BBG 31: Subjunctives « Previous  •  Next » BBG 33: Imperatives

χαῖρετε μαθηταί

Review Subjunctives

Summary of Greek Moods

Moods indicate the relation of the action of the verb to reality.

INDICATIVE – the mood of reality

  • Latin indicatus, past participle of indicare, from in- + dicare to proclaim
  • “constituting a verb form that represents the denoted act or state as an objective fact” (Webster)
  • The Indicative Mood is the mood of reality
  • We have studied only the Indicative Mood thus far.

    • whether making a statement, or asking a question about what is factual and real.

  • This does not mean that everything stated in the Indicative Mood is true, but only that it is being stated

    • as opposed to being wished for, hoped for, commanded, considered a possiblity, etc.

    • If someone says “Jesus was just a good teacher”, he is making a statement about reality, from his point of view. Therefore it is Indicative, though it is not actually true.

  • This is the only mood which has time significance. All the other moods have significance of aspect only

SUBJUNCTIVE – the mood of possibility

  • Latin subjunctivus, from subjunctus, past participle of subjungere to join beneath, subordinate
  • “constituting a verb form that represents a denoted act or state not as fact but as contingent or possible” (Webster)

OPTATIVE – the mood of wish

  • Latin optativus, from optare to wish
  • “constituting a verbal mood that is expressive of wish or desire” (Webster)

IMPERATIVE – the mood of command

  • Latin imperativus, from imperatus, past participle of imperare to command
  • “constituting the grammatical mood that expresses the will to influence the behavior of another” (Webster)
  • Whereas the Indicative Mood is the mood of reality,
    The Subjunctive Mood is the mood of probability or possibility
    • what may or might be, rather than what is, which is expressed by the Indicative
    • This is often expressed with a conditional preface to a statement, e.g. “If I study well (the condition has the verb in the subjunctive), I will earn (the possible outcome) an A on the exam”
    • also exhortation (hortatory) or something that is generally true (axiomatic)
    • Since it denotes something probable or possible, the Subjunctive often refers to something in the potential future, BUT
  • Since the Subjunctive is a non-Indicative mood, it is negated by μή. (31.18)
  • Like all Greek non-Indicative moods, the Subjunctive has no time significance
  • The Subjunctive occurs in the Present and the Aorist (and rarely the Perfect), and their respective aspects are what you would expect:
    • Present, built on the Present Tense stem, has Continuous aspect
    • Aorist, built on the (unaugmented) Aorist Tense stem, has Simple aspect
    • Perfect, built on the (unreduplicated) Perfect Tense stem, has Completed aspect (31.21)
      • In the NT, the Perfect Subjunctive is found only in 10 forms of οἶδα
  • The telltale sign of the Subjunctive is the lengthened connecting vowel
    • ο → ω
    • ε → η
  • The Subjunctive uses the same primary endings as the Indicative, with the lengthened connecting vowel
  • The endings are the same in both the Present and the Aorist. What does this mean?
    • As with participles, that you must know the Tense Stems, in order to distinguish.
  • Formation of the Present Subjunctive (31.8-9)
    • Present Tense Stem + Lengthened Connecting Vowel ( ω/η ) + Primary personal endings
    • Note that ει lengthens to ῃ with the lengthening of the connecting vowel, e.g. in the 2nd and 3rd person singular forms
    • 2nd person sing
  • Formation of the Aorist Subjunctive (31.10-11)
    • Unaugmented Aorist Tense Stem + (Tense Formative σ if 1st Aorist) + Lengthened Connecting Vowel ( ω/η ) + Primary personal endings
    • A 1st Aorist subjunctive is distinguished from the Present by the presence of the Tense Formative σ, e.g.
    • A 2nd Aorist subjunctive is distinguished from the Present because it has a different tense stem, e.g. λαμβάνωμεν vs. λάβωμεν
    • No temporal augment, as with the Aorist participle, since there is no time significance
    • As with the Present, ει lengthens to ῃ with the lengthening of the connecting vowel
  • Review the Master Verb Endings Chart (BBG p.354)

Master Verb Ending Chart (BBG p.352)

Voice Primary
  λύ ω (-)   ἔ λυ ο ν (ν)
  λύ εις (ς)   ἔ λυ ε ς (ς)
  λύ ει (ι)   ἔ λυ ε(ν) (-)
  λύ ο μεν (μεν)   ἐ λύ ο μεν (μεν)
  λύ ε τε (τε)   ἐ λύ ε τε (τε)
  λύ ουσι(ν) (νσι)   ἐ λυ ο ν (ν)
Middle & Passive
  λύ ο μαι (μαι)   ἐ λυ ό μην (μην)
  λύ ῃ (σαι)   ἐ λύ ου (σο)
  λύ ε ται (ται)   ἐ λύ ε το (το)
  λυ ό μεθα (μεθα)   ἐ λυ ό μεθα (μεθα)
  λύ ε σθε (σθε)   ἐ λύ ε σθε (σθε)
  λύ ο νται (νται)   ἐ λύ ο ντο (ντο)
  • Contract verbs function normally, but you should review the forms (31.12)
  • See the Master Non-indicative Verb Chart (BBG p.356) and the Subjunctive paradigms (BBG p.364)

Subjunctive (BBG p.356)

Verb Tense Augment/
1st Person
Present Active Present ω/η Primary Active λύω
Present Middle/Passive Present ω/η Primary Middle/Passive λύωμαι
1st Aorist Active Aorist Active σ(α) ω/η Primary Active λύσω
1st Aorist Middle Aorist Active σ(α) ω/η Primary Middle/Passive λύσωμαι
1st Aorist Passive Aorist Passive θ(η) ω/η Primary Active λυθῶ
2nd Aorist Active Aorist Active ω/η Primary Active λάβω
2nd Aorist Middle Aorist Active ω/η Primary Middle/Passive γένωμαι
2nd Aorist Passive Aorist Passive ω/η Primary Active γράφω

Review Uses of the Subjunctive

  • Dependent Clauses
    • ἵνα + the Subjunctive (31.14)
      • ἵνα + the Subjunctive can express purpose – i.e Purpose Clause
        • e.g Hebrews 4.16 – προσερχώμεθα οὖν μετὰ παρρησίας τῷ θρόνῳ τῆς χάριτος, ἵνα λάβωμεν ἔλεος καὶ χάριν εὕρωμεν εἰς εὔκαιρον βοήθειαν. (Hebrews 4.16)
      • ἵνα μή or ὅπως μή = “in order that not” i.e. “lest”
      • ἵνα can also have a weaker sense than purpose, as in the appositive use, e.g John 17.3 – αὕτη δέ ἐστιν ἡ αἰώνιος ζωὴ ἵνα γινώσκωσιν σὲ τὸν μόνον ἀληθινὸν θεὸν καὶ ὃν ἀπέστειλας Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν.
    • Conditional Clauses
      • if something, then something else
      • The “if” part of a conditional sentence is the protasis – “arranged before”
      • The “then” part of a conditional sentence is the apodosis – “given from” i.e. what results from the condition expressed in the protasis
      • Summary of 4 classes of Conditional Sentences in BBG pp.328-329 (35.5-9)
      • See also Wallace GGBB pp. 679-712
      • 3rd Class Conditions (31.15-) – 2 types:
        • Future More Probable, (aka Future More Vivid)
          • Protasis (ἐάν + Subjunctive), Apodosis (Future Indicative, or Imperative)
          • States that if the condition is met, then something will definitely happen.
          • e.g. Matt. 9.21: ἔλεγεν γὰρ ἐν ἑαυτῇ· ἐὰν μόνον ἅψωμαι τοῦ ἱματίου αὐτοῦ σωθήσομαι.
          • e.g. John 14.14: ἐάν τι αἰτήσητέ με ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου ἐγὼ ποιήσω.
        • Present General
          • Protasis (ἐάν + Subjunctive), Apodosis (Present Indicative)
          • States a general, or axiomatic truth
          • e.g. 1 John 4.12: ἐὰν ἀγαπῶμεν ἀλλήλους, ὁ θεὸς ἐν ἡμῖν μένει
  • Independent Clauses
    • Hortatory Subjunctive (31.16)
      • “Hortatory” is from the Latin hortor, “I exhort”
      • Subjunctive in the 1st person, usually plural, e.g. ἀναγινώσκωμεν τὰς γράφας “Let us read the Scriptures”
      • e.g. Hebrews 4.16 – προσερχώμεθα οὖν μετὰ παρρησίας τῷ θρόνῳ τῆς χάριτος, ἵνα λάβωμεν ἔλεος καὶ χάριν εὕρωμεν εἰς εὔκαιρον βοήθειαν. (Hebrews 4.16)
    • Deliberative Subjunctive (31.17), e.g Matthew 6.31
      • A question whose answer in uncertain or in doubt.
      • Hence the verb is in the Subjunctive, since the speaker is not expressing certainty (Indicative), but rather only possibility or doubt.
      • e.g. Luke 3.12: ἦλθον δὲ καὶ τελῶναι βαπτισθῆναι καὶ εἶπαν πρὸς αὐτόν· διδάσκαλε, τί ποιήσωμεν;
  • Recognizing Subjunctive Clauses
    • Look for ἄν in any of its combinations: ὅταν (ὅτε + ἄν), ἐὰν (εί + ἄν), ὅς ἄν, ἕως ἄν
    • Lengthened connecting vowel – ο → ω, ε → η
    • Unaugmented Aorist
  • The is normally negated by μή (31.19)
    • exception is the emphatic negation, οὐ μή – see the Exegetical Insight for example

Review 3 ways to pose a question (31.19)

  • Simple verb – not indication of what answer is expected
    • e.g. John 9.17: τί σὺ λέγεις περὶ αὐτοῦ, ὅτι ἠνέῳξέν σου τοὺς ὀφθαλμούς;
  • verb preceded by οὐ – expects an affirmative answer
    • e.g. John 7.19: Οὐ Μωϋσῆς δέδωκεν ὑμῖν τὸν νόμον;
    • e.g. John 14.10: οὐ πιστεύεις ὅτι ἐγὼ ἐν τῷ πατρὶ καὶ ὁ πατὴρ ἐν ἐμοί ἐστιν;
  • verb preceded by μή – expects a negative answer,
    • e.g. 1Cor. 12.29: μὴ πάντες ἀπόστολοι; μὴ πάντες προφῆται; μὴ πάντες διδάσκαλοι;


  • The Infinitive is a Verbal Noun, just as the participle is a verbal adjective.
    • Usually recognizable in English by the key word “to,” e.g. “The chief end of man is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever”
    • Like the participle, the infinitive is strictly speaking, not a mood
      • moods apply to finite forms of the verb, which the participle and the infinitive are not.
      • Moods are finite (limited), the infinitive is infinite (unlimited), i.e. unbound by person, number, etc., hence its name
      • However, we identify it in the place of Mood when parsing, e.g. “Present Active Infinitive” + + Lexical Form + Inflected Meaning (32.11)
    • As a verbal noun, the infinitive can do anything a substantive can, just as a participle (verbal adjective) can do anything an adjective can (32.13)
      • When used substantivally, the infinitive is usually articular
      • When articular, the article is always neuter singular
        • e.g. ἀγαπῶ τὸ διδάσκειν – I love to teach (τὸ διδάσκειν is the direct object)
        • e.g. Ἐμοὶ γὰρ τὸ ζῆν Χριστὸς καὶ τὸ ἀποθανεῖν κέρδος. (Philippians 1.21) (the 2 articular infinitives are the subjects, in predicate nominative constructions)
        • What determines the case of the article? How the infinitive is functioning in the sentence
      • It can have a direct object (to go home) and adverbial modifiers (to boldly go)
  • Indeclinable, since it is not bound by declinable attributes like person and number
    • It is treated as neuter singular
    • Just one ending to learn, since it is not declined (32.4)
  • No time significance, only aspect, like the participle, and other non-indicatives (32.3)
    • Present – Continuous Aspect
      • e.g. μαρτυρεῖν = “to continue to bear witness” or “to be bearing witness”
    • Aorist – Simple Aspect
      • e.g. μαρτυρήσαι = simply “to bear witness”
    • Perfect – Completed Aspect
      • e.g. μεμαρτυρηκέναι = “to have born witness”
  • Since it is non-indicative, it is negated by μή (32.10)
  • Built on the tense of its name:
    • Present on Present Tense Stem
    • Aorist Active/Middle on (unaugmented) Aorist Active/Middle Tense Stem
    • Aorist Passive on (unaugmented) Aorist Passive Tense Stem
    • Perfect Active on Perfect Active Tense Stem
    • Perfect Middle/Passive on Perfect Middle/Passive Tense Stem
  • Paradigms of the Infinitive (32.4-5, p. 366)
    • all Infinitives end in -αι except the Present and 2nd Aorist Active
    • As with Participles and Subjunctives, the Present and 2nd Aorist Infinitives look the same, and can only be distinguished by the stem.

Infinitive (BBG p.356)

  Present   1st Aorist   2nd Aorist   Perfect  
Active ειν σαι ειν κεναι
Middle εσθαι σασθαι εσθαι σθαι
Passive    εσθαι θηναι ηναι σθαι
  • Remember Rules of Contraction for Infinitives of Contract Verbs (32.6)
    • α + ειν => ᾶν
    • o + ειν => οῦν
    • ε + ειν => εῖν
  • When the infinitive needs a subject in a clause, it in the accusative
    • It is called the Accusative of Reference
    • this is analogous to the subject of participle in a Genitive Absolute being in the genitive case
    • e.g. καὶ προαγαγὼν αὐτοὺς ἔξω ἔφη· κύριοι, τί με δεῖ ποιεῖν ἵνα σωθῶ; (Acts 16.30) (“I” am the one to be saved)
    • e.g. καὶ λέγουσίν μοι· δεῖ σε πάλιν προφητεῦσαι ἐπὶ λαοῖς καὶ ἔθνεσιν καὶ γλώσσαις καὶ βασιλεῦσιν πολλοῖς. (Revelation 10.11) (“you” are the one to prophesy, not to be prophesied to )
    • The Accusative of Reference can sometimes be seen as accusative with relation to the main verb.
      • e.g. τί με ζητεῖτε ἀποκτεῖναι; (John 7.19) (They are seeking Jesus, to kill him, με is accusative in relation to ζητέω)
    • Exceptions: ἔξεστι + infinitive and παραγγέλλω + infinitive
      • those infinitives take a dative subject
      • e.g. ἔλεγεν γὰρ ὁ Ἰωάννης αὐτῷ· οὐκ ἔξεστίν σοι ἔχειν αὐτήν. (Matthew 14.4) (“you” is the one having)
      • e.g. παραγγέλλει διδαξαί μοι – “He is commanding me to teach” (I teach)
    • When an infinitive has both an Accusative of Reference (subject) and a direct object, you must determine by context which is which, though usually the first accusative will be the “subject”
      • e.g. καὶ ἐν τῷ εἰσαγαγεῖν τοὺς γονεῖς τὸ παιδίον Ἰησοῦν (Luke 2.27)
    • Verbs which take their direct object in the dative, will often take their subject with the infinitive in the dative also.
  • Deponent verbs will have deponent infinitives, e.g. προσεύχεσθαι = “to pray”
  • The Present Infinitive of εἰμί is εἷναι

5 Uses of the Infinitive

  • Substantive (32.13)
    • As a verbal noun, the infinitive can do anything a substantive can, just as a participle (verbal adjective) can do anything an adjective can (32.13)
    • Usually articular, e.g. καὶ τὸ ἀγαπᾶν τὸν πλησίον ὡς ἑαυτὸν περισσότερόν ἐστιν πάντων τῶν ὁλοκαυτωμάτων καὶ θυσιῶν (Mark 12.33)
  • Complementary (32.14)
    • Completes the meaning of the verb, especially with verbs which require something additional by nature like δεῖ, θέλω, βούλομαι, etc.
    • e.g. Γινώσκειν δὲ ὑμᾶς βούλομαι, ἀδελφοί (Philippians 1.12)
    • 5 verbs require a complementary infinitive: δεῖ, ἔξεστιν, μέλλω, δυναμαι, ἄρχομαι
    • e.g. καὶ ὅπου εἰμὶ ἐγὼ ὑμεῖς οὐ δύνασθε ἐλθεῖν. (John 7.34)
    • e.g. ποῦ οὗτος μέλλει πορεύεσθαι ὅτι ἡμεῖς οὐχ εὑρήσομεν αὐτόν; (John 7.35)
    • e.g. καὶ λέγουσίν μοι· δεῖ σε πάλιν προφητεῦσαι ἐπὶ λαοῖς καὶ ἔθνεσιν καὶ γλώσσαις καὶ βασιλεῦσιν πολλοῖς. (Revelation 10.11)
  • Purpose (32.16)
    • Answers the question “why?”
    • Genitive articular infinitive (32.16.2)
      • e.g Ἡρῴδης ζητεῖν τὸ παιδίον τοῦ ἀπολέσαι αὐτό. (Matthew 2.13)
    • Non-articular infinitive, with no preposition (32.16.3)
      • e.g Μὴ νομίσητε ὅτι ἦλθον καταλῦσαι τὸν νόμον ἢ τοὺς προφήτας· (Matthew 5.17)
    • With prepostions εἰς or πρός (see below)
  • Result (32.17)
    • ὥστε + infinitive (32.17)
    • e.g. καὶ ἐὰν ἔχω πᾶσαν τὴν πίστιν ὥστε ὄρη μεθιστάναι, ἀγάπην δὲ μὴ ἔχω, οὐθέν εἰμι. (1 Corinthians 13.2)
  • Indirect discourse (32.18-19)
    • usually introduced by ὅτι equivalent to the keyword “that” in English
      • He said that he was going to study
    • can be expressed without an infinitive
      • e.g. Mark 6.15 ἄλλοι δὲ ἔλεγον ὅτι Ἠλίας ἐστίν· ἄλλοι δὲ ἔλεγον ὅτι προφήτης ὡς εἷς τῶν προφητῶν.
    • can also be expressed with an infinitive
      • e.g. Mark 12.18 Καὶ ἔρχονται Σαδδουκαῖοι πρὸς αὐτόν, οἵτινες λέγουσιν ἀνάστασιν μὴ εἶναι

Articular, preceded by preposition (32.15)

  • The most idiomatic use of the infinitive – essential that you learn to “think in Greek”
  • For prepositions with infinitives, the keywords of the prepositions will help you understand and translate the construction: e.g. δία + accusative = “on account of”, πρό + genitive = “before”
  • Purpose (32.15.2-3 examples)
    • εἰς + accusative articular infinitive = “in order that” (indicates purpose)
      • e.g. καὶ ἀπήγαγον αὐτὸν εἰς τὸ σταυρῶσαι. (Matthew 27.31)
    • πρός + accusative articular infinitive = “in order that” (indicates purpose)
      • e.g. ἐνδύσασθε τὴν πανοπλίαν τοῦ θεοῦ πρὸς τὸ δύνασθαι ὑμᾶς στῆναι πρὸς τὰς μεθοδείας τοῦ διαβόλου· (Ephesians 6.11)
    • δία + accusative articular infinitive = “because” (explains reason for)
      • e.g. αὐτὸς δὲ Ἰησοῦς οὐκ ἐπίστευεν αὐτὸν αὐτοῖς διὰ τὸ αὐτὸν γινώσκειν πάντας (John 2.24)
  • Temporal (32.15.4-6 examples)
    • πρό + genitive articular infinitive = “before”
      • e.g. οἶδεν γὰρ ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὧν χρείαν ἔχετε πρὸ τοῦ ὑμᾶς αἰτῆσαι αὐτόν. (Matthew 6.8)
    • ἐν + dative articular infinitive = “when / while”
      • e.g. προσεῖχον δὲ οἱ ὄχλοι τοῖς λεγομένοις ὑπὸ τοῦ Φιλίππου ὁμοθυμαδὸν ἐν τῷ ἀκούειν αὐτοὺς καὶ βλέπειν τὰ σημεῖα ἃ ἐποίει. (Acts 8.6)
    • μετά + accusative articular infinitive = “after”
      • e.g. μετὰ δὲ τὸ ἐγερθῆναί με προάξω ὑμᾶς εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν. (Matthew 26.32)
  • See also GGBB pp.587-611

Exegetical Insights

1Cor. 15.25 – δεῖ γὰρ αὐτὸν βασιλεύειν ἄχρι οὗ θῇ πάντας τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑπὸ τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ.

Signicance of the continuous aspect of the Present Infinitive

New Vocabulary

Scripture Memory for next class

οὐκ ἐλήλυθα καλέσαι δικαίους ἀλλὰ ἁμαρτωλοὺς εἰς μετάνοιαν. (Luke 5.32)

Infinitive of Purpose


  • Weekly Memorization: Luke 5.32, review past passages
  • Complete workbook exercise 32 on Infinitives
  • Prepare for quiz next week on chapter 32 – Infinitives
    • Memorize the 12 forms
    • What case is functions as the “subject” of the infinitive
    • Understanding the uses of the Infinitive
  • Read chapter 33 on Imperatives
  • Continue your life habit of reading Greek aloud from the Greek New Testament
  • Continue taking your Greek NT to church with you, and follow along as you are able
  • Make plans to acquire the required texts for the 2nd half of the semester

Overview of resources for 4th semester



  • A good NT Lexicon, preferably BAGD. If you cannot afford BAGD, you can ask the διδάσκαλος concerning other alternatives. There are online lexical resources you can use, but you really should have a hard copy lexicon if at all possible. These are used copies of the 2nd edition for much less money.
  • Morphology of Biblical Greek – (MBG) is a compendium of the paradigms of Greek grammar which when used will help you to recognize the patterns in what is a very regular language.

The Lord’s Prayer (Listen)

Πάτερ ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς·
ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου· ἐλθέτω ἡ βασιλεία σου· γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου, ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς·
τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον δὸς ἡμῖν σήμερον· καὶ ἄφες ἡμῖν τὰ ὀφειλήματα ἡμῶν, ὡς καὶ ἡμεῖς ἀφήκαμεν τοῖς ὀφειλέταις ἡμῶν·
καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν, ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ.
ὅτι σοῦ ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία καὶ ἡ δύναμις καὶ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας. ἀμήν.

χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη