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The Greek Article.
The nature of this magazine, and its limited size, precludes the idea of attempting to
teach Greek. Many of our readers have, however, commenced this interesting study and
so we intend, as occasion offers, to insert a page which, while being of interest to all, will
be particularly useful for those commencing N.T. Greek.
The article "the."
Some, through not realizing the accuracy and delicacy of the Greek language, are apt
to pass over with scant attention the little word "the." The A.V. on numerous occasions
omits the article where it should be inserted, and inserts it where it should be omitted.
"The (one) pinnacle of the temple" becomes "a pinnacle" (as though there were
many). Instead of "the teacher of Israel," we read of Nicodemus that he was but
"a teacher." "The virgin," namely, the one foretold by Isaiah, is translated in Matt. 1: 23,
"a virgin," thereby losing all the emphasis of fulfilled prophecy. The unwarranted
insertion of the article in John 4: 27, "the woman," instead of "a woman," changes the
ground of the disciples' wonder. They knew nothing of the woman's history. Their
surprise was that the Lord (a Jew and a man), should thus freely be speaking to any
Many of us have realized the importance of the article or its omission in such
expressions, "The Spirit"--the Giver, and "spirit"--His gifts. The following summary
may be useful:--
(1) Definite. The, that, this. "The virgin." "This persuasion" (Gal. 5: 8).
(2) Explanative. "The adoption, that is to say, the redemption of our body"
(Rom. 8: 23).
(3) It denotes a class or kind. "The poor, the man" (mankind, as we say).
(4) It indicates the subject of a sentence, "The Word was God."
(5) When the article is present it demonstrate, "That (Gk. the) good thing"
When the article is absent it describes the essence or character.
John 1: 14. "The Word (demonstrative--one particular person) was made flesh"
(i.e. partook of flesh and its characteristics, sin excepted).
We could not say, "The Word was made A flesh," for that would be absurd, yet many,
for their own purposes, translate a similar construction, "The Word was A God," because
the absurdity is not so apparent.