Mounce Archive 14 – The Joys of Shortening Greek Sentences (Eph 3:17)

Bill Mounce on July 6th, 2015. Tagged under ,,.

Bill Mounce

Bill is the founder and President of, serves on the Committee for Bible Translation (which is responsible for the NIV translation of the Bible), and has written the best-selling biblical Greek textbook, Basics of Biblical Greek, and many other Greek resources. He blogs regularly on Greek and issues of spiritual growth. Learn more about Bill's Greek resources at

Everyone needs a break once in a while, and Bill Mounce is taking one from his weekly column on biblical Greek until September. Meanwhile, we’ve hand-picked some classic, popular posts from the “Mondays with Mounce” archive for your summer reading and Greek-studying pleasure.

Today’s “classic” post deals with Greek sentences that go on and on and on and …. Mounce uses Eph 3:17 as an example text and ends with a stirring reflection:

“So much of our training as theologians and exegetes is to attain knowledge. I wonder what school would look like if our goal were to learn that which extends far beyond knowledge, to learn the love of Christ?”

Consider the excerpt below or read the original here.

Paul begins by saying that he bows before God (v 14), and follows by asking for two things.

1. He asks that God give the Ephesians power ( ἵνα δῷ … δυνάμει) in order that they be strengthened (v 16).

2. The second part of the request is in v 18 that starts with a parallel ἵνα. Paul prays that God give the Ephesians the power to understand (ἵνα ἐξισχύσητε καταλαβέσθαι).

That much is pretty clear, but the real question is the final phrase in v 17, “rooted and grounded in love” (ἐν ἀγάπῃ ἐρριζωμένοι καὶ τεθεμελιωμένοι). Does it go with the preceding or the following?

(Continue reading the entire post here.)

William D. [Bill] Mounce posts about the Greek language, exegesis, and related topics at Koinonia. He is the author of numerous works including the recent Basics of Biblical Greek Video Lectures and the bestselling Basics of Biblical Greek. He is the general editor of Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of the Old and New Testament Words. He served as the New Testament chair of the English Standard Version Bible translation, and is currently on the Committee for Bible Translation for the NIV.

Learn more about Bill’s Greek resources at and visit his blog on spiritual growth at