Predicate Nominatives

From: Gary S. Shogren (
Date: Thu Jan 30 1997 - 09:43:28 EST

Dear B-Greekers,

In Romans 14:17 you have "for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking,
but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit." I'll let interested
parties check out the Greek.

Eating and drinking are predicate nominatives, and the triad at the end are
alternate ones. Obviously Paul is not strictly DEFINING the _basileia_ with
these P.N.'s. I like Dunn's suggestion that we translate "does not consist
in" these activities, and would observe that in the context Paul is saying
something like: "the kingdom of God does not operate on the level of food
scruples, and in fact does not concern itself with things like that. Focus
on the real issues of the Christian life."

I think the pred. nouns convey a description of the Kingdom that is more
striking than, say, a predicate adjective. Sort of like the Johannine "God
is love" rather than "God is loving". I can't find any help in BDF or
Robertson on these types of predicates. Any thoughts on what you might call
it? or any resources?

Additionally - 1 Cor. 4:20 says that the kingdom is not _en logw_ but _in
dunamei_ - a similar setup, but with prepositional phrases in the predicate.

Many thanks! Gary

Gary S. Shogren
Biblical Theological Seminary
Hatfield, PA

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