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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 - ʼΕγένετο δὲ ἐν ται̂ς ἡμέραις ἐξη̂λθεν δόγμα παρὰ Καίσαρος Αὐγούστου ἀπογράφεσθαι πα̂σαν 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
  • ται̂ς -- article; dative plural feminine of <ὁ> the -- those
  • ἡμέραις -- noun, feminine; dative plural of <ἡμέρα> day -- days
  • ἐξη̂λθεν -- 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 <Και̂σαρ> Caesar -- Caesar
  • Αὐγούστου -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Αὐγούστος> Augustus -- Augustus
  • ἀπογράφεσθαι -- verb; infinitive passive of <ἀπογράφω> register -- be registered
  • πα̂σαν -- adjective; accusative singular feminine of <πα̂ς> all, every -- all
  • τὴν -- article; accusative singular feminine of <ὁ> the -- the
  • οἰκουμένην -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <οἰκουμένη> the inhabited world, the Roman world -- world

2:2 - αὐτὴ ἀπογραφὴ πρώτη ἐγένετο ἡγεμονεύοντος τη̂ς 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 <πρω̂τος> 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
  • τη̂ς -- article; genitive singular feminine of <ὁ> 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, ʽέκαστος εἰς τήν ἑαυτου̂ 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 <πα̂ς> all, every -- all
  • ἀπογράφεσθαι -- verb; infinitive passive of <ἀπογράφω> register -- to be registered
  • ʽέκαστος -- indefinite pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <ʽέκαστος> each, every -- every one
  • εἰς -- preposition; <εἰς> towards -- to
  • τήν -- article; accusative singular feminine of <ὁ> the -- ...
  • ἑαυτου̂ -- reflexive pronoun; genitive singular masculine of <ἑαυτου̂> oneself -- his own
  • πόλιν -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <πόλις> city -- city

2:4 - ʼΑνέβη δὲ καὶ ʼΙωσὴφ ἀπὸ τη̂ς Γαλιλαίας ἐκ πόλεως Ναζαρὲθ εἰς τὴν ʼΙουδαίαν εἰς πόλιν Δαυὶδ ʽήτις καλει̂ται Βηθλέεμ, διὰ τὸ εʼι̂ναι αὐτὸν ἐξ οʼίκου καὶ πατρια̂ς 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
  • ʼΙωσὴφ -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <ʼΙωσήφ> Joseph -- Joseph
  • ἀπὸ -- preposition; <ἀπό> from -- from
  • τη̂ς -- article; genitive singular feminine of <ὁ> 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 <ὁ> the -- ...
  • ʼΙουδαίαν -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <ʼΙουδαία> 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
  • ʽήτις -- relative pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <ʽόστις> whoever, whatever -- which
  • καλει̂ται -- 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 <ὁ> the -- ...
  • εʼι̂ναι -- 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
  • οʼίκου -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <οʼι̂κος> house -- (the) house
  • καὶ -- conjunction; <καί> and -- and
  • πατρια̂ς -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <πατριά> lineage -- lineage
  • Δαυίδ -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Δαυίδ> David -- of David

2:5 - ἀπογράψασθαι σὺν Μαριὰμ τῃ̂ ἐμνηστευμένῃ αὐτῳ̂, οʼύσῃ 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
  • τῃ̂ -- article; dative singular feminine of <ὁ> the -- ...
  • ἐμνηστευμένῃ -- verb; dative singular feminine of perfect participle passive of <μνηστεύω> woo, espouse -- espoused
  • αὐτῳ̂ -- pronoun; dative singular masculine of <αὐτός> oneself, he -- to him
  • οʼύσῃ -- verb; dative singular feminine of present participle of <εἰμί> I am -- (she) being
  • ἐγκύῳ -- adjective; dative singular feminine of <ἐγκύων> pregnant -- pregnant

2:6 - ʼΕγένετο δὲ ἐν τῳ̂ εʼι̂ναι αὐτούς ἐκει̂ ἐπλήσθησαν αἱ ἡμέραι του̂ τεκει̂ν 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
  • τῳ̂ -- article; dative singular neuter of <ὁ> the -- ...
  • εʼι̂ναι -- verb; infinitive of <εἰμί> I am -- being
  • αὐτούς -- pronoun; accusative plural masculine of <αὐτός> oneself, he -- they
  • ἐκει̂ -- adverb; <ἐκει̂> there -- there
  • ἐπλήσθησαν -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist passive of <πίμπλημι> fill -- were fulfilled
  • αἱ -- article; nominative plural feminine of <ὁ> the -- the
  • ἡμέραι -- noun, feminine; nominative plural of <ἡμέρα> day -- days
  • του̂ -- article; genitive singular neuter of <ὁ> the -- ...
  • τεκει̂ν -- verb; infinitive aorist of <τίκτω> give birth -- to give birth
  • αὐτήν -- pronoun; accusative singular feminine of <αὐτός> oneself, he -- (for) her

2:7 - καὶ ʼέτεκεν τὸν υἱὸν αὐτη̂ς τὸν πρωτότοκον, καὶ ἐσπαργάνωσεν αὐτὸν καὶ ἀνέκλινεν αὐτὸν ἐν φάτνῃ, διότι οὐκ ʼη̂ν αὐτοι̂ς τόπος ἐν τῳ̂ καταλύματι.

  • καὶ -- conjunction; <καί> and -- and
  • ʼέτεκεν -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <τίκτω> give birth -- gave birth to
  • τὸν -- article; accusative singular masculine of <ὁ> the -- ...
  • υἱὸν -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <υἱός> son -- son
  • αὐτη̂ς -- pronoun; genitive singular feminine of <αὐτός> oneself, he -- her
  • τὸν -- article; accusative singular masculine of <ὁ> 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
  • ʼη̂ν -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect of <εἰμί> I am -- there was
  • αὐτοι̂ς -- pronoun; dative plural masculine of <αὐτός> oneself, he -- for them
  • τόπος -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <τόπος> place -- room
  • ἐν -- preposition; <ἐν> in -- in
  • τῳ̂ -- article; dative singular neuter of <ὁ> the -- the
  • καταλύματι -- noun, neuter; dative singular of <κατάλυμα> inn -- inn

2:8 - Καὶ ποιμένες ʼη̂σαν ἐν τῃ̂ χώρᾳ τῃ̂ αὐτῃ̂ ἀγραυλου̂ντες καὶ φυλάσσοντες φυλακὰς τη̂ς νυκτὸς ἐπὶ τὴν ποίμην αὐτω̂ν.

  • καὶ -- conjunction; <καί> and -- and
  • ποιμένες -- noun, masculine; nominative plural of <ποιμήν> shepherd -- shepherds
  • ʼη̂σαν -- verb; 3rd person plural imperfect of <εἰμί> I am -- (there) were
  • ἐν -- preposition; <ἐν> in -- in
  • τῃ̂ -- article; dative singular feminine of <ὁ> the -- ...
  • χώρᾳ -- noun, feminine; dative singular of <χώρα> land, country -- place
  • τῃ̂ -- article; dative singular feminine of <ὁ> the -- ...
  • αὐτῃ̂ -- pronoun; dative singular feminine of <αὐτός> oneself, he -- that
  • ἀγραυλου̂ντες -- 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 -- ...
  • τη̂ς -- article; genitive singular feminine of <ὁ> the -- that
  • νυκτὸς -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <νύξ> night -- night
  • ἐπὶ -- preposition; <ἐπί> on, about -- over
  • τὴν -- article; accusative singular feminine of <ὁ> the -- their
  • ποίμην -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <ποίμην> flock -- flock
  • αὐτω̂ν -- pronoun; genitive plural masculine of <αὐτός> oneself, he -- their

2:9 - καὶ ʼάγγελος κυρίου ἐπέστη αὐτοι̂ς καὶ δόξα κυρίου περιέλαμψεν αὐτούς, καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν φόβον μέγαν.

  • καὶ -- conjunction; <καί> and -- and
  • ʼάγγελος -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <ʼάγγελος> 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
  • αὐτοι̂ς -- 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 εʼι̂πεν αὐτοι̂ς ὁ ʼάγγελος, μὴ φοβει̂σθε·

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

ἰδοὺ γὰρ εὐαγγελίζομαι ὑμι̂ν χαρὰν μεγάλην, ʽήτις ʼέσται παντὶ τῳ̂ λαῳ̂·

  • 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
  • ὑμι̂ν -- 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
  • ʽήτις -- relative pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <ʽόστις> whoever, whatever -- which
  • ʼέσται -- verb; 3rd person singular future of <εἰμί> I am -- shall be
  • παντὶ -- adjective; dative singular masculine of <πα̂ς> all, every -- to all
  • τῳ̂ -- article; dative singular masculine of <ὁ> the -- the
  • λαῳ̂ -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <λαός> people -- people

2:11 - ʽότι ἐτέχθη ὑμι̂ν σήμερον σωτὴρ, ʽός ἐστιν χριστὸς κύριος, ἐν πόλει Δαυίδ.

  • ʽότι -- conjunction; <ʽότι> because, that -- that
  • ἐτέχθη -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist passive of <τίκτω> give birth -- was born
  • ὑμι̂ν -- pronoun; dative plural masculine of <σύ> you -- to you
  • σήμερον -- adverb; <σήμερον> today -- today
  • σωτὴρ -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <σωτήρ> Savior -- a Savior
  • ʽός -- relative pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <ʽός> 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 του̂το ὑμι̂ν σημει̂ον, εὑρήσετε βρέφος ἐσπαργανωμένον καὶ κείμενον ἐν φάτνῃ

  • καὶ -- conjunction; <καί> and -- and
  • του̂το -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular neuter of <οʽυ̂τος> this -- this
  • ὑμι̂ν -- pronoun; dative plural masculine of <σύ> you -- to you
  • σημει̂ον -- noun, neuter; nominative singular of <σημει̂ον> 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 <κει̂μαι> lie -- lying
  • ἐν -- preposition; <ἐν> in -- in
  • φάτνῃ -- noun, feminine; dative singular of <φάτνη> manger -- a manger

2:13 - καὶ ἐξαίφνης ἐγένετο σὺν τῳ̂ ἀγγέλῳ πλη̂θος στρατια̂ς 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
  • τῳ̂ -- article; dative singular masculine of <ὁ> the -- the
  • ἀγγέλῳ -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <ʼάγγελος> angel -- angel
  • πλη̂θος -- noun, neuter; nominative singular of <πλη̂θος> multitude -- a great number
  • στρατια̂ς -- 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 <ὁ> 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 θεῳ̂
        καὶ ἐπὶ τη̂ς γη̂ς εἰρήνη ἐν ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκίας.

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

Lesson Text

2:1 ʼΕγένετο δὲ ἐν ται̂ς ἡμέραις ἐξη̂λθεν δόγμα παρὰ Καίσαρος Αὐγούστου ἀπογράφεσθαι πα̂σαν τὴν οἰκουμένην. 2:2 αὐτὴ ἀπογραφὴ πρώτη ἐγένετο ἡγεμονεύοντος τη̂ς Συρίας Κυρηνίου. 2:3 καὶ ἐπορεύοντο πάντες ἀπογράφεσθαι, ʽέκαστος εἰς τήν ἑαυτου̂ πόλιν. 2:4 ʼΑνέβη δὲ καὶ ʼΙωσὴφ ἀπὸ τη̂ς Γαλιλαίας ἐκ πόλεως Ναζαρὲθ εἰς τὴν ʼΙουδαίαν εἰς πόλιν Δαυὶδ ʽήτις καλει̂ται Βηθλέεμ, διὰ τὸ εʼι̂ναι αὐτὸν ἐξ οʼίκου καὶ πατρια̂ς Δαυίδ, 2:5 ἀπογράψασθαι σὺν Μαριὰμ τῃ̂ ἐμνηστευμένῃ αὐτῳ̂, οʼύσῃ ἐγκύῳ. 2:6 ʼΕγένετο δὲ ἐν τῳ̂ εʼι̂ναι αὐτούς ἐκει̂ ἐπλήσθησαν αἱ ἡμέραι του̂ τεκει̂ν αὐτήν, 2:7 καὶ ʼέτεκεν τὸν υἱὸν αὐτη̂ς τὸν πρωτότοκον, καὶ ἐσπαργάνωσεν αὐτὸν καὶ ἀνέκλινεν αὐτὸν ἐν φάτνῃ, διότι οὐκ ʼη̂ν αὐτοι̂ς τόπος ἐν τῳ̂ καταλύματι.

2:8 Καὶ ποιμένες ʼη̂σαν ἐν τῃ̂ χώρᾳ τῃ̂ αὐτῃ̂ ἀγραυλου̂ντες καὶ φυλάσσοντες φυλακὰς τη̂ς νυκτὸς ἐπὶ τὴν ποίμην αὐτω̂ν. 2:9 καὶ ʼάγγελος κυρίου ἐπέστη αὐτοι̂ς καὶ δόξα κυρίου περιέλαμψεν αὐτούς, καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν φόβον μέγαν. 2:10 καὶ εʼι̂πεν αὐτοι̂ς ὁ ʼάγγελος, μὴ φοβει̂σθε· ἰδοὺ γὰρ εὐαγγελίζομαι ὑμι̂ν χαρὰν μεγάλην, ʽήτις ʼέσται παντὶ τῳ̂ λαῳ̂· 2:11 ʽότι ἐτέχθη ὑμι̂ν σήμερον σωτὴρ, ʽός ἐστιν χριστὸς κύριος, ἐν πόλει Δαυίδ. 2:12 καὶ του̂το ὑμι̂ν σημει̂ον, εὑρήσετε βρέφος ἐσπαργανωμένον καὶ κείμενον ἐν φάτνῃ 2:13 καὶ ἐξαίφνης ἐγένετο σὺν τῳ̂ ἀγγέλῳ πλη̂θος στρατια̂ς οὐρανίου αἰνούντων τὸν θεὸν καὶ λεγόντων,

2:14 (memory verse) -

        δόξα ἐν ὑψίστοις θεῳ̂
        καὶ ἐπὶ τη̂ς γη̂ς 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 ʽ immediately preceding or over the vowel (e.g., ὁ); if without an h sound, the breathing is smooth, represented by the diacritic ʼ immediately preceding or over the vowel (e.g., ὀ).

Moreover, vowels may have an iota subscript, that is, an [i] sound after the vowel, written as a diacritic beneath the vowel (e.g., ῳ); 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    
    ῑ             ῡ
    η     ω  
        ᾱ    
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., ά) had high pitch; those with varia (e.g., ὰ) had a low or falling pitch; those marked with perispomeni (e.g., α̂) 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:

ʼΕγένετο δὲ ἐν ται̂ς 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 ʼη̂σαν ἐν τῃ̂ 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 τη̂ς 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 εʼι̂ναι αὐτὸν ἐξ οʼι̂κου καὶ πατρια̂ς 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   ὁ   ἡ   τό
Gen sg   του̂   τη̂ς   του̂
Dat sg   τῳ̂   τῃ̂   τῳ̂
Acc sg   τόν   τήν   τό
             
Nom pl   οἱ   αἱ   τά
Gen pl   τω̂ν   τω̂ν   τω̂ν
Dat pl   τοι̂ς   ται̂ς   τοι̂ς
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 δω̂ρον 'gift'
Gen sg   του̂ λόγου   τη̂ς ἡμέρας   του̂ δώρον
Dat sg   τῳ̂ λόγῳ   τῃ̂ ἡμέρᾳ   τῳ̂ δώρῳ
Acc sg   τόν λόγον   τὴν ἡμέραν   τὸ δω̂ρου
             
Nom pl   οἱ λόγοι   αἱ ἡμέραι   τὰ δω̂ρα
Gen pl   τω̂ν λόγων   τω̂ν ἡμερω̂ν   τω̂ν δώρων
Dat pl   τοι̂ς λόγοις   ται̂ς ἡμέραις   τοι̂ς δώροις
Acc pl   τοὺς λόγους   τὰς ἡμέρας   τὰ δω̂ρα
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