Re: 1 Peter 2:5

From: Eric Weiss (
Date: Thu Mar 21 1996 - 16:08:48 EST

We're studying 1 Peter in our 2nd-year Greek class at the Criswell College
in Dallas, TX, so I was interested in the discussion initiated by Tim McLay
last month on 1 Peter 2:5: "also yourselves as living stones are being built
[up] a spiritual house into/unto a holy priesthood..." Conjectured responses
or explanations included "spiritual house" (OIKOS PNEUMATIKOS) being a
predicate nominative (with or without an implied EINAI) or a vocative.

This clause looks like it is at the deep structure level a basic sentence
pattern of the form:

     God is building [up] you a spiritual house

which has undergone a transformation such that at the surface structure level
the verb is now expressed in the passive voice. In the basic sentence
pattern the DIRECT OBJECT and the OBJECT COMPLEMENT are both in the same
case, i.e., accusative. But when the active verb at the deep structure level
is transformed to a passive verb at the surface structure level, the DIRECT
OBJECT ("you") becomes the SUBJECT of the clause and hence takes the
nominative case, and the OBJECT COMPLEMENT ("a spiritual house"), now a
SUBJECT COMPLEMENT, likewise takes the nominative case to agree with the noun
its complementing.

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