Monday, May 06, 2024

Acts 2:7-8, by phrase, with a few comments on finding subjects

A crowd has just heard the disciples speaking in different dialects or languages.

7  Ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες . . . . They were amazed all

καὶ ἐθαύμαζον, . . . . and they marveled

λέγοντες πρὸς ἀλλήλους, . . . .  saying to each other

Οὐκ ἰδοὺ πάντες . . . .  look, not all  (word-by-word: not look all)

οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ λαλοῦντες . . . . these are the ones speaking

Γαλιλαῖοι; . . . . Galileans?

8  Καὶ πῶς ἡμεῖς ἀκούομεν ἕκαστος . . . and how we we hear each

τῇ ἰδίᾳ διαλέκτῳ ἡμῶν . . . . in the same / our own dialect of us 

ἐν ᾗ ἐγεννήθημεν; . . . . in which we were born?

Stunned and amazed all, they asked, 

"All of these people who are speaking are Galileans, aren't they?

And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?

Let me emphasize: one key to reading the New Testament in koine Greek is to find the subject of each phrase.  To find the subject, we usually look for nouns, pronouns, substantive adjectives, etc., in the nominative case.

As an example, in verse 7 we start with a verb: Ἐξίσταντο, 'they were amazed'.

Who was amazed?  The closest nominative plural is πάντες  ('all'), followed eventually by the participle λέγοντες ('saying').  

So all the listeners were amazed and they were all saying (something).

But then we have another πάντες.  And another verb, εἰσιν, which is immediately followed by οἱ λαλοῦντες and Γαλιλαῖοι.

Πάντες, οἱ λαλοῦντες, and Γαλιλαῖοι are all in the nominative plural, and must be the subject of something, which is here clearly the verb εἰσιν.  So the preceding phrase,

"οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ λαλοῦντες" . . . . 'these are the ones speaking'

refers to the disciples, not the amazed listeners, with the disciples identified as Galileans.

In the next post, the verb form ἐξίσταντο.

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