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Mounce Archive 27 - The Semi-Colon

Categories Mondays with Mounce

Bill Mounce is traveling this month and is taking a break from his weekly column on biblical Greek until April. Meanwhile, we’ve hand-picked some classic, popular posts from the “Mondays with Mounce” archive for your Greek-studying pleasure.

The punctuation mark for this week is the semi-colon, which isn't used often in English. Looking at both Romans 9:4 and 1 Timothy 3:2, Mounce shows how the semi-colon can be useful in lists.

You can read the entire post here.

In a world of dwindling sentence length and complex sentence structures, the semi-colon has fallen on hard times. It is too bad. It has the ability to stop the reader ever so slightly, and indicate that while there is some sequence of thought (much like a comma), there is also a stop (but of less strength than a period).

Case in point is Romans 9:4. Paul is expressing his deep desire for the salvation of the Jewish nation. In reciting their privileges he says, “They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises” (ESV). It reads as a sequence, a series of privileges given to the Jewish nation.

(Continue reading the entire post here.)


William D. [Bill] Mounce posts about the Greek language, exegesis, and related topics on the ZA Blog. 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. The Mounce Reverse-Interlinear™ New Testament is available to freely read on Bible Gateway.

Learn more about Bill's Greek resources at

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