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John 14:16

"And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever". ESV. [ton patera/the Father].

John 1:14

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth". [patros/the Father].

What difference does having, or not having, "ton" article make in the Greek, even though NIV, ESV, NKJV and NASB 1977, for example, translate them the same way in these two verses?

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  • No difference. Greek has no definite difference between article or without article unlike English. Check throughout the text don't just check one or two verse. Read about the article in Grammar books
    – Michael16
    Commented Apr 17, 2022 at 2:18
  • see my answer here explaining the Greek article in detail hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/27196/…
    – Michael16
    Commented Apr 19, 2022 at 16:09

2 Answers 2

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Let us examine a pair of texts closer together using the same case for "Father" in each case:

  • John 1:14 - παρὰ Πατρός (= "from Father"), genitive
  • John 1:18 - τοῦ Πατρὸς (= "of the Father"), genitive

Why the article in V18 and not V14? The answer is quite simple - this is a classic case of an "anaphoric pair" where the article is anaphoric to the previous inarticular instance of the same noun. That is, the article in V18 refers back to the "Father" without the article in V14.

John 14:16

The noun "Father" occurs frequently in John 13 and 14 and always with the article. To follow the same rule, on must seek the referent which does not have the article and it is found in John 12:49, "I have not spoken on My own, but [the] Father who sent Me has commanded Me what to say and how to say it."

Notice that when the inarticular form occurs for the first time in a section, it has some extra defining material. In this case, it is the "Father who sent me".

Thus, John follows good Greek grammar regarding the Greek article.

Note that the above explanation is not the only one - "The Father" could also be described as "monadic" - the only one of its kind in the class. For far more details about how the Greek article works and how it is used, see "Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics" by Daniel Wallace.

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  • +1 good answer.
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Apr 17, 2022 at 1:16
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One way of looking at "patros" without article in John 1:14 is to see how it is translated in Young's Literal Translation. Which is:

"And the Word became flesh, and did tabernacle among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of an only begotten of a father, full of grace and truth".

Here I think we have:

"hos/as"="like",

"monogenous/an only" used to the same effect as it appears in Luke 9:38, an only and therefore extra precious,

"patros/a father" not "the Father".

i.e. Jesus' glory is likened to that of an only begotten of a father. Luke 9:38- the man from the crowd cried out

"Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child" [monogenes].

Only children then are special, and Jesus is not just special in this way but also special in other ways. Including as per John 1:14-

"The Word became flesh...full of grace and truth".

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