Salt Lake Bible College


a b g d e z h q i k l m n

x o p r s (V) t u f c y w

a   Beginning Greek   w




suggested for use with


by J. Gresham Machen
Upon which much of the material has been drawn.

But workbook may be used by itself.


workbook by Dr. T.E. VanBuskirk

Salt Lake Baptist College



a Beginning Greek  w



by Dr. T.E. VanBuskirk


This workbook is copyrighted and may

be freely used by the online students for study
and/or for use in the Church where they
are a member.
  But it may not be
reproduced in any form
for any
other reason or use without

written permission from the author.

2007, 2009, 2012 by Dr. T.E. VanBuskirk

Administrative Vice President:
Salt Lake Baptist College
Salt Lake Bible College

For information on this workbook and
other texts
and workbooks contact:

Salt Lake Baptist College

3769 W. 4700 S.

Taylorsville, UT 84118

phone: (801) 964-0763





Original Introductory article to NEW TESTAMENT GREEK FOR BEGINNERS

by J. Gresham Machen








On some of the Results pages of the tests for the

following lessons you may be given a Password

to access the next lesson in the sequence.

These Passwords are no longer necessary;

therefore, you can ignore them.





 ATTENDANCE: Minimum required attendance for this course is 18 weeks (mark this on your forms).  However, 24 weeks is suggested.


New Testament Greek:
A Brief Introduction

by J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937)
The following essay served as the introductory article for Machen's Greek textbook titled, New Testament Greek For Beginners, (New York: Macmillan, 1923). This article is now in the public domain and may be freely copied and distributed. The electronic edition of this book was scanned and edited by Shane Rosenthal for Reformation Ink. Original pagination has been retained for purposes of reference.




    During the classical period, the Greek language was divided into a number of dialects, of which there were three great families—the Doric, the Aeolic, and the Ionic. In the fifth century before Christ, one branch of the Ionic family, the Attic, attained the supremacy, especially as the language of prose literature. The Attic dialect was the language of Athens in her glory—the language of Thucydides, of Plato, of Demosthenes, and of most of the other great prose writers of Greece.

    Various causes contributed to make the Attic dialect dominant in the Greek-speaking world. First and foremost must be put the genius of the Athenian writers. But the political and commercial importance of Athens was also not without its effect. Hosts of strangers came into contact with Athens through government, war and trade, and the Athenian colonies also extended the influence of the mother city. The Athenian Empire, indeed, soon fell to pieces. Athens was conquered first by Sparta in the Peloponnesian wax, and then, in the middle of the fourth century before Christ, along with the other Greek cities, came under the domination of the king of Macedonia, Philip. But the influence of the Attic dialect survived the loss of political power; the language of Athens became also the language of her conquerors.

Macedonia was not originally a Greek kingdom, but it adopted the dominant civilization of the day, which was the civilization of Athens. The tutor of Philip's son, Alexander the Great, was Aristotle, the Greek philosopher; and that fact is only one indication of the conditions of the time. With astonishing rapidity Alexander made himself master of the whole eastern world, and the triumphs of the Macedonian




arms were also triumphs of the Greek language in its Attic form. The empire of Alexander, indeed, at once fell to pieces after his death in 323 B.C.; but the kingdoms into which it was divided were, at least so far as the court and the governing classes were concerned, Greek kingdoms. Thus the Macedonian conquest meant nothing less than the Hellenization of the East, or at any rate it meant an enormous acceleration of the Hellenizing process which had already begun.

    When the Romans, in the last two centuries before Christ, conquered the eastern part of the Mediterranean world, they made no attempt to suppress the Greek language. On the contrary, the conquerors to a very considerable extent were conquered by those whom they conquered. Rome herself had already come under Greek influence, and now she made use of the Greek language in administering at least the eastern part of her vast empire. The language of the Roman Empire was not so much Latin as it was Greek.

    Thus in the first century after Christ Greek had become a world language. The ancient languages of the various countries did indeed continue to exist, and many districts were bilingual- the original local languages existing side by side with the Greek. But at least in the great cities throughout the Empire—certainly in the East—the Greek language was everywhere understood. Even in Rome itself there was a large Greek-speaking population. It is not surprising that Paul's letter to the Roman Church is written not in Latin but in Greek.

    But the Greek language had to pay a price for this enormous extension of its influence. In its career of conquest it experienced important changes. The ancient Greek dialects other than Attic, although they disappeared almost completely before the beginning of the Christian era, may




have exerted considerable influence upon the Greek of the new unified world. Less important, no doubt, than the influence of the Greek dialects, and far less important than might have been expected, was the influence of foreign languages. But influences of a more subtle and less tangible kind were mightily at work. Language is a reflection of the intellectual and spiritual habits of the people who use it. Attic prose, for example, reflects the spiritual life of a small city-state, which was unified by an intense patriotism and a glorious literary tradition. But after the time of Alexander, the Attic speech was no longer the language of a small group of citizens living in the closest spiritual association; on the contrary it had become the medium of exchange for peoples of the most diverse character. It is not surprising, then, that the language of the new cosmopolitan age was very different from the original Attic dialect upon which it was founded.

    This new world language which prevailed after Alexander has been called not inappropriately "the Koine." The word "Koine" means "common"; it is not a bad designation, therefore, for a language which was a common medium of exchange for diverse peoples. The Koine, then, is the Greek world language that prevailed from about 300 B.C. to the close of ancient history at about A.D. 500.

    The New Testament was written within this Koine period. Linguistically considered, it is united in a very close way with the Greek translation of the Old Testament called the "Septuagint," which was made at Alexandria in the centuries just preceding the Christian era, and with certain Christian writings of the early part of the second century after Christ, which are ordinarily associated under the name "Apostolic Fathers." Within this triple group, it is true, the language of the New Testament is easily supreme. But so far as the bare instrument of expression




is concerned the writings of the group belong together. Where, then, within the development of the Koine is this whole group to be placed?

    It has always been observed that the language of the New Testament differs strikingly from the great Attic prose writers such as Thucydides or Plato or Demosthenes. That fact is not surprising. It can easily be explained by the lapse of centuries and by the important changes which the creation of the new cosmopolitanism involved. But another fact is more surprising. It is discovered, namely, that the language of the New Testament differs not merely from that of the Attic prose writers of four centuries before, but also from that of the Greek writers of the very period within which the New Testament was written. The Greek of the New Testament is very different, for example, from the Greek of Plutarch.

    This difference used sometimes to be explained by the hypothesis that the New Testament was written in a Jewish- Greek dialect—a form of Greek very strongly influenced by the Semitic languages, Hebrew and Aramaic. But in recent years another explanation has been coming increasingly into vogue. This other explanation has been given an important impetus by the discovery, in Egypt, of the "nonliterary papyri." For the most part the Koine had until recently been known to scholars almost exclusively through literature. But within the past twenty or thirty years there have been discovered in Egypt, where the dry air has preserved even the fragile writing-material of antiquity, great numbers of documents such as wills, receipts, petitions and private letters. These documents are not "literature." Many of them were intended merely to be read once and then thrown away. They exhibit, therefore, not the polished language of books but the actual spoken language of everyday life. And on account of their important




divergence from the language of such writers as Plutarch they have revealed with new clearness the interesting fact that in the Koine period there was a wide gap between the language of literature and the language of every day. The literary men of the period imitated the great Attic models with more or less exactitude; they maintained an artificial literary tradition. The obscure writers of the non-literary papyri, on the other hand, imitated nothing, but simply expressed themselves, without affectation, in the language of the street.

    But it is discovered that the language of the New Testament, at various points where it differs from the literature even of the Koine period, agrees with the non-literary papyri. That discovery has suggested a new hypothesis to account for the apparent peculiarity of the language of the New Testament, It is now supposed that the impression of peculiarity which has been made upon the minds of modern readers by New Testament Greek is due merely to the fact that until recently our knowledge of the spoken as distinguished from the literary language of the Koine period has been so limited. In reality, it is said, the New Testament is written simply in the popular form of the Koine which was spoken in the cities throughout the whole of the Greek-speaking world.

    This hypothesis undoubtedly contains a large element of truth. Undoubtedly the language of the New Testament is no artificial language of books, and no Jewish-Greek jargon, but the natural, living language of the period. But the Semitic influence should not be underestimated. The New Testament writers were nearly all Jews, and all of them were strongly influenced by the Old Testament. In particular, they were influenced, so far as language is concerned, by the Septuagint, and the Septuagint was influenced, as most ancient translations were, by the language of




the original. The Septuagint had gone far toward producing a Greek vocabulary to express the deepest things of the religion of Israel. And this vocabulary was profoundly influential in the New Testament. Moreover, the originality of the New Testament writers should not be ignored. They had come under the influence of new convictions of a transforming kind, and those new convictions had their effect in the sphere of language. Common words had to be given new and loftier meanings, and common men were lifted to a higher realm by a new and glorious experience. It is not surprising then, that despite linguistic similarities in detail the New Testament books, even in form, are vastly different from the letters that have been discovered in Egypt. The New Testament writers have used the common, living language of the day. But they have used it in the expression of uncommon thoughts, and the language itself, in the process, has been to some extent transformed. The Epistle to the Hebrews shows that even conscious art could be made the instrument of profound sincerity, and the letters of Paul, even the shortest and simplest of them, are no mere private jottings intended to be thrown away, like the letters that have been discovered upon the rubbish heaps of Egypt, but letters addressed by an apostle to the Church of God. The cosmopolitan popular language of the Graeco-Roman world served its purpose in history well. It broke down racial and linguistic barriers. And at one point in its life it became sublime.






We will now begin our study.  Doc VBK





    The purpose of the course is to give the student a very basic acquaintance with Koine Greek, the original language of the New Testament text. The lessons will familiarize the student with the material. Time will be spent working in the workbook online and that work will then be evaluated by testing.
    You will also learn how to read and use a Greek-English Lexicon and will become familiar with some of the common words from the Greek New Testament taken from the Received Text.

    This workbook was originally designed to be used with “NEW TESTAMENT GREEK FOR BEGINNERS” by J. Gresham Machen and leans on it and others for content and form.

    If a copy of that text is not available, this workbook can still be used to gain a basic knowledge of biblical Greek.

Material in this workbook is drawn from the following:


1. Basic texts used to prepare this class:
A. The Interlinear KJV Parallel New Testament in Greek and English, by Berry
B. New Testament Greek for Beginners, by Machen
C. The Analytical Greek Lexicon by Bagster (
* See Bagster's Lexicon listed below.)
     The Analytical Greek Lexicon Revised, by Moulton (1978 Edition)
D. Let's Read Greek by C. B. Hale
E. Let's Study Greek by C. B. Hale
F. A Reader's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament by Sakae Kubo
G. Introduction to New Testament Greek by S. G. Green
H. Key to Introduction to New Testament Greek by S. G. Green
I. New Testament Greek in a Nutshell by J. A. Strong
J. Greek Grammar by W.W. Goodwin
    (Used very little because of its lack of emphasis on the Koine.)
K. Various online Greek Language sites

2. Public domain texts available in our library:
    Although the texts mention above are suggested for use, some students may not be able to obtain them because of unavailability of the text or financial inability.  Therefore, for this online course, we will make use of some alternate texts that are in the public domain. The names listed are active links that open in new windows so that you can keep them open while studying.  If you are taking a "closed book" test, you cannot use these texts during the test and you need to close them if they are open when you come to such a test.  If you are allowed to use them during such a test, there will be instructions telling you which ones you can use.
1. Introduction to NT Greek by Samuel G. Green  (1911)
2. Key to Introduction to NT Greek
 Analytical Greek Lexicon  Pub. by Bagster and Sons (1870)
    This is the original work that was later revised by Moulton. (* See above.) This work is lacking some few minor corrections and additions, but for our purposes it is quite sufficient. If a student seeks a deeper and very detailed study of the Greek NT, then purchasing a more recent edition would be prudent.
 New Testament Greek in a Nutshell
    by James A. Strong  (1876) 
 Greek Grammar
    by William W. Goodwin (1892)
    (Used very little because of its lack of emphasis on the Koine.)


    You can access these books by clicking their titles listed above, which are active links, or you can access them from our online LIBRARY by their individual names.  These textbooks are in the public domain.  You are free to download them and print as many copies as are needed.

Admonition to the students:

    The student should not seek to correct the King James translation because this would be an exercise in utter foolishness. The original translators had centuries of combined scholarship to draw on to aid in their translation of the Greek into English while the student, at the end of this one year class, will have a sum total of one year of scholarship on which to base their translational efforts. It is hoped that the student will seek a wiser course and simply use the new study tools and methods learned in this class to expand the meanings of the correctly translated KJV text.

    Use these tools and methods in a constructive manner to seek deeper and expanded meanings in the Scriptures, not in a destructive manner by trying to correct what needs no correcting.


STUDY NOTE: Memorize all portions of the lessons because all tests will be closed book.  Which means you will not be allowed to use any study material or have anyone help you in any manner while taking the tests.  All tests must be done from memory alone except in the last lesson where you will find instructions concerning 2 aids which you will be allowed to use.

    Some have commented that a knowledge of Greek and Hebrew are not necessary to the student, the teacher, or the preacher. I could not find a better answer than the one found just before the Introduction in Berry’s interlinear KJV/Greek New Testament (one of the optional texts used as suggested reading for this course).



Method of Study and Attendance Requirements


    The minimum attendance for this course is 14 weeks.  There are six lessons and not more than one lesson may be completed in any two week period.  Lesson tests need to be spaced a minimum of two weeks apart.  There will be some tests that are only drills and are not recorded as course scores.  These are clearly indicated and are not included in the two week requirement.  They are to be taken as you come to them in each lesson and are clearly marked as only exercises.  They may be taken as many times as necessary.
    Some lessons will require more than two weeks and three to four weeks is not unreasonable given the amount of material and the drill exercises contained in some of the lessons.   The best plan of study is to take as much time as is needed; but, do not take unnecessary and unproductive, which is to say destructive, weeks in which you simply go idle and do not study at all.  Idle time will result in what was studied before to be largely, if not wholly, forgotten.  This is not a possibility, this is a certainty.  So take as many weeks as needed per lesson but do not get in the destructive habit of procrastinating.  Compete each exercise and drill as many times as is need for mastery of the material and take as much time as is necessary for memorization of indicated material.  But only take time that you will be actively working on the material and not time when you will be idle.









    Every journey begins with the first step.  And the best place to begin this journey into Koine Greek has to be with the basics of it and every other written language, the alphabet.



You will need to memorize the lower case Greek alphabet (a, b, g, d, e, etc.) in proper order for a closed book test.

A a Alpha a as in father
B b Beta b
G g Gamma g as in got1
D d Delta d
E e Epsilon e as in get 
Z z Zeta dz
H h Eta a as in late
Q q Theta th
I i Iota i as in pit, ee as in feet
K k Kappa k
L l Lambda  l
M m Mu m
N n Nu n
X x Xi  x
O o Omicron o as in otter
P p Pi p
R r2 Rho r
S s (V)3 Sigma s
T t Tau t
U u Upsilon French u or German ü
F f Phi ph
C c Chi German ch in Ach (Ackh)
Y y Psi ps
W w Omega o as in note

1 Before another g or k or c, g is pronounced like ng in sing.

2 At the beginning of a word r is written , rh.

3 V is written at the end of a word, elsewhere s.





Memorize both sight and sound for the lower case Greek alphabet

in proper order for a closed book test.



There are four major conventions of Greek pronunciation.


NOTE: Optional extra study.

For a history of Greek pronunciation and a sound guide to the four different conventions of Greek pronunciation, goto



For the convention we have chosen to use in this class, click the Greek letter to hear the pronunciation of it.

a  ahl - pha

b  bay - tah

g  gahm - ma

d  dell - tah

e  eh - pseeh - lawn

z   zay - tah

h  ay - tah

q  thay - tah

i  yi - oh - tah

k  kap - pah

l  lahm - dha

m  mew

n  new

x  x - see

o  au - me- krahn

p  peeh

r  rhow

s or V (at the end of a word) sig - mah

t  tau

u  ew - pseeh - lawn

f  fee

c  key

y  psee

w  oh - may - gah 

Writing the Greek alphabet


It is important that good penmanship is practiced from the start.

This chart will guide you in the proper way to form the letters.

Write each letter 10 times on a piece of paper.

Follow the direction of the arrows as you make the letters.

You are required to say each letter aloud each time you write it using the pronunciation chart that was just presented.




    At the end of a word, s (sig-ma) is written V. Write both of these 10 times each on a piece of paper.
Use the following graphic as a guide for the proper way to write the letters.

Say the letters aloud each time you write them.


  sis used anywhere in a word except at the end
is used only at the end of a word



Did you pronounce all of the letters 

aloud as you wrote them and
every time you wrote them?



If you reached the page that says that this turn is declared null and void and must be repeated, then you must redo this time through writing the entire alphabet one time each letter; and, then writing both forms of sigma one time each and pronouncing every letter aloud as you write it.

Variations for g (gamma).

   When g (gamma) is before another g or k (kappa) or c (chi pronounced key), it is pronounced like "ng" in sing.

Thus aggeloV is pronounced ang-geh-loss with the gg supplying the ng sound.
Click HERE for the pronunciation of the word.


Variations for r (rhow).

   When r (rhow) is at the beginning of a word, it is written and is pronounced according to the breathing mark written over it.





Test is "closed book."

TESTING  Make sure you read the testing instructions if you have not already done so.


This test is "closed book," which means you can NOT use
your study materials while taking the test.  Nor can
you have anyone help you.  You must take the
test from memory only.


There is a time limit on the test.

The software provider had a problem with their server
in May of 2011.  This has caused some tests taken in this
course to fail to submit properly.  Because of this
problem, you may not automatically receive a copy
of this test and we may not receive one for your file.


As a safety measure, please make a copy of the Results page
before submitting each test.  If you do not receive your copy
when you submit the test, please contact us to see if we
received ours.  If we did not, then we will ask you to
send us a copy of the Results page to be placed in
your academic file.  If we have received our copy
then that indicates that you may have misspelled
your email address on the test and it couldn't
find you on the Internet.  In that case we
will let you know and forward a copy
of the test to you for your files.


If you do receive your copy automatically when you submit
a test, then you need take no further action.  You do
not need to submit a copy of the Results page to us.


We regret the inconvenience this may cause you
and sincerely apologize; but this problem is one
over which we have absolutely no control.


You may now proceed to the test; and be
sure to save a copy of the Results
page as a safety measure.


No password is necessary to access the test.

Should the test fail to open properly, please use F5 to reload or click the refresh symbol on the top of your browser page.



After passing the Lesson One test and finding all correct answers in the

textbook for any questions missed on the test, then you may go to




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