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New Testament Greek Online

Lesson 1

Winfred P. Lehmann and Jonathan Slocum

Like the other gospels, the third was written anonymously. In the Classical world, identification was not considerd to be as important as it is today. But in the second century, Christians began ascribing each gospel, as well as the book of Acts, to a specific author. In view of their close relationships, both the third gospel and the book of Acts were ascribed to St. Luke. Efforts to support this identification were based on passages in each. The third gospel begins with four remarkable verses that are parallel to the opening of historical works of the Classical world, such as the history of Herodotus. These verses include a dedication to Theophilus, literally "a man who loves God." On the basis of such evidence the gospel was assumed to have been written by an educated Gentile to another Gentile. Luke is assumed to be a Gentile on the basis of references in Colossians 4:10, 11, 14. Moreover, on the basis of the word "we" in Acts 16:10-14, Luke joined Paul at Troas during his second missionary journey, and accompanied him to Philippi, staying there apparently for seven years. Then he joined Paul again on his last return to Jerusalem (Acts 20:6-21:18), and from there, eventually, to Rome (Acts 28:2, 12-16), where he supposedly remained with Paul until the latter's death. The time of writing is unclear. From references in the early church fathers, it is assumed that Luke wrote it sometime after the death of St. Paul in the late sixties.

Reading and Textual Analysis

Luke 2:1-14 (incl. memory verse)

The fourteen beginning verses of the gospel according to St. Luke, chapter 2, need little commentary. The sentence structures are for the most part transparent. The passage is well known in its English translation. This can easily be matched with the Greek original.

2:1 - Egeneto de en tais hêmerais exêlthen dogma para Kaisaros Augoustou apographesthai pasan tên oikoumenên.

  • egeneto -- deponent verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <gignomai> happen, become -- it happened
  • de -- particle; <de> and, on the other hand -- and
  • en -- preposition; <en> in -- in
  • tais -- article; dative plural feminine of <ho> the -- those
  • hêmerais -- noun, feminine; dative plural of <hêmera> day -- days
  • exêlthen -- deponent verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <exerchomai> come out -- (there) came
  • dogma -- noun, neuter; nominative singular of <dogma> opinion, decree -- a decree
  • para -- preposition; <para> from, of -- from
  • Kaisaros -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Kaisar> Caesar -- Caesar
  • Augoustou -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Augoustos> Augustus -- Augustus
  • apographesthai -- verb; infinitive passive of <apographô> register -- be registered
  • pasan -- adjective; accusative singular feminine of <pas> all, every -- all
  • tên -- article; accusative singular feminine of <ho> the -- the
  • oikoumenên -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <oikoumenê> the inhabited world, the Roman world -- world

2:2 - autê apographê prôtê egeneto hêgemoneuontos tês Surias Kurêniou.

  • autê -- pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <autos> oneself, he -- this
  • apographê -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <apographê> census -- census
  • prôtê -- adjective; nominative singular feminine of <prôtos> first -- first
  • egeneto -- deponent verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <gignomai> happen, become -- took place
  • hêgemoneuontos -- verb; genitive singular masculine of present participle of <hêgemoneuô> govern -- governed
  • tês -- article; genitive singular feminine of <ho> the -- ...
  • Surias -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <Suria> Syria -- Syria
  • Kurêniou -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Kurênios> Cyrenius -- (when) Cyrenius

2:3 - kai eporeuonto pantes apographesthai, hekastos eis tên heautou polin.

  • kai -- conjunction; <kai> and -- and
  • eporeuonto -- verb; 3rd person plural imperfect passive of <poreuô> go, make go -- were compelled to go
  • pantes -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <pas> all, every -- all
  • apographesthai -- verb; infinitive passive of <apographô> register -- to be registered
  • hekastos -- indefinite pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <hekastos> each, every -- every one
  • eis -- preposition; <eis> towards -- to
  • tên -- article; accusative singular feminine of <ho> the -- ...
  • heautou -- reflexive pronoun; genitive singular masculine of <heautou> oneself -- his own
  • polin -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <polis> city -- city

2:4 - Anebê de kai Iôsêph apo tês Galilaias ek poleôs Nazareth eis tên Ioudaian eis polin Dauid hêtis kaleitai Bêthleem, dia to einai auton ex oikou kai patrias Dauid,

  • anebê -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <anabainô> mount, go up -- went up
  • de -- particle; <de> and, on the other hand -- and
  • kai -- conjunction; <kai> and -- and
  • Iôsêph -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Iôsêph> Joseph -- Joseph
  • apo -- preposition; <apo> from -- from
  • tês -- article; genitive singular feminine of <ho> the -- ...
  • Galilaias -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <Galilaia> Galilee -- Galilee
  • ek -- preposition; <ek> from, out of -- out of
  • poleôs -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <polis> city -- (the) city
  • Nazareth -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <Nazareth> Nazareth -- Nazareth
  • eis -- preposition; <eis> towards -- to
  • tên -- article; accusative singular feminine of <ho> the -- ...
  • Ioudaian -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <Ioudaia> Judea -- Judea
  • eis -- preposition; <eis> towards -- to
  • polin -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <polis> city -- city
  • Dauid -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <Dauid> David -- (of) David
  • hêtis -- relative pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <hostis> whoever, whatever -- which
  • kaleitai -- verb; 3rd person singular present passive of <kaleô> call, summon -- is called
  • Bêthleem -- noun, neuter; nominative singular of <Bêthleem> Bethlehem -- Bethlehem
  • dia -- preposition; <dia> through, by -- (through) because
  • to -- article; accusative singular neuter of <ho> the -- ...
  • einai -- verb; infinitive of <eimi> I am -- (being) was
  • auton -- pronoun; accusative singular masculine of <autos> oneself, he -- (him) he
  • ex -- preposition; <ex> from, out of -- from
  • oikou -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <oikos> house -- (the) house
  • kai -- conjunction; <kai> and -- and
  • patrias -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <patria> lineage -- lineage
  • Dauid -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Dauid> David -- of David

2:5 - apograpsasthai sun Mariam tê emnêsteumenê autô, ousê egkuô.

  • apograpsasthai -- verb; infinitive future passive of <apographô> register -- to be registered
  • sun -- preposition; <sun> with -- with
  • Mariam -- noun, feminine; dative singular of <Miriam> (indeclinable; from Hebrew) Mary -- Mary
  • -- article; dative singular feminine of <ho> the -- ...
  • emnêsteumenê -- verb; dative singular feminine of perfect participle passive of <mnêsteuô> woo, espouse -- espoused
  • autô -- pronoun; dative singular masculine of <autos> oneself, he -- to him
  • ousê -- verb; dative singular feminine of present participle of <eimi> I am -- (she) being
  • egkuô -- adjective; dative singular feminine of <egkuôn> pregnant -- pregnant

2:6 - Egeneto de en tô einai autous ekei eplêsthêsan hai hêmerai tou tekein autên,

  • egeneto -- deponent verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <gignomai> happen, become -- it happened
  • de -- particle; <de> and, on the other hand -- and
  • en -- preposition; <en> in -- in
  • -- article; dative singular neuter of <ho> the -- ...
  • einai -- verb; infinitive of <eimi> I am -- being
  • autous -- pronoun; accusative plural masculine of <autos> oneself, he -- they
  • ekei -- adverb; <ekei> there -- there
  • eplêsthêsan -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist passive of <pimplêmi> fill -- were fulfilled
  • hai -- article; nominative plural feminine of <ho> the -- the
  • hêmerai -- noun, feminine; nominative plural of <hêmera> day -- days
  • tou -- article; genitive singular neuter of <ho> the -- ...
  • tekein -- verb; infinitive aorist of <tiktô> give birth -- to give birth
  • autên -- pronoun; accusative singular feminine of <autos> oneself, he -- (for) her

2:7 - kai eteken ton huion autês ton prôtotokon, kai esparganôsen auton kai aneklinen auton en phatnê, dioti ouk ên autois topos en tô katalumati.

  • kai -- conjunction; <kai> and -- and
  • eteken -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <tiktô> give birth -- gave birth to
  • ton -- article; accusative singular masculine of <ho> the -- ...
  • huion -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <huios> son -- son
  • autês -- pronoun; genitive singular feminine of <autos> oneself, he -- her
  • ton -- article; accusative singular masculine of <ho> the -- ...
  • prôtotokon -- adjective; accusative singular masculine of <prôtotokos> first-born -- first-born
  • kai -- conjunction; <kai> and -- and
  • esparganôsen -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <sparganoô> wrap in swaddling clothes -- wrapped ... in swaddling clothes
  • auton -- pronoun; accusative singular masculine of <autos> oneself, he -- him
  • kai -- conjunction; <kai> and -- and
  • aneklinen -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect of <anaklinô> lay down -- laid
  • auton -- pronoun; accusative singular masculine of <autos> oneself, he -- him
  • en -- preposition; <en> in -- in
  • phatnê -- noun, feminine; dative singular of <phatnê> manger -- manger
  • dioti -- conjunction; <dioti> because -- because
  • ouk -- particle; <ouk> not -- not
  • ên -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect of <eimi> I am -- there was
  • autois -- pronoun; dative plural masculine of <autos> oneself, he -- for them
  • topos -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <topos> place -- room
  • en -- preposition; <en> in -- in
  • -- article; dative singular neuter of <ho> the -- the
  • katalumati -- noun, neuter; dative singular of <kataluma> inn -- inn

2:8 - Kai poimenes êsan en tê chôra tê autê agraulountes kai phulassontes phulakas tês nuktos epi tên poimên autôn.

  • kai -- conjunction; <kai> and -- and
  • poimenes -- noun, masculine; nominative plural of <poimên> shepherd -- shepherds
  • êsan -- verb; 3rd person plural imperfect of <eimi> I am -- (there) were
  • en -- preposition; <en> in -- in
  • -- article; dative singular feminine of <ho> the -- ...
  • chôra -- noun, feminine; dative singular of <chôra> land, country -- place
  • -- article; dative singular feminine of <ho> the -- ...
  • autê -- pronoun; dative singular feminine of <autos> oneself, he -- that
  • agraulountes -- verb; nominative plural masculine of present participle of <agraulounô> dwell in the fields -- dwelling in the fields
  • kai -- conjunction; <kai> and -- and
  • phulassontes -- verb; nominative plural masculine of present participle of <phulassô> keep watch -- keeping watch
  • phulakas -- noun, feminine; accusative plural of <phulakê> watch -- ...
  • tês -- article; genitive singular feminine of <ho> the -- that
  • nuktos -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <nux> night -- night
  • epi -- preposition; <epi> on, about -- over
  • tên -- article; accusative singular feminine of <ho> the -- their
  • poimên -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <poimên> flock -- flock
  • autôn -- pronoun; genitive plural masculine of <autos> oneself, he -- their

2:9 - kai aggelos kuriou epestê autois kai doxa kuriou perielampsen autous, kai ephobêthêsan phobon megan.

  • kai -- conjunction; <kai> and -- and
  • aggelos -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <aggelos> angel -- the angel
  • kuriou -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <kurios> lord -- of the Lord
  • epestê -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <ephistêmi> stand up, appear -- appeared
  • autois -- pronoun; dative plural masculine of <autos> oneself, he -- to them
  • kai -- conjunction; <kai> and -- and
  • doxa -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <doxa> glory -- the glory
  • kuriou -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <kurios> lord -- of the Lord
  • perielampsen -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <perilampô> shine around -- shone around
  • autous -- pronoun; accusative plural masculine of <autos> oneself, he -- them
  • kai -- conjunction; <kai> and -- and
  • ephobêthêsan -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist passive of <phobeô> terrify -- they feared
  • phobon -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <phobos> fear -- (fear)
  • megan -- adjective; accusative singular masculine of <megas> great -- (a...great) = greatly

2:10 - kai eipen autois ho aggelos, mê phobeisthe;

  • kai -- conjunction; <kai> and -- and
  • eipen -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <legô> say -- said
  • autois -- pronoun; dative plural masculine of <autos> oneself, he -- to them
  • ho -- article; nominative singular masculine of <ho> the -- the
  • aggelos -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <aggelos> angel -- angel
  • -- particle; <> not -- not
  • phobeisthe -- verb; 2nd person plural imperative middle of <phobeô> terrify -- do...fear

idou gar euaggelizomai humin charan megalên, hêtis estai panti tô laô;

  • idou -- adverb; <idou> behold -- behold
  • gar -- conjunction; <gar> for -- for
  • euaggelizomai -- deponent verb; 1st person singular present middle of <euaggelizomai> bring good news -- I bring good news
  • humin -- pronoun; dative plural masculine of <su> you -- to you
  • charan -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <chara> joy -- (of) ... joy
  • megalên -- adjective; accusative singular feminine of <megas> great -- great
  • hêtis -- relative pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <hostis> whoever, whatever -- which
  • estai -- verb; 3rd person singular future of <eimi> I am -- shall be
  • panti -- adjective; dative singular masculine of <pas> all, every -- to all
  • -- article; dative singular masculine of <ho> the -- the
  • laô -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <laos> people -- people

2:11 - hoti etechthê humin sêmeron sôtêr, hos estin christos kurios, en polei Dauid.

  • hoti -- conjunction; <hoti> because, that -- that
  • etechthê -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist passive of <tiktô> give birth -- was born
  • humin -- pronoun; dative plural masculine of <su> you -- to you
  • sêmeron -- adverb; <sêmeron> today -- today
  • sôtêr -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <sôtêr> Savior -- a Savior
  • hos -- relative pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <hos> who, which -- who
  • estin -- verb; 3rd person singular present of <eimi> I am -- is
  • christos -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <christos> Christ -- Christ
  • kurios -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <kurios> lord -- the Lord
  • en -- preposition; <en> in -- in
  • polei -- noun, feminine; dative singular of <polis> city -- the city
  • Dauid -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Dauid> David -- of David

2:12 - kai touto humin sêmeion, heurêsete brephos esparganômenon kai keimenon en phatnê

  • kai -- conjunction; <kai> and -- and
  • touto -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular neuter of <houtos> this -- this
  • humin -- pronoun; dative plural masculine of <su> you -- to you
  • sêmeion -- noun, neuter; nominative singular of <sêmeion> sign, miracle -- (shall be a) sign
  • heurêsete -- verb; 2nd person plural future of <heuriskô> find -- you shall find
  • brephos -- noun, neuter; nominative singular of <brephos> new-born baby -- baby
  • esparganômenon -- verb; accusative singular neuter of perfect participle passive of <sparganoô> wrap in swaddling clothes -- wrapped in swaddling clothes
  • kai -- conjunction; <kai> and -- and
  • keimenon -- verb; accusative singular neuter of present participle middle of <keimai> lie -- lying
  • en -- preposition; <en> in -- in
  • phatnê -- noun, feminine; dative singular of <phatnê> manger -- a manger

2:13 - kai exaiphnês egeneto sun tô aggelô plêthos stratias ouraniou ainountôn ton theon kai legontôn,

  • kai -- conjunction; <kai> and -- and
  • exaiphnês -- adverb; <exaiphnês> suddenly -- suddenly
  • egeneto -- deponent verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <gignomai> happen, become -- there was
  • sun -- preposition; <sun> with -- with
  • -- article; dative singular masculine of <ho> the -- the
  • aggelô -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <aggelos> angel -- angel
  • plêthos -- noun, neuter; nominative singular of <plêthos> multitude -- a great number
  • stratias -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <stratia> host -- of a ... host
  • ouraniou -- adjective; genitive singular feminine of <ouranios> heavenly -- heavenly
  • ainountôn -- verb; genitive plural feminine of <aineô> praise -- praising
  • ton -- article; accusative singular masculine of <ho> the -- ...
  • theon -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <theos> god -- God
  • kai -- conjunction; <kai> and -- and
  • legontôn -- verb; genitive plural feminine of present participle of <legô> say -- saying

2:14 (memory verse) -

        doxa en hupsistois theô
        kai epi tês gês eirênê en anthrôpois eudokias.

  • doxa -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <doxa> glory -- glory
  • en -- preposition; <en> in -- in
  • hupsistois -- adjective; dative plural masculine of <hupsistos> highest -- in the highest = in heaven above
  • theô -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <theos> god -- to God
  • kai -- conjunction; <kai> and -- and
  • epi -- preposition; <epi> on, about -- on
  • tês -- article; genitive singular feminine of <ho> the -- the
  • gês -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <> earth, land -- earth
  • eirênê -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <eirênê> peace -- peace
  • en -- preposition; <en> in -- to
  • anthrôpois -- noun, masculine; dative plural of <anthrôpos> human being -- human beings
  • eudokias -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <eudokia> satisfaction -- of good will

Lesson Text

2:1 Egeneto de en tais hêmerais exêlthen dogma para Kaisaros Augoustou apographesthai pasan tên oikoumenên. 2:2 autê apographê prôtê egeneto hêgemoneuontos tês Surias Kurêniou. 2:3 kai eporeuonto pantes apographesthai, hekastos eis tên heautou polin. 2:4 Anebê de kai Iôsêph apo tês Galilaias ek poleôs Nazareth eis tên Ioudaian eis polin Dauid hêtis kaleitai Bêthleem, dia to einai auton ex oikou kai patrias Dauid, 2:5 apograpsasthai sun Mariam tê emnêsteumenê autô, ousê egkuô. 2:6 Egeneto de en tô einai autous ekei eplêsthêsan hai hêmerai tou tekein autên, 2:7 kai eteken ton huion autês ton prôtotokon, kai esparganôsen auton kai aneklinen auton en phatnê, dioti ouk ên autois topos en tô katalumati.

2:8 Kai poimenes êsan en tê chôra tê autê agraulountes kai phulassontes phulakas tês nuktos epi tên poimên autôn. 2:9 kai aggelos kuriou epestê autois kai doxa kuriou perielampsen autous, kai ephobêthêsan phobon megan. 2:10 kai eipen autois ho aggelos, mê phobeisthe; idou gar euaggelizomai humin charan megalên, hêtis estai panti tô laô; 2:11 hoti etechthê humin sêmeron sôtêr, hos estin christos kurios, en polei Dauid. 2:12 kai touto humin sêmeion, heurêsete brephos esparganômenon kai keimenon en phatnê 2:13 kai exaiphnês egeneto sun tô aggelô plêthos stratias ouraniou ainountôn ton theon kai legontôn,

2:14 (memory verse) -

        doxa en hupsistois theô
        kai epi tês gês eirênê en anthrôpois eudokias.

Translation

From the King James version:
2:1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
2:14 (memory verse) --
Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Grammar

1. The alphabet and sound system.
1.1. The alphabet.

The alphabet is the same for New Testament Greek as for Classical Greek. The names are generally well known, such as the first two from our word alphabet, the third from gamma rays, the fourth from the delta of a river, and so on.

The same pronunciation is used for the language, in spite of the difference in time. As a result of the conquests of Alexander the Great (356-323), Greek came to be used throughout the world adjoining the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea, extending farther east and also in the south to Egypt and in the west to Italy. It was the common (koinê) language much as English is today. In such a wide expanse, there were differences of pronunciation and usage, just as there are in English today. These may be of interest for scholarly purposes, but they do not affect the reading and understanding of the Biblical texts.

The letters in small and capital forms, with their names and guides to pronunciation, are as follows:

Alpha a, A father
Beta b, B bother
Gamma g, G gather
Delta d, D delta
Epsilon e, E debt
Zeta z, Z zen
Eta ê, Ê rate (rat)
Theta th, Th thin (tin) i.e. with aspiration
Iota i, I sin
Kappa k, K cope (scope) i.e. no aspiration
Lamba l, L lap
Mu m, M map
Nu n, N nap
Ksi x, X tax
Omikron o, O rope
Pi p, P poke (spoke) i.e., no aspiration
Rho r, R rope
Sigma ss, S soap (note: lower-case form has 2 variants)
Tau t, T top (stop) i.e. no aspiration
Upsilon u, U soon (German Suehne) i.e. front rounded
Phi ph, Ph four (pour) i.e. with aspiration
Chi ch, Ch core (German ich or ach) i.e. velar fricative
Psi ps, Ps tops
Omega ô, Ô boat (bought)

In addition, words beginning with vowels may have an initial h sound. This is called a breathing. If beginning with h, the breathing is called rough, represented by the diacritic h immediately preceding or over the vowel (e.g., ho); if without an h sound, the breathing is smooth, represented by the diacritic immediately preceding or over the vowel (e.g., o).

Moreover, vowels may have an iota subscript, that is, an [i] sound after the vowel, written as a diacritic beneath the vowel (e.g., ô); while indicated in texts, this is generally left without pronunciation.

1.2. The sound system.

The system is as follows:

    Labials   Dentals   Palato-velars
Voiceless:   p   t   k
Voiced:   b   d   g
Aspirated, voiceless:   ph   th   ch
Fricative:       s    
Nasals:   m   n   g (spelled g before g or k)
             
Vowels:   i             u
    e     o  
        a    
    i             u
    ê     ô  
        a    
Diphthongs:   ei ai oi ui   eu au êu ou

Classical Greek had a musical accent. There are three such accents. Vowels marked with oxia (e.g., a) had high pitch; those with varia (e.g., a) had a low or falling pitch; those marked with perispomeni (e.g., a) had rising and falling pitch.

The accent had changed, however, from one of pitch to one of stress. Yet the stress fell on the same syllables as in Classical Greek. The different type of stress is assumed to have had an effect on the quality of vowels. We may disregard such effects, and pronounce the words as in Classical Greek.

2. The basis word order of sentences in New Testament Greek.

In contrast with Classical Greek, in which the verb often stood at the end of the clause, verbs are placed initially in many sentences of New Testament Greek, or after the subject. In almost all of the sentences in this text, they stand initially. Their position may be due to influence from Aramaic, which is the other language of probably all authors of the New Testament as well as of Jesus. Like Hebrew, it is a verb-initial language. The first words of our text may provide an example:

Egeneto de en tais hêmerais ekeinois
"And it happened in those days..."

Another syntactic influence from Aramaic is the frequent use of an initial word for 'and' in the sentence, as in 2.8:

Kai poimenes êsan en tê chôra
"And shepherds were in that area"

Languages in which the verb is initial in the clause often place a connective before it. The Hebrew Bible does so, with an equivalent to Greek kai; this practice not only influenced New Testament Greek, but also later translations like the King James version for English and the translations in other languages.

3. Modifications of the basic sentence pattern.

The sentences in the New Testament are relatively short and transparent, as in this text. There are few subordinate clauses; phrases with participles and infinitives may replace them. One such construction is the genitive absolute, in which a participle and a noun in the genitive correspond to a subordinate clause, as in 2:2 --

hêgemeneuontos tês Surias Kurêniou
governing                   Syria     Cyrenius
"when Cyrenius was governing Syria"

Another such construction is the use of an infinitive with a noun in the accusative as subject, as in 2.4:

dia to einai auton ex oikou kai patrias Dauid
through the be(ing) him from house and lineage David
"because he was from the house and lineage of David"

But in general, many examples of the use of participles and infinitives are comparable to that in English.

4. Nominal inflection.

Nouns, adjective and the article are inflected for three genders, four cases, and two numbers. The dual is no longer used. The three genders are the masculine, feminine and neuter. The four cases are the nominative, genitive, dative, and accusative. The principal uses of the cases are readily noted. The nominative is the case of the subject and of nouns after the copula in the predicative nominative. The genitive is the case of possession. The dative is the case of the indirect object, but is used less than in Classical Greek; nouns with prepositions may replace it. The accusative is the case of the direct object.

Because of the common use of the article, its forms might well be memorized.

    Masculine   Feminine   Neuter
Nom sg   ho     to
Gen sg   tou   tês   tou
Dat sg      
Acc sg   ton   tên   to
             
Nom pl   hoi   hai   ta
Gen pl   tôn   tôn   tôn
Dat pl   tois   tais   tois
Acc pl   tous   tas   ta

Examples of the o-declension, masculine and neuter, and the a-declension, feminine, are given here.

    Masculine   Feminine   Neuter
Nom sg   ho logos 'word'   hê hêmera 'day'   to dôron 'gift'
Gen sg   tou logou   tês hêmeras   tou dôron
Dat sg   tô logô   tê hêmera   tô dôrô
Acc sg   ton logon   tên hêmeran   to dôrou
             
Nom pl   hoi logoi   hai hêmerai   ta dôra
Gen pl   tôn logôn   tôn hêmerôn   tôn dôrôn
Dat pl   tois logois   tais hêmerais   tois dôrois
Acc pl   tous logous   tas hêmeras   ta dôra
5. Verb inflection.

Greek verbs are inflected for three voices, active, middle and passive, for four moods, indicative, subjunctive, optative and imperative, three systems or tenses, present, aorist and perfect, three numbers, singular, dual, plural. The augment 'e' (epsilon) is used with past tense forms, imperfect, aorist, and pluperfect, but only in the indicative. The perfect stem is often reduplicated. In addition there are infinitives and participles.

In view of its regularity, the verb pisteuô 'believe' may be used to illustrate the various forms. Here the present and the imperfect indicative active are given. Before vowels, 'n' (nu) is added to some forms ending in a vowel.

    Present   Imperfect
1 sg   pisteuô   episteuon
2 sg   pisteueis   episteues
3 sg   pisteuei   episteue(n)
         
1 pl   pisteuomen   episteuomen
2 pl   pisteuete   episteuete
3 pl   pisteuousi(n)   episteuon