Step Two: If there is no preposition before the word, consider one of
the following possible uses:
- Possession - "something which belongs
The first noun is the property of the genitive noun.
Example: Matthew 26:51 -- "the slave which belongs
to the high priest."
- Relationship - "someone who was the
son of ____"
This involves the names of two people, one of which is genitive,
as in "James, of Alphaeus." It shows family relationship, usually father/son, but can occasionally refer to
a brother or other close relative. You have to add the words "son of."
Mark 2:14 - "Levi, son of Alphaeus."
- Adverbial -- Some genitive nouns give information about the action of the verb rather than another noun, so they
are called adverbial genitives.
1. Time - "[verb] which happened at [time in genitive]"
It tells what time an act occurred; it emphasizes this time as opposed to some
other time. It is not trying to locate a certain point of time (that would be dative) or giving the duration of an action
(that would be accusative).
Example: John 3:2 - "This one came to him at night."
2. Place - "[verb] which happened at [place in genitive]"
that an action took place in a particular place rather than some other place.
Luke 16:24 - "that he might dip the tip of his finger in water (rather than somewhere
3. Reference - "[adjective] with reference to the subject of ____"
is used to show what subject the idea of an adjective can cover.
Example: Hebrews 3:12
- "a heart evil with reference to unbelief"
- Verbal genitives - When a genitive is linked with a noun that describes some kind of action, like "preaching,
blasphemy, revelation," there are two special possibilities of usage:
Subjective genitive - "[verbal noun] which was done by ____"
If you turned the verbal noun into an actual verb, then a subjective genitive tells what the subject of that verb would
be. For example, in "the preaching of men," it would imply that the men preached.
Example: Acts 1:22 - "the baptism of [done by] John."
2. Objective genitive - "[verbal
noun] of which the object was ____"
The genitive noun tells you the direct object
of the action described by the verbal noun.
Example: John 3:10 - "the teacher
of Israel" [the one who teaches Israel]
Example: Matthew 12:31 - "the
blasphemy of the Spirit [the act of blaspheming the Spirit].
- "____ which is ____"
The genitive noun is simply another name for the
noun to which it is linked.
Example: "the city of Chicago" [the city which
Example: John 2:21 - "the temple which
is his body."
- "[fraction] of [the whole]"
When a noun gives a fraction or portion of
something, it is often followed by a genitive that tells you the whole from which the fraction comes.
Example: "part of an apple"
Example: Mark 6:23 - "half of my
- Genitive Absolute
- This is a complicated usage, which deserves a separate section of its own.
Object - There are certain verbs that always take a genitive noun rather than an accusative as their direct object.
following uses are sometimes called ablative uses:
- Separation - "____
away from ____"
The first noun is described as separated from or moved away from
the genitive noun.
Example: "I took the doll away
from the child."
Example: Ephesians 2:12 - "alienated from the commonwealth of Israel."
- Source - "____
which has ___ as its source."
The genitive noun is the source of the other noun;
in some way it is responsible for its existence.
Example: Romans 4:13 - "through
the righteousness from faith.:
Example: 2 Corinthians
4:7 - "that the excellency of the power may be from God."
- Comparison - "[comparative adjective] than ____"
Genitive is sometimes used after comparative adjectives or adverbs like "better, smaller, hairier" to tell
what they are compared to.
Example: John 13:16 - "a servant is not greater
than his lord."