Introduction to New Testament Greek

A Study of the Language Behind the New Testament

Lesson Forty Six


Lesson Verse: John 3:7


“Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." John 3:7


I.         The Greek of the New Testament


A.      Brief History of Greek


1.        The Land and the Empire - Greece


a.       Main Biblical Empires of History - after the Flood


1)       Babylon - Tower of Babel (2500 BC)

2)       Egypt - Egyptian language (2000 BC - 1500 BC)

3)       Assyrian - Assyrian language (2Kgs 18:26) (900 BC - 700 BC)

4)       Babylon - Babylonian language (700 BC - 500 BC)

5)       Persian - Persian Language (500 BC - 400 BC)

6)       Greek  - Greek language (400 BC - 200 BC)

7)       Roman  - Latin language (200 BC - 300 AD)

8)       Babylon (Rome again) - Latin language (yet future)


b.       Historical figures include:


1)       Alexander the Great - leader who drank himself to death upon news that there was no more of the world to conquer

2)       Socrates - philosopher

3)       Aristotle - philosopher

4)       All the Greek mythological "gods": Zeus, Jupiter, Mercury, Mt. Olympus, etc.


2.        The Language


a.       There are two major language groups in the world left over from Babel (Gen 11) - languages seem to have split into two groups:


1)       The Indo-European Languages:


a)       Greek

b)       Italic - turns into the Latin

c)       Celtic

d)       Germanic

e)       Balto-Slavic

f)        Indo-Iranian


2)       The Semitic Languages:


a)       Hebrew

b)       Aramaic - similar to Hebrew

c)       Arabic

d)       Ethiopic

e)       Akkadian (the language of Babylon and Assyria)


b.       Out of these basic languages has "evolved" our modern languages.

c.       Notice that God chose one language from each group to put His word into: The Greek and the Hebrew - with a little being written in Aramaic (Dan 2:4b - 7:28; Ezra 4:8 - 6:18; 7:12 - 26; Jer 10:11).

d.       On the cross, Jesus' title is in the three primary languages of the area (Jn 19:19,20): __________, ___________, and _______________.


B.       Different forms of Greek


1.        Classical Greek - this is the "high" form of the language used by the philosophers and intelligencia. It is very formal, and hard to read and enjoy like the Koine.

2.        Koine Greek - Common language, used by Jesus and the New Testament.

3.        Modern Greek - This is the modern form of the language which is spoken in the country of Greece.


C.       Uses of the Greek


1.        Abuses (1Cor 1:22,23).


a.       To try and show-off (1Cor 8:1; Rom 12:16)

b.       As the only, or primary source of instruction - spend so much time trying to understand the New Testament from the Greek that they never learn what it says in their own tongue (Rom 1:22).

c.       As the authority - using scholarship over the Holy Spirit (Jn 16:13). Learning from books about the Bible, and teaching about what the Bible says, or "may be" trying to say, etc, etc, etc (Mt 15:14). Jesus did not say, "Search the commentaries!"

d.       The main problem here is that people do not believe God could have not only inspired the Bible, but also preserve it even into their own language (Mt 24:35).


2.        Correct Usage


a.       As 'a' source of instruction - great stuff to learn other languages, especially the languages that God used to speak into history!

b.       As a means to show the veracity of the Bible's message - the Greek is the basis of the New Testament, and can be proven to be the word of God - but you are teaching and ministering not to a Greek speaking world, so minister in their language as God has provided!


D.      The Bible's references to the Greek language:


1.        Jesus spoke in Greek (Rev 1:8).

2.        Paul spoke Greek (Acts 21:37), along with about 7 other languages.


And believe me... this is just the beginning of the study!