The Semantic Range of the Article-Noun-Καί-Noun Plural Construction in the New Testament -- By: Daniel B. Wallace

Journal: Grace Theological Journal
Volume: GTJ 004:1 (Spring 1983)
Article: The Semantic Range of the Article-Noun-Καί-Noun Plural Construction in the New Testament
Author: Daniel B. Wallace


The Semantic Range of the
Article-Noun-Καί-Noun Plural Construction
in the New Testament

Daniel B. Wallace

In this article the author seeks to demonstrate that the syntax of the article-noun-καί-noun plural construction has been largely misunderstood. It does notfit the Granville Sharp rule because the nouns are plural. Nor is its semantic range shut up to absolute distinction or absolute identity. After an exhaustive treatment of the construction in the NT, it is affirmed that there are three other semantic possibilities. A proper semantic grid helps in seeing possibilities in certain passages which have hitherto gone unnoticed and in omitting certain options (e.g., thatpastors=teachersin Eph 4:11) which have been assumed true.

* * *

In Eph 4:11 the apostle Paul tells his audience that the glorified Messiah has bestowed on the church gifted men. These men are described as “apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.” The construction in Greek is τοὺς μὲν ἀποστόλους, τοὺς δὲ προφήτας, τοὺς δὲ εὐαγγελιστάς, τοὺς δὲ ποιμένας καὶ διδασκάλους. Expositors have long noted that there is no article preceding διδασκάλους, which has raised the question: are the teachers to be identified with the pastors or are pastors and teachers two distinct groups? Grammatically speaking the question is: does the article before ποιμένας govern both ποιμένας, and διδασκάλους and if so, in what way (i.e., does it unite them loosely, make them identical, etc.)? Expositors have come down on both sides of the fence, though few have seriously investigated the syntax of the construction as a major key to the solution.1 This

passage is perhaps the best known text in the NT which involves the article-noun-καί-noun plural construction. A proper understanding of the grammar involved may help to solve this exegetical and ecclesiological problem.

But Eph 4:11 is not the only debatable passage involving this construction. Just within Ephesians we may also note 1:1, which uses substantival adjectives (τοῖς α...

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