Gamma Kappa

👋🏼 χαῖρετε μαθηταί

Welcome to 1st year Biblical Greek

Classroom protocol

  • In this class we seek to please the Lord, and hence to do everything decently and in order
  • We will begin and end each class with prayer (English to begin, the Lord's Prayer in Greek to close)
  • Raise your hand to speak
  • Please ask any relevant questions during class
  • The teacher may be addressed as “Διδάσκαλος”

Grades - 3 components

Homework & Class Participation (20%)

  • completing weekly workbook assignments
  • knowledge of material as represented by responding to questions in class
  • reading out loud, translation, etc.

Weekly Quizzes (40%)

  • Mainly material from Mounce
  • Also material covered in class which is not in Mounce
  • You must have completed the week’s homework in order to take the week’s quiz

Exams (40%)

  • 2 per semester (mid-term and final)
  • mainly on the material covered in lectures and quizzes (reviewing quizzes is a good study strategy)
  • cumulative - new knowledge is built upon what preceded it

Class Structure and Procedure

  • Greetings: “χαῖρετε μαθηταί” and “χαῖρε διδάσκαλε”
  • Opening Prayer
  • Return and Review last week’s quiz, Q & A on the quiz
  • Q & A on last week’s assigned material before this week’s quiz
  • Διδάσκαλος visually checks for completed workbook assignments, records results for grading
  • Quiz (you must have completed the workbook assignments to take the quiz.)
  • Lecture and discussion on this week’s assigned material
  • Review assignments for the coming week
  • Closing Prayer
  • Lecture notes will be available on this site for reference and review - these are good study helps

Required Class items

  • Mounce BBG textbook
  • Mounce BBG workbook
  • Metzger’s Lexical Aids
  • Writing Paper, pencils, pens
  • Your wits

Requirements and recommendations

  • You must think! – Learning Greek effectively is not merely rote memorization, but learning a language. - You must engage all the rational and creative faculties God has given you.
    • Consider the nature of Language – it is a very large part of our being made in the image of our Creator
      • Expression of thought, both concrete and abstract
      • Communication of intelligence and perception from one to another
  • Think of the Why just as much as the What
  • Attendance is essential - getting behind in this class is usually fatal
  • Study partner(s) - find one or more. Suggested groups.
  • Patient persistence – 5-6 days per week. Schedule at least 1 hour per day, and stick to it. Use the weekly checklist each day.
  • Read all footnotes in the text - they are usually important.
  • Get a Greek New Testament (UBS or Nestle/Aland preferred, others, e.g. Majority Text are OK), and start reading it out loud.

Why learn Greek?

  • It is the language of Scripture, by God’s appointment
    • It enables you to better understand God’s Truth
    • It is most expressive, full of subtle nuances and precision
    • It is ready-made to communicate abstract concepts such as “truth” et al.
    • It was the Lingua Franca of the Roman world
    • Original vs. Translation: Reading in Color not in Black and White
    • “Reading the Bible in translation is like kissing your wife through a veil” ~ Martin Luther
  • Side benefits
    • Logical discipline
    • Better understanding of Language in general, and English in particular
      • Grammar
      • Cognate and derivative words (more on this later)

History of Greek

  • Language – What is it?
    • Means of communicating thought from one sentient, self-aware being to another
    • Part of our bearing the image of God
    • Jesus Christ is the archetype of language – the Word
    • By His Word, God created, and spoke all things into being
    • God communicates to us through language.
  • “Greek” vs. Ἑλληνιστί (The Romans coined the term Γραῖοι (Greeks), but the Greeks called themselves Ἕλληνές)
  • Inflected language – DEFINITION – “vary expression by means of endings and prefixes on word stems”
    • Nouns have “declensions” are are declined
    • Verbs have “conjugations” and are conjugated
  • 2 great familes of inflected languages:
    • Semitic – includes Arabic, Aramaic, Assyrian, Sumerian, Babylonian, Canaanite (Phoenician), Ethiopic, Hebrew, Sabaean, Syriac
    • Indo-European aka Indo-Germanic includes Aryan group (Sanskrit, et al.), Armenian, Albanian, Latin & all descendant “Romance” languages (French, Italian, Spanish, etc.), Celtic (Gaelic, Breton, Manx, etc.), Germanic aka Teutonic, Anglo-Saxon, Baltic / Slavonic
  • The farther back you go, the more similar the words become – Tower of Babel
  • Remnants of inflection in English – “Who” and “Whom”

Cognates & Derivatives

  • Derivatives - words that have been borrowed directly from Greek, e.g. arithmetic, theology, hagiography, philosophy, astronomy, sympathy, symphony, telephone, idolatry, onomatopoeia, poetry, orthodoxy, orthopraxy. Other examples?
  • Cognates – see chart below


English I Me Is Mother Brother Ten
Sanskrit aham ma asti matar bhratar daca
Persian azem ma asti matar bratar dasa
Greek eg* me esti meter phrater deka
Latin eg* me est mater frater decem
Anglo-Saxon ic me is moder brothor tien
Irish Gaelic __ me is mathir brathir deich
Lithuanian asz mi esti mote broterelis deszimtis
Russian ia menya jest’ mat’ brat’ desiat’
Welsh mam brawd deg


  • Mycenaean Age 1500 – 1000 B.C. (Minoan civilization on Crete)
  • Age of Dialects 1000-300 B.C. (Homer to conquest of Alexander the Great)
    • Many dialects including the major ones: Doric, Aeolic and Ionic
    • Mountainous geography fosters localization
    • One strain of the Ionic dialect is called Attic, after the region of Attica, whose chief city was Athens. This was the language of Thucydides, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Plato, Aristotle, Demosthenes, et al.
  • The KOINE (Common) Age 330 B.C – A.D.330 - Alexander the Great, pupil of Aristotle, takes the common Attic (Koine) with deposits from the other major dialects, and Hellenizes the world. By this providence of God, Greek becomes Lingua Franca, the language of commerce, of the entire Roman world.
  • Byzantine Age A.D. 330 – 1453 (schism of Roman Empire, eastern capital set up in Constantinople, aka Byzantium until sack of Byzantium by the Turks)
  • Modern Greek A.D. 1453 – present


See Smyth on the alphabet

  • 24 letters
  • Α−Τ – Phoenician (like Hebrew) originally pictographic, Υ Φ Χ Ψ Ω invented by Greeks.
    • the example of the first letter, alpha.

Alpha Pictogram

  • Also, consider the shapes of the some of the letters with respect to how the sounds are made
    • o-(micron) and o-(mega), Ω is a longer O.
  • Letters which disappeared, but whose invisible presence can still sometimes be felt:
    • digamma ϝ (sounds like ‘w’)
    • koppa Ϙ (sounds like ‘q’)


Omicron and Omega

  • I follow Smyth on the pronunciation of ο and ω
  • omicron and omega, ‘small O’ and ‘large O’ respectively, each have an ‘O’ sound with omega being pronounced with the mouth more closed.
  • unlike Mounce, Schuler et al. who sound omicron the same as a short alpha, so that it is no longer an ‘O’ at all
  • viz. Smyth: “ο: as o in Fr. mot, somewhat like unaccented o in obey or phonetic (as often sounded). ω: as o in Fr. encore.”
  • Review entire alphabet

Greek Alphabet


See Smyth on Consonants

  • Liquids – λ, ρ
  • Spirant – σ
  • Stops (see chart below)
    • Labials - formed with the lips
    • Palatals - formed with the palate / throat
    • Dentals - formed with the teeth
    • Aspirate - pronounced with breath over the sound

The Square of Stops (BBG 10.17-20)

Type Voiceless Voiced Aspirate Spirant Double (With Sigma)
Labials π β φ + σ => ψ
Velars(Palatals) κ γ χ + σ => ξ
Dentals τ δ θ + σ => σσ => σ

  • Nasals
    • μ (labial)
    • ν (dental)
    • γ + palatal γκ, γγ, γχ, γξ (gamma nasal)

Vowels and Diphthongs

See Smyth on Vowels and Diphthongs

  • Long and short vowels, quantity.
    • ε and ο always short
    • η and ω always long
    • α ι υ short or long
Open <- α η ε ει ι -> Closed
Open <- α ο - - ω ου -> Closed
  • Why are omicron and omega so named? (small and great)
  • Why are epsilon and upsilon so named? ψιλόν means “bare, simple” hence epsilon is ‘simple e’ and upsilon is ‘simple u’, according to Smyth in footnote b.

The names … were given at a late period, some as late as the Middle Ages. Thus, epsilon means ‘simple e,’ upsilon ‘simple u,’ to distinguish these letters from αι, οι, which were sounded like ε and υ.

  • Diphthongs (διφθογγοι - “two sounds”) blending of 2 vowel sounds into one
    • “improper diphthongs” – iota subscript
    • diaeresis - when a diphthong is not


See Smyth on Breathings

  • Originally letter H (disappeared) → ├ and ┤ → ‘ and ’
  • Rough and smooth breathing
  • Initial ρ and υ always take rough breathing


(note: this word is a derivative) - How to draw the miniscules.


Video Lectures

This lecture goes over the material in chapter 3, e.g. the alphabet, et al., as well as the best ways to study in order to actually learn Greek.

This lecture reviews more of the introductory material, including the history of the Greek language, as well as the pedagogy, and study methods for the course. He then walks you through the writing of each lowercase letter.


  • Read Greek out loud!
  • Workbook exercise 3, in order, including the majuscules (uppercase letters)
  • Treat the workbook exercises as tests, i.e. do as much as you can without referring to the lesson. Then check yourself.
  • Prepare for quiz next week on everything up to chapter 4.
  • Read and study chapter 4 on punctuation and syllabification.

The Lord's Prayer

ΚΑΤΑ ΜΑθθΑΙΟΝ 6.9-13
Πάτερ ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς·
    ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου·
    ἐλθέτω ἡ βασιλεία σου·
    γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου, ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς·
τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον δὸς ἡμῖν σήμερον·
καὶ ἄφες ἡμῖν τὰ ὀφειλήματα ἡμῶν, ὡς καὶ ἡμεῖς ἀφήκαμεν τοῖς ὀφειλέταις ἡμῶν·
καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν, ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ.
ὅτι σοῦ ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία καὶ ἡ δύναμις καὶ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας. ἀμήν.

χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη,
Διδάσκαλος Ἀνδρέας