Here is the NA28 text for Mark 12:30:

καὶ ἀγαπήσεις κύριον τὸν θεόν σου ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίας σου καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ψυχῆς σου καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς διανοίας σου καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ἰσχύος σου.

And here is my translation:

And you shall love the Lord your God from your whole heart, and from your whole soul, and from your whole mind, and from your whole strength.

I have just a couple of questions. First, I wanted to know, is ἐξ best translated as "from" or "with"? I don't find the meaning "with" in any dictionary, although it seems to be a logical choice. Second, why is ὅλης always in predicate position? Since it modifies each noun, I would expect it to have attributive position.


2 Answers 2


OP asks:

is ἐξ best translated as "from" or "with"?

BDAG classifies this usage of ἐκ in section 3.g.γ.:

of the inner life, etc., from which something proceeds...: ἐκ καρδίας Ro 6:17; 1 Pt 1:22.... ἐκ ψυχῆς Eph 6:6; Col 3:23.... ἐκ καθαρᾶς καρδίας 1 Ti 1:5; 2 Ti 2:22; 1 Pt 1:22. ἐξ ὅλης τ. καρδίας σου....Mk 12:30; cp. Lk 10:27 (Dt 6:5; cp. Wsd 8:21; 4 Macc 7:18; Epict. 2, 23, 42 ἐξ ὅλης ψυχῆς)....

In that sense, "from" may indeed be an appropriate translation. However, as noted by another answer, Mark 12:30 is precisely quoting LXX Deut 6:5 here, which in turn translates the preposition בְּ (), almost certainly expressing instrumentality (see HALOT בְּ, I, 16). The most natural way to render this in Greek would be using the dative case, with or without the preposition εν. However, the LXX translator may be defended (BDAG s.v. ἐκ, 3.f.):

Sim. ἐκ can introduce the means which one uses for a definite purpose, with, by means of...

The OP's second question:

why is ὅλης always in predicate position?

I'm not certain what is intended by "predicate" here. I suspect you're observing the word order adjective-article-noun, which generally indicates a predicate relationship. However, in the case of "pronoun adjectives" (πᾶς, ὅλος, εἷς, other numbers), this structural cue doesn't hold.* The semantic relationship is attributive.

While this is perfectly good Greek (see BDAG s.v. ὅλος, 1.b.α), the choice of word order here follows from the Hebrew of Deut 6:5. The word translated by ὅλος (כֹּל) is technically a noun, and by the rules of Hebrew grammar it must precede the noun it with which it is constructed and may not take the article. Because the word order is essentially determined by, or at the very least heavily influenced by, the grammar of another language, I would not read too much into Mark's "choice" here.

* Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: an Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996, 308.

  • Hi Susan. Great answer. I'm sorry I did not accept it sooner! How rude of me to receive two good answers in this thread and accept neither one of them.
    – ktm5124
    Commented Mar 25, 2017 at 7:13

According to LSJ, “[ὅλος] may either precede the Art[icle] or follow the Subst[antive].”1 Likewise, Thayer (translating Wilke) states that ὅλος is “usually placed before a substantive which has the article,” but he also provides numerous examples where “it is placed after a substantive which has the article.”2

That being said, the Synoptic parallel of Matt. 26:59 and Mark 14:55 seems to suggest that there is no difference in meaning:

  1. Matt. 26:59 (=τὸ συνέδριον ὅλον)

ΝΘʹ οἱ δὲ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι καὶ τὸ συνέδριον ὅλον ἐζήτουν ψευδομαρτυρίαν κατὰ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ ὅπως αὐτὸν θανατώσωσιν

  1. Mark 14:55 (=ὅλον τὸ συνέδριον)

ΝΕʹ οἱ δὲ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ ὅλον τὸ συνέδριον ἐζήτουν κατὰ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ μαρτυρίαν εἰς τὸ θανατῶσαι αὐτόν καὶ οὐχ εὕρισκον

It is noteworthy that Matthew has ἐν ὅλῃ rather than ἐξ ὅλης.3 However, Luke,4 Mark,5 and the LXX of Deu. 6:5 have ἐξ ὅλης. The Hebrew text has בְּכָל (bĕkāl), and while the preposition ב is perhaps most often translated by the Greek preposition ἐν (hence Matthew’s Greek text), we cannot simply dismiss the witnesses that each have ἐξ ὅλης.

I would tranlsate ἐξ ὅλης as “out of...entire,” that is, “You shall love the Lord your God out of your entire heart, and out of your entire soul, and out of your entire mind, and out of your entire strength.” This seems to emphasize the origin of the love expressed towards God—that it emanates from the totality of one’s inmost being.

On the other hand, “with all...,” as the literal translation of בְּכָל, which Matthew seems to convey, seems to emphasize that the heart, soul, and mind (according to Matthew’s Greek text) are the instruments with which one expresses their love toward God.


Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; et al. A Greek-English Lexicon. 9th ed. Oxford: Clarendon, 1940.

Wilke, Christian Gottlob. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Being Grimm Wilke’s Clavis Novi Testamenti. Trans. Thayer, Joseph Henry.Ed. Grimm, Carl Ludwig Wilibald. Rev. ed. New York: American Book, 1889.


1 p. 1128
2 p. 444
3 Matt. 22:37
4 Luke 10:27
5 Mark 12:30

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