One of the challenges in translation has to do with the nature of phrases. In English, we need to keep phrases closer to the words they modify. If we use an adverbial prepositional phrase, it has to be relatively close to the verb. If it is adjectival, it needs to be close to the noun.
Greek doesn’t. The Greek mind creates linkages that can span much larger spaces, and the phrases can be quite far away (by English standards).
Another challenge of phrases is that if you just translate word for word you will often mistranslate becasuse it puts ideas together that the Greek author never intended to be close. Take for example, 1 Peter 1:1–2a. The phrases go in this order.
- (v 1) Peter — Πέτρος
- an apostle of Jesus Christ — ἀπόστολος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ
- to the elect — ἐκλεκτοῖς
- exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia — παρεπιδήμοις διασπορᾶς Πόντου, Γαλατίας, Καππαδοκίας, Ἀσίας καὶ Βιθυνία
- (v 2) according to the foreknowledge of God the Father — κατὰ πρόγνωσιν θεοῦ πατρὸς
Your first decision is how to treat ἐκλεκτοῖς παρεπιδήμοις. You could see the adjective ἐκλεκτοῖς as modifying the substantival adjective παρεπιδήμοις; they were elect exiles. Or you could see ἐκλεκτοῖς as a substantival adjective, with παρεπιδήμοις being in apposition. “To the elect, the exiles.”