17. THE GENITIVE CASE.
"Of" is usually the sign of the Genitive Case, though it is used also to represent fourteen different Greek words, viz., from, around, away, under, beside, upon, over, in, into, down, through, towards, with, before. Where, however, it represents the Genitive Case of a noun, the Holy Spirit uses it in a variety of different senses, the recognition of which is necessary to an intelligent appreciation of the passage.
These several usages may be
conveniently grouped in the following nine classes, it being borne in mind that
sometimes a Genitive may belong to more than one class; and also, that a study
of the context will prove the surest way of determining to which class a
particular Genitive belongs, where, at first sight, it seem difficult to
1. The Genitive of Character. Here the emphasis is always on the adjectival particle, which appears in the original as a noun in the Genitive Case. Ps. 2:6, Heb. "the hill of My holiness" = "My holy hill". Eph. 2:2, "Children of disobedience" = "disobedient children". 2Thess. 1:7, Greek "angels of His might" = "His mighty angels".
2. The Genitive of Origin. This marks the source from which anything has its origin. Ezek. 1:1, "Visions of God" = Visions proceeding from God. Rom. 4:11, 13, "Righteousness of faith" = Righteousness coming through faith. 2Cor. 11:26, "Perils of waters" = Perils occasioned by waters.
3. The Genitive of Possession. This is, perhaps, the most frequent, and is generally unmistakable; though some occurrences are difficult to identify. It may be said to answer the question "Whose?" Luke 2:49, Greek "The business of My Father" = My Father's business. Rev. 14:12, "The patience of the saints" = the patience possessed by the saints. Eph. 6:16, "The shield of faith" = faith's shield, which is the living Word, Christ, Gen. 15:1. Eph. 6:17, "The sword of the Spirit" = the Spirit's sword, which is the written Word, the Scriptures.
4. The Genitive of Apposition. Here the "of" is equivalent to "that is to say", or, "consisting of". Gen. 2:7, "The breath of life" = the breath, that is to say, life. John 2:21, "The temple of His body" = the temple, that is to say, His body. Rom. 4:11, "The sign of circumcision" = the sign, that is to say, circumcision. 2Cor. 5:1, "The house of our tabernacle" = the house, that is to say, our tabernacle. 2Cor. 3:17, 18, "The spirit of the Lord" = the spirit, that is to say, the Lord (Christ) Who is the life of the old covenant, as the body without the spirit is dead (Jas. 2:26). 1Pet. 1:1, "Sojourners of the Dispersion" = sojourners, that is to say, the Dispersion.
5. The Genitive of Relation. This is, perhaps, the most interesting of all; and the manner of expressing the particular relation must be gathered from the context. Frequently the "of" is the equivalent to "pertaining to". It may be objective, subjective, or both, e.g. 2Cor. 5:14, "The love of Christ", which may be the love Christ bears to us (subjective); the love we bear to Christ (objective); or both may be true, and the truth. Gen. 2:9, "The tree of life" i.e. the tree which preserved life. Isa. 55:3. Acts 13:34, "The sure mercies of David" = pertaining, or made, to David. Matt. 6:28, "Lilies of the field" = which grow in the field. Rom. 8:36, "Sheep of slaughter" = sheep destined for slaughter. Heb. 11:26, "Reproach of Christ" = reproach for Christ's sake.
6. The Genitive of Material. Denoting that of which anything is made, hence the "of" here is equivalent to "made of". Gen. 6:14, "An ark of gopher wood". Ps. 2:9, "A rod of iron". Dan. 2:38, "This head of gold".
7. The Genitive of Contents. Denoting that with which anything is filled, or which it contains, hence the "of" is equivalent to "filled with", or "containing". 1Sam. 16:20, "A bottle of wine". Matt. 10:42, "A cup of cold water". Matt. 26:7, "An alabaster box of very precious ointment". The Genitive of the contents always follows the verb "to fill", while the vessel filled takes the Accusative case, and the filler is put in the Dative case, e.g. Rom. 15:13, "Now the God of hope fill you (Accusative case) with all joy and peace (Genitive case) in (or by) believing (Dative case)". Eph. 5:18, "Filled with the Spirit" is the Dative case, and therefore = "by the Spirit" --the Filler. Therefore, not "with", which would have required the Genitive case.
8. The Genitive of Partition. Separation, where this denotes a part taken from the whole; the "of" being equivalent to such expressions as "share in", "part of", or "from among". Luke 20:35, Greek "To attain of that world" = to attain a place in that world. 1Cor. 15:9, "The least of the Apostles" = the least among the Apostles.
9. Two Genitives depending on one another. Acts 5:32, "We are witnesses of (Genitive of possession) Him of (i.e. in relation to, Genitive of relation) these things". Acts 20:24, "The Gospel of (i.e. concerning, Genitive of relation) the grace of (Genitive of origin or possession) God".