Greek Syntax: Sleepy Disciples

Hi folks, I’m back after an extended holiday. And for an upcoming home group study, I’m starting to work through the epistle to the Colossians. So I’ve been reading it recently. In reading, I came across Colossians 1.9, which has the phrase “we have not ceased to pray for you”. In looking at the word “pray”, I noticed this is a predicator (“pray”, in an embedded clause) with an adjunct (“for you”). At least, that’s how the ESV translates it. So I wondered what other sorts of adjuncts modify the word used here for “pray” (προσεύχομαι).

This was the beginning of a rabbit trail, but a fun one. I won’t detail the syntax search (I’ve done similar searches before, check the syntax archives) but I would like to poke around a bit in one area where some interesting hits were grouped together.

In searching for adjuncts that modify προσεύχομαι, I happened across Matthew 26.36-46. In those 10 verses, there are three instances of προσεύχομαι. The first (v. 36) has two adjuncts, the second (v. 42) has three adjuncts, and the third (v. 44) has four adjuncts.

This concentration seemed interesting, so I poked through the text further. I spent all of 15 minutes or so thinking about this before I recorded the one-take video below, but it is an example of the kinds of thoughts that slowing down and examining the clause structure through the syntax graph can generate.

Serendipitous discovery facilitated.

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Written by
Rick Brannan

Rick Brannan is a Data Wrangler for Faithlife. He manages a team that creates and maintains linguistic databases and other analyses of the Hebrew Bible, the Greek New Testament, the Septuagint, and writings of the Second Temple era. He resides in Bellingham with his wife, Amy, their daughter, Ella, and their son, Lucas.

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Written by Rick Brannan