When no article is present, the relation of adjective to noun is more difficult to ascertain.
This type of construction occurs almost 2400 times in the NT, over one fourth of all adjective-noun constructions.
Conceivably, the anarthrous adjective-noun construction could express either an attributive or predicate relation. For example, βασιλεὺς ἀγαθός could mean either “a good king” or “a king is good.”
However, there are some rules of thumb to follow:
The general rule is that in nonequative clauses (i.e., a clause that does not primarily make an assertion about the subject), an anarthrous adjective related to an anarthrous noun is normally attributive (cf., e.g., 1 Cor 3:10; 2 John 1; Jude 6; Rev 3:3). There are some exceptions, however (cf. e.g., Heb 6:18; 10:4; Jude 14).
- In equative clauses (i.e., a clause that primarily makes an assertion about the subject, the general rule is that an anarthrous adjective related to an anarthrous noun is normally predicate.
- This is especially true when the order is noun-adjective. For the predicate relations, cf., e.g., 1 Cor 12:17; Rom 7:8; Heb 9:17; Jas 1:12. The example in Rom 7:8 is most illustrative: ἁμαρτία νεκρά (“sin is dead”). But the attributive relation also occurs, not as frequently (cf., e.g., Matt 7:15; Luke 5:8; Eph 6:2; Heb 12:11; 1 John 2:18).
Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics - Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament ( (Zondervan Publishing House and Galaxie Software, 1999; 2002)), 309.