Friday, August 25, 2023

Acts 1:8

25 August 2023 

ἀλλὰ λήμψεσθε δύναμιν ἐπελθόντος τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος ἐφ' ὑμᾶς, καὶ ἔσεσθέ μου μάρτυρες ἔν τε Ἰερουσαλὴμ καὶ ἐν πάσῃ τῇ Ἰουδαίᾳ καὶ Σαμαρείᾳ καὶ ἕως ἐσχάτου τῆς γῆς

Vocabulary note:  Σαμαρίᾳ is sometimes seen as an alternative spelling for Σαμαρείᾳ.  Over the hundreds - and ultimately thousands - of years of development of the Greek language, a number of sound changes occurred.  One of those changes involved the vowel combination 'ει', which early on (before Christ) took on a pronunciation very like 'ι'.

Let's identify the verb forms in this verse, and their subjects.  I am covering the first two today, and the final verb form - and final phrase - in the next post.

1  λήμψεσθε:  2-P, future middle indicative, λαμβάνω

        This very common verb (over 250 uses in the NT) has an irregular conjugation, including:

            PP1:  λαμβάνω

            PP2:  (future middle, deponent) λήψομαι or λήμψομαι

            PP3:  (2nd aorist)  ἔλαβον

        The subject of λήμψεσθε is, of course, 'you (plural)'.  'You' refers back to the beginning of Acts, where the people that Jesus is speaking to are referred to as his apostles (τοῖς ἀποστόλοις, Acts 1:2).

Λήμψεσθε also has a direct object:  δύναμιν, 'power', in the accusative, as expected.  The feminine noun δύναμις is known from Homer down, and is related to the English words 'dynamic' and 'dynamite'.

2  ἐπελθόντος: neuter singular genitive, aorist active participle, ἐπέρχομαι

        Since this participle is singular, it cannot refer to the apostles.  By sense, it seems like the referent is τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος, which is also in the genitive.  What is happening here?

The phrase ἐπελθόντος τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος (ἐφ' ὑμᾶς) is a genitive absolute; that is, a comgination of a participle and a noun / pronoun in the genitive, with a weak grammatical relationship to the rest of the sentence.  The Holy Spirit is, by meaning, the subject of ἐπελθόντος.  That's the way it works.

The prepositional phrase ἐφ' ὑμᾶς completes the action:  the Holy Spirit comes upon you.  Remember that the form ἐφ' is an alternative spelling for ἐπί, and used before words starting with a vowel with rough breathing.

Moving on to ἔσεσθε next time . . . .