Adjectives (More In-depth)

A Greek adjective can have one of two major relationships to the noun (or substantive) that it is modifying. It can be either in the attributive position or the predicate position. Following is an explanation of these two positions of Greek adjectives.
A Greek adjective can also be used as a substantive, taking the place of a noun. See below for an explanation of the substantival use of the adjective.

Attributive Position of Greek Adjectives

If an adjective is in the attributive position, it is not making the central statement or thought in the sentence concerning the noun it is modifying. It is only ascribing an attribute or quality to the noun, while the predicate part of the sentence is making the grammatically more fundamental statement about the noun. The Attributive and Predicate positions of the adjective are determined by word order, especially in relation to the definite article.
In the syntactical formation of the 'attribute position of the adjective', the adjective comes after the definite article. That means that the adjective could stand between the definite article and the noun (the ascriptive use - as in the first example below) or the adjective could come after the definite article which is following the noun (the restrictive use - as in the second example below).
It is common even in English for there to be a definite article followed by an adjective, which is in turn followed by the noun that they are modifying. This is also a common Greek phrase as far as word order is concerned (and is called the ascriptive use of the attribute position). That is "Article-Adjective-Noun".
However, Greek can say basically the same thing by having a definite article, the noun it modifies, then another definite article (in the same form as the first one), and then the adjective that modifies the noun. That is "Article-Noun-Article-Adjective". (This is called the restrictive use of the attribute position). Rather than merely ascribing a quality to the noun, this form gives a little more emphasis to that quality represented by the adjective and helps to set this noun apart from other ones without this quality. (See the second example below).
Although in the attributive use the adjective usually comes after the definite article (associated with the noun), if the noun it is modifying does not have a definite article associated with it (i.e. it is anarthrous), one can only tell by context whether it is in the attributive or predicate position.

    The Ascriptive Use of the Attribute Adjective: For example Luke 6:45 says, "The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good." Here the order of the Greek words is 'article', 'adjective', 'noun'.

    The Restrictive Use of the Attribute Adjective: For example John 10:11 Jesus says, "I am the good shepherd". In Greek, the word order is "I am the shepherd the good", that is 'article', 'noun', 'article', 'adjective'. This is the second way the attributive adjective can be formed. The noun 'shepherd' is being modified by the adjective 'good'. Notice that 'good' still comes after the second definite article which modifies this noun. This position helps to emphasis the quality of "good" as if to say that not all shepherds are good. It could be translated, "I am the shepherd, that is, the good one (as opposed to the others who are not good)".

Predicate Position of Greek Adjectives

In the predicate position of the adjective, the adjective itself is actually making the statement about the noun (i.e. it is in the predicate part of the sentence or clause). The noun and the adjective could by themselves be the complete simple sentence. (But note that the adjective used attributively could not form a complete sentence.) When the adjective is in the predicate position, a form of the verb "to be" may or not be explicitly present in Greek, but will always be in the English translation of the phrase.
When the adjective is in the predicate position, it will not follow the definite article connected to the noun (whether the noun is articular or anarthrous).

For example: Jesus said in Mark 10:18, "No one is good except One, that is, God." The phrase "No one is good" is only two words in Greek. The first word means 'no one' and the second word means 'good'. Thus there is a noun and an adjective with no intervening definite article. This is the predicate position of the adjective (since there is no definite article before the adjective). In translation, you must insert the appropriate form of the word "to be" to capture the sense of the predicate position. Therefore these two words by themselves could form a complete simple sentence in Greek.

Substantival Use of Greek Adjectives

The adjective can also be used alone (with or without the article) as a noun (substantive). In this situation, if the adjective is masculine, it is referring to "men" (or "man" - singular), "people", or "ones". If the adjective is feminine, it is referring to "women." And if the adjective is neuter, it is referring to a "class" or "things" .

For example, the neuter, plural adjective for "living" would mean "the living" as opposed to "the dead." An example from Galatians 1:1 is "...God the Father, who raised Him (Christ) from among the dead." The word 'dead' is a genitive, plural adjective (either neuter or masculine -- probably neuter). It means "the dead" or, possibly, "the dead ones" or "the dead men."
Notice also that in Greek the adjective "raised" is actually an attributive adjectival use of on aorist participle.

Some Terms Associated with Definite Articles

When a noun is said to be "Articular", it means that there is a definite article modifying (associated with) the noun.

When a noun is said to be "Anarthrous", it means that there is not a definite article modifying (associated with) the noun.

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