In 1 Timothy 3:4, regarding the qualifications of the elder, it states, “...having his children in subjection” (cf. Tit. 1:6).

4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; KJV, ©1769

The Greek text states,

Δʹ τοῦ ἰδίου οἴκου καλῶς προϊστάμενον, τέκνα ἔχοντα ἐν ὑποταγῇ, μετὰ πάσης σεμνότητος NA28, ©2012

Is the Greek word translated into English as “children” actually declined in the plural number, thus meaning two or more children? Or is it declined in the singular number, thus meaning that the elder can have one child.

(Some say the Greek word can be understood as both plural and singular.)


2 Answers 2


One early lesson in Classical Greek class is that neuter plural nouns in Greek function as a "collective" in the singular, and therefore can take verbs and their forms in the singular.

The Greek word in question in 1 Tim 3:4 is τέκνa, which is neuter plural.

Smyth, Herbert Weir (1918). Greek Grammar. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 264.


Yes, τέκνα "children" is the plural of τέκνον "child". It is declined in the plural and has plural meaning. It is true that neuter plural nouns regularly govern a singular verb, but this is an entirely different issue. τέκνα with a singular verb still means "children", not "child".

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.