[B-Greek] STHKW e.g. Philippians 1:27

Mark Lightman lightmanmark at yahoo.com
Tue Apr 13 07:56:03 EDT 2010

John Sanders wrote:

<There is only one verb here.  English does not have

 an equivalent verb used in the same way, so it may lead

 one to think that this verb is a strange animal of some kind.  It is

Hi, John, and Hi, Stephen again,

Actually, I'm inclined to think that a very strange animal is

exactly what STHKW is.  I might even call it a freak of

nature.  I think Stephen may have isolated a verb which

is absolutely unique in the Greek language in a pretty

fundamental way.  It is such a simple idea, to form a new

verb from the perfect, that I really expected there to be

more examples.  If you have STHKW you should have γνωκω

GNWKW.   You should have  βηκω (BHKW)  You should

even maybe have παιδευκω (PAIDEUKW)  Homer does

so many strange things to verbs that I would have

expected him to take a perfect and form a new verb

from it.  He does not, as far as I can tell, nor is there

any other example.  If I missed one, let me know. 

Of course, in a sense, John is correct that STHKW is

not a new verb, but is just a form of hISTHMI.  But

what kind of a form?  What do we call it?  Bauer

calls it a "new creation from hESTHKA."  Thayer

calls it an "inferior Greek word."  Grundmann in

TDNT implies cryptically that it is derived from a non-

Attic dialect.  

In a sense you could just say that hISTHMI has

two different perfect forms, but (1) is there any other

verb that has two different perfect forms? and

(b) is there any other perfect with no reduplication?

and (c) is there any other perfect which has

the standard present endings?  That seems pretty

unique to me.  And is this a Second Perfect?  A Third?

It  looks  nothing like
a  Second Perfect  (GEGRAFA)

and there is no Third Perfect,
unless STHKW is the

only example of a  Third
Perfect, in which case

this verb is even more of an odd


As to what the verb means,  I
like very much

what Grundmann says, whether it is true or not:

"The word STHKW seems to be preferred by Paul.

It is linked by him with the theological point...

that in faith man attains to a standing which

is not grounded in the world and in which he is set

by the Lord and will be upheld by Him, which gives

him freedom from the destructive powers of the

world, and which aims at fellowship in one spirit."


TDNT VII p. 638.

hISTHMI has to be the strangest verb in the Greek

NT.  If STHKW is merely a form of this verb,

alongside hESTHKA and ESTHN and ESTHSA, it is part of what

makes it so strange.  If STHKW is a different verb, it

is the second strangest verb in the Greek NT.

Carl has said that if you really want to understand

Greek verbs, you have to look at them as if they

were people, idiosyncratic members of an

extended, dysfunctional family.  If this is true,

hISTHMI/STHKW is like your crazy aunt that lives

in the basement. 

Grundmann notes that the verb survives in

Modern Greek as STEKW.

Mark L



--- On Sun, 4/11/10, Stephen Baldwin <stbaldwi at hotmail.com> wrote:

From: Stephen Baldwin <stbaldwi at hotmail.com>
Subject: [B-Greek] STHKW e.g. Philippians 1:27
To: "B- Greek" <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
Date: Sunday, April 11, 2010, 9:21 PM

Ladies and Gentlemen:
I was intrigued by the verb STHKW as found e.g. in Philippians 1:27.
BDAG, BDF etc note that it is based on the perfect of hISTHMI -- which even a novice can at least detect ;-)

I would like to know how a verb like this is to be understood -- what nuances does such a verb bring, given that it is based on another verb, indeed how such verbs arise. It appears that the first occurrences of STHKW are in the NT.
I did a brief comparison of hISTHMI versus STHKW in BDAG and to me, from the range of definitions given, that hISTHMI seems to carry "ingressive" nuances -- the initialisation of a state of standing etc. whereas STHKW seems to imply stative overtones -- that is, we are already in the state of standing or being committed.
Is this a correct view of approaching the matter? It would seem to be at least from my example from Philippians -- that whether Paul comes or does not come to see them, that he might hear that they are [already] standing as/in one spirit etc.

How common is it to have a verb based off a particular stem of a [more common] verb? To the best of my recollection, this is the first time I have come across such a verb.
I'm always a trifle disappointed that the more advanced commentaries that claim to focus more on the Greek [eg New International Greek Testament] more often than not, do not expound on these matters...

Stephen Baldwin
stbaldwi at hotmail.com

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