User:Proteins/New Testament Greek

From Wikibooks, open books for an open world
Jump to navigation Jump to search

This textbook is designed to teach an interested student to read the New Testament at sight, in its original language (Greek). It is coordinated with a course on Wikiversity and with a frequency list of Greek words on Wiktionary.

Encouragement and motivations[edit | edit source]

Take heart! Learning New Testament Greek is easier than you think. In roughly two weeks, you should be reading and understanding (short) passages from the New Testament. Learning a new language does require patience with yourself and lots of practice; but if you work diligently, you'll be delighted with your progress. For our part, we promise to help you in whatever way we can.

Why learn New Testament Greek? The principal reason is to read the New Testament at sight. As [[:w:Oscar Wilde|Oscar Wilde] wrote while imprisoned,

Of late I have been studying with diligence the four prose poems about Christ. At Christmas I managed to get hold of a Greek Testament, and every morning, after I had cleaned my cell and polished my tins, I read a little of the Gospels, a dozen verses taken by chance anywhere. It is a delightful way of opening the day. Every one, even in a turbulent, ill-disciplined life, should do the same. Endless repetition, in and out of season, has spoiled for us the freshness, the naivete, the simple romantic charm of the Gospels. We hear them read far too often and far too badly, and all repetition is anti-spiritual. When one returns to the Greek, it is like going into a garden of lilies out of some narrow and dark house.

This quote appears in his final work, De Profundis, whose Latin title may be translated from Latin as "[A Letter] Concerning Deep Things" and also "[A Cry] From the Deeps". The latter is a reference to Psalm 130, a supplication whose King James translation may be found here.

New Testament Greek is a form of w:Koine Greek, which was used throughout the Mediterranean following the conquests of Alexander in the 4th century BC. It is closely related to the Greek of the w:Septuagint that preceded it, and of the Church Fathers that followed it.

New Testament Greek is one of the simplest forms of Greek to master. Thus, it is also an excellent stepping stone to more complicated forms of Greek, such as Homeric Greek (the language of the Odyssey and Iliad), Aeolic Greek (the language of Sappho) and Attic Greek (the language of Plato and Aristotle).

Course syllabus[edit | edit source]

Outline[edit | edit source]

Related wiki materials[edit | edit source]

A invaluble tool! You need only learn the words most commonly used in the New Testament (say, the 380 words used more than 40 times), and you can begin to read the New Testament at sight.

Supplemental materials[edit | edit source]

Grammar[edit | edit source]

The lessons are divided into units. Each unit is designed to be learned in a week of daily practice. However, some students may learn more quickly or more slowly. Please don't despair if the material comes slowly to you. Remember the story of Rabbi Akiva, who became so frustrated with his slow learning that he ran away from school one morning. At midday, he stopped by a well to drink from a well. He noticed that the bucket-rope had worn a groove into the stone of the well. Seeing this, he took heart and said to himself, "If a soft rope can cut hard stone through repetition, perhaps even I can learn if I practice enough." He returned to school and became one of the most illustrious scholars and teachers of the Talmud.

Unit 0: Parts of speech[edit | edit source]

Unit 1: History, Alphabet and Reading[edit | edit source]

This unit introduces the Greek alphabet and two types of pronunciations, ancient and modern. In general, the modern pronunciation is simpler but may offend some classics scholars. On the other hand, some words are closer to their English pronunciation if the ancient pronunciation is used.

Scholars cannot know for sure how Greek was pronounced in the New Testament — recording devices hadn't been invented! The pronunciation likely varied from one locale to another. The "ancient" pronunciation given here is a scholarly reconstruction of the classic Greek spoken in Athens.

After learning one or both of these pronunciations, the reader can practice on some basic New Testament texts with familiar words.


The New Testament has four punctuation marks: the period (.), the comma (,), the semicolon (·) and the question mark (;). Although the period and comma are the same, the Greek question mark corresponds to the English semicolon, and its semicolon is simply a dot above the line.

Accents and diaeresis

Nearly every word in the New Testament has an accent. There are three types: the acute, the grave, and the circumflex, which may have once reflected a different intonation. You can treat them as the same; even in New Testament era, they seem to have been equivalent. The grave accent is relatively rare in writing.

You may find that the Greek accent falls in an unexpected place for your ears. Several rules govern where accents should be placed.


If a word begins with a vowel or a diphthong, it will have a breathing mark, which resembles either a comma or a backward comma placed above the vowel or diphthong. If you are using the modern pronunciation, you can safely ignore these marks. If you are using the ancient pronunciation, the backward comma mark indicates a "rough breathing" and the initial vowel is preceded by an "h" sound, as in "hamartia" (sin). The normal comma indicates that the vowel is pronounced normally, as in "agape" (love).

Breathings are also found over the letter rho (ρ), but these can be ignored.

Unit 2[edit | edit source]

  • Introduce cases/declensions

Illustrative quotes:

  • ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω σοι (John 21:18 and others)
  • ἀμὴν γὰρ λέγω ὑμῖν (Matthew 5:18 and other places)
  • κἀγὼ δέ σοι λέγω (Matthew 16:18)
  • ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι... (Matthew 5:22 and other places)
  • καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς (Matthew 4:19 and other places)
  • ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν,... (Matthew 19:18)
  • ἔφη αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς,... (Matthew 19:21)
  • λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς· Ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ ὁδὸς καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια καὶ ἡ ζωή· οὐδεὶς ἔρχεται πρὸς τὸν πατέρα εἰ μὴ δι' ἐμοῦ. (John 14:6)
  • λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Πιλᾶτος· Τί ἐστιν ἀλήθεια; (John 18:38)
  • καὶ γὰρ ἐγὼ ἄνθρωπός εἰμι ὑπὸ ἐξουσίαν, ἔχων ὑπ’ ἐμαυτὸν στρατιώτας, καὶ λέγω τούτῳ, Πορεύθητι, καὶ πορεύεται, καὶ ἄλλῳ, Ἔρχου, καὶ ἔρχεται, καὶ τῷ δούλῳ μου, Ποίησον τοῦτο, καὶ ποιεῖ. (Matthew 8:9)
  • λέγει αὐτοῖς, Ὑμεῖς δὲ τίνα με λέγετε εἶναι; (Matthew 16:15)
  • ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ Σίμων Πέτρος εἶπεν, Σὺ εἶ ὁ Χριστὸς ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ζῶντος. (Matthew 16:16)
  • ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ, μακάριος εἶ, Σίμων Βαριωνᾶ (Matthew 16:17)

Unit 3: First declension nouns[edit | edit source]

Illustrative quotes:

  • μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματι, ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν. (Matthew 5:3)
  • Ὑμεῖς ἐστε τὸ ἅλας τῆς γῆς. (Matthew 5:13)
  • μακάριοι οἱ καθαροὶ τῇ καρδίᾳ, ὅτι αὐτοὶ τὸν θεὸν ὄψονται. (Matthew 5:8)
  • μακάριοι οἱ πραεῖς, ὅτι αὐτοὶ κληρονομήσουσιν τὴν γῆν. (Matthew 5:5)
  • ὥσπερ γὰρ ἦν Ἰωνᾶς ἐν τῇ κοιλίᾳ τοῦ κήτους τρεῖς ἡμέρας καὶ τρεῖς νύκτας, οὕτως ἔσται ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ τῆς γῆς τρεῖς ἡμέρας καὶ τρεῖς νύκτας. (Matthew 12:40)

Unit 4: Second declension nouns[edit | edit source]

Reading practice:

  • Beginning of the Gospel of John
  • The Beatitudes
  • τότε λέγει τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ... (Matthew 9:37)
  • Ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ ἀποστέλλω ὑμᾶς ὡς πρόβατα ἐν μέσῳ λύκων· γίνεσθε οὖν φρόνιμοι ὡς οἱ ὄφεις καὶ ἀκέραιοι ὡς αἱ περιστεραί. (Matthew 10:16)
  • Ἢ ποιήσατε τὸ δένδρον καλὸν καὶ τὸν καρπὸν αὐτοῦ καλόν, ἢ ποιήσατε τὸ δένδρον σαπρὸν καὶ τὸν καρπὸν αὐτοῦ σαπρόν· ἐκ γὰρ τοῦ καρποῦ τὸ δένδρον γινώσκεται. (Matthew 12:33)

Unit 5: Relative and interrogative pronouns[edit | edit source]

Illustrative quotes:

  • Πάτερ ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς (Matthew 6:9)
  • Πᾶς οὖν ὅστις ἀκούει μου τοὺς λόγους τούτους καὶ ποιεῖ αὐτοὺς ὁμοιωθήσεται ἀνδρὶ φρονίμῳ, ὅστις ᾠκοδόμησεν αὐτοῦ τὴν οἰκίαν ἐπὶ τὴν πέτραν. (Matthew 7:24)
  • καὶ πᾶς ὁ ἀκούων μου τοὺς λόγους τούτους καὶ μὴ ποιῶν αὐτοὺς ὁμοιωθήσεται ἀνδρὶ μωρῷ, ὅστις ᾠκοδόμησεν αὐτοῦ τὴν οἰκίαν ἐπὶ τὴν ἄμμον. (Matthew 7:26)

Unit 5: Adjectives[edit | edit source]

Unit 6: Present and future tense verbs[edit | edit source]

Illustrative quotes:

  • Ῥαχὴλ κλαίουσα τὰ τέκνα αὐτῆς. (Matthew 2:18)
  • Ἰδοὺ ἡ παρθένος ἐν γαστρὶ ἕξει καὶ τέξεται υἱόν, καὶ καλέσουσιν τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἐμμανουήλ, ὅ ἐστιν μεθερμηνευόμενον μεθ’ ἡμῶν ὁ θεός. (Matthew 1:23)
  • τότε λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς, Ὕπαγε, Σατανᾶ· γέγραπται γάρ, Κύριον τὸν θεόν σου προσκυνήσεις καὶ αὐτῷ μόνῳ λατρεύσεις. (Matthew 4:10)
  • καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ, Ἐγὼ ἐλθὼν θεραπεύσω αὐτόν. (Matthew 8:7)
  • Ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ ἀποστέλλω τὸν ἄγγελόν μου πρὸ προσώπου σου, ὃς κατασκευάσει τὴν ὁδόν σου ἔμπροσθέν σου. (Matthew 11:10)
  • Οὐ φονεύσεις, Οὐ μοιχεύσεις, Οὐ κλέψεις, Οὐ ψευδομαρτυρήσεις, 19 Τίμα τὸν πατέρα καὶ τὴν μητέρα, καί, Ἀγαπήσεις τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν. (Matthew 19:18)

Unit 7: Third declension nouns[edit | edit source]

Unit 8: Present participles[edit | edit source]

Unit 9: Contract verbs[edit | edit source]

Unit 10: Passive and middle voice; deponent verbs[edit | edit source]

Unit 11: -μι Verbs[edit | edit source]

Unit 12: Imperatives and infinitives[edit | edit source]

Illustrative quotes:

  • καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ, Εἰ υἱὸς εἶ τοῦ θεοῦ, βάλε σεαυτὸν κάτω (Matthew 4:6)
  • καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς, Δεῦτε ὀπίσω μου, καὶ ποιήσω ὑμᾶς ἁλιεῖς ἀνθρώπων. (Matthew 4:19)
  • μὴ κρίνετε, ἵνα μὴ κριθῆτε (Matthew 7:1)
  • καὶ εἶπεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς τῷ ἑκατοντάρχῃ, Ὕπαγε, ὡς ἐπίστευσας γενηθήτω σοι. καὶ ἰάθη ὁ παῖς [αὐτοῦ] ἐν τῇ ὥρᾳ ἐκείνῃ. (Matthew 8:13)
  • ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν, Ἄφετε τὰ παιδία καὶ μὴ κωλύετε αὐτὰ ἐλθεῖν πρός με, τῶν γὰρ τοιούτων ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν. (Matthew 19:14)

Unit 13: Imperfect tense[edit | edit source]

Illustrative quotes:

  • καὶ ἀπὸ τότε ἐζήτει εὐκαιρίαν ἵνα αὐτὸν παραδῷ. (Matthew 26:16)

Unit 13: Numbers[edit | edit source]

Illustrative quotes:

  • Τότε πορευθεὶς εἷς τῶν δώδεκα, ὁ λεγόμενος Ἰούδας Ἰσκαριώτης, πρὸς τοὺς ἀρχιερεῖς εἶπεν, Τί θέλετέ μοι δοῦναι κἀγὼ ὑμῖν παραδώσω αὐτόν; οἱ δὲ ἔστησαν αὐτῷ τριάκοντα ἀργύρια. (Matthew 26:14-15)

Unit 14: First and second aorist[edit | edit source]

Illustrative quotes:

  • Ἐξ Αἰγύπτου ἐκάλεσα τὸν υἱόν μου. (Matthew 2:13)

Unit 15:Aorist participles[edit | edit source]

Unit 16:Perfect and pluperfect tenses[edit | edit source]

Unit 17:Subjunctive and optative moods[edit | edit source]

Practice readings[edit | edit source]