[Notes on the particle de (δέ, 1161)] - Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words

[Notes on the particle de (δέ, 1161)]

The particle de has two chief uses,
(a) continuative or copulative, signifying "and," or "in the next place,"
(b) adversative, signifying "but," or "on the other hand." The first of these,
(a), is well illustrated in the genealogy in Mat_1:2-16, the line being simply reckoned from Abraham to Christ. So in 2Co_6:15-16, where the de anticipates a negative more precisely than would be the case if kai had been used. In 1Co_15:35; Heb_12:6, e.g., the de "and (scourgeth)" is purely copulative.

(b) The adversative use distinguishes a word or clause from that which precedes. This is exemplified, for instance, in Mat_5:22, Mat_5:28, Mat_5:32, Mat_5:34, Mat_5:39, Mat_5:44, in each of which the ego, "I," stands out with pronounced stress by way of contrast. This use is very common. In Mat_23:4 the first de is copulative, "Yea, they bind heavy burdens" (RV.), the second is adversative, "but they themselves will not ..."

In Joh_3:1, RV., it may not at first sight seem clear whether the de, "Now," is copulative, introducing an illustration of Christ's absolute knowledge, or adversative, signifying "But." In the former case the significance would be that, however fair the exterior might be, as exempli- fied in Nicodemus, he needs to be born again. In the latter case it introduces a contrast, in regard to Nicodemus, to what has just been stated, that "Jesus did not trust Himself" (Joh_2:24) to those mentioned in Joh_2:23. And, inasmuch as He certainly did afford to Nicodemus the opportunity of learning the truths of the new birth and the Kingdom of God, as a result of which he became a disciple ("secret" though he was), he may be introduced in the Apostle's narrative as an exception to those who believed simply through seeing the signs accomplished by the Lord (Joh_2:23).

In Rom_3:22, in the clause "even the righteousness," the de serves to annexe not only an explanation, defining "a righteousness of God" (Rom_3:21, RV.), but an extension of the thought; so in Rom_9:30, "even the righteousness which is of faith."

In 1Co_2:6, in the clause "yet a wisdom," an exception (not an addition) is made to what precedes; some would regard this as belonging to
(a); it seems, however, clearly adversative. In 1Co_4:7 the first de is copulative, "and what hast thou ...?;" the second is adversative. "but if thou didst receive ..."

In 1Th_5:21 "many ancient authorities insert 'but'" (see RV. marg.), so translating de, between the two injunctions "despise not prophesyings" and "prove all things," and this is almost certainly the correct reading. In any case the injunctions are probably thus contrastingly to be connected.

In 2Pe_1:5-7, after the first de, which has the meaning "yea," the six which follow, in the phrases giving virtues to be supplied, suggest the thought "but there is something further to be done." These are not merely connective, as expressed by the English "and," but adversative, as indicating a contrast to the possible idea that to add virtue to our faith is sufficient for the moral purpose in view.

De, in combination with the negatives ou and me (oude, and mede, usually "but not," "and not," "neither ", "nor,"), sometimes has the force of "even." e.g., oude in Mat_6:29, "even Solomon ... was not arrayed ...;" Mar_6:31, lit., "(they had) not even leisure to eat;" Luk_7:9, lit., "not even in Israel have I found such faith;" Joh_7:5, "For even His brethren did not believe on Him;" Act_4:32, lit., "not even one of them;" 1Co_5:1, "not even among the Gentiles;" mede, in Mar_2:2, "not even about the door;" 1Co_5:11, lit., "with such a one not even to eat."

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words