Eph. 4:9 and Genitive of Apposition

From: Calvin D. Redmond (102630.1150@compuserve.com)
Date: Fri Oct 13 1995 - 18:13:31 EDT

In the discussion of Eph. 4:9, Carl Conrad wrote the following:

<We don't use the term "genitive of definition" in Greek, but we do
<use it in Latin, and it seems to me that's what we have here. I've never
<heard the term "epexegetic genitive," but it would appear to be the same
<thing as "genitive of definition"; I've also heard the term "genitive of
<apposition" used. What do the real grammarians say about this?

I am not a true "real grammarian," but at the risk of repeating what I suspect
is already well known to you, allow me to refer to the discussion of the
genitive of apposition drawn from James Brooks and our colleague Carlton Winbery
in their "Syntax of New Testament Greek (pp. 15-16).

<If the word in the genitive is identical with the word it modifies, it is a
genitive of apposition. < Indeed, this use is sometimes called the genitive of
identity. It is also sometimes called the <genitive of content and the genitive
of definition or explanation. What some grammarians <call the genitive of
material is included in this category. One should carefully note that the <word
with which the genitive is in apposition differs from ordinary apposition where
the words <involved must be in the same case. A test for this use of the
genitive is the ability to use <some expression as "consisting of," "namely,"
"filled with," or "made of" in the translation. <This category employs the
substantive without a preposition."

<S^emeion elaben PERITM^ES (Rom. 4:11)
<He received a sign of circumcision.

<Ean h^e epigeios H^emwn oikia tou sk^eneous kataluth^e (2 Cor. 5:1)
<If our earthly house consisting of this tent should be destroyed

<ho dous h^emin ton arrabwna tou pneumatos (2 Cor. 5:5)
<who has given to us the guarantee of (or my translation, which consists of) the


It should be clear that the translation "the lower parts, which consist of the
earth" or something similar is at least possible. The grammatical category is
recognized by the major grammarians, although it appears that all my other
grammars are in my library office which lacks a phone line.The question as to
whether this translation is correct will depend more on one's understanding of
the context and one's theology.

I hope I haven't repeated too much which is already obvious to you.

Cal Redmond
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

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