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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 - Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐξῆλθεν δόγμα παρὰ Καίσαρος Αὐγούστου ἀπογράφεσθαι πᾶσαν τὴν οἰκουμένην.

  • ἐγένετο -- deponent verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <γίγνομαι> happen, become -- it happened
  • δὲ -- particle; <δέ> and, on the other hand -- and
  • ἐν -- preposition; <ἐν> in -- in
  • ταῖς -- article; dative plural feminine of <> the -- those
  • ἡμέραις -- noun, feminine; dative plural of <ἡμέρα> day -- days
  • ἐξῆλθεν -- deponent verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <ἐξέρχομαι> come out -- (there) came
  • δόγμα -- noun, neuter; nominative singular of <δόγμα> opinion, decree -- a decree
  • παρὰ -- preposition; <παρά> from, of -- from
  • Καίσαρος -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Καῖσαρ> Caesar -- Caesar
  • Αὐγούστου -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Αὐγούστος> Augustus -- Augustus
  • ἀπογράφεσθαι -- verb; infinitive passive of <ἀπογράφω> register -- be registered
  • πᾶσαν -- adjective; accusative singular feminine of <πᾶς> all, every -- all
  • τὴν -- article; accusative singular feminine of <> the -- the
  • οἰκουμένην -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <οἰκουμένη> the inhabited world, the Roman world -- world

2:2 - αὐτὴ ἀπογραφὴ πρώτη ἐγένετο ἡγεμονεύοντος τῆς Συρίας Κυρηνίου.

  • αὐτὴ -- pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <αὐτός> oneself, he -- this
  • ἀπογραφὴ -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <ἀπογραφή> census -- census
  • πρώτη -- adjective; nominative singular feminine of <πρῶτος> first -- first
  • ἐγένετο -- deponent verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <γίγνομαι> happen, become -- took place
  • ἡγεμονεύοντος -- verb; genitive singular masculine of present participle of <ἡγεμονεύω> govern -- governed
  • τῆς -- article; genitive singular feminine of <> the -- ...
  • Συρίας -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <Συρία> Syria -- Syria
  • Κυρηνίου -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Κυρηνίος> Cyrenius -- (when) Cyrenius

2:3 - καὶ ἐπορεύοντο πάντες ἀπογράφεσθαι, ἕκαστος εἰς τήν ἑαυτοῦ πόλιν.

  • καὶ -- conjunction; <καί> and -- and
  • ἐπορεύοντο -- verb; 3rd person plural imperfect passive of <πορεύω> go, make go -- were compelled to go
  • πάντες -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <πᾶς> all, every -- all
  • ἀπογράφεσθαι -- verb; infinitive passive of <ἀπογράφω> register -- to be registered
  • ἕκαστος -- indefinite pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <ἕκαστος> each, every -- every one
  • εἰς -- preposition; <εἰς> towards -- to
  • τήν -- article; accusative singular feminine of <> the -- ...
  • ἑαυτοῦ -- reflexive pronoun; genitive singular masculine of <ἑαυτοῦ> oneself -- his own
  • πόλιν -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <πόλις> city -- city

2:4 - Ἀνέβη δὲ καὶ Ἰωσὴφ ἀπὸ τῆς Γαλιλαίας ἐκ πόλεως Ναζαρὲθ εἰς τὴν Ἰουδαίαν εἰς πόλιν Δαυὶδ ἥτις καλεῖται Βηθλέεμ, διὰ τὸ εἶναι αὐτὸν ἐξ οἴκου καὶ πατριᾶς Δαυίδ,

  • ἀνέβη -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <ἀναβαίνω> mount, go up -- went up
  • δὲ -- particle; <δέ> and, on the other hand -- and
  • καὶ -- conjunction; <καί> and -- and
  • Ἰωσὴφ -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Ἰωσήφ> Joseph -- Joseph
  • ἀπὸ -- preposition; <ἀπό> from -- from
  • τῆς -- article; genitive singular feminine of <> the -- ...
  • Γαλιλαίας -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <Γαλιλαία> Galilee -- Galilee
  • ἐκ -- preposition; <ἐκ> from, out of -- out of
  • πόλεως -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <πόλις> city -- (the) city
  • Ναζαρὲθ -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <Ναζαρέθ> Nazareth -- Nazareth
  • εἰς -- preposition; <εἰς> towards -- to
  • τὴν -- article; accusative singular feminine of <> the -- ...
  • Ἰουδαίαν -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <Ἰουδαία> Judea -- Judea
  • εἰς -- preposition; <εἰς> towards -- to
  • πόλιν -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <πόλις> city -- city
  • Δαυὶδ -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <Δαυίδ> David -- (of) David
  • ἥτις -- relative pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <ὅστις> whoever, whatever -- which
  • καλεῖται -- verb; 3rd person singular present passive of <καλέω> call, summon -- is called
  • Βηθλέεμ -- noun, neuter; nominative singular of <Βηθλέεμ> Bethlehem -- Bethlehem
  • διὰ -- preposition; <διά> through, by -- (through) because
  • τὸ -- article; accusative singular neuter of <> the -- ...
  • εἶναι -- verb; infinitive of <εἰμί> I am -- (being) was
  • αὐτὸν -- pronoun; accusative singular masculine of <αὐτός> oneself, he -- (him) he
  • ἐξ -- preposition; <ἐξ> from, out of -- from
  • οἴκου -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <οἶκος> house -- (the) house
  • καὶ -- conjunction; <καί> and -- and
  • πατριᾶς -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <πατριά> lineage -- lineage
  • Δαυίδ -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Δαυίδ> David -- of David

2:5 - ἀπογράψασθαι σὺν Μαριὰμ τῇ ἐμνηστευμένῃ αὐτῷ, οὔσῃ ἐγκύῳ.

  • ἀπογράψασθαι -- verb; infinitive future passive of <ἀπογράφω> register -- to be registered
  • σὺν -- preposition; <σύν> with -- with
  • Μαριὰμ -- noun, feminine; dative singular of <Μιριάμ> (indeclinable; from Hebrew) Mary -- Mary
  • τῇ -- article; dative singular feminine of <> the -- ...
  • ἐμνηστευμένῃ -- verb; dative singular feminine of perfect participle passive of <μνηστεύω> woo, espouse -- espoused
  • αὐτῷ -- pronoun; dative singular masculine of <αὐτός> oneself, he -- to him
  • οὔσῃ -- verb; dative singular feminine of present participle of <εἰμί> I am -- (she) being
  • ἐγκύῳ -- adjective; dative singular feminine of <ἐγκύων> pregnant -- pregnant

2:6 - Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν τῷ εἶναι αὐτούς ἐκεῖ ἐπλήσθησαν αἱ ἡμέραι τοῦ τεκεῖν αὐτήν,

  • ἐγένετο -- deponent verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <γίγνομαι> happen, become -- it happened
  • δὲ -- particle; <δέ> and, on the other hand -- and
  • ἐν -- preposition; <ἐν> in -- in
  • τῷ -- article; dative singular neuter of <> the -- ...
  • εἶναι -- verb; infinitive of <εἰμί> I am -- being
  • αὐτούς -- pronoun; accusative plural masculine of <αὐτός> oneself, he -- they
  • ἐκεῖ -- adverb; <ἐκεῖ> there -- there
  • ἐπλήσθησαν -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist passive of <πίμπλημι> fill -- were fulfilled
  • αἱ -- article; nominative plural feminine of <> the -- the
  • ἡμέραι -- noun, feminine; nominative plural of <ἡμέρα> day -- days
  • τοῦ -- article; genitive singular neuter of <> the -- ...
  • τεκεῖν -- verb; infinitive aorist of <τίκτω> give birth -- to give birth
  • αὐτήν -- pronoun; accusative singular feminine of <αὐτός> oneself, he -- (for) her

2:7 - καὶ ἔτεκεν τὸν υἱὸν αὐτῆς τὸν πρωτότοκον, καὶ ἐσπαργάνωσεν αὐτὸν καὶ ἀνέκλινεν αὐτὸν ἐν φάτνῃ, διότι οὐκ ἦν αὐτοῖς τόπος ἐν τῷ καταλύματι.

  • καὶ -- conjunction; <καί> and -- and
  • ἔτεκεν -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <τίκτω> give birth -- gave birth to
  • τὸν -- article; accusative singular masculine of <> the -- ...
  • υἱὸν -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <υἱός> son -- son
  • αὐτῆς -- pronoun; genitive singular feminine of <αὐτός> oneself, he -- her
  • τὸν -- article; accusative singular masculine of <> the -- ...
  • πρωτότοκον -- adjective; accusative singular masculine of <πρωτότοκος> first-born -- first-born
  • καὶ -- conjunction; <καί> and -- and
  • ἐσπαργάνωσεν -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <σπαργανόω> wrap in swaddling clothes -- wrapped ... in swaddling clothes
  • αὐτὸν -- pronoun; accusative singular masculine of <αὐτός> oneself, he -- him
  • καὶ -- conjunction; <καί> and -- and
  • ἀνέκλινεν -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect of <ἀνακλίνω> lay down -- laid
  • αὐτὸν -- pronoun; accusative singular masculine of <αὐτός> oneself, he -- him
  • ἐν -- preposition; <ἐν> in -- in
  • φάτνῃ -- noun, feminine; dative singular of <φάτνη> manger -- manger
  • διότι -- conjunction; <διότι> because -- because
  • οὐκ -- particle; <οὐκ> not -- not
  • ἦν -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect of <εἰμί> I am -- there was
  • αὐτοῖς -- pronoun; dative plural masculine of <αὐτός> oneself, he -- for them
  • τόπος -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <τόπος> place -- room
  • ἐν -- preposition; <ἐν> in -- in
  • τῷ -- article; dative singular neuter of <> the -- the
  • καταλύματι -- noun, neuter; dative singular of <κατάλυμα> inn -- inn

2:8 - Καὶ ποιμένες ἦσαν ἐν τῇ χώρᾳ τῇ αὐτῇ ἀγραυλοῦντες καὶ φυλάσσοντες φυλακὰς τῆς νυκτὸς ἐπὶ τὴν ποίμην αὐτῶν.

  • καὶ -- conjunction; <καί> and -- and
  • ποιμένες -- noun, masculine; nominative plural of <ποιμήν> shepherd -- shepherds
  • ἦσαν -- verb; 3rd person plural imperfect of <εἰμί> I am -- (there) were
  • ἐν -- preposition; <ἐν> in -- in
  • τῇ -- article; dative singular feminine of <> the -- ...
  • χώρᾳ -- noun, feminine; dative singular of <χώρα> land, country -- place
  • τῇ -- article; dative singular feminine of <> the -- ...
  • αὐτῇ -- pronoun; dative singular feminine of <αὐτός> oneself, he -- that
  • ἀγραυλοῦντες -- verb; nominative plural masculine of present participle of <ἀγραυλούνω> dwell in the fields -- dwelling in the fields
  • καὶ -- conjunction; <καί> and -- and
  • φυλάσσοντες -- verb; nominative plural masculine of present participle of <φυλάσσω> keep watch -- keeping watch
  • φυλακὰς -- noun, feminine; accusative plural of <φυλακή> watch -- ...
  • τῆς -- article; genitive singular feminine of <> the -- that
  • νυκτὸς -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <νύξ> night -- night
  • ἐπὶ -- preposition; <ἐπί> on, about -- over
  • τὴν -- article; accusative singular feminine of <> the -- their
  • ποίμην -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <ποίμην> flock -- flock
  • αὐτῶν -- pronoun; genitive plural masculine of <αὐτός> oneself, he -- their

2:9 - καὶ ἄγγελος κυρίου ἐπέστη αὐτοῖς καὶ δόξα κυρίου περιέλαμψεν αὐτούς, καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν φόβον μέγαν.

  • καὶ -- conjunction; <καί> and -- and
  • ἄγγελος -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <ἄγγελος> angel -- the angel
  • κυρίου -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <κύριος> lord -- of the Lord
  • ἐπέστη -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <ἐφίστημι> stand up, appear -- appeared
  • αὐτοῖς -- pronoun; dative plural masculine of <αὐτός> oneself, he -- to them
  • καὶ -- conjunction; <καί> and -- and
  • δόξα -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <δόξα> glory -- the glory
  • κυρίου -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <κύριος> lord -- of the Lord
  • περιέλαμψεν -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <περιλάμπω> shine around -- shone around
  • αὐτούς -- pronoun; accusative plural masculine of <αὐτός> oneself, he -- them
  • καὶ -- conjunction; <καί> and -- and
  • ἐφοβήθησαν -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist passive of <φοβέω> terrify -- they feared
  • φόβον -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <φόβος> fear -- (fear)
  • μέγαν -- adjective; accusative singular masculine of <μέγας> great -- (a...great) = greatly

2:10 - καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὁ ἄγγελος, μὴ φοβεῖσθε·

  • καὶ -- conjunction; <καί> and -- and
  • εἶπεν -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <λέγω> say -- said
  • αὐτοῖς -- pronoun; dative plural masculine of <αὐτός> oneself, he -- to them
  • -- article; nominative singular masculine of <> the -- the
  • ἄγγελος -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <ἄγγελος> angel -- angel
  • μὴ -- particle; <μή> not -- not
  • φοβεῖσθε -- verb; 2nd person plural imperative middle of <φοβέω> terrify -- do...fear

ἰδοὺ γὰρ εὐαγγελίζομαι ὑμῖν χαρὰν μεγάλην, ἥτις ἔσται παντὶ τῷ λαῷ·

  • ἰδοὺ -- adverb; <ἰδού> behold -- behold
  • γὰρ -- conjunction; <γάρ> for -- for
  • εὐαγγελίζομαι -- deponent verb; 1st person singular present middle of <εὐαγγελίζομαι> bring good news -- I bring good news
  • ὑμῖν -- pronoun; dative plural masculine of <σύ> you -- to you
  • χαρὰν -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <χαρά> joy -- (of) ... joy
  • μεγάλην -- adjective; accusative singular feminine of <μέγας> great -- great
  • ἥτις -- relative pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <ὅστις> whoever, whatever -- which
  • ἔσται -- verb; 3rd person singular future of <εἰμί> I am -- shall be
  • παντὶ -- adjective; dative singular masculine of <πᾶς> all, every -- to all
  • τῷ -- article; dative singular masculine of <> the -- the
  • λαῷ -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <λαός> people -- people

2:11 - ὅτι ἐτέχθη ὑμῖν σήμερον σωτὴρ, ὅς ἐστιν χριστὸς κύριος, ἐν πόλει Δαυίδ.

  • ὅτι -- conjunction; <ὅτι> because, that -- that
  • ἐτέχθη -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist passive of <τίκτω> give birth -- was born
  • ὑμῖν -- pronoun; dative plural masculine of <σύ> you -- to you
  • σήμερον -- adverb; <σήμερον> today -- today
  • σωτὴρ -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <σωτήρ> Savior -- a Savior
  • ὅς -- relative pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <ὅς> who, which -- who
  • ἐστιν -- verb; 3rd person singular present of <εἰμί> I am -- is
  • χριστὸς -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <χριστός> Christ -- Christ
  • κύριος -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <κύριος> lord -- the Lord
  • ἐν -- preposition; <ἐν> in -- in
  • πόλει -- noun, feminine; dative singular of <πόλις> city -- the city
  • Δαυίδ -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Δαυίδ> David -- of David

2:12 - καὶ τοῦτο ὑμῖν σημεῖον, εὑρήσετε βρέφος ἐσπαργανωμένον καὶ κείμενον ἐν φάτνῃ

  • καὶ -- conjunction; <καί> and -- and
  • τοῦτο -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular neuter of <οὗτος> this -- this
  • ὑμῖν -- pronoun; dative plural masculine of <σύ> you -- to you
  • σημεῖον -- noun, neuter; nominative singular of <σημεῖον> sign, miracle -- (shall be a) sign
  • εὑρήσετε -- verb; 2nd person plural future of <εὑρίσκω> find -- you shall find
  • βρέφος -- noun, neuter; nominative singular of <βρέφος> new-born baby -- baby
  • ἐσπαργανωμένον -- verb; accusative singular neuter of perfect participle passive of <σπαργανόω> wrap in swaddling clothes -- wrapped in swaddling clothes
  • καὶ -- conjunction; <καί> and -- and
  • κείμενον -- verb; accusative singular neuter of present participle middle of <κεῖμαι> lie -- lying
  • ἐν -- preposition; <ἐν> in -- in
  • φάτνῃ -- noun, feminine; dative singular of <φάτνη> manger -- a manger

2:13 - καὶ ἐξαίφνης ἐγένετο σὺν τῷ ἀγγέλῳ πλῆθος στρατιᾶς οὐρανίου αἰνούντων τὸν θεὸν καὶ λεγόντων,

  • καὶ -- conjunction; <καί> and -- and
  • ἐξαίφνης -- adverb; <ἐξαίφνης> suddenly -- suddenly
  • ἐγένετο -- deponent verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <γίγνομαι> happen, become -- there was
  • σὺν -- preposition; <σύν> with -- with
  • τῷ -- article; dative singular masculine of <> the -- the
  • ἀγγέλῳ -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <ἄγγελος> angel -- angel
  • πλῆθος -- noun, neuter; nominative singular of <πλῆθος> multitude -- a great number
  • στρατιᾶς -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <στρατία> host -- of a ... host
  • οὐρανίου -- adjective; genitive singular feminine of <οὐράνιος> heavenly -- heavenly
  • αἰνούντων -- verb; genitive plural feminine of <αἰνέω> praise -- praising
  • τὸν -- article; accusative singular masculine of <> the -- ...
  • θεὸν -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <θεός> god -- God
  • καὶ -- conjunction; <καί> and -- and
  • λεγόντων -- verb; genitive plural feminine of present participle of <λέγω> say -- saying

2:14 (memory verse) -

        δόξα ἐν ὑψίστοις θεῷ
        καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς εἰρήνη ἐν ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκίας.

  • δόξα -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <δόξα> glory -- glory
  • ἐν -- preposition; <ἐν> in -- in
  • ὑψίστοις -- adjective; dative plural masculine of <ὕψιστος> highest -- in the highest = in heaven above
  • θεῷ -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <θεός> god -- to God
  • καὶ -- conjunction; <καί> and -- and
  • ἐπὶ -- preposition; <ἐπί> on, about -- on
  • τῆς -- article; genitive singular feminine of <> the -- the
  • γῆς -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <γῆ> earth, land -- earth
  • εἰρήνη -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <εἰρήνη> peace -- peace
  • ἐν -- preposition; <ἐν> in -- to
  • ἀνθρώποις -- noun, masculine; dative plural of <ἄνθρωπος> human being -- human beings
  • εὐδοκίας -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <εὐδοκία> satisfaction -- of good will

Lesson Text

2:1 Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐξῆλθεν δόγμα παρὰ Καίσαρος Αὐγούστου ἀπογράφεσθαι πᾶσαν τὴν οἰκουμένην. 2:2 αὐτὴ ἀπογραφὴ πρώτη ἐγένετο ἡγεμονεύοντος τῆς Συρίας Κυρηνίου. 2:3 καὶ ἐπορεύοντο πάντες ἀπογράφεσθαι, ἕκαστος εἰς τήν ἑαυτοῦ πόλιν. 2:4 Ἀνέβη δὲ καὶ Ἰωσὴφ ἀπὸ τῆς Γαλιλαίας ἐκ πόλεως Ναζαρὲθ εἰς τὴν Ἰουδαίαν εἰς πόλιν Δαυὶδ ἥτις καλεῖται Βηθλέεμ, διὰ τὸ εἶναι αὐτὸν ἐξ οἴκου καὶ πατριᾶς Δαυίδ, 2:5 ἀπογράψασθαι σὺν Μαριὰμ τῇ ἐμνηστευμένῃ αὐτῷ, οὔσῃ ἐγκύῳ. 2:6 Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν τῷ εἶναι αὐτούς ἐκεῖ ἐπλήσθησαν αἱ ἡμέραι τοῦ τεκεῖν αὐτήν, 2:7 καὶ ἔτεκεν τὸν υἱὸν αὐτῆς τὸν πρωτότοκον, καὶ ἐσπαργάνωσεν αὐτὸν καὶ ἀνέκλινεν αὐτὸν ἐν φάτνῃ, διότι οὐκ ἦν αὐτοῖς τόπος ἐν τῷ καταλύματι.

2:8 Καὶ ποιμένες ἦσαν ἐν τῇ χώρᾳ τῇ αὐτῇ ἀγραυλοῦντες καὶ φυλάσσοντες φυλακὰς τῆς νυκτὸς ἐπὶ τὴν ποίμην αὐτῶν. 2:9 καὶ ἄγγελος κυρίου ἐπέστη αὐτοῖς καὶ δόξα κυρίου περιέλαμψεν αὐτούς, καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν φόβον μέγαν. 2:10 καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὁ ἄγγελος, μὴ φοβεῖσθε· ἰδοὺ γὰρ εὐαγγελίζομαι ὑμῖν χαρὰν μεγάλην, ἥτις ἔσται παντὶ τῷ λαῷ· 2:11 ὅτι ἐτέχθη ὑμῖν σήμερον σωτὴρ, ὅς ἐστιν χριστὸς κύριος, ἐν πόλει Δαυίδ. 2:12 καὶ τοῦτο ὑμῖν σημεῖον, εὑρήσετε βρέφος ἐσπαργανωμένον καὶ κείμενον ἐν φάτνῃ 2:13 καὶ ἐξαίφνης ἐγένετο σὺν τῷ ἀγγέλῳ πλῆθος στρατιᾶς οὐρανίου αἰνούντων τὸν θεὸν καὶ λεγόντων,

2:14 (memory verse) -

        δόξα ἐν ὑψίστοις θεῷ
        καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς εἰρήνη ἐν ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκίας.

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 (κοινη) 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 α, Α father
Beta β, Β bother
Gamma γ, Γ gather
Delta δ, Δ delta
Epsilon ε, Ε debt
Zeta ζ, Ζ zen
Eta η, Η rate (rat)
Theta θ, Θ thin (tin) i.e. with aspiration
Iota ι, Ι sin
Kappa κ, Κ cope (scope) i.e. no aspiration
Lamba λ, Λ lap
Mu μ, Μ map
Nu ν, Ν nap
Ksi ξ, Ξ tax
Omikron ο, Ο rope
Pi π, Π poke (spoke) i.e., no aspiration
Rho ρ, Ρ rope
Sigma σς, Σ soap (note: lower-case form has 2 variants)
Tau τ, Τ top (stop) i.e. no aspiration
Upsilon υ, Υ soon (German Suehne) i.e. front rounded
Phi φ, Φ four (pour) i.e. with aspiration
Chi χ, Χ core (German ich or ach) i.e. velar fricative
Psi ψ, Ψ tops
Omega ω, Ω 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 immediately preceding or over the vowel (e.g., ); if without an h sound, the breathing is smooth, represented by the diacritic ᾿ immediately preceding or over the vowel (e.g., ).

Moreover, vowels may have an iota subscript, that is, an [i] sound after the vowel, written as a diacritic beneath the vowel (e.g., ); 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:   π   τ   κ
Voiced:   β   δ   γ
Aspirated, voiceless:   φ   θ   χ
Fricative:       ς    
Nasals:   μ   ν   γ (spelled γ before γ or κ)
             
Vowels:   ι             υ
    ε     ο  
        α    
                
    η     ω  
           
Diphthongs:   ει αι οι υι   ευ αυ ηυ ου

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

Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείνοις
"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:

Καὶ ποιμένες ἦσαν ἐν τῇ χώρᾳ
"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 καί; 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 --

ἡγεμενεύοντος τῆς Συριάς Κυρηνίου
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:

διὰ τὸ εἶναι αὐτὸν ἐξ οἶκου καὶ πατριᾶς Δαυίδ
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       τό
Gen sg   τοῦ   τῆς   τοῦ
Dat sg   τῷ   τῇ   τῷ
Acc sg   τόν   τήν   τό
             
Nom pl   οἱ   αἱ   τά
Gen pl   τῶν   τῶν   τῶν
Dat pl   τοῖς   ταῖς   τοῖς
Acc pl   τούς   τάς   τά

Examples of the ο-declension, masculine and neuter, and the α-declension, feminine, are given here.

    Masculine   Feminine   Neuter
Nom sg   ὁ λόγος 'word'   ἡ ἡμέρα 'day'   τὸ δῶρον 'gift'
Gen sg   τοῦ λόγου   τῆς ἡμέρας   τοῦ δώρον
Dat sg   τῷ λόγῳ   τῇ ἡμέρᾳ   τῷ δώρῳ
Acc sg   τόν λόγον   τὴν ἡμέραν   τὸ δῶρου
             
Nom pl   οἱ λόγοι   αἱ ἡμέραι   τὰ δῶρα
Gen pl   τῶν λόγων   τῶν ἡμερῶν   τῶν δώρων
Dat pl   τοῖς λόγοις   ταῖς ἡμέραις   τοῖς δώροις
Acc pl   τοὺς λόγους   τὰς ἡμέρας   τὰ δῶρα
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 'ε' (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 πιστεύω 'believe' may be used to illustrate the various forms. Here the present and the imperfect indicative active are given. Before vowels, 'ν' (nu) is added to some forms ending in a vowel.

    Present   Imperfect
1 sg   πιστεύω   ἐπίστευον
2 sg   πιστεύεις   ἐπίστευες
3 sg   πιστεύει   ἐπίστευε(ν)
         
1 pl   πιστεύομεν   ἐπιστεύομεν
2 pl   πιστεύετε   ἐπιστεύετε
3 pl   πιστεύουσι(ν)   ἐπίστευον