The Berean Expositor
Volume 33 - Page 54 of 253
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To the saints which are at Ephesus.
Tois ousin: The participle.
pp. 6, 7
We have already discussed the MSS evidence for the retention of the words en
Epheso, "in Ephesus", which occur in Eph. 1: 1, and found every reason for believing
that this epistle was actually addressed to the saints at Ephesus, even though subsequently
it may have been used as a circular letter in making known the new revelation of the
Few commentators follow the "puerile conceit", as Middleton calls it, of Basil, who
attempted to make some profound sense of translating Eph. 1: 1, "To the saints that are".
Basil accumulated instances where the true God is called ho on, "He Who is", and then
fixed upon this passage in Eph. 1: 1 to prove that the true Christians are called hoi ontes,
"Those who are", in opposition to the heathen Ta me onta, "The things that are not"
(I Cor. 1: 28).
We leave this matter and turn our attention to the words Tois ousin, "To those who
are". "Are" is a part of the verb "to be", and as we write for those who desire help all
along the line, we venture to make sure that even this English term is understood. Words
in the Greek are usually classified under eight heads, called "parts of speech". These
eight heads are: Article, Noun, Pronoun, Verb, Participle, Adverb, Conjunction, and
Preposition. For the moment we are concerned only with one of these parts of speech,
the participle. We must, however, include the verb in our study if we are to understand
the participle. The name "verb" indicates the importance of this part of speech, for it
means "THE WORD", and no true sentence can be made without it.
"A verb is a word which signifies to do, to suffer, or to be." Hence "There are three
kinds of verbs, active, passive and neuter".
"A verb neuter expresses being, or a state or condition of being; when the agent and
the object acted upon coincide, and the event is properly neither action nor passion, but
rather something between both; as I am, I sleep, I walk." (Bp. Lowth).
The verb "to be" is therefore a neuter verb. Now we do not say "I be" or "You be",
but "I am" and "You are", and the "pattern" to which any particular verb conforms is
called its paradigm. Now the paradigm of the verb "to be" is as follows:--
Indicative Present.
1st Per. Sing.
I am.
1st Per. Plur.
We are.
2nd Per. Sing.
Thou art.
2nd Per. Plur.
You are.
3rd Per. Sing.
He is.
3rd Per. Plur.
They are.
The paradigm of the Greek verb eimi, "to be", is as follows:--