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"Insights" from the New Testament Greek

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 Study Notes from the New Testament Greek

By Bob Jones, Northside Bible Church, Jacksonville Florida

Greek Synonyms

Greek Terms

Greek Article "The"

Conditional Sentences

Greek Prepositions

Granville Sharp Rule


A collection of Koine Greek study notes, by Robert T. Jones III. Page numbers in parenthesis are where further amplification can be found in "Beginners Grammar of the Greek New Testament", by William Hersey Davis, published in 1923 by Harper and Row. For in-depth study, see "A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in Light of Historical Research", by A.T. Robertson, published by Hodder & Stoughton, New York, 1914.

Accent - Vocal emphesis on a syllable of a word. There are 3 Greek accent marks to indicate this vocal emphesis, accute, grave, and circumflex. The accent mark used stands over the vowel or dipthong of the syllable that is emphesized. (p 22)

Acute - Accent mark on the syllable that is most vocally emphesised. The accent mark itself stands over the vowel or dipthong in the syllable that is accented. (p 22)

Adjective - Modifies a noun. (Good, bad, small, happy) (p 32, 56, 57)

Adverb - Modifies a verb. (The dog runs rapidly) (p 180)

Aktionsart - A German word meaning "sort of action", linear, punctiliar, perfective, durative. (p 123)

Antecedent - A word that "comes before". (p 67)

Antepenult - Third syllable from the end of the word. (p 23)

Article - The "definite" article is "the". Greek has no "indefinite" article (a) so, "adelphos" means either "brother", or "a brother", depending on the context. The English article "the" should never be added when the Greek definite article is absent. In the plural, Greek, like English, has no indefinite article, but "anthropoi" means "men", not "the men".

The absence and presence of the Greek definite article "the" is VERY VERY significant! The definite article "the" is an adjective, and its gender, number, and case always match the word it modifies. (p32)

Augment - Letter attached to the front of a verb that identifies certain Greek tenses. (p 42)

Circumflex - One of the 3 Greek accents, written " ~ " over the accented syllable. (Means "to bend around") (p 32 - 36)

Compensatory lengthening - When the "n" in "onsi", the 3rd person plural ending is dropped and the "o" is lengthened to an "ou" sound (p 26)

Conjugation - To list all the personal endings of a verb (action word) in order. (p 25)

Contraction - When a word is shortened by omitting a letter or sound. (p 90, 163)

Declension - (To go down) to list the endings of NOUNS, ADJECTIVES, PRONOUNS, PARTICIPALS, NUMERALS, and the ARTICLE "THE", in the proper order of number, gender and case.

1.  The 1st declension = stems that end in "a", or the "a sound", and are generally feminine. (p 51)

2.  The 2nd declension = stems that end in "o", or the "o sound", and are generally masculine. (p 27)

3.  The 3rd declension = stems that end in a consonant, or a consonant sound, and are generally neuter. (p 83 - 118)

4.  Number - singular or plural.

5.  Gender - Masculine, feminine, or neuter.

6.  Cases:

     a. Nominative = The "NAMING" case, "Names" the SUBJECT of the action.

     b. Accusative = The "ACCUSING" case of "extension" denoting the DIRECT OBJECT of the action.

     c. Dative = Case of "PERSONAL INTEREST", denoting ADVANTAGE or DISADVANTAGE, (to or for).

     d.  Genitive = The "POSSESSIVE" or "SOURCE" case. (From the same root as "geneology"). (of).

     e.  Ablative = The "WHENCE", or "where from" case (Origin or separation) off, out, from, away.

     f.  Locative = The "LOCATION" case (in, on, at, among, by).

     g.  Instrumental = The "MEANS" case, (the "instrument used"), (with or by).

     h.  Vocative = The "VOCAL" case of "address", vocally "addressing" someone. Rare in N.T.

Dipthong - Adjacent vowels, pronounced as one vowel. From "di" & "thongos", meaning "double sound". (p 21)

Durative - Verb action over a period or "duration" of time.

Etymology - The study of words, their derivations, and meanings.

Grave - One of the three types of Greek accents. Accent on the syllable that is most vocally emphesised. The accent mark itself stands over the vowel or dipthong in the syllable that is accented. (p 22)

Indefinite article - "a", as in "a man", "a mountain". The Greek has no indefinite article. It is used only in the English translation as required by English useage. Only the "definite" article "the" is used in Greek where  appropriate.

Infinitive - Verb that functions as a noun. The infinitive does not have a personal ending. It is a verbal substantive in a fixed case form. (We want to hear the word, I see that you took out the trash) (p 27)

Intransitive - Characterized by not having or containing a direct object.

Iota subscript - An iota removed from the end of the word for the sake of ease of pronunciation and instead, "written under", a vowel instead of after it. It does not affect the sound of the  vowel. (p 21)

Koine - "Common". The "street language" of people when Alexander the Great ruled the known world and forced the world to speak his language. Koine Greek is the language of the New Testament. There were other dialects of Greek in Biblical times, such as "Attic" Greek and "Classical" or literary Greek, but God chose the common language of ordinary people as the vehicle to communicate His Word to us. (p 19)

Noun - A "naming word". Also called a "substantive" due to its real, or "substantial" nature.

Oxytones - A "sharp sound". Nouns having the acute accent on the last syllable (ultima).

Participal - A word that has the characteristics of both a verb and an adjective. As a verb it has voice and tense but is actually timeless, getting its tense from the actual verb it modifies. As an adjective, it is declined like an adjective, and agrees in declension with the substantive (noun) it modifies. (I am going to loose the knot)(p 97-104).

Penult - The "pen ultima, or almost last" syllable of the word. (p 23)

Personal endings - Endings placed on a verb that state its tense, mood, voice, person, & number. (p 24, 48).

Preposition - Adverbs which help to define more clearly the meanings of cases of verbs.

1.  Prepositions use the ablative, genitive, locative, instrumental, accusitive, and dative cases. Dative is used only with "epi" and with "eggus" in Acts 9:38. (p 43 - 44)

     a.  Apo = from, off, away from. Used w/Ablative only.

     b.  Eis = into. Used with Accusative only.

     c.  Ek or Ez = out, out of, from within. (Ez occurs before words beginning with a vowel) Used with Ablative only.

     d.  En = in. Used with Locative only.

     e.  Epi = upon, or adds the idea of super, or "over and above", or "in addition to".

     f.  Para = beside. Used with Locative, Ablative, and Accusative.

     g.  Peri = Around or about.

     h.  Pro = before

     i.  Sun = with. Used with Instrumental only.

     j.  Upo = Used with the Ablative to denote the agent by. (p 48)

Proclitic - A preposition which has no accent, and is pronounced with the following words. (p 44)

Pronoun - A noun "substitute" refering to a noun in the context. (That dog)  (p 60-66)

Punctiliar - Action at a "point" in time. (p 78-87)

Stem - "Root" of the Greek word that never changes. Endings are added on, and augments and prefixes are placed on the front, but the "stem" is always there. (p 25, 80, & 85).

Substantive - A noun, a "naming word", called a "substantive" due to its real, or "substantial" nature. (p 28)

Syllable - Breakdown of a word by individual sounds. Each Greek word has as many syllables as it has vowels or dipthongs. (double vowels).

Syllabic Augment - When the stem begins with a consonant, the vowel "eta" is commonly prefixed. (p 42)

Temporal Augment - When the stem begins with a vowel, that vowel is lengthened. (p 42)

Tenses - Primary: Present, Future, & Perfect, & Secondary: Aorist, Imperfect, & Pluperfect. (p 25-26)

Thematic vowel - Vowel added between the stem of a verb and its personal ending, to make it sound more pleasing. (p 25-26).

Transitive - Characterized by having or containing a "direct object" for the action. The opposite of "intransitive", which has no direct object.

Ultima - The last syllable of the word. (p 23) (Preceded by the penult)

Verb - Action word.

Verb locators - Mood, tense, voice, person, & number. (p 24):









1st Person





2nd Person





3rd Person





  Verb Mood Chart for the New Testament:














Perfect (rare)











1.  Only the Indicative Mood has all 6 tenses! 

2.  The vast majority of the New Testament verbs are Indicative Mood!

3.  Verbs are normally listed in lexicons and Greek study aids in the Indicative Mood (reality).

4.  In most Analytical Lexicons, the Indicative Mood is understood, and rarely stated. If the mood is Imperative, Subjunctive, or Optative, it is listed as such.

5.  The Indicative Mood is normal in the New Testament.



The present tense represents a simple statement of fact or reality viewed as occurring in actual time. In most cases this corresponds directly with the English present tense.

Some phrases which might be rendered as past tense in English will often be found to be in the present tense in Greek. These are termed "historical presents," and such occurrences dramatize the event described as if the reader were there watching the event occur. Some English translations render such historical presents in the English past tense, while others permit the tense to remain in the present.


The imperfect tense generally represents continual or repeated action in past time. Where the present tense might indicate "they are asking," the imperfect would indicate "they kept on asking."

In the case of the verb "to be," however, the imperfect tense is used as a general past tense and does not carry the connotation of continual or repeated action.


The future tense corresponds to the English future, and indicates the contemplated or certain occurrence of an event which has not yet occurred.


The aorist tense is characterized by its emphasis on punctiliar action; that is, the concept of the verb is considered without regard for past, present, or future time. There is no direct or clear English equivalent for this tense, though it is generally rendered as a simple past tense in most translations.

The events described by the aorist tense are classified into a number of categories by grammarians. The most common of these include a view of the action as having begun from a certain point ("inceptive aorist"), or having ended at a certain point ("cumulative aorist"), or merely existing at a certain point ("punctiliar aorist"). (the Greek word "aorist" comes from "ahoridzo", meaning "no horizon")

Aorist is a point in time - divorced from time , except where it can be seen from the context to be further defined.

The categorization of fine points of the use of the aorist can be found in Greek reference grammars.


The perfect tense in Greek corresponds to the perfect tense in English, and describes an action which is viewed as having been completed in the past, once and for all, not needing to be repeated. (The results of the action are continuing)

Jesus' last cry from the cross, TETELESTAI ("It is finished!") is a good example of the perfect tense used in this sense, namely "It [the atonement] has been accomplished, completely, once and for all time."

Certain antiquated verb forms in Greek, such as those related to seeing (eidw) or knowing (oida) will use the perfect tense in a manner equivalent to the normal past tense. These few cases are exception to the normal rule and do not alter the normal connotation of the perfect tense stated above.


The pluperfect tense in Greek occurs rarely. It expresses continuance of the completed state up to a prescribed point in time past.

In translation the Greek pluperfect may not always follow the rendering of the English pluperfect, due to excessive wordiness. The English pluperfect is normally formed with the past tense of the "helping" verbs "to have" or "to be," plus the past participle, e.g., "He had finished." The English perfect is formed by the present tense of the helping verb plus the past participle, e.g., "He has finished."


The active voice represents the subject as the doer or performer of the action. E.g., in the sentence, "The boy hit the ball," the boy performs the action.


The middle voice indicates the subject performing an action upon himself (reflexive action) or for his own benefit. E.g., "The boy groomed himself." Many verbs which occur only in middle voice forms are translated in English as having an active sense; these are called "deponent" verbs, and do not comply with the normal requirements for the middle voice.


The passive voice represents the subject as being the recipient of the action. E.g., in the sentence, "The boy was hit by the ball," the boy receives the action.


Many of the so-called "deponent" verbs can have either a middle or passive form. These are normally translated as having an active voice, since they have no active form in their outward spelling. At times, however, they retain their middle or passive significance. The context determines whether the voice is middle or passive.


The indicative mood is a simple statement of fact. If an action really occurs or has occurred or will occur, it will be rendered in the indicative mood.


The subjunctive mood is the mood of POSSIBILITY AND POTENTIALITY. The action described may or may not occur, depending upon circumstances. Conditional sentences of the third class ("ean" + the subjunctive) are all of this type, as well as many commands following conditional purpose clauses, such as those beginning with "hina."


The optative mood is generally used in the so-called "fourth-class" conditions which express a WISH OR DESIRE for an action to occur.

In a few cases, verbs in the optative mood stand apart from a conditional clause to express the strongest possible wish regarding an event. The most common of these appears with the negative in the phrase "mh genoito" (AV,"God forbid"; NKJV "Certainly not").


The imperative mood corresponds to the English imperative, and expresses a COMMAND to the hearer to perform a certain action by the order and authority of the one commanding. Thus, Jesus' phrase, "Repent ye (Pres act imper), and believe (pres act imper) the gospel" (Mk.1:15) is not at all an "invitation," but an absolute command requiring full obedience on the part of all who are "presently" hearing.


The Greek infinitive mood in most cases corresponds to the English infinitive, which is basically the verb with "to" prefixed, as "to believe."

Like the English infinitive, the Greek infinitive can be used like a noun phrase ("It is better to live than to die"), as well as to reflect purpose or result ("This was done to fulfil what the prophet said").


The Greek participle corresponds for the most part to the English participle, reflecting        "-ing" or "-ed" being suffixed to the basic verb form. The participle can be used either like a verb or a noun, as in English, and thus is often termed a "verbal noun."


The impersonal mood is used only in a few verb forms which do not conjugate in the full sense. The most common of these is the Greek word "dei," which is most often rendered "it is necessary" or "one must."


This reflects a Greek participle which implies that a command to perform the action is implicit, even though it is not outwardly or directly expressed.


In a number of places certain verbs are cited in Perschbacher's "The New Analytical Greek Lexicon" which do not have any tense or voice directly stated. In almost all of these cases, one can assume that the tense is Present and the voice is Active, especially when the sense is that of a command (Imperative).

  Bob Jones