BBG 31: Subjunctives « PreviousNext » BBG 33: Imperatives

Gamma Kappa

👋🏼 χαῖρετε μαθηταί

Review and Addenda

Summary of Greek Moods

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

INDICATIVE — the mood of reality

  • from the Latin indicatus, past participle of indicare, from in- + dicare — to proclaim
  • asserts the denoted act or state as an objective fact
  • may be either a statement or a question about what is factual and real.
  • It does not follow that the statement is actually true, only that it is being asserted as true from the speaker's point of view
  • asserted as true, as distinguished from what is wished for, hoped for, commanded, considered a possiblity, etc.
  • Example: If someone says Jesus was only a good teacher, he is making a statement about reality from his point of view. It is therefore Indicative, though not actually true.
  • The Indicative is the only mood in which tense has temporal (time) significance. The tense of non-indicative moods (all the following) signify aspect only (see note on Aspect below)

IMPERATIVE — the mood of command

  • Latin imperativus, from imperatus, past participle of imperare to command
  • expresses the will to influence the behavior of another

SUBJUNCTIVE — the mood of possibility

  • from the Latin subjunctivus, from subjunctus, past participle of subjungere — to join beneath, subordinate
  • represents a denoted act or state not as fact but as contingent or possible
  • its uses are many and varied in Greek, e.g. purpose clauses, 3rd class conditions, et al.

OPTATIVE — the mood of wish

  • from the Latin optativus, from optare to wish
  • expresses wish or desire, e.g. 'μὴ γένοιτο'(may it never be!) in Romans 6.2
  • The Optative is rare in NT Greek


  • These 4 moods are called finite. The Infinitive, though sometimes classed as a mood, is actually a verbal noun
  • Aspect is the kind of action denoted, relative to its progress, results, or simple occurrence


  • 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.


  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

Luke 5.32 - οὐκ ἐλήλυθα καλέσαι δικαίους ἀλλὰ ἁμαρτωλοὺς εἰς μετάνοιαν.

Infinitive of Purpose

Video Lectures


  • Weekly Memorization: Luke 5.32
  • Review past memory 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
  • 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

The Lord's Prayer

ΚΑΤΑ ΜΑθθΑΙΟΝ 6.9-13
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,
Διδάσκαλος Ἀνδρέας