Last week I decided to resume my Greek studies as college and other ministry commitments were finished for the year and I had the time to spare. Because I hadn’t read the book of Hebrews for a while, I decided to look at that book. Now granted its possibly one of the hardest books I could look at in the original languages. There are many verbs of which I have no skills for the moment in deciphering and so I may be throwing myself into the bottomless pit of no return.
However. In Hebrews 1:2 I was a little thrown at first with this word order. εροισεν τόυς αιωνας
Ι knew that τόυς was a Masculine Genitive Plural Article. But I couldn’t find the corresponding noun at first which it went with. Suddenly it hit me that αιωνας is one of those horrible 3rd declension nouns which could be either masculine or feminine in nature. With the help of the dictionary I was able to work out that it says … He made the ages / he made the worlds. Which the NIV translates as “He made the universe.”
Now some questions for my friends who are fluent in Greek regarding the use of the article and the 3rd declension noun. Does the verb set the usage of the article and therefore decides the translation of the noun. Or does the usage of the masculine article cause the setting for the translation of the noun which could be either masculine or feminine.
My difficulty with this is that up to now I have been taught that a words gender isn’t that important in deciphering its meaning. The Greek word for sin for example is a feminine noun – but this doesn’t infer that only females sin. So this now leads to my curious mind asking further inane questions. Within the context of 3rd declension nouns which can be either masculine or feminine, does it really matter which article is used alongside it? Could the author of Hebrew’s used τασ (which is a feminine article ) instead of τόυς.