re: Rom. 8:27

Date: Wed May 15 1996 - 11:07:10 EDT

Marion Fox here: I posted the following with the following responses:

>>Marion here: Now comes the reason why I have been asking these
>>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 Fox here: Did not the Father know the mind of the Spirit before the
Spirit made intercession? My former post continues:

>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.

Marion here: How do you know that TI is in the nominative case? How do
you know that TO FRONHMA is in the nominative case (the predicate
nominative)? Does not the verse flow more smoothly if TI TO FRONHMA is
the direct object of the finite verb OIDEN? I am not saying "Does not the
verse agree with someone's theological bias?" but I am saying does not the
verse flow more smoothly? Does the verb OIDEN need an object? Is it
theological presuppositions that cause us to interpret TI TO FRONHMA as
being in the nominative case? Now we return to my original post:

>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
>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
>which is through the intercessor (Jesus).

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

Marion here: I merely point this out to prove that this interpretation is
not theologically unreasonable! Who can deny that the endings of the words
TI TO FRONHMA could be interpreted as being in the accusative case? I
wrote this paragraph to demonstrate that it is theologically possible to
take them in the accusative case! We now return to my original post:

>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: I believe in the verbal-plenary inspiration of the
Scriptures and, as Jesus stated (Matthew 5:18), Paul stated (Galatians
3:16), etc. each word was chosen by God. Why did He choose two different
words? I realize that some who read this do no agree with me on the nature
of the inspiration of the Scriptures but that is another matter. My
argument is:

        If God is perfect in all respects then He will no perform a
purposeless act.
        God is perfect in all respects.
        He will not perform a purposeless act.

        If the usage of two different words to mean the same thing (in Romans
8:26-27) is a
                purposeless act then God will not perform the act.
        The usage of two different words to mean the same thing (in Romans
8:26-27) is a
                purposeless act.
        God will not perform the act (using two different words to mean the
same thing in
                Romans 8:26-27).

>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.

Marion here again: It seems to be a tautology to say what Davis says
without the pronoun needing to take its antecedent in the nominative case.
Could someone explain what Davis means?

I am fully aware that most pronouns have the rule quoted (above) but do
these pronouns obey this rule? I quote Robertson and Davis: "The Greek
verb is a combination of the verb-stem and the personal pronoun like
DIDW-MI (give I). This shows the personal and social side of speech (page

Robertson and Davis state: "The real subject in Greek is expressed by the
personal ending as in FH-MI Say I. When EGW is also expressed it is in
apposition with MI. The addition of the pronoun or noun in apposition with
the personal ending is a later development due to the desire for accuracy
and clearness (page 212)."

Robertson, A. T.; Davis, W. Hersey. (1977). A New Short Grammar of the
Greek Testament. (10th ed). Baker Book House, ISBN 0-8010-7656-0

I realize this is becoming drawn out but I consider it to be quite

Again, I wish to express my appreciation for your patience with me.

Yours in His service,

Marion R. Fox
Engineering Science Department
Rose State College
6420 SE 15th Street
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73110

4004 Twisted Trail Dr. SE
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73150-1910


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