About Ancient Greek

Greek is the language used throughout the New Testament. Greek, like English, is written from left to right and the lower-case form of many of the letters of the Greek alphabet look a lot like ours. The alphabet is made up of 24 letters, with 17 consonants and 7 vowels.

Greek nouns use “case endings.” English doesn’t, so you may not know what that means. Basically, if a noun is the subject of a sentence, it has a specific ending. If the same noun is a direct object in a sentence, it has a different ending. If the same noun is an indirect object, that’s a different ending too. Why would Greek do that? It’s helpful because they don’t always follow the common word order “rules” that English does. The subject might show up anywhere in the sentence, and the only way to know it’s the subject is by it’s “case ending.”

Fun Facts about Ancient Greek

  • Ancient New Testament manuscripts were often written in upper-case only, and didn’t include punctuation or even spaces between words!
  • Different New Testament writers had very different styles. Luke is excellent Greek, while Revelation is elementary.
  • Greek doesn’t really have the letter J, so in Greek the first letter of Jesus is actually an I.

If you have any questions about this process, feel free to email W.G.: wg@hebrewtats.com


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