For the true understanding of the New Testament a knowledge of the Greek Prepositions is indispensable.
They might be exhibited in groups, or according to the Cases (*1) of the Noun which they govern, or according to their geometrical relations to a line, a superficies, and a solid, or according to the relative frequency of their occurrences (*2). But we have given them below in their alphabetical order, so that they may be more readily found by the reader.
They are eighteen in number, and may thus be defined :--
i. ana governs only one case (the Accusative), and
denotes up, upon, formed from ano (as kata
is from kato, which ana stands in direct antithesis).
In relation to vertical lines it denotes the top. With
numerals it is used as a distributive (Matt. 20:9, 10. Luke 9:3.
John 2:6); also adverbially (Rev. 21:21).
Hence, it is used of motion away from a place (e.g. Matt. 3:16; 8:1. Acts 15:38); marking the distance which separates the two places, or the interval of time between two events (e.g. Matt. 19:4. Acts 20:18). It also marks the origin or source whence anything comes such as birth, descent, residence (e.g. Matt. 2:1; 15:1; 21:11. Acts 10:23; 17:13), or of information (e.g. Matt. 7:16).
Apo may consequently be used of deliverance or passing away from any state or condition (e.g. Matt. 1:21; 14:2. Mark 5:34. Acts 13:8; 14:15. Heb. 6:1.
It would thus differ from hupo (No. xvii, below), which would
imply a cause of immediate and active, while apo would imply
a cause of virtually passive, and more remote.
1. With the Genitive it has the general sense of through, as though dividing a surface into two by an intersecting line. It includes the idea of proceeding from and passing out (e.g. Mark 11:16. 1Cor. 3:15. 1Tim. 2:15. 1Pet. 3:20). Cp. diameter.
In a temporal sense; after an interval (Matt. 26:61. Mark 2:1. Gal. 2:1).
From the ideas of space and time dia (with the Gen.) denotes any cause by means of which an action passes to its accomplishment (e.g. Matt. 1.22. John 1:3. Acts 3:18. 1Cor. 16:3. 2Cor. 9:13); hence, it denotes the passing through whatever is interposed between the beginning and the end of such action.
2. With the Accusative it has the sense of on account of,
or because of (e.g. Matt. 27:18. Mark 2:27. Rev. 4:11),
indicating both the exciting cause (Acts 12:20. Rom. 4:25.
1Cor. 11:10), the impulsive cause (e.g. John 12:9. Rom. 4:23; 15:15.
Heb. 2:9), or the prospective cause (Rom. 6:19; 8:11; 14:15. Heb.
From this comes the idea of the object toward which such motion is directed (e.g. Matt. 18:20, 30. 1Cor. 12:13. Gal. 3:27); and for, or with respect to which such action or movement is made.
In contrast with eis, pros (No. xv, below) may mark one
object as the means of reaching an ulterior object which is denoted
by eis (e.g. John 6:35. Rom. 5:1. Eph. 4:12).
It is the opposite of ek (No. vii, below).
It is also used for the efficient cause as emanating from within, and hence has sometimes the force of by, denoting the instrument, with, passing on to union and fellowship; en denoting inclusion, and sun (No. xvi, below) denoting conjunction. En denotes also continuance in time (Matt. 2:1; 27:40. John 11:10).
2. with plural = among.
1. With the Genitive it denotes upon, as proceeding or springing from, and answers to the question "Where?" (e.g. Matt. 9:2; 10:27. Mark 8:4. Luke 22:30. John 6:21).
With the idea of locality it conveys the sense, in the presence of (e.g. Matt. 28:14. Mark 13:9. Acts 24:19. 1Cor. 6:1).
With the idea of time, it looks backward and upward, e.g. "in the days of" (Matt. 1:11. Heb. 1:2).
With the idea of place, it denotes dignity and power (e.g. Matt. 23:2. Acts 12:21. Rom. 9:5. Rev. 2:26).
2. With the Dative it implies actual superposition, as one thing resting upon another, as upon a foundation or basis which may be actual (e.g. Mark 6:25, 28, 39), or moral (e.g. Matt. 18:13. Mark 3:5). Both senses occur in 1Thess. 3:7.
Hence it is used of the moving principle or motive suggesting the purpose or object (e.g. Eph. 2:16), and sometimes including the result (e.g. 2Tim. 2:14).
3. With the Accusative it implies the downward pressure on that upon which a thing rests; active motion being suggested (e.g. 2Cor. 3:15. 1Tim. 5:5).
Hence, it denotes any extended motion downward (Matt. 13:2; 18:12; 19:28; 27:45) from heaven to earth (Mark 4:20. Acts 11:15. 2Cor. 12:9).
Compared with pros (No. xv, below), pros marks the motion, the direction to be taken, while epi (with Acc.) marks the point to be reached.
This downward pressure may be that of the mind, or feeling (e.g. Matt. 25:21; 27:43. Heb. 6:1. 1Pet. 1:13).
For the difference between eis (No. vi, above) and epi
(with the Acc.) see Rom. 9:21, "one vessel unto (eis) honour", and
v. 23, "riches of glory on (epi) the vessels of mercy".
1. With the Genitive it denotes vertical motion, the opposite of ana (No. i, above), descent, or detraction from a higher place or plane (e.g. Matt. 8:32. Mark 5:13); and direction to, or against (e.g. Mark 9:40. John 18:29. Acts 25:27. 2Cor. 13:8).
2. With the Accusative it denotes horizontal motion,
which the action proceeds (e.g. Luke 8:30; 10:33. Acts 5:15;
8:26. Phil. 3:14). Sometimes it includes the purpose or intention
(e.g. 2Tim. 1:1; 4:3. Tit. 1:1). In this connection eis
(No. vi, above. 2Tim. 4:14) marks the more immediate purpose, pros
(No. xv. 3. Eph. 4:12. Philem. 5) the ultimate purpose, and
kata (No. xv. 2) the destination of the motion (e.g. Matt. 27:15.
Heb. 3:8) and the accordance, conformity or proportion of the two things
which such motion thus connects (e.g. Matt. 16:27; 23:3; 25:15. Luke
Compare Eph. 6:23 (meta) with Eph. 4:31 (sun); and 1Thess. 3:13 (meta) with Col. 3:3 (sun).
1. Hence meta, with the Genitive, denotes among, amid (e.g. Matt. 26:58. Mark 1:13. Rev. 21:3), or in company with (e.g. Matt. 9:15. John 11:31. 2Thess. 1:7. Rev. 14:13).
It refers specially to the mental disposition with which an action is performed (e.g. Matt. 12:30. Mark 3:5. Luke 1:39; 9:49. John 8:28. 2Cor .7:15).
2. With the Accusative it means after, always in connection
with time (e.g. Matt. 17:1; 26:32. John 13:7. Heb. 4:7; 7:28).
1. With the Genitive it denotes from beside, implying the source from which anything proceeds (e.g. Matt. 2:4; 21:42. Luke 2:1; 6:19. Acts 26:10. Phil 4:18).
As distinguished from hupo (No. xviii, below) it denotes the general sense of motion, while hupo marks the special sense or efficient cause of such motion.
As distinguished from apo (No. iv, above) it marks the motion from a person (e.g. Matt. 2:16), while apo may imply motion from a place (e.g. Matt. 2:1).
2. With the Dative it denotes rest beside, and at a person, place, or thing, expressing rest and position there (e.g. John 19:25. Acts 9:43); laid up with or in store with (e.g. Matt. 6:1. Luke 1:30), or proximity to (e.g. Matt. 22:25. Col. 4:16).
Hence it implies in the power of (Matt. 19:26. Luke 1:37); in the judgment of (e.g. Rom. 2:12. 2Pet. 2:11).
3. With the Accusative it denotes motion to a place so as to be alongside it (e.g. Matt. 15:29. Mark 4:1).
Hence, beside and beyond, and so against
Acts 18:13. Rom. 1:25, 26; 4:18. 1Cor. 3:11; Gal. 1:8); and
i.e. more or less than (e.g. Luke 3:13; 13:2. Rom.
14:5. 2Cor. 11:24). Compare pros, No. xv, below.
1. With the Genitive it means as concerning, or, as regards, but always with the primary idea, and marking the central point of the activity (e.g. Matt. 4:6. Luke 24:19, 27, 44).
2. With the Accusative it denotes the extension of such activity,
hence, around (e.g. Mark 9:42. Luke 13:8. Acts 28:7.
Compared with para (No. xii, above), pros denotes only direction and tendency, whereas para denotes both motion and change of place of some object.
1. With the Genitive only occurrence is Acts 27:34.
2. With the Dative it occurs five times : Luke 19:37. John 18:16; 20:12, 13. Rev. 1:13.
3. With the Accusative, see e.g. Matt. 2:12; 3:10; 21:34; 26:57.
Mark 5:11; 11:1; 14:54. Luke 7:7. Acts 6:1. 1Thess. 3:6.
1. With the Genitive it is used in its relative rather than its absolute sense. In the place of (e.g. John 11:50; 18:14. Rom. 5:6. 1Tim. 2:6. Philem. 13. 1Pet. 3:18.).
In the interests of (e.g. 2Thess. 2:1).
In behalf of (e.g. Matt. 5:44. Acts 9:16).
For the purpose of (e.g. John 11:4. Rom. 15:8. 2Cor. 12:19. Phil. 2:13).
With the Genitive huper is connected with peri being the apex of the triangle, or the fixed point of the compass, whereas peri (see No. xiii, above) is the circle described around it. Hence huper has regard to feeling and implies the pleading a case on behalf of another, whereas peri implies the mere description of the circumstances of the case (e.g. 1Pet. 3:18. Jude 9).
2. With the Accusative it denotes beyond, in excess
of measure, honour, number, or time (e.g. Matt. 10:24. 2Cor. 1:8.
Eph. 1:22. Phil. 2:9. Philem. 16).
With the Genitive it describes the motion from beneath; with Dative (not used in the N.T.), position beneath; and with the Accusative, motion or extension underneath.
1. With the Genitive, hupo is used to mark the efficient or instrumental agent, from under whose hand or power the action of the verb proceeds (e.g. Matt. 1:22; 2:16. Luke 14:8).
2. With the Accusative, it denotes the place whither such action extends (e.g. Matt. 8:8. Mark 4:32. Jas. 2:3).
Hence it implies moral or legal subjection (e.g. Matt. 8:0. Rom.
6:14; 7:14; 16:20. 1Tim. 6:1).