Phil. 4:7

Carlton Winbery winberyc at
Sat Jul 10 21:56:14 EDT 1999

Edgar Foster asked;

>--- "Carl W. Conrad" <cwconrad at> wrote:
>>Without disagreeing specifically with what Jim suggests by way of
>interpretation, I would note that EIRHNH is hardly a verbal noun, and
>we ordinarily apply the subjective/objective distinction of genitives
>(which is an interpretive category in any case, and not a semantic
>distinction in the morphology) only to nouns representing a verbal

I agree with Carl's answer. The key to a obj/subj genitive is that it
modifies a noun of action. Most nouns of action also have cognate verbs.

>To clarify what you state above, I want to put forth a few points for
>your consideration.
>(1) Normally, I have viewed hH EIRHNH in Phil. 4:7 as something that
>God gives (not something that is descriptive of His Being). The deep
>structure of this verse seems to be "The peace that God gives will
>guard your hearts and minds." I think this interpretation fits in with
>the overall context of the passage. Would not hUPEREXOUSA indicate that
>EIRHNH is verbal in 4:7?

No. The fact that you can "peace" exceeds something does not make it a noun
of action anymore than saying that "peace" reigns (Col. 3:15) does. Would
saying a king reigns make the word king a noun of action? no. The action is
indicated by the verb in this case not the noun.

Concerning the "peace of God", if you understand this to be the "peace that
God Gives" then God in the genitive would be a genitive (ablative) of
source in the sense of the peace from God. Peace however is not a noun of

>(2) In his exegetical grammar that I have recently been studying,
>Richard Young writes that hH EIRHNH TOU QEOU is a subjective genitive,
>meaning "God gives peace." He also cites Rom. 16:25 as an example of a
>subjective genitive: KATA TO EUAGGELION MOU. He suggests that "the
>genitive MOU is the subject of the verbal idea in EUAGGELION." Should
>we view EUAGGELION as a verbal noun in Rom. 16:25?

Again if Paul is thinking of peace from God, then you have source not the
genitive with a noun of action.

EUAGGELION could be a noun of action.

>(3) Regarding verbal nouns, Young says that "Discerning what should be
>considered verbal nouns in a particular text is not simple." He then
>discusses endings which indicate whether a noun should be viewed as
>verbal (-SIS, -MOS, -THS, THR, -TWR) as well as the words built on
>verbal stems. Could EIRHNH fit into one of these categories?

Many of the verbs refered to by the endings above also have verbs built on
the same stem. Those would be nouns of action.

>(4) How would you understand EIRHNH in Col. 3:15? Does it have a verbal
>force in this passage?
As the subject of the imperative verb BRABEUETW. Again the action is
indicated by the verb, not the noun.

Dr. Carlton L. Winbery
Foggleman Professor of Religion
Louisiana College
winbery at
winberyc at
Ph. 1 318 448 6103 hm
Ph. 1 318 487 7241 off

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