Lesson 5 | The Fourth Pass: Label, Part 2

Genitive Relationships

In Lesson 4, we started the “L” part of our acronym for Phrasing, DIALS. There we went through the three categories and 27 subordinate relationships.  In this lesson, we’ll learn how to finish the Fourth Pass by labeling all genitive phrases.
Genitive phrases relate to their anchor phrases in a variety of ways, just like other subordinate phrases do, as you learned in Lesson 4. However, the type of relationships genitive phrases have with their anchor phrases are different than those you learned in that lesson. This step will go through the most common relationships, with the goal of helping you grow in your ability to identify them as you phrase a passage of Scripture.
There is a cheat sheet attached at the end of this step, with the same examples as are described below. It will be a helpful reference for you as you do your homework in this course, and as you continue to phrase outside the course.

Possessive

The noun in the anchor phrase is a possession of the genitive.

The thing possessed can be something you have come into possession of, like a house, or an inherent possession, like a hand. Insert the words “which belongs to” to test out this relationship.

Relationship

The noun in the anchor phrase describes the relationship and the genitive indicates the person to whom he/she is related.

All genitive phrases have some kind of “relationship” to their anchor phrase, but “relationship” is used here specifically to refer only to family relationships.

Partitive

The noun in the anchor phrase is part of the whole described in the genitive.

Here, the passage spoken of is part of the Scripture.
This is sometimes called the “wholative” genitive, because of the confusion caused by the word “partitive,” as the genitive noun doesn’t describe the part but the whole of the object. For instance, in the combined phrases “one / of the Pharisees,” the group as a whole is “the Pharisees,” while “one” is a member, a part, of this group.

Epexegetical

The noun in the anchor phrase refers to the same thing as the genitive.

To discern this relationship, try putting an = sign between the two pieces, or the phrase “which is”: e.g., “the sign which is circumcision.”

Subjective

The genitive functions as the subject of the verbal idea implied in the noun of the anchor phrase.

The idea here is that the glory [subject] will appear. This relationship is only used where the noun in the anchor phrase has a verbal idea, and the same is the case with an Objective relationship (see below). For example, the noun “basket” does not have a verbal idea, while the noun “appearing” does: you can “appear” somewhere, but you cannot “basket” anything.

Objective

The genitive functions as the object of the verbal idea implied in the noun of the anchor phrase.

In this example, Paul wants Titus to model good works [object].

Plenary

The genitive functions both as the subject and the object of the verbal idea implied in the noun of the anchor phrase.

This relationship should be used if either a Subjective or Objective relationship makes sense. In the example above, it could be the fact that we love Christ [object] which controls us, or the fact that Christ [subject] loves us. No decision need be made here, as Paul’s use of the genitive is delightfully ambiguous!

Attributive

The genitive specifies an attribute or quality of the noun in the anchor phrase.

If this relationship is being used, you can reword the genitive noun as an attributive adjective, as in “sinful body” in the example above. The genitive noun is attributing a quality to the noun in the anchor phrase.

Attributed

The noun in the anchor phrase specifies an attribute or quality of the genitive.

In this relationship, you can try the opposite experiment as for an Attributive relationship: reword the noun in the anchor phrase as an attributive adjective, as in “genuine faith” in the example above. A quality is being attributed to the genitive noun.

Producer

The noun in the anchor phrase is produced by the genitive.

The Spirit is the one who produces unity among believers. This is a similar category to Subjective, but the difference is that in a Producer relationship, the noun in the anchor phrase does not have a verbal idea, as in Subjective.
This is also a similar category to Source. The difference there is that Producer “tends to involve a more active role on the part of the genitive” (Dan Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, 105). Here, “the Spirit” actively produces “unity.”

Product

The noun in the anchor phrase produces the genitive.

This is the polar opposite of the Producer relationship above. There, the genitive, the “Spirit,” produces “unity;” here, “God” produces the genitive, “peace.”

Material

The genitive specifies the material out of which the noun in the anchor phrase is made.

We use this relationship when we describe what an object is made of. For instance, Psalm 2:9 describes “a rod of iron,” which means “a rod made out of iron.”

Contents

The genitive specifies the contents of the noun in the anchor phrase. (Don’t confuse this with the Content relationship for non-genitive phrases!)

When you go to a café, you ask for “a cup of coffee,” not expecting a cup constructed out of glued-together coffee beans, but a cup containing coffee.

Subordination

The noun of the anchor phrase has dominion over the genitive.

To discern this relationship, try replacing “of” with “over.”

Source

The genitive specifies the origin of the noun in the anchor phrase.

This category is similar to Producer. The distinction is that in a Source relationship, the noun in the genitive phrase doesn’t take an “active role” in the relationship, unlike in a Producer relationship (Dan Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, 105). So here, “Nazareth” indicates Jesus’ birthplace without suggesting that the city itself actively produced him.

Destination

The genitive specifies the end point to which the noun of the anchor phrase arrives.

Paul isn’t saying that the “children” in Ephesians 2:3 struggle with an anger problem, but that their destination is the wrath of God.

Separation

The genitive is that from which a verb or a noun in the anchor phrase is separated.

The motion of separation in this relationship is not always literal, as you can see in the above example. The woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment was separated from her disease—or better, it was separated from her.

Reference

The genitive indicates to what the anchor phrase is in connection.

God will not make a full end with reference to his people.

Descriptive

The noun in the anchor phrase is characterized by the genitive.

I call this the “drip-pan” genitive use: anything you can’t fit in any other relationship goes here, and only that. Otherwise, you could call anything a descriptive genitive, because genitives always describe their nouns or verbs somehow! Only label a genitive phrase with this relationship as a last resort.


Quizlet

Before you move on to a video demonstration of the second part of the Fourth Pass, here’s a short quizlet for you to help you master genitive relationships. Just like with the other Phrasing relationships, I don’t expect you to memorize each definition, but to be familiar with the concepts behind each definition. (Remember to have Shuffle turned on.)


The Basics of New Testament Syntax
by Daniel B. Wallace The categories and definitions above are based on those given in this book.

Phrasing