“THE GENITIVE OF RELATIONSHIP”
October 3, 1978
[This teaching was done by Dr. Wierwille and Rev. Cummins.]
Last week I taught you the word “servant” and told you technically that second word in the
Romans 1:1 is servant. Then I said, “Paul, servant of Jesus Christ.” The indefinite article is
okay, but I wouldn’t need it. The emphasis would be Paul, servant. First thing is the man;
second thing is his responsibility. He’s a doulos, a servant.
Now, the third word is a preposition. You can wrongly divide the Word on prepositions
until you are blue in the face. I think we could start 1500 denominations over the misusage
or wrong usage or changing of prepositions and not understanding them. In the
Foundational Class we talk about to whom it’s written, the preposition. I teach you to
watch to whom it’s addressed. For our learning. These details. The third word here is a
preposition “of,” very small word. If you don’t understand it and you wrongly divide it,
you’ve got problems.
Since this is the third word in here, and we’re really trying to set the basis for the Book of
Romans for you, I’ve asked Walter tonight to handle this preposition “of,” and the
importance of prepositions.
[The following is by Rev. Cummins.]
In Greek class we hand out a sheet that has all the prepositions on it and we go into a lot
greater detail. But briefly, the thing you have to look at is whenever you see an English
preposition, there are two possibilities behind it in the Greek text. Number one, it is a
Greek preposition, or it is a function of the case of the words that are following it. Like
Jesus Christ happens to be here in the genitive case. That’s why it’s translated “of Jesus
Christ.” It’s not a specific preposition in Greek, although in English it appears that way.
Whether it is a preposition in Greek or whether it’s a function of a case, it still does
something similar. In either event, it limits the noun or the word that it modifies and
generally in some geometrical fashion.
Example – Here’s a glass of water. The water in this, if we speak of the water being in the
glass, does that draw you a geometrical relationship? Yes, it’s inside of, it’s enclosed
within it. But if I said the water is on the glass, you’d have a totally different picture
[Dr. Wierwille] But if you said the water is in the glass, it’s not really in the glass, it’s
inside it. That’s why these prepositions are so important. When it talks about Christ in
you,that gets to be real interesting.
Is the water really in the glass? No, it’s really inside of the container.
[Rev. Cummins continues teaching.]
If we spoke of it as being above the glass, then you could look for rain. If we spoke of it
under the glass, it would be down here. Those are all prepositions that show you the
geometrical relationship involved between the noun following and the noun that the phrase
The genitive case will do the same thing. It will limit that noun in some geometrical
fashion. Generally, it’s geometrical. At least it limits it in some particular fashion.
Two of the common prepositions in Greek that come up every once in a while are ek and
apo. Both of them are translated “from,” but geometrically they draw totally different
pictures. You have a circle. Ek means from, as going out from the middle of that circle,
whereas apo means from, going away from the circumference of the circle. Both are
translated “from,” but they draw a totally different picture geometrically. If we had a glass
of water and we used ek, the fish jumped out of the water, he’d jump out of the glass. If he
moved away from the glass, he would already be outside and he would be moving away
from it. That would be apo.
In Romans 1:1 “of Jesus Christ,” it’s not a preposition in Greek, although it is in English.
But it’s a translation of the genitive case. In Greek, there are 12 different usages of the
genitive case. Most of those we can eliminate simply because of the grammatical
construction here or the thought context. It’s obvious that it’s not those particular usages of
the genitive case.
There are five of them that I’d like to go through briefly with you. It can only be one, but
there are four others that should be considered, and I’ll show you why it is not those four.
The first one is the genitive of character. It cannot be a genitive of character. A genitive
of character is a word, a noun, used in the genitive case that has an adjective force. Like
the word “might,” or “strength.” Like a man of strength is a strong man. Angels of might
or mighty angels. Jesus Christ is not an adjective in force, although there are words that
could be used to describe it in an adjective fashion, but not using the words “Jesus Christ.”
So it cannot be a genitive of character.
It cannot be a genitive of origin, or sometimes called a subjective genitive, because a
genitive of origin means that the noun that’s in the genitive case is the cause of the noun
that the phrase is modifying. In other words, Jesus Christ would be the cause of Paul being
a servant or slave. We by our free will make ourselves doulos. So it cannot be a genitive of
Example of genitive of origin – Like love of God, it’s the love that comes from God.
Shows the cause, or where it comes from. Or peace of God, or the comfort of the
scriptures. The comfort comes from the scriptures.
Now, another one, the objective genitive, or sometimes referred to as a genitive of
relation. That’s not relationship. Most of the grammars refer to it as the objective genitive.
This is the only one essentially where the action is moving toward the noun that’s in the
genitive case. In other words, before we talked about the love of God. Now we talk about
the God of love. It’s God which gives love. See how the action is moving toward the noun
in the genitive case. The God of love, or the God which gives love. Or God of peace,
which is the God which gives peace. This cannot be the servant that gives, or servant
leading to Jesus Christ, or servant toward. It could be service. If the word was service, it
would fit. But not servant. A person can’t be toward. A thing can be toward. So, it could
not be an objective genitive.
That is a genitive of origin. It’s the peace that comes from God. The peace from; God will
guard your hearts.
Here it’s the God which gives peace. That would be an objective genitive. So there you
have the two used close together.
Another type of genitive is the genitive of apposition, and it is expressed equivalence, and
it’s translated “that is to say,” or “which is.” An example would be the temple of his body,
or the temple, that is to say, his body. See how it’s equivalent? Another one is the earnest
of the spirit, or the token of the Spirit. The token, that is to say, the spirit. The spirit is the
token. See the equivalence expressed? Or the breastplate of righteousness. The breastplate
which is righteousness. That’s the genitive of apposition. Sign of circumcision. The sign
which is circumcision. Bond of peace. In Romans 1:1 this cannot be that, because it’s not a
servant which is Jesus Christ, since Paul is not Jesus Christ.
What is it? It’s a genitive of relationship. It is expressing a relationship between the two
nouns, between servant and Jesus Christ. The genitive of relationship limits the word that it
modifies by defining the propinquity and affiliation that exists between the two words.
Propinquity is a kinship or relationship. In other words, if you are kin to somebody or your
family, it’s a family relationship. But there can be other types of relationships. That’s why
I used the word affiliation. You could be affiliated in a certain way that’s not bloodline.
But it defines that propinquity or that kinship that you have or the affiliation between the
two nouns. That’s what the genitive of relationship does.
There are three major subdivisions of the genitive of relationship. One is family
relationship. Like if we said the son of John. Geometrically, look at it. You have John here,
up above, and the arrow drawn down to the son. He’s the son of John. If I said the mother
of John, it would be just backwards. Now the arrow is going up. The mother of John. If I
said the brother of John, it would be a horizontal picture. The brother of John. Okay?
Brothers we think of as parallel. Family relationship is one subcategory.
A second one is servant, or slave, relationship. Like a slave of John. A slave or servant of
God. This could only be in a vertical relationship. In this division of this usage it is
expressed ownership because the slave is owned by the lord or master. He belongs to,
might be a way to translate it. A slave of Jesus Christ. A slave who belongs to. It expresses
ownership. Jesus Christ owns the slave. You were bought with a price.
The third subcategory is broad relationships. This category has many variations in it. The
church of God expresses a relationship. It expresses ownership, but not in the sense that a
slave is owned. The church of God or the church of a particular area. The church of New
Knoxville. The Way of Ohio. It expresses a broad relationship between The Way and the
[Dr. Wierwille] Can you think of another synonym for “broad” that would define it more?
That cannot apply to the kissing cousins. It’s not family. My kissing cousins are that by
birth. They are not that broad relationship.
[Rev. Cummins continues.]
Household, or place, of Aristobulus. Genitive case. That would be a broader thing than just
immediate family. The whole household.
Churches of Christ – Church’s relationship with Christ. It’s a broader thing than family or
I Corinthians 1:2
Church of God – It’s the church’s relationship with God.
[Dr. Wierwille reads Romans 1:7.] Called saints. Could “beloved of God, called saints,” go
in that broader relationship or is that the family relationship or servant relationship? What
is this going to be when I get to Verse 7? I’m trying to get into my mind this broad
relationship, the difference between son/family relationship, owner relationship and the
broad relationship so that we can teach it very clearly. The first one I see as birth. The
second one I see as purchased, like Christ gave his life, purchased us with his own precious
[Rev. Cummins] Beloved could go under broad. It’s not purchased but it’s a whole
[Dr. Wierwille] When I develop this in Romans as I’m beginning to see it, the usage of the
word “saints” is real neat in Romans 1, because the others are addressed to the church. This
one is addressed to the saints, individuals. And we’re going to have to handle the reason of
the difference in the word. Why does it say this epistle is to the church? Romans says it’s
to the saints.
[Rev. Cummins continues.]
I Corinthians 15:9
Church of God – again expressing the relationship and putting the emphasis on “of God.”
Whenever it is in the genitive it puts that emphasis on the genitive. He was not persecuting
any old church, but it was the church of God. It’s a broad relationship again.
I Corinthians 15:23
They that are Christ’s – They that are of Christ. Not expressing a family specifically, but a
Unto the churches of Galatia – The churches of an area.
Churches of Judaea – an area again.
Sword of the Spirit – The sword which belongs to the Spirit. It’s relationship is to the
Spirit. It’s not a physical sword that belongs to a man.
The business that is my father’s, broader category. Not the family relationship or the
servant, but the business of my father, although both family and service would be involved
[Dr. Wierwille] That will often be involved in the broader relationship. That one you just
gave in Galatians was a neat one. Churches of Judaea. That’s broad. Some of those
illustrations aren’t too good for me. I don’t see them. I’m not clear on the broad
relationship yet. I understood that one in Galatians. Like we would speak about all The
Way Ministries of all the states. That would be a broad relationship, like the churches of
[Rev. Cummins continues.]
I understand it as a catch-all, more or less, of a lot of things that express a relationship that
will not fit directly into the family or service.
[Dr. Wierwille] Do you kids understand it? I think that one is going to take some added
effort and work. You could wrongly divide the Word on this if it belongs in the upper
This will have to take that one great principle of the Corps, that in-depth spiritual
perception and awareness, to find out whether it’s a broad relationship or whether it’s like
a slave relationship or whether it’s a family relationship. You have to go to the immediate
context and the remoter context to make the decision of the genitive case. I think that’s
what you’re going to have to do.
[Rev. Cummins continues.]
Back to Romans Chapter One. There’s no problem with this one because it definitely goes
with that second category of the slave, ownership. You could look at this and the slave was
considered part of the family. But the slave came in a different way than by birth.
[Dr. Wierwille] We are sons of God by birth. We are doulos of God by willful decision on
our part because of his ownership and purpose.
See why this preposition in the genitive case could just hang you up for months and years
and get you wrongly dividing the Word? That thing is still running up and down my spine.
You could wrongly divide the Word, and that’s what has happened in so many cases
[Rev. Cummins continues.]
Because it’s a genitive of relationship, it’s expressing a geometrical relationship between
Paul and Jesus Christ, there Jesus Christ is the lord, master, and Paul is the slave down
here. You’ve got the vertical relationship. It expresses ownership because we were bought
with a price. You could translate it the slave of Jesus Christ, or the slave which belongs to
Jesus Christ because of that ownership.
Now, I’d like to go back to the genitive of character to show you how that usage is used to
emphasize things in the genitive case, but that also is true of other usages of the genitive.
The genitive, because it is defining a specific relationship, that relationship is what is being
emphasized in the context. Otherwise, some other word could be used. In genitive of
character it involves a figure of speech called enallage. Enallage is a figure of speech that
involves an exchange of one word for another, a form, a noun for an adjective, or
whatever. This specific usage when talking about genitive of character where the genitive
is used in place of the adjective. The example is from II Thessalonians Chapter One.
II Thessalonians 1:7
You don’t even see a genitive case there, do you? Mighty is an adjective that is modifying
angels. In the Greek text it is not an adjective. It’s genitive case, and literally it is “angels
of might.” It’s the figure enallage and puts the emphasis on the noun that’s in the genitive
case. It’s angels of MIGHT. The emphasis is on the might of angels rather than on the
angels. When Jesus Christ comes back, he’s not coming back with just any old angels.
He’s coming back with angels of might, power.
Throne of his glory. The emphasis is on the glory. Otherwise, it would say sit in his
glorious throne. Jesus Christ isn’t going to sit in any old throne. It’s going to be a throne of
glory. That’s why the emphasis is on the glory.
Here’s one that is not in the genitive case. It’s a normal adjective. The emphasis is on the
noun. We’re not emphasizing that he’s faithful or good, but simply that he’s a servant.
Wicked and slothful servant – no emphasis on the wicked or slothful. Just servant.
Unprofitable servant – It’s an adjective, not genitive of character. Just normal usage.
II Peter 2:19
Servants of corruption – The emphasis is on the corruption. Slaves of corruption.
[Dr. Wierwille] In other words, when you want to emphasize the adjective, put it in
genitive case. If they just want to emphasize “servant,” or “angels of might,” or “mighty
angels,” if they want to emphasize “angels,” they say “mighty angels.” If they want to
emphasize the might of angels, they put it in the genitive case.
You talk about the Word of God divinely inspired. Holy men of God spake as they were
moved by the Holy Spirit. These words become so singularly significant it just sends chills
up and down your spine. How little people have really looked at the integrity and accuracy
of the Word. That stuff is just fantastic.
[Rev. Cummins continues.]
Mortal body, dead body – There’s the adjective used in front of the noun. No emphasis on
dead or death. Just dead body.
Body of this death – Remember the Orientalism where the bodies were tied together?
Emphasis on death.
On a genitive of relationship you have nouns used in relationship, but there’s no adjective
force as such with the noun. Like Jesus Christ, or God, or a man. Those are not adjectives
in force. They are proper or common nouns that depict a person.
Paul, slave of Jesus Christ. It doesn’t say Paul, slave, does it? No. He’s not just any slave.
He’s putting the emphasis on the relationship with Jesus Christ. You could use some other
form in English. You could say Paul, a Jesus slave, etc. But it would not have the emphasis
as Paul, slave of Jesus Christ, where the emphasis is on who his owner is, who bought him
with a price.
[Dr. Wierwille] Otherwise the emphasis would be on the slave rather than on the ownership.
[Rev. Cummins continues.]
Servants – slaves; It doesn’t say these men are godly slaves. Slaves of the most high God.
So they are not just ordinary slaves, but they are slaves of the most high God.
Servants – slaves. It could have said that the slaves came and said to him, just any old
slaves. It wasn’t just any old slaves. It makes it specific that they were the slaves of the
householder, the guy in charge. The top ones, emphasis being on the householder.
It could have said smote a slave. It wasn’t just any slave. Slave of the high priest. He hit a
big one. He didn’t just cut any slave. See how the genitive puts the emphasis on it?
Paul, slave of Jesus Christ. It’s not just any old slave. But it’s putting the emphasis on
Jesus Christ. You have that geometrical relationship where he is the owner. He is the lord.
Paul was the slave, servant, doulos, of Jesus Christ, putting the emphasis on him. He
wasn’t any old slave, but he was a slave of Jesus Christ, the one that bought him.
Who would you rather be a slave to? Who would you rather belong to than Jesus Christ,
the one who himself became a slave for us. Yet, God highly exalted him that at the name
of Jesus every knee would bow. Who would you rather be a slave to? Paul a slave of Jesus
Christ. Quite a two-letter word, isn’t it?
[Dr. Wierwille] That’s wonderful. Didn’t we publish this in a magazine?
[Rev. Cummins] We have it in my Greek syllabus. I think we passed out individual sheets
[Dr. Wierwille] The next thing we’re going to do, he said slave, doulos of Jesus Christ.
Now we’re going to have to work Romans to find out why he’s slave of Jesus Christ and
not Christ Jesus. While I handle that I’ll also handle the word “lord,” because it comes up
in Verse 7, and then tie it all together.
That first verse is a gold mine. It’s really great.
The word “Jesus” is used 566 times in the Gospels, while “Christ” is only used 36 times in
the Gospels. The reason why, that’s what I’m after. Then you get to Acts and the church
epistles. In Acts, “Jesus” is used 16 times and only 13 times in all the rest of the epistles.
Total of 29 times from the Book of Acts on. “Christ” is used after the Gospels in the Book
of Acts and epistles 217 times. It’s really something.
When you teach like tonight and I see this Word, it just sends chills up and down my spine,
because of the great integrity and inherent accuracy of the Word.
Bullinger is quite a piece of work. (Refers to Bullinger on prepositions and reads about
“of” from appendix in Bullinger) Then he gives all of these, like genitive of origin, and
then he has this one in here that I don’t like at all. He calls it genitive of possession, which
we don’t like, because possession means that you are not free of your will. Walter and I
have changed that to genitive of relationship or ownership, not possession. Two words that
always stick in my craw – possession and create. Man creates nothing. Only God creates.
Therefore, that word “create” we use very accurately in our vocabulary, as well as
“possession.” Once you understand the devil spirit world, that word possession just sends
chills up and down your spine.
26 Romans 1:1 "Genitive of Relationship"
Then he’s got genitive of character, or quality. Genitive of relation. He’s got genitive of the
ruling principle. Then he’s got genitive of opposition, which we call equivalence. Then he
has genitive of partition, a genitive of content.
Do you handle all of these when you handle prepositions in your syllabus?
[Rev. Cummins] No, I don’t handle all of them. I think we handed out what Bullinger has
in a couple of Greek classes on a separate sheet. We never go into great detail on it.
[Dr. Wierwille] Then we go to when “of” is a translation of a separate Greek word, which
is not true here in Romans. You read it to them, all 14 of them, starting here with ek. This
is a separate Greek word.
[Rev. Cummins] The first one is ek, meaning out from or from among. The second one is
peri, meaning around. The third is apo, meaning away from. Fourth is hupo, meaning
under. The fifth is epi; beside. Sixth is epi, upon. Seventh is huper, over. Eighth is en, in.
Nine is eis, which means into or to or unto. Ten is kata, down. Eleven, dia, means through.
Twelve, pros, which means towards or in the direction of. Thirteen is meta or with.
Fourteen, emprosthen, which means before or in front or in the presence of.
[Dr. Wierwille] Fourteen different words for “of.” So every time you get the genitive case
and you get into that preposition “of,” you’ve got to look it up. Or if it’s an independent
translation of the word “of,” like ek, apo, or en, you’ve just got to stop. It’s that important.
It’s really something how much time a man could spend just taking the genitive where it’s
translated “of” and working the individual words translated “of.” I always, when I’m really
working the Word, I’ll always stop and look up what it is when I hit the genitive or any of
Do you know anything better in your Greek than Bullinger on the prepositions?
[Rev. Cummins] No.
[Dr. Wierwille (refers to circle chart again)] This is really a mathematical illustration.
Beautiful. See how a man could deceitfully handle the Word of God? You could take a
preposition and squeeze it to prove your theological position. But when you’re in Biblical
research, we don’t squeeze the word, but we work the Word from its immediate context or
remoter context, from its usage of the single word, group of words. There are just so many
things you have to work. That is why when we speak of in-depth spiritual perception and
awareness as one of the Corps principles, that’s why we’re so concerned about the usage of