Text Flow – Step 1.2 (Direct & Indirect Objects)

Review

The first part of this tutorial started with subjects and verbs. To find the subject of a sentence simply ask who or what performed the action. In the sentence, Bob hit the ball we ask who or what hit? Bob hit. Therefore, Bob is the subject of the verb hit.

Verbs also come with two voices, active and passive. The verb is active if the subject performs the action. Hence, in our example sentence above the verb is active because Bob, the subject, is the one performing the acti0n. But if the subject is being acted upon the verb becomes passive in nature. Bob was hit by the ball now tells us the action is passive because the subject is being acted upon.

There are three main types of verbs we examined. Finite, participles, and infinitives. Finite verbs make a simple declaration. These are the only types of verbs that will be the main verb of the main clause. Participles can be used as adjectives or adverbs. They also describe the means or the manner in which an action is carried out. For more review see the first post here.

Direct Objects

In the most simple terms, direct objects are the nouns, pronouns, adjectives, or other words that the action of the verb is transferred to. The direct object shows who or what receives the action of the verb. This can be confused with the passive voice verb because it too shows what is being acted upon. The big difference is that the direct object is a separate noun from the subject. We find the direct object by asking who or what of the subject, whereas to find the subject we ask who or what of the verb. Let’s consider some examples from Scripture.

Galatians 3:1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you…

To start we must first find the verb. After looking at the sentence we determine that ‘has bewitched’ is the verb. Now we must find the subject by asking ‘who or what‘ has bewitched? The interrogative pronoun ‘who’ answers that question and is therefore the subject of the sentence. Now, in order to find the direct object, we must ask ‘who or what was bewitched?’ We conclude that ‘you’ is the receiver of the bewitching and is the direct object.

Seems pretty simple, huh? But what happens when the subject and verb are separated by other phrases and clauses? This is when we must slow down and take our time to observe what is going on in the text. Paul is infamous for having long and complex sentences. His letter to the Ephesians is a good example. In our English translations, depending on the version you are using, verses 3-6 is a single sentence. In Greek, the first thirteen verses are a single sentence. Try unraveling the main subject, verb, and direct object in that! We will just use four verses for this example.

Ephesians 1:3–6. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

We have not yet covered other types of clauses and phrases. To make things simple, the verb is ‘be’ while the subject is ‘God and Father.’ In this case, the direct object is actually the adjective, blessed. And so we ask, ” Who or what be”? God and Father be. Next, we ask, “God and Father be what?” The only answer is that God and Father be blessed. We have not yet covered picking out the main subject and verb in a sentence. Things should become much clearer as we progress.

Words of Apposition

Some words simply express a quality about a noun. That is, they rename a noun in another way or describe the same noun in some manner or antother. Most New Testament epistles begin with such words.

Galatians 1:1 Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead)

The word apostle is appositional to the proper noun, Paul. It renames Paul and tells us that the apostle is the same person as Paul. When this occurs, it is said that the word or phrase stands in apposition to the noun, adjective, pronoun, etc., that it is modifying.

Indirect objects

An indirect object is a noun or pronoun telling to whom or for whom the action was done for. Paul, an apostle…and all the brothers with me, (writing) ^to the Churches of Galatia. Our English word ‘to’ often signifies an indirect object. in this case ‘to the Churches’ is the indirect object. The verb has been supplied but writing the epistle seems to be Paul’s objective. But be warned that from our previous lesson on verbs ‘to’ is also used to form the infinitive. It’s easy to mix them up if you’re not reading carefully.

Indirect objects are “indirectly” involved in the action but are not the receiver of the action, neither do they have the action transferred to them. Instead, the action is done for them or on their behalf. The tricky thing we need to be aware of is in English, indirect objects are often taken as prepositional phrases because they are commonly translated in such a way. Greek does not have this problem. The function that a word is used on a clause is determined by case endings. These are the different endings that nouns have. English has no such thing, really, and so parts of speech often end up being mistaken for other parts of speech. Luckily with text flow diagramming, we need not worry too much as we subordinate the entire phrase or clause rather than individual words like a traditional diagram.

That will wrap up this step. In the next step we start the task of identifying clauses and phrases, as well as looking at the different types of clauses and phrases. As a final thought, read a familiar passage and try to identify the main subject, verb, direct objects, and appositional words.

Author: Steven Long

Just a guy that cares about how Scripture is being used and taught in today's mainstream Evangelical Church

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