Lesson 45: Function Words/ὅτι and ἵνα


645. ὅτι is an exceedingly common subordinator. Like English that, it is often employed to introduce so-called substantive clauses (§643.2), which may appear as the subject or object of the sentence, or stand in apposition (a modifying structure) to some element in the sentence. Functionally speaking, the last might be more accurately described as an adjective clause. In addition, ὅτι is often a causal subordinator in either a strong (because) or a weak (for) sense. In this sense ὅτι introduces an adverbial clause.

English equivalents of ὅτι are therefore that; because, since, for.

646. ὅτι occasionally initiates a clause that functions as the subject of the sentence (1s):

C p5n+ D 2pass
(1) καὶ) ἐν τῷ νόμῳ [δὲ] τῷ ὑμετέρῳ / γέγραπται /
1s ὅτι δύο ἀνθρώπων ἡ μαρτυρία ἀληθής ἐστιν Jn 8:17
And in your own law it is written that the
testimony of two men is true

The English It-transformation makes the sentence read more smoothly, but it would be quite possible to translate literally:

that the testimony of two men is true has been
written in your own law

In either case the ὅτι-clause is the subject of the sentence.

647. ὅτι is much more commonly used to introduce object clauses. One form of the object clause is that in which ὅτι serves to introduce the content, in the form of statements, of what is said, thought, etc., after verbs denoting mental or sense perception or the transmission of what is said or thought. This form is commonly known as indirect discourse (discourse in the broad sense, including sense perceptions, observations, thoughts, reflections, etc., as well as what is spoken). Another form of the object clause is that in which ὅτι serves to introduce speech reported directly. This form is called direct discourse, and ὅτι serves merely as the initial pair of quotation marks. In this function ὅτι is known as ὅτι-recitativum. Direct speech in the structure of an object clause after a verb of saying, however, may not be signaled by a subordinator at all, as noted earlier (§642, (3)). A variety of examples will serve to indicate the range of ὅτι.

648. ὅτι used to introduce object clauses after verbs of perception, saying, etc. (indirect discourse):

2-1 s4
(2) οἶδα / ὅτι σπέρμα Ἀβραάμ ἐστε Jn 8:37
I know that you are descendants of Abraham
2-1 s4
(3) θεωρῶ / ὅτι προφήτης εἶ Jn 4:19
I perceive that you are a prophet
2-1 D 5b s4
(4) εἶπον [οὖν] ὑμῖν / ὅτι ἀποθανεῖσθε ἐν Jn 8:24
τaῖς ἁμαρτίαις ὑμῶν
I told you that you would die in your sins

Bl-D §§396, 397.

649. ὅτι used to introduce direct speech (object clauses after verbs of saying):

With (4) may be compared

2-1 D A 5d
(5) εἶπεν [οὖν] πάλιν / αὐτοῖς / ...
ἐν τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ ὑμῶν ἀποθανεῖσθε Jn 8:21
Again he said to them., . . .
"You will die in your sin"

where the reported statement, though an object clause, is not introduced by ὅτι. However, ὅτι may be used to introduce directly reported speech of just this type:

(6) ὡμολόγησεν ὅτι ἐγὼ ουκ εἰμὶ ὁ Χριστός Jn 1:20
He confessed, "I am not the Christ"

650. In summary, ὅτι is never omitted with indirect discourse (in the form in which ὅτι may appear), but it may be used or not, at the discretion of the author, with direct discourse. The line between indirect and direct discourse with ὅτι is consequently difficult or impossible to draw where the indirect form has not undergone modification of person or tense after verbs of saying. However, direct discourse purports to give the exact words of the original, while indirect discourse is obligated to report only the sense. For the infinitive and participle in indirect discourse, s. §585.

651. What type of subordination ὅτι signals is further complicated by the fact that ὅτι also serves as a causal subordinator (cf. γάρ as a causal sentence connector, §633).

651.1 ὅτι as a strong causal subordinator:

C 2c-1 4b i
(7) ἀλλα) ζητεῖτέ / με / ἀποκτεῖναι,
ὁτι ὁ λόγος ὁ ἐμὸς οὐ χωρεῖ ἐν ὑμῖν Jn 8:37
Yet you seek to kill me,
because my word finds no place in you

Cf. §641(2).

651.2 ὅτι as a weak causal subordinator:

3a 2 1n+
(8) ἀληθής / ἐστιν / ἡ μαρτυρία μου,
ὅτι οἶδα πόθεν ἦλθον καὶ ποῦ ὑπάγω Jn 8:14
My witness is true,
for I know whence I come and whither I go

Weak and strong causal ὅτι cannot everywhere be distinguished with certainty, since the difference depends on a reading of the context.

652.1 ὅτι may also introduce clauses that stand in apposition to some other element in the sentence, usually with a demonstrative pronoun (οὗτος) preceding.

1d D 2 1n+
(9) αὔτη [δὲ] εστίν / ἡ κρίσις,//
ὅτι τὸ φῶς ἐλήλυθεν εἰς τὸν κόσμον Jn 3:19
And this is the judgment,
that light has come into the world

The ὅτι-clause here modifies αὕτη: The judgment is this, namely that ...

652.2 Such appositional ὅτι-clauses may approximate direct discourse, as can be seen by the translation of the following example:

C 2 1d 1n+
(10) καὶ) ἔστιν / αὕτη / ἡ ἀγγελία / ... //
ὅτι, ὁ θεὸς φῶς ἐστιν 1 Jn 1:15
and this is the message
is light"

652.3 Appositional words, word groups and clauses are separated from that to which they refer by // in order to indicate that they are parallel to and qualify their antecedent. Although usually interpreted as substantive clauses, they might equally well be taken as adjective (modifying) clauses (s. further, §§668-669).

653. Summary of the functions of ὅτι:

653.1 Used to introduce substantive clauses in the structure of subject (§646).

653.2 Used to introduce object clauses in the form of indirect discourse after verbs of perception, saying, etc. (§648).

653.3 Used to introduce object clauses in the form of directly quoted speech (§649).

653.4 Used as a causal subordinator (§651).

653.5 Used to introduce clauses in apposition to a demonstrative pronoun.

654. ἵνα exhibits the same broad range of usage as does ὅτι, and is also exceedingly common. Like ὅτι, it may be used to introduce substantive clauses, of which the most common is the object clause after certain categories of transitive verbs. The ἵνα-clause may also stand in apposition to another element in the sentence. Perhaps the most characteristic use of the ἵνα-clause is as an adverbial clause denoting purpose (traditionally called a final clause).

English equivalents for ἵνα are in order that, that.

655. ἵνα customarily signals that the subjunctive mood is coming in the subordinate clause. Since a subordinate clause introduced by ἵva usually expresses something contemplated, desired, intended, the appropriate mood is subjunctive, as the mood appropriate to statements that are not yet fact. The subjunctive is the mood of dubious assertion, the shall and will mood, with reference to the future (§307.2).

656. ἵνα introducing adverbial clauses of purpose (final clauses):

4d 2-1 sA
(1) ταῦτα / λέγω / ἵνα ὑμεῖς σωθῆτε Jn 5:34 I
say these things in order that you might be saved
2-1 5b 4n sA
(2) φέρετέ / μοι / δηνάριον / ἵνα ἴδω Mk 12:15
Bring me a denarius that I may see

The following example has two contrasting final clauses introduced by ἵνα:

NC -> D 2 1n+ 4n+
(3) οὐ [γὰρ] ἀπέστειλεν / ὁ θεὸς / τὸν υἱὸν /
εἰς τὸν κόσμον /
ἵνα κρίνῃ τὸν κόσμον /
C sA
ἀλλ') ἵνα σωθῇ ὁ κόσμος δι' αὐτοῦ Jn 3:17
For God did not send his son into the world
in order that he might condemn the world,
but in order that the world might be saved
through him

The verb in the first of these clauses might just as well be translated by an infinitive, in which case in order that is to be omitted:

For God did not send his son into the world to
condemn the world ...

With the same main verb compare

NC -> D 2c 4b 1n i
(4) οὐ [γὰρ] ἀπέστειλεν / με / Χριστὸς / βαπτίζειν
C i
(ἀλλὰ) εὐαγγελίζεσθαι 1 Cor 1:17
For Christ did not send me to baptize,
but to preach the gospel.

where the two contrasting infinitives are the equivalent of two ἵνα-clauses. The final ἵνα-clause is thus agnate (§592.2) to an infinitive of purpose (Cf. §§574-575, 833). Bl-D §390.

657. A final ἵνα-clause may also stand in apposition to another phrase expressing purpose:

p4d 2pass 1n+
(5) εἰς τοῦτο / ἐΦανερώθη / ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ,
ἵνα λύσῃ τὰ έργα τοῦ διαβόλου 1 Jn 3:8
For this reason the son of God was made manifest,
namely that he might destroy the works of the devil

The ἵνα-clause stands in apposition to and explains εἰς τοῦτο. Observe that ἵνα and the subjunctive in this example may also be translated by an infinitive:

... namely to destroy the works of the devil.

Bl-D §394.

658. A ἵνα-clause may be used as a complement of certain adjectives and nouns; the latter appear for the most part with generalized verbs εἰμί, ἔχω, e.g. εἰμὶ ἱκανός, I am fit; ἔχω χρείαν, I have need.

(6) οὐκ εἰμὶ ἱκανὸς ἵνα μου ὑπὸ τὴν στέγην εἰσέλθῃς Mt 8:8
I am not worthy that you should come under my roof
(7) καὶ οὐ χρείαν ἔχετε ἵνα τις διδάσκῃ ὑμᾶς 1 Jn 2:27
And you have no need that any one should teach you

These constructions are again agnate to constructions with the infinitive (§835). Bl-D §393.

659. ἵνα may be used to introduce an object clause after certain transitive verbs. In the sentence

2-1 s4
(8) ἠρώτα / ἵνα καταβῇ καὶ ἰάσηται αὐτοῦ τὸν υἱόν Jn 4:47
He begged that he come down and heal his son

the ἵνα-clause is the object of the verb begged (ἐρωτάω). The following example with θέλω is comparable:

Ν -> 2-1 s4
(9) οὐκ ἤθελεν / ἵνα τις γνοῖ Mk 9:30
He did not wish that any one know [it]

The translation of such sentences with a that-clause in English is sometimes felt to be awkward. An alternative is to use the infinitive:

(8) He begged him to come down and heal his son
(9) He did not wish any one to know [it]

The same option is open in Greek, e.g.

A 2-1 4d i 4n+
(10) τότε / ἠρώτησαν / αὐτὸν / ἐπιμεῖναι / ἡμέρας τινάς Acts 10:48
Then they asked him to remain for some days

Object clauses with ἵνα after certain verbs appear to be agnate (§592.2) to imperatives, e.g. in (8), the ἵνα-clause = Come down and heal my son.

660. In addition to its use in object clauses (§659), ἵνα appears in substantive clauses of other types, though less often than ὅτι (§646) . For example, a ἵνα-clause may appear as the predicate in S-II:

1n+ 2 s
(11) ἐμὸν βρῶμά / ἐστιν / ἵνα ποιήσω τὸ θέλημα
τοῦ πέμψαντός με Jn 4:34
My food is to do the will of the one sending me

Note that an infinitive is used to translate this ἵνα-clause. One might translate:

My food is that I do the will of the one sending me

The translation indicates that the two constructions are agnate in English; they are also agnate in Greek, but the construction with an infinitive is less common in Greek.

661. A ἵνα-clause rarely appears as subject:

C Q 2pass p4n+
(12) καὶ) πῶς / γέγραπται / ἐπὶ τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου /
ἵνα πολλὰ πάθῃ καὶ ἐξουδενηθῇ; Mk 9:12
And how is it written of the son of man
that he should suffer many things and be treated with contempt?

This construction is agnate to a ὅτι-clause as exemplified in (1), §646: both are subjects of a passive verb.

662. Like ὅτι (§652), ἵνα may introduce clauses that stand in apposition to some other element in a sentence, usually with a demonstrative pronoun (οὗτος) preceding. (5) in §657 exhibits the same construction but with a purposive nuance. In the following example, this nuance is missing; the ἵνα-clause is merely explanatory.

D 1d 2 3n+
(13) ὅτι αὕτη / ἐστιν / ἡ ἀγγελία ... //
ἵνα ἀγαπῶμεν ἀλλήλους 1 Jn 3:11
For this is the message ... namely that we should love
one another

s modifies 3n+, i.e. stands in apposition to it (indicated by //). Bl-D §394.