Expressions of purpose

Consider the following sentences:

They worked for days to finish the job.

Jane wore a raincoat so that she wouldn’t get wet.

I left early in order to make the train on time.

Each example begins with a main clause/verb, followed by an (underlined) purpose clause answering the question ‘why?’  Why did they work for days?  Why did Jane wear a raincoat?  Why did I leave early?

English uses a variety of words and phrases to indicate purpose: the simple infinitive, ‘in order to’, ‘so that’, and so on.  Koine Greek also employs several methods, including

1  ἵνα with the subjunctive


τοῦτο ποιήσω,       ἵνα         δοξασθῇ                        ὁ πατὴρ        ἐν τῷ υἱῷ 

this     I will do,     so that     he may be glorified      the Father     by the Son       

this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son                          John 14:13


2  ὅπως with the subjunctive


ἐξήγειρά    σε,      ὅπως       ἐνδείξωμαι      ἐν σοὶ      τὴν δύναμίν μου

I raised       you,    so that     I might show     in you     the power      of me

I raised you up, that I might show my power in you                            Romans 9:17


3  the simple infinitive


μὴ νομίσητε ὅτι ἦλθον καταλῦσαι τὸν νόμον

do not think that I came to abolish the law                                       Matthew 5:17


4  πρός and εἰς with the articular infinitive


προσέχετε δὲ τὴν δικαιοσύνην ὑμῶν μὴ ποιεῖν ἔμπροσθεν τῶν ἀνθρώπων πρὸς τὸ θεαθῆναι αὐτοῖς

be careful not to perform your righteous acts before men to be seen by them    Matthew 6:1

πᾶς γὰρ ἀρχιερεὺς εἰς τὸ προσφέρειν δῶρά τε καὶ θυσίας καθίσταται

for every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices                             Hebrews 8:3


This is a simplification; the purpose here is for the reader to become familiar with several  major ways in which New Testament writers express purpose.  More next time on a particular usage with ἵνα and ὅπως with the subjunctive.  

Back in the days of landlines and typewriters, it was difficult – in the English-speaking world – to find ways to type in Greek.  Now we can choose from a variety of fonts.

In this post I will be discussing Greek fonts as used in a MS Word document, on a PC.  If you have MS Word on a Mac the following may not apply.

1  Enable Greek typing on your computer.  See my previous post, here.

One thought on “Expressions of purpose

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s