Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary


Religion, MA

First Advisor

Name of advisor not identified


Statement of the problem

In the English language, a word denoting time calls for the assistance of other words in order to describe the particular aspect of the time to which reference is made. For instance, the word "night" by itself describes little, but "by night" or "night-time" suggests the specific kind of time in contrast to "day time". "In the night" refers to a point of time at which something happened that did not involve the whole night, whereas "during the night" or "throughout the night" would suggest an extension of a condition or experience during the whole of the period. In Greek, the distinctive nature of the time may he described by the inflectional case endings without the use of extra words. This does not exclude, however, the influence of helping words—modifiers, verbs, and prepositions—which would provide an interesting and profitable opportunity for additional study. It was the purpose of this study (l) to ascertain the specific function of the case itself in defining the temporal connotation of the time to which reference is made; (2) to establish syntactically the principles involved in the temporal use of each case; (3) to explain contextually the significance of these principles as they apply to the New Testament; and (4) to discover indirectly some of the niceties of the matchless language in which the New Testament was written.

Importance of the study

The function of grammar "is not to determine the laws of language, but explain them." Herein lies the value of this study. A sound biblical exegesis depends, in part, upon a knowledge of the grammatical principles of the Koine. An appreciation of the viewpoint of the language, and an understanding of its idiom is essential. Many of the temporal phrases which appear in the New Testament are connected with prophetical passages, and their full significance has not sufficiently been brought to bear upon the problems of prophetic interpretation.

Present status of the problem

The field for such an investigation is practically untouched. Some grammarians have observed the principles of syntax underlying the temporal uses of the cases; a few have done more extensive work in recent years. In a very limited way, some commentators have applied the principles in the exposition of Scripture; but a thorough examination of the Greek New Testament, with exegesis, has not been attempted. In the field of Classical Greek, however, Brown has made a careful study of temporal elements in their relation to case constructions. The bearing of some his findings upon this present study are recognized in the concluding chapter of this paper.

Subject Area

Time--Biblical teaching


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