Pronouns: Personal, Possessive, Reflexive

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Examples of using it in exegesis: Pronouns and its implications in exegesis

Comparison with other language on Pronoun

Table of Content

1.          Personal Pronouns : First / Second Person ; Third Person (Three ways)

2.          Possessive Pronouns (cf. Possessive adjective)

3.          Reflexive Pronouns

Personal Pronoun

As an exercise to the student, please fill the blank yourself.


1st person

2nd person

3rd person




Three ways


e)me, me



e)mou, mou sou a)utou -hv -ou his, her, its


e)moi, moi soi  



1st person

2nd person

3rd person




Three ways








a)utwn their





Sometimes, the singular and plural forms of the pronoun can make a difference. Though it is more important for English than Greek, but it does give us some hints too.

Personal Pronoun: First / Second Person Examples:

(Reference: Richard A. Young p.72 ; Blass-D, pp.145-6.)


A) Contrast or other Emphasis.

B) When there are no emphasis, then it may be a Hebraism or a scribal addition.


Emphasis: It can be importance, gravity, surprise, anger, contrast, comparison, or identity. The meaning of this emphasis is deduced from the context. It is not defined by grammar.


Matthew 16:16 And Simon Peter answered: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.

ij a)pokriqei\j de\ Si/mwn Pe/troj ei]pe: su\ ei] o( Xristo\j o( ui(o\j tou= Qeou= tou= zw=ntoj.


John 3:10 Jesus answered and said to him: "You are a teacher of Israel, and you do not know these things?"

i a)pekri/qh  'Ihsou=j kai\ ei]pen au)tw|=: su\ ei] o( dida/skaloj tou=  'Israh\l kai\ tau=ta ou) ginw/skeij;


Acts 4:7 Why have you done this?

e)poih/sate tou~to u(mei~v


Luke 24:21 but we were hoping (contrast what has happened with their expectations)

h(mei~v de\ h)lpi/zomen


For a series of contrrasts see the e)gw\ de\ le/gw u(mi~n (but I say you) phrases in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:22, 28, 32, 34, 39, 44.) They contrasts what the crowd has heard with his teaching.


[21]Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:

ka  'Hkou/sate o(/ti e)rre/qh toi=j a)rxai/oij, ou) foneu/seij: o(\j d' a)\n foneu/sh|, e)/noxoj e)/stai th|= kri/sei.

[22]But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger

kb 'Egw\ de\ le/gw u(mi=n o(/ti pa=j o( o)rgizo/menoj tw|= a)delfw|= au)tou= ei)kh= e)/noxoj e)/stai th|= kri/sei: o(\j d' a)\n ei)/ph| tw|= a)delfw|= au)tou= r(aka/, e)/noxoj e)/stai tw|= sunedri/w|: o(\j d' a)\n ei)/ph| mwre/, e)/noxoj e)/stai ei)j th\n ge/ennan tou= puro/j.

John 4:26 Jesus contrasts the one who the woman is talking about (Christ) with himself to emphasize His identity. (I am he, the one talking with you). ¡¦Egw/ ei)mi, o( lalw~n soi


[25]The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.

ke le/gei au)tw|= h( gunh/: oi]da o(/ti Messi/aj e)/rxetai o( lego/menoj Xristo/j: o(/tan e)/lqh| e)kei=noj, a)naggelei= h(mi=n pa/nta.

[26]Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.

kj le/gei au)th|= o(  'Ihsou=j: e)gw/ ei)mi o( lalw=n soi.

[Besides, e)gw/ ei)mi is a very special term too. More analysis on that can be seen in Bauer, p. 217.]

Possessive Pronoun and Possessive adjective

Two forms are used to express the possessive.

1) Mostly used: Genitive case of Personal Pronoun (see the above table.)

Matthew 11:29 to\n zugo/n mou (my yoke)

2) Rarely used: Possessive Pronouns used as a) an adjective (many grammar books call them possessive adjective) or b) noun.

It declines with the noun it modifies.In Blass-D, it is stated in p.149, "The possessive adjectives, which classical Greek employed fro the emphatic possessive genitive of the person pronoun, have to a great extent disappeared in the Hellenistic period and so also in the New Testament and were replaced by the personal pronoun, i)/diov (mou), u(pa/rcwn moi and the like; this applies also to the papyri.


1st person

2nd person

3rd person (gen. of person pronoun : Lesson 15)


e)mov -h -on my, mine

sov -h -on your (singular) a)utou -hv -ou his, her, its


h(me/terov our (9 times only) u(me/terov your (plural) (9 times only) a)utwn their

When used, they are usually used attributively (with article), but sometimes they are used predicatively.

John 7:16 h( e)mh didaxh ou)k e)stin e)mh . The my teaching not is mine.(The teaching is not mine.)

Philemon 10 parakalw de peri tou e)mou teknou (I) beseech you for (concerning) my child. [genitive ? why? Check peri.]

Example: Matthew 20:15 among (in) the (my things) e)n toi~v e)moi~v

Reflexive Pronouns (NO Nominative! NO Neuter!)


1st person

2nd person

3rd person


e)mauton -hn myself

seauton -hn yourself

e(auton -hn himself


e)mautou~ -h~v seautou~ -h~v e(autou~ -h~v Dict. [Bauer, p.211]


e)mautw| -h| seautw| -h| e(autw| -h|


1st person

2nd person

3rd person







Note : The breathing has changed! e)mauton, seauton, e(auton. plural : e(autouv.

The subject and object of a sentence refer to the same person or thing, then reflexive is used. (Thus, middle voice verbs are rarely reflexive.)

Matthew 16:24 a)parnhsa/sqw e(auto/n (let him deny himself.) [Verb + reflexive]

Matthew 9:3 ei)pan e)n e(autoi~v ( they said to themselves. Blass-D p.148 wrongly use ei)pon . ) [Verb + preposition + reflexive]

Matthew 12:25 merisqei~sa kaq' e(auth~v (divided against herself [in English, itself].) [Verb + preposition + reflexive] "herself" refers to the kingdom (basileia).

Matthew 15:30 e/)xontev meq' e(autwn (having with themselves.) [Verbal + preposition + reflexive]

Acts 26:9 e)gw me\n ou~n e)/doca e)mautw~| (I indeed then thought to myself.) [(Pronoun) + Verb + reflexive]


When a pronoun is used emphatically, reflexive may be used also.

John 7:17 e)gw a)p' e)mautou lalw~ I speak from myself. [Pronoun + preposition + reflexive]

John 8:13 su peri seautou martureiv You bear witness concerning yourself. [Pronoun + preposition + reflexive]


In the plural, one word for all!

Matthew 23:31 martureite e(autoiv (You) bear witness to yourselves. [Quiz : Do you know "You" is plural or singular?]

Besides, please note the hard breathing above the plural form.

e)mautou~ This is the "dictionary form." E.g. check Bauer, p.253 on this word: e)mautou~

Special usages: used as [Young p.79.]

  1. Genitive of possession : Matthew 21:8 e(autw~n ta\ i(ma/tia their own garments
  2. Genitive of relationship : Matthew 8:22 a)/fev tou\v nekrou\v qa/yai tou\v e(autw~n nekrou/v let the dead bury their own dead
  3. Reciprocal pronoun : Ephesians 5:19 lalou~ntev e(autoi~v speaking with one another


3rd Third personal (p.60) : Three ways

1) au)tov (see Lesson 15, p.60. 3 usages)

2) ou{toj and e)keinov sometimes have this weakened sense (Voc.14) & the examples below.

3) The article followed by de.

The following English translation is literal, as far as possible.


Usage 1)

John 1:12 As many as (but) they received him, he gave to them right children of God to become

ib o(/soi de\ e)/labon au)to/n, e)/dwken au)toi=j e)cousi/an te/kna Qeou= gene/sqai,

John 1:26 He answered them (the) John saying : "I am baptizing in water ;"

kj a)pekri/qh au)toi=j o(  'Iwa/nnhj le/gwn: e)gw\ bapti/zw e)n u(/dati:

Luke 8 :42 She was dying

au)th\ a)pe/qnh|sken


Usage 2)

John 1:2 (He) he was in the beginning with God.

b Ou{toj h}n e)n a)rxh|= pro\j to\n Qeo/n.

John 1:4 (He) he came to witness

z ou{toj h}lqen ei)j marturi/an,

John 1:41 He finds (He) first the brother his own.

mb eu(ri/skei ou{toj prw=ton to\n a)delfo\n to\n i)/dion

John 20:13 And they say to her (her; original: those): "Woman, why do you cry?" She says to them.

ig kai\ le/gousin au)th|= e)kei=noi: gu/nai, ti/ klai/eij; le/gei au)toi=j:


Usage 3)

Mark 16:5, 6 They were amazed. And he says to them.

o( de legei au)taiv.