Tuesday, March 2, 2010

“I Am” – The Biblical Foundations of Grammar

In Exodus 3:14, “God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: “I AM has sent me to you.”’”

The name God gives for Himself—YHWH, “I AM”—demonstrates that in addition to being the author and creator of the world, the Lord has put His stamp on grammar and language itself. “I am” is the foundational form of every sentence structure in every language.

It is the foundation of verb forms. “I am” is the active voice, indicative mood, simple present tense, first person singular conjugation for the infinitive “to be”, and all verb structures are formed in comparison to the infinitive “to be”. From that basic conjugation emerge variations in voice (passive), mood (imperative, subjunctive), tense (past, future...), person (second, third) and number (plural).

It is the foundation of sentences. All sentences have a nominative (subject) and a verb, just like His name: “I” (nominative) + “am” (verb). There are only 3 kinds of verbs and all follow the “I am” pattern. The sentence “I am” contains an intransitive verb. Add a predicate nominative, “I am God,” and it becomes a linking verb. Or add an accusative noun as in, “I am creating art,” and it becomes part of a transitive verb phrase.

Even pronoun systems begin with “I.” The first person singular pronouns (I, my, myself, mine) are so called because they are listed first, and the singular appears before the plural.

Jesus says in John 8:58, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” What an amazing picture of the truth that God is not only known through language; He is the Word (logos), the Lord of language as well.

Love, Leigh


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Leigh - I love that you shared that. I'm probably going to "cut & paste" so that I can print up a document and hand this out tomorrow at our Essentials class in Plano, TX. Your EEL materials have been so very useful in helping me see patterns in grammar and EEL has helped fuel my passion for learning.

Lori Leeke
Homeschooling since '93.

Just His Best said...

Whoa! That is huge! Thank you for this great truth.