Genitive Case Phrases

“But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”

Romans 2:29

Nouns Have a Property Called Case

  1. The case of a noun is based on its function in the sentence.
  2. The subjective or nominative case is when a noun is the subject, the person or thing performing an action.
  3. The objective or accusative case is when a noun is the object, the person or thing receiving an action.
  4. The possessive or genitive case is when a noun shows possession or relation to something else.

Simplified Examples of Three Cases of Nouns

Subjective Case (Nominative):

Jesus wept.
God gave them up unto vile affections.
Who knowing the judgment of God.


Objective Case (Accusative):
Jesus wrote words on the ground.
Who changed the truth of God.
The name of God is blasphemed.


Possessive Case (Genitive):
And when Paul’s sister’s son.
The king of the Jews.
Your faith is spoken of.

All Three Cases in One Sentence
I know my God will help me.

  1. Observe three uses of first person, singular number pronouns.
  2. Consider I … it is subjective case as subject and performer.
  3. Consider my … it is the possessive case as claiming God.
  4. Consider me … it is the objective case of object acted upon.

What is a Genitive Phrase?

  1. A noun phrase showing possession or similar relationship.
  2. For example:
    love of her father
    hope of Mary
    judgment of sinners
  3. In each phrase, is the genitive noun acting or acted upon?
  4. In each phrase, is the genitive noun giving or receiving?
  5. It is context that determines, as the words are not enough.

Distinguishing Genitive Phrases

  1. For example:
    love of her father
    hope of Mary
    judgment of sinners
  2. If the noun is acting, as subject, it is subjective-genitive.
  3. If the noun is acted upon, as object, it is objective genitive.
  4. Is the object of the preposition acting or being acted upon?
  5. The sense can only be determined by the phrase’s context.

Determining the Sense of Genitive Phrases

  1. She craved the love of her father and his approval. (S-G)
    The love of her father grew as she watched him. (O-G)
  2. It was the hope of Mary to some day marry Tom. (S-G)
    For the hope of Mary, Tom knocked on the door. (O-G)
  3. The judgment of sinners is not lingering, as it is written. (O-G)
    Pride causes the judgment of sinners to be suspect. (S-G)
  4. In all cases, the phrases’ sense is only known by its context.

“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” I John 3:16

  1. Is the genitive phrase, the love of God, subjective or objective?
  2. If the genitive noun is acting, then it is subjective genitive.
  3. If the genitive noun is acted upon, then it is objective genitive.
  4. It is subjective genitive … God’s love for us brought His death.

“But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” Luke 11:42

  1. Is the genitive phrase, the love of God, subjective or objective?
  2. Did they pass over God’s love for them or their love for God?
  3. It is objective genitive … they neglected to love the object God.
  4. How do we know? By the two things they should have done.

“And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.” Haggai 2:7

  1. Is the phrase, the desire of all nations, subjective or objective?
  2. Who would desire all nations? When would they desire them?
  3. Or … would something that all nations desire finally come?
  4. It is subjective-genitive … elect in all nations desire Jesus!

“Concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David.” Acts 13:34

  1. Is the phrase, sure mercies of David, subjective or objective?
  2. If subjective, David showed mercies to Israel? How? When?
  3. It is objective, God showed mercies to David through Jesus!
  4. God raised David’s Son Jesus from the dead to reign forever!

“Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?” James 2:4

  1. Is the phrase, judges of evil thoughts, subjective or objective?
  2. Are saints judging evil thoughts or the evil thoughts judging?
  3. How did partiality cause these saints to judge evil thoughts?
  4. It is subjective! The evil thoughts of the saints did the judging!

“Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.” I Timothy 3:6

  1. Is condemnation of the devil subjective or objective?
  2. If subjective, how does the devil condemn novice bishops?
  3. If subjective, why would the devil condemn a bishop’s pride?
  4. It is objective! The devil was condemned for his pride, which bishops are to avoid, so we should not ordain novices!

“Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.” Daniel 11:37

  1. Is the genitive, the desire of women, subjective or objective?
  2. Some think from this the antichrist will be an asexual android.
  3. It is objective! What women desire, this king would despise!
  4. Herod killed babies for Jesus, while married to ten women!

“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:” II Corinthians 5:14

  1. Is the genitive phrase, love of Christ, subjective or objective?
  2. Was Paul motivated by Christ’s love for him or his for Christ?
  3. It is subjective by virtue of the continuing context of His death.
  4. It is subjective by Bible emphasis (Gal 6:14; Ep 3:14-19; etc.).

“Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” Jude 1:21

  1. Is the genitive phrase, love of God, subjective or objective?
  2. Is it subjective, God’s love for us?
  3. Or is it objective, our love for God?
  4. It is objective: you do not keep yourselves in His love for you, for you can never be separated from that love (Rom 8:38-39).

“Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” John 6:29

  1. Is the genitive phrase, work of God, subjective or objective?
  2. Potential fatalists get excited that it is subjective-genitive.
  3. They want another “proof text” that God causes believing.
  4. It is objective! It is an answer to what should men do (6:28)!

“Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2:38

  1. Is the genitive, gift of the Holy Ghost, subjective or objective?
  2. Here is doctrinal heresy from confusing the genitive sense!
  3. Did the Spirit give church membership or God give the Spirit?
  4. It is objective! God promised in context to give the Holy Spirit after Jesus was glorified (Acts 1:8; 2:1-4,16-17,33; John 7:39).

“Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.” I Timothy 2:15

  1. Is the genitive, saved in childbearing, subjective or objective?
  2. Do women get saved giving birth or did a birth save them?
  3. It is subjective! The childbirth of Mary saved faithful women!
  4. Need more help on this one? See the author’s detailed study.

What About Praise of God in Romans 2:29?

Let’s practice with a few more, using praise of God as our genitive phrase.

“For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” John 12:43

  1. Is the genitive phrase, praise of God, subjective or objective?
  2. Or, is the genitive, praise of men, subjective or objective?
  3. Did the Jews crave praising men more than praising God?
  4. It is subjective! They sought man’s praise, not God’s (12:42).

“Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.” I Corinthians 4:5

  1. Is the genitive phrase, praise of God, subjective or objective?
  2. Is the context of judgment concerned with men praising God?
  3. Or is the Judgment when God’s praise of us will be valued?

“But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” Romans 2:29

  1. Is the genitive phrase, praise of men, subjective or objective?
  2. It is subjective! God’s praise of us is better than man’s praise.
  3. How? Context … God’s praise without circumcision is the goal.
  4. How? Negative … Jews craved praise by men (Jn 12:43; etc.).
  5. How? Positive … Paul craved praise from God (I Cor 4:5; etc.).

What Else Is Coming in Romans?

3:3 For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?”

3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe:

4:11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised:

4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,

“My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.” James 2:1

  1. Is the genitive, faith of our Lord Jesus, subjective or objective?
  2. Should the brethren avoid having the faith that Jesus has?
  3. Or do they stop having faith in Jesus plus respect of persons?
  4. It is objective! Jesus’ religion cannot have respect of persons.
  5. Note carefully … faith of Jesus Christ … is not subjective here.


  1. Was this difficult? Slothful in school? Too much television?
  2. The grammatical terms are nothing compared to the context.
  3. Is God the Author of Confusion? See the study by that name.
  4. No wonder Paul taught to rightly divide scripture (II Tim 2:15).
  5. Pay attention when reading the Bible. Let context show sense.
  6. Context is our guide, for it alone determine the correct sense.
  7. You heard objective love of God and subjective praise of God!