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Ephesians 4:4-6 (MLVBL)
There is one ἓν body and one ἓν Spirit, just-as you were also called in one μιᾷ hope of your calling; one εἷς Lord, one μία faith, one ἓν immersion, one εἷς God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in us all.

  1. Why the various Greek words, ἓν/μιᾷ/εἷς, for "one"?

  2. How many religious faiths are right according to Ephesians 4:4-6?

  • 1
    The answer is that this is just one word. Just as in English "who, whom, whose" are various forms of one single word, so these are various forms of a single word. The forms change according to the function of the word in the sentence, but it is just one word. – MPW Nov 21 '18 at 14:36
  • @der Ubermensch will look at it. How do I do it please? – user26950 Dec 2 '18 at 14:25
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Unlike English, Greek is a heavily (or highly) inflected language.1 In English, one could say/write, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism,” and the adjective “one” does not change spelling according to the noun it modifies.

Footnotes

        1 Chadwick, Ch. 4, p. 35

However, in Greek, the typical adjective will decline2 according to:3

Greek Declension List

Footnotes

        2 To decline is to inflect a substantive (e.g., noun, pronoun); to conjugate is to inflect a verb. Note: participles both decline and conjugate because they are, so to speak, part substantive, part verb.
        3 Because εἷς is inherently singular—after all, it means “one”—it does not decline according to number, unlike other adjectives. Also, being a numeral, it does not decline according to degree (i.e., it is not used as a comparative or superlative).

Since adjectives must agree with the substantives4 they modify,5 then substantives also decline in the same manner (excluding degree).

Footnotes

        4 A substantive is “a noun” or “a part of speech that can be used as subject or as object of a verb, be governed by a preposition, or the like.” (Whitney, Vol. 6, p. 6031-6032, “substantive,” n., II.). Pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, participles, and infinitives can all function as substantives. Smyth, p. 292, §1153, “The article has the power to make substantival any word or words to which it is prefixed.”
        5 Mounce, p. 65, §9.8: “When an adjective functions as an attributive, it agrees with the word it modifies in case, number, and gender.”

The English adjective “one” is translated from the Greek word εἷς, which may be transliterated into English as heis.

This word εἷς is known as the λήμμα (lemma), or the dictionary/lexical form of the word. The lemma of an adjective is its form declined in the nominative case, singular number, masculine gender, and positive degree.

εἷς Declension Table

Since εἷς is an adjective, when you find its entry in a lexicon, the lexicon will provide its declension for the masculine, feminine, and neuter genders, all in the nominative case, singular number (highlighted yellow). It will also provide its declension in those same genders in the genitive case, singular number (highlighted orange).

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With respect to Eph. 4:4–6, the lemma εἷς modifies nouns of various genders,6 hence the different declensions. Nevertheless, all possess the same general meaning: “one.”

Footnotes

        6 Every Greek noun has an inherent grammatical gender: masculine, feminine, or neuter (Porter, p. 100, §3). Therefore, the adjective modifying the noun generally agrees with its corresponding noun in gender.


References

Mounce, William D. Basics of Biblical Greek. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003.

Porter, Stanley E. Idioms of the Greek New Testament. 1992. Reprint. 2nd ed. London: Continuum, 2005.

The Century Dictionary: An Encyclopedic Lexicon of the English Language. Ed. Whitney, William Dwight. Vol. 6. New York: The Century Co., 1891.

Thornill, A. Chadwick. Greek for Everyone: Introductory Greek for Bible Study and Application. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2016.

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All the words for "one" are different declensions of the same word (εἷς, μία, ἕν in the lexicon). It is declined to match the noun it modifies.

ἓν - is nominative neuter singular

μιᾷ - is dative feminine sigular (in a prepositional phrase)

εἷς - is nominative masculine singular

μία - is nominative feminine sigular

There are sites like the following where you can get free classes in Biblical Greek:

https://www.biblicaltraining.org/biblical-greek/william-mounce

As for the religious faiths Eph. 4:4-6 applies, it applies for all Christians.

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