adjectival Participles. Note the distinction drawn below for adjectival participles, predicative, as used in these notes, remembering that such classifications can be somewhat arbitrary.
2. Adjectival Participle
A participle that functions like an adjective (a verbal adjective)
Usually with an article, but if the noun it modifies is without an article then the participle is usually without an article (anarthrus)
A participle that describes, modifies, or limits a substantive which may be the subject or object of a sentence.
Can be translated as a relative clause "who/which", or as a simple participle.
article, participle, substantive - common
article, substantive, article participle - emphasizes participle
substantive, article, participle.
substantive, participle - anarthrous.
The peace of God WHICH SURPASSES
hJ eirhnh tou qeou hJ uJperecousa
The LIVING water
to uJdwr to zwn
An adjectival participle that predicates / states / asserts something about a substantive.
participle, substantive (anarthrous)... Participle emphatic
substantive, participle (anarthrous) ... Substantive emphatic
For technical classification purposes it is differentiated from an object complement by the following elements:
Tends to be in the nominative case.
Usually requiring a translation with the verb to-be.
the word of God IS LIVING
zwn oJ logoV tou qeou
Not to be confused with a participle serving as a predicate nominative. Such will usually takes an article and function as the nominative object of a linking verb.
3. Verbal Participle
A participle where the verbal aspect is prominent
i] Adverbial (Circumstantial)
A participle that modifies a verb in the sentence usually introduces an adverbial clause
Adverbial participles takes the case of the subject of its associate verb, for this reason most are nominative
Adverbial participles simply indicate the circumstances under which the action of a verb takes place
The following labels are not conveyed by the participle itself, but are suggested by the context
See Infinitives for an outline of all Adverbial clauses
a) Time (Temporal)
Identifying the time when the action of the main verb is accomplished
Translate: "when", "after", "while"
b) Manner (Modal)
Identifying the manner / method in which the action of the main verb is accomplished.
Answers the question, how? Adds extra color. Sometimes with wJV.
she came TREMBLING
c) Means (Instrumental)
Identifying the means or agent by which an action of the main verb is accomplished = "by means of"
An instrumental participle will usually follow the main verb
d) Reason (Causal)
Identifying the ground by which the action of the main verb is accomplished.
Why? (part. precedes verb) = since, because
e) Condition (Conditional)
Identifying a condition on which the fulfillment of the main verb depends
Forming the protasis of a conditional clause, 3rd class (some uncertainty) = "if"
f) Concession (Concessive)
Identifying a concession which implies that the action of the main verb is trued in spite of the action of the participle.
The participle precedes the verb = "although" [in spite of main verb].
Often with a concessive particle: kaiper, kaitoige
ALTHOUGH THEY KNEW God, they did not honor him as God
gnonteV ton qeon ouc wJV qeon edoxasan
g) Purpose (final, telic)
Expressing purpose = English infinitive.
h) Result (consecutive)
Identifying the result (outcome) of the action of the main verb
a] Logical result: = "with the result of"
b] Temporal result: = "with the result that"
ii] Attendant Circumstance (Parallel)
Identifying an action that accompanies the action of the main verb
In this construction the main verb has independent force rather than being modified by the participle
Best translated as a finite verb, joined to the main verb by "and"
Sometimes Redundant (pleonastic), eg "Jesus, ANSWERING (ANSWERED AND) said", so "answering" left untranslated.
Now GO AND learn
poreuqenteV de maqete
A round-about way of expressing a simple verbal idea
Possibly used to emphasize aspect, but probably just an Aramaism, cf. Zerwick #361.
The verb to-be + an anarthrous (without the article) participle
The Periphrastic Present
present verb to-be + present participle
The Periphrastic Imperfect
imperfect verb to-be + present participle
The Periphrastic Future
future verb to-be + present participle
The Periphrastic Perfect
present verb to-be + perfect participle
The Periphrastic Pluperfect
imperfect verb to-be + perfect participle
iv] Supplementary (Sometimes classified Complementary in Koine Gk.)
A participle that supplements the thought of the main verb. Rare
An infinitive would usually perform this task.
Normally translated as a simple participle or infinitive
They continued TO QUESTION him
They continued QUESTIONING him
epemonon erwtwnteV auton
Functions as if a finite verb in the imperative mood. Rare
It must be independent of the main verb to be an imperatival participle. Rare.
HATE the evil
apostugounteV ton ponhron
vi] Indicative Finite Verb
An independent proper / absolute participle . Very rare
HE HAD a name
vii] Future Participle
A verb in the future tense with a participle ending. Very rare
Expressing either purpose, translated as an infinitive, or referring to a future event.
The verb to-be in Luke 22:49
esomenon (eimi, esomai)
4. Genitive Absolute
An independent genitive noun or pronoun + anarthrous gen. part. at the beginning of a sentence
Usually translated as a temporal clause but sometimes other adverbial options will suit
Dative and accusative forms. Rare
[While] THEY WERE SPEAKING these things
touta de autwn lalountwn
-toV -teoV endings.
Not to be confused with participles.
They are adjectives formed from a verbal stem
agaphtoV - beloved
eklektoV - elect
adunatoV - impossible.
ii] Participles and tense
The tense of a participle to a degree expresses aspect, but more importantly time in relation to the main verb and its context:
Antecedent action relative to the main verb = aorist participle
Simultaneous action relative to the main verb = present participle
Subsequent action relative to the main verb = future participle
Sometimes an aorist participle when the participle is placed after the main verb.
iii] A Pendent Nominitive
A nominative pendens "consists in the enunciation of the logical (not grammatical) subject at the beginning of the sentence, followed by a sentence in which that subject is taken up by a pronoun in the case required by the syntax", Zerwick.
*A less than common usage*
iv] Participial phrase
It is common in Greek for a participial construction to present as a sandwich
oiJ enwpion tou qeou kaqhmenoi
the ones before the throne sitting
those who were sitting before the throne
The articular participle is separated by the prepositional phrase "before the throne"
For Greek font requirements see Syntax Notes
A Commentary on the Greek New Testament Exegetical Notes