Parsing help requested for Philippians 3:10


New Member
I am trying to understand the function of an unexpected τοῦ in the Bible.

In English, Philippians 3:8-10 (KJV) says, in relevant part, "[I] do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, ⁹And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: ¹⁰That I may know him..."

However, in the original Greek, we read: "καὶ ἡγοῦμαι σκύβαλα ἵνα Χριστὸν κερδήσω ⁹καὶ εὑρεθῶ ἐν αὐτῷ, μὴ ἔχων ἐμὴν δικαιοσύνην τὴν ἐκ νόμου ἀλλὰ τὴν διὰ πίστεως Χριστοῦ, τὴν ἐκ θεοῦ δικαιοσύνην ἐπὶ τῇ πίστει, ¹⁰τοῦ γνῶναι αὐτὸν".

Given the English, one might expect a construction like "ἵνα αὐτὸν γινώσκω" (subjunctive; purpose clause). Yet we find this genitive instead. What's going on? Is this a genitive absolute? Some other construction? Please help me understand what's going on here.


Staff member
Presumably an ellipsis of ἕνεκα.


Civis Illustris
I agree with Pacifica.

τοῦ γνῶναι αὐτὸν καὶ τὴν δύναμιν τῆς ἀναστάσεως αὐτοῦ …

τοῦ] c. infinitivo signifying purpose (without preposition or postposition, often in late Greek): ad agnoscendum illum et virtutem resurrectionis eius … (Vulg.).

Cf. Mt 13:3, Lc 1:77, Gal 3:10 &c.

Mt 13:3: ἰδοὺ ἐξῆλθεν ὁ σπείρων τοῦ σπείρειν.


Staff member
The construction also (very) occasionally occurs in Latin, by the way. Well, with a gerund or gerundive construction instead of the article + infinitive of the Greek, of course. E.g. things like urbis capiendae for urbis capiendae causa/gratia.