Adverbial Clauses: Statistical Studies -- By: James L. Boyer

Journal: Grace Theological Journal
Volume: GTJ 11:1 (Spring 1990)
Article: Adverbial Clauses: Statistical Studies
Author: James L. Boyer

Adverbial Clauses:
Statistical Studies

James L. Boyer

This third article in a series of studies dealing with subordinate clauses in the Greek NT will be concerned with the adverbial clauses. The over-all classification is functional, based on the kinds of adverbial modification made by the clauses. Only in the case of the conditional clauses is it necessary to carry the classification further. Attention will be given to the conjunctions or conjunctive relative phrases used to introduce the clauses, to the moods used, and to the clause order. A special feature of this series of studies is the attempt to give statistical information at every level, so that the student may begin to appreciate the relative magnitude of each structure.

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Just as adjectives modify nouns so adverbs modify verbs, limiting and defining the circumstances under which the action of the verb is to be understood. As adjectives answer the questions “who?” “what?” “what kind?” so adverbs answer such questions as “when?” “where?” “why?” “how?” “under what circumstances?” They may be single words (as νῦν), or phrases (as διά τοῦτο), or full clauses. The clauses are the subject of our present study.

They will be taken primarily in the order of frequency of occurrence in the NT, except that in a couple of instances similarity or relationship between classes will bring two together out of the numerical order.

Causal Clauses


As the name adequately indicates, causal clauses modify the main verb of a sentence by stating the cause or reason for that main assertion. Their meaning is reflected in the way they are translated into

English. Using the NASB1 as point of comparison these clauses are introduced by “for” (473 times), “because” (224), “since” (26) and a variety of at least 16 other ways, each occurring less than six times.

No attempt is made in this study to refine the classification further, no sub-classification will be attempted.

One problem of identification needs to be considered; the distinction between coordinate (main clause) and subordinate clauses. For example, it is not always easy, or even possible, to decide whether γάρ or even ὅτι is introducing a subordinate or a main clause. Actually GRAMCORD has listed 800 occurrences of γάρ as introducing main clauses (CX)You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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