Purpose Clause

a) The ‘purpose clause’ (a dependent clause) is used to show the purpose or intention of the action of the main verb in the sentence (in the independent clause). This construction is meant to show intention, not to state whether something actually happens or not.

b) The purpose clause answers the question "Why?" or "For what reason?", rather than "What?".

c) The conjunction that precedes the subjunctive verb (usually i{na or o{pw") is translated "in order that" or possibly "that".  For the sake of clarity, it is probably best translated "in order that".

d) If the subjunctive mood is used in a ‘purpose’ (or in a ‘result’) clause, then the action should not be thought of as a possible result, but should be viewed as the stated outcome that will happen (or has happened) as a result of another stated action.  The use of the subjunctive is not to indicate that something ‘may’ or ‘might’ result from a given action, but it is stating the ‘purpose of’ or ‘reason for’ an action.

e) The subjunctive mood in a purpose clause actually functions more like a verb in the indicative mood rather than in the optative mood.  It is not stating the possibility or probability of an action, but instead telling the intention of the primary action.

f) The ‘purpose clause’ is most frequently introduced by the conjunction i{na or o{pw". (The single most common use of the subjunctive is after i{na, comprising about one third of all occurrences.)  These words are used in clauses that show ‘purpose’, ‘result’, (or other related ideas).  But the most frequent use is to show ‘purpose’.

g) For ‘negative purpose’ i{na mh or o{pw" mh is used, translated "in order that …not" or "lest".  This indicates that the intention of the action of the main clause is in order that something else would not happen.

h) For example:

    i) John 10:38
    "In order that you might know and keep on knowing that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father."
    "i{na gnw'te kai; ginwvskhte o{ti ejn ejmoi; oJ path;r kajgw; ejn tw'/ patriv."
    ii) Ephesians 3:10
    "In order that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known through the church..."
    "i{na gnwrisqh'/ nu'n ... dia; th'" ejkklhsiva" hJ polupoivkilo" sofiva tou' qeou',"
    iii) John 1:7
    "He came for a testimony, in order that he might testify about the light, in order that all might believe through him."
    "ou|to" h\lqen eij" marturivan, i{na marturhvsh/ peri; tou' fwtov", i{na pavnte" pisteuvswsin di aujtou'."
    Notice that this verse has two purpose clauses, emphasizing the ultimate reason for John’s coming as a testimony to Christ.

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