Lesson 61: Adverbial Clauses/Local, Causal, Final, Consecutive Clauses


0875. An adverbial local clause specifies the place of the action of the main verb.

Local clauses are introduced by οὗ, ὅπου where, and ὅθεν whence.

875.1 Local clauses may be adjectival or adverbial. In adjectival local clauses, the place is specified by a noun or equivalent in the main clause; this noun is then further specified by an adjective clause, e.g.

(1) καὶ ἦλθεν εἰς Ναζαρά,
οὗ ἦν τεθραμμένος
Lk 4:16
And he came to Nazareth,
where he had been brought up
(2) εἰς τὸν οἶκον μου ἐπιστρέψω,
ὅθεν ἐξῆλθον
Mt 12:44
I will return to my house
from which I came

οὗ and ὅθεν appear predominantly in adjectival local clauses in the New Testament.

Adverbial local clauses modify the verb in the main clause. The first example (i) is adjectival, the second (ii) adverbial:

(i) He is going to Chicago, where he lives
(ii) He goes wherever he wants

ὅπου is the subordinator used most often to introduce adverbial local clauses.

875.2 Adverbial local clauses, like temporal clauses (§868.2), are either definite or indefinite. Definite local clauses take the indicative mood, as a rule. Indefinite local clauses take a past tense of the indicative with ἄν in an iterative sense or ἄν and the subjunctive.

876.1 Definite local clauses. The following are examples of ὅπου and the indicative in definite local clauses:

(3) τὸ πνεῦμα ὅπου θέλει, πνεῖ Jn 3:8
The spirit blows where it wills
(4) οὐχ ὅπου ὠνομάσθη Χριστός Rom 15:20
not where the Christ has been named
(5) ὅπου ἦν τὸ πρότερον Jn 6:62
where he was earlier

876.2 Indefinite local clauses.

(6) καὶ ὅπου ἄν εἰσεπορεύετο είς κώμας ἤ εἰς πόλεις
ἤ εἰς ἀγρούς, ...
Mk 6:56
And wherever he would go, into villages, towns,
or the country
, ...
(7) ὅπου ἐαν εἰσέλθητε εἰς οἰκίαν,
ἐκεῖ μένετε
Mk 6:10
Wherever you enter a house,
stay there
(8) ὅπου ἐὰν κηρυχθῇ τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τοῦτο ... Mt 26:13
Wherever this gospel is preached ...

In (6) ὅπου is followed by ἄν and the imperfect. ἐάν in (7) and (8) stands for ἄν, as frequently elsewhere (Bl-D §§107, 371).


0877. A causal clause states the reason or basis for the action of the main verb.

The principal subordinator used to introduce causal clauses is ὅτι (§651). Other causal subordinators include ἐπεί, ἐπειδή, διότι, καθότι, ὅθεν, listed roughly in the order of their frequency in the New Testament.

διὰ τό and the infinitive also functions as a causal clause (§836.2), and the circumstantial participle may serve as a causal clause (§846.2).

877. Causal clauses regularly take the indicative (in classical the optative also appears). The following is a representative sample of causal clauses:

(9) πῶς ἔσται τοῦτο,
ἐπεὶ ἄνδρα οὐ γινώσκω;
Lk 1:34
How can this be,
since I have no husband?
(10) νουθετοῦνται ...
διότι εὑρέθη ἐν αὐτοῖς πονηρία
HermVis 3.5.4
They are being admonished ...
because wickedness has been found in them
(11) χρῆσόν μοι τρεῖς ἄρτοις,
ἐπειδὴ φίλος μου παρεγένετο ἐξ ὁδοῦ
Lk 11:6
Lend me three loaves,
because my friend has arrived from a journey

8770. It should be noted that ἐπεί and ἐπειδή are occasionally used in a temporal sense, and that ὅθεν is also a local subordinator (§0875). καθότι is also used to introduce comparative clauses (§0867).


0878. Final (purpose) clauses denote the purpose or aim of the action of the verb in the main clause.

The principal subordinator used to introduce final clauses in hellenistic Greek is ἵνα (with the subjunctive) (examples and discussion §§656f.). A close rival for expressing purpose is the supplementary infinitive (§§574-576, 580, 833). Relative clauses sometimes have final force (§674), and the circumstantial participle may function as a purpose clause (§846.5). The discussion of these forms of final clauses need not be repeated here.

The only final subordinators remaining to be treated are ὅπως and μή: The use of ὡς as a final subordinator has been largely discontinued (one example in the New Testament: Acts 20:24, Bl-D §391(1)). Closely related to final clauses are expressions of apprehension (often after verbs of fearing); these are also introduced by μή (μήποτε, μήπως).

878.1 Final clauses with ὅπως. As in the case of ἵνα, the subjunctive is normally used with ὅπως (although the future indicative sometimes appears as a variant); ἄν occasionally appears with ὅπως (frequent in Attic).

(12) ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν ...,
ὅπως γένησθε υἱοὶ τοῦ πατρός ὑμῶν
τοῦ ἐν οὐρανοῖς
Mt 5:45
Love your enemies ...,
so that you may be sons of your heavenly father
(13) μετανοήσατε ...,
ὅπως ἄν ἔλθωσιν καιροὶ ἀναψύξεως
Acts 3:19f.
Repent ...,
so that times of refreshing may come

Bl-D §369.

878.2 Negative final clauses. These merely express negative purpose; the negative is μή. μή is also occasionally used alone as a final subordinator.

(14) τὸ πρόσωπόν σου νίψαι,
ὅπως μὴ φανῇς τοῖς ἀνθρώποις νηστεύων
Mt 6:17f.
Wash your face,
so that your fasting not be evident to men
(15) οὐκ ἔρχεται πρὸς τὸ φῶς,
ἵνα μὴ ἐλέγχθῃ τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ
Jn 3:20
He does not come to the light,
in order that his deeds not be exposed
(16) γρηγορεῖτε οὖν, ...
μὴ ἐλθὼν ἐξαίφνης εὕρῃ ὑμᾶς καθεύδοντας
Mk 13:35f.
Watch therefore, ...
lest he come suddenly and find you sleeping
(= in order that he not . . . )

879. Expressions of apprehension with μή (μήπως, μήποτε) seek to avert an undesired result or express the fear that a desired result may not materialize. Such expressions are therefore closely related to the negative purpose clauses illustrated in §878.2.

(17) φοβοῦμαι,
μὴ νηπίοις οὖσιν ὑμῖν βλάβην παραθῶ
IgnTr 5:1
I fear,
lest I do you harm, since you are babes

Indeed, the translation lest is often suitable for ὅπως μή and ἵνα μὴ, as in (15).

(18) φοβοῦμαι δὲ μή πως, ...
φθαρῇ τὰ νοήματα ὑμῶν
2 Cor 11:3
I fear,
lest your thoughts be corrupted

Such expressions need not be dependent upon a verb of fearing, e.g. φοβέομαι as in (17), (18), but may be made to depend upon almost any verb:

(19) καὶ ἀνεθέμην αὐτοῖς τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ...,
μή πως εἰς κενὸν τρέχω ἤ ἔδραμον
Gal 2:2
And I laid the gospel before them ...,
lest I should be running or had run in vain

In (19) τρέχω is subjunctive, ἔδραμον aorist. This sentence illustrates the principle of mood: if the anxiety is directed toward something still dependent on the will, the subjunctive is used; if toward something already accomplished or otherwise independent of the will, the indicative is appropriate. Bl-D §370.


0880. Consecutive clauses denote the result (intended or actual) of the action indicated by the verb in the main clause.

In classical idiom a distinction was maintained between expressions of intended result (therefore a subspecies of the purpose clause) and actual result. The indicative introduced by ὥστε was reserved for actual result if stated as a fact; the infinitive was used for all other cases, again introduced by ὥστε (or ὡς). The indicative with ὥστε is not native to the New Testament (there are two possible examples). As a consequence, the infinitive has come to express both nuances of the consecutive clause.

The use of ὥστε and the infinitive, the infinitive with τοῦ, and the simple infinitive, to express result was treated in §834. To these constructions with the consecutive infinitive should now be added εἰς τό and πρὸς τό with the infinitive (Bl-D §402(2), (4)). Because of the affinity of intended result and purpose, a ἵνα-clause may be used in a consecutive sense (Bl-D §391(5)). Relative clauses may also have consecutive force (cf. §674).

880. Consecutive clauses with ὥστε.

880.1 The indicative with ὥστε may be used to express actual result:

(20) καὶ συνυπεκρίθησαν αὐτῷ καὶ οἱ λοιποὶ Ἰουδαῖοι,
ὥστε καὶ Βαρναβᾶς συναπήχθη αὐτῶν
τῇ ὑποκρίσει
Gal 2:13
And with him the vest of the Jews acted insincerely,
so that even Barnabas was carried away by their

See Jn 3:16 for the only other example in the New Testament.

880.2 The infinitive with ὥστε may also express actual result:

(21) καὶ ἰδοὺ σεισμὸς μέγας ἐγένετο ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ,
ὥστε τὸ πλοῖον καλύπτεσθαι ὑπὸ τῶν κυμάτων Mt 8:24
And behold, a severe storm came up on the sea,
so that the boat was swamped by the waves

880.3 The infinitive with ὥστε is used in its classical sense to denote intended result:

(22) ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς ἐξουσίαν πνευμάτων ἀκαθάρτων
ὥστε ἐκβάλλειν αὐτά
Mt 10:1
He gave them authority over unclean spirits,
to cast them out

880.4 A ἵνα-clause (with the subjunctive) may be substituted for ὥστε and the infinitive of intended result:

(23) πιστός ἐστιν καὶ δίκαιος
ἵνα ἀφῇ ἡμῖν τὰς ἁμαρτίας
1 Jn 1:9
He is faithful and just,
to forgive our sins

880.5 It should be noted that ὥστε also functions as a sentence connector (§§620, 630ff.), meaning for this reason, therefore. In this function it is closely related to ὥστε with the indicative, §880.1.

881. The infinitive with εἰς τό and πρὸς τό is also a means of expressing result:

(24) ἑαυτοὺς ἔδωκαν πρῶτον τῷ κυρίῳ ...,
εἰς τὸ παρακαλέσαι ἡμᾶς Τίτον ...
2 Cor 8:6
They gave themselves first to the Lord ...,
so that we urged Titus
(25) πᾶς ὁ βλέπων γυναῖκα
πρὸς τὸ ἐπιθυμῆσαι αὐτήν
Mt 5:28
Every one who looks at a woman
to lust for her

The translation of (25) avoids interpreting the construction one way or the other. The sentence illustrates how closely related intended result and purpose are: it could mean looking with a view to lusting (purpose), or looking with lust as a result.