re: Rom. 8:27

From: Carlton L. Winbery (
Date: Mon May 13 1996 - 10:13:43 EDT

Marion Fox
>>Marion here: Now comes the reason why I have been asking these questions.
>>The word "PNEUMATOS" is in the genitive or ablative case (I opt for the
>>genitive case). Can this genitive noun be the subject of a finite verb?
>>If so, what is the rule of grammar or syntax which allows it?
>Carlton L. Winbery responded:
>The genitive TOU PNEUMATOS modifies TO FRONHMA. You could see it as a
>subjective genitive if you take FRONHMA as "thinking." You would then
>translate it, "He who searches the heart knows what the Spirit is thinking,
>because (I take hOTI to be causal) he intercedes for the saints according
>to God's [will]."
>Marion here: Is TO FRONHMA in the nominative case or the accusative case?
>I opt for the accusative case because it seems to be the object of the
>finite verb OIDEN.

The object of OIDEN is the entire clause TI TO FRONHMA TOU PNEUMATOS.
Within the clause TI is the subject of the understood verb (ESTIN) and TO
FRONHMA is the predicate nominative, thus in the nominative case.

>Now we come back to my original question: Can the
>subject of the finite verb ENTUGXANEI be in the genitive case (TOU
>PNEUMATOS)? Can it be in the accusative case (TO FRONHMA)?

No on both counts. The subject of ENTUGXANEI is third person singular, he,
she, or it. I personally think that he is talking about the Holy Spirit so
I use "He."

>As far as considering the theological ramifications of the passage I opt to
>first determine what the original (Greek) is saying then we can interpret

Good idea.

>Let me point out that I do not agree with any interpretation that I
>have read on B-GREEK so far. Jesus makes intercession (Romans 8:34,
>Hebrews 7:24-25, and Isaiah 53:12). Jesus is a heart searcher (Revelation
>2:23) and the human spirit is distinguished from the flesh of man in a
>number of passages (Acts 7:59 etc.). I opt for the spirit of both verses
>26 and 27 to be the human spirit which is used by God to search the
>innermost parts of man (Proverbs 20:27). It is the flesh of mankind that
>is having infirmity (Romans 6:19). The spirit of man knows the innermost
>thoughts of man (I Corinthians 2:11) and reveals them to God through prayer
>which is through the intercessor (Jesus).

This may be a little premature. Go back to your principle above.

>Any reasonable interpretation of this passage must draw some kind of
>distinction between the words ENTUGXANEI (verses 27 and 34) and

I'm not sure that I follow this.

>Marion Fox here again.

>With regard to the personal endings of the active voice, primary tenses,
>William H. Davis states:"The personal endings are remnants of personal
>pronouns (page 26)."

Probably. This certainly makes sense.

>Davis, William Hersey. (1923) Beginner's Grammar of the Greek New
>Testament. New York: Harper & Row Pub. ISBN 0-06-061710-1

>Do these personal endings continue to function as pronouns? If so, do
>these pronouns have to take their antecedent in the nominative case? This
>has been my understanding of the rule of grammar/syntax. Where could I
>document this?

The rule on pronouns is that the pronoun agrees with its antecedent in
gender and number but its case is determined by its function in the clause.
However, on occasion the pronoun is also attracted to the case of the
antecedent. So the answer would be no, they do not. Hence PNEUMATOS the
genitive could be the the antecent of the subject of ENTUGXANEI.

Carlton L. Winbery
Fogleman Professor of Religion
Louisiana College

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