Vasile Stancu

New Testament Greek for Beginners

(Based on the book with the same title by Gresham Machen, The MacMillan Company, 1923)


Masculine Nouns of the First Declension

77. Vocabulary (audio)

ἄγγελος, ὁ an angel, a messenger
ἄγω I lead
ἀπό prep. with gen. from
βάλλω I throw, I cast, I put
διά prep. with gen. through; with acc. on account of
εἰς prep. with acc. into
ἐκ (ἐξ before vowels), prep. with gen. out of
ἐν prep. with dat. in
θεός, ὁ a god, God (when it means God, θεός may have the article)
κόσμος, ὁ a world
λίθος, ὁ a stone
μαθητής, ὁ a disciple
μένω I remain
μετά prep. cu gen. with ; with acc. after
οὐρανός, ὁ heaven
πέμπω I send
πρός prep. with acc. to
προφήτης, ὁ a prophet
τέκνον, τό a child
τόπος, ὁ a place
φέρω I bear, I bring

78. Nouns of the first declension ending in -ης are masculine.

79. The declension of προφήτης, ὁ, a prophet, is as follows (audio):


It will be observed that although προφήτης is masculine it is a true first-declension noun, being just like a feminine noun of the first declension except in the nominative, genitive, and vocative singular.

μαθητής is declined like προφήτης, except for the accent.


80. Prepositions express relationship. Thus in the sentence, the book is in the desk, the preposition in expresses a certain relationship beween the book and the desk. In the sentence, the book is on the desk, a different relationship is expressed (by the preposition on).

In English, nouns standing after prepositions are always in the same case (the "objective" case). But in Greek different prepositions take different cases.

81. The preposition ἐν, meaning in, always takes the dative case. Thus in the house is expressed by ἐν τῷ οἴκῳ; in the truth by ἐν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ, etc. The preposition εἰς, meaning into, on the other hand, always takes the accusative. Thus into the house is expressed by εἰς τὸν οἶκον. Finally, the preposition ἀπό always takes the genitive. Thus from the house is expressed by ἀπὸ τοῦ οἴκου.

82. These three prepositions illustrate the general principle that the genitive is the case of separation, the dative the case of rest in a place, and the accusative the case of motion toward a place. Prepositions expressing separation naturally take the genitive, prepositions expressing rest in a place naturally take the dative, and prepositions expressing motion toward a place naturally take the accusative.

83. But a very great number of usages of prepositions cannot be reduced to any such general rule. Thus many prepositions that do not express any idea of separation take the genitive.

84. It should be observed that ἐν, εἰς and ἐκ are all proclitics (see §64).

85. ἐν, εἰς, ἐκ and ἀπό each take only one case, and πρός is not commonly used with any case except the accusative. But many other prepositions take several cases. Those that take several cases often have quite a different meaning when used with one case from their meaning when used with another case. Thus διά with the genitive means through; διά with accusative, on account of; μετά with the genitive means with; μετά with the accusative, after.

86. In studying the vocabularies it is quite insufficient to learn how the prepositions are to be translated, but it is also necessary to learn with what case they are construed in any particular meaning. Thus it is quite insufficient to say that ἐν means in. What should rather be said is that ἐν-with-the-dative means in. The phrase ἐν-with-the-dative should form in the student’s mind one absolutely indivisible idea; ἐν should never be thought of apart from its case. In the same way, but still more obviously, it is insufficient to say that μετά means with or after. What should rather be said is that μετά-with-the-genitive means with, and that μετά-with-the-accusative means after. This same method of study should be applied to all prepositions.

87. A further important principle is that of precision in learning the meanings of prepositions. It is true that no one English word or phrase is capable of translating in all instances a single Greek preposition. Sometimes, for example, ἐν with the dative cannot be translated by in in English. But the proper method is to learn first the usual meaning before proceeding to the unusual. A reversal of this method will lead to hopeless confusion. Let the student, therefore, so far as prepositions are concerned, adhere for the present rigidly to the translations given in the vocabularies. In that way a feeling for the really fundamental meaning of the prepositions will be formed, and further on the derived meanings can be studied without confusion.

88. Finally, the importance of this subject should be noticed. Few things are more necessary for a correct understanding of the New Testament than a precise acquaintance with the common prepositions. The prepositions therefore should always be singled out from the vocabularies for special attention, and when new prepositions are learned the old ones should be reviewed.

89. Exercises

I. (audio)

1. οἱ μαθηταὶ τῶν προφητῶν μένουσιν ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ.
2. οἱ κακοὶ βάλλουσιν λίθους εἰς τὸν οἶκον τῶν μαθητῶν.
3. ὁ θεὸς πέμπει τοὺς ἀγγέλους εἰς τὸν κόσμον.
4. ὁ προφήτης πέμπει τοὺς μαθητὰς τοῦ κυρίου ἐκ τῶν οἶκων εἰς τὴν ἐκκλησίαν.
5. ὁ θεὸς ἐγείρει τοὺς νεκροὺς ἐκ θανάτου.
6. λαμβάνετε τὰ καλὰ δῶρα ἀπὸ τῶν τέκνων.
7. ἄγομεν τὰ τέκνα ἐκ τῶν οἴκων.
8. μετὰ τοὺς ἀγγέλους πέμπει ὁ θεὸς τὸν υἱόν.
9. μετὰ τῶν ἀγγέλων ἄγει ὁ κύριος τοὺς δικαίους εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν.
10. διὰ τῶν ὁδῶν τῆς ἐρήμου φέροσιν οἱ δοῦλοι τὰ δῶρα εἰς ἄλλον τόπον.
11. διὰ τῶν γραφῶν τῶν προφητῶν γινώσκομεν τὸν κύριον.
12. διὰ τὴν δόξαν τοῦ θεοῦ ἐγείρει ὁ κύριος τοὺς νεκρούς.
13. φέρουσιν τοὺς νεκροὺς εἰς τὴν ἔρημον.
14. οἱ μαθηταὶ διδάσκουσι τὰ ἀγαθὰ τέκνα ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ.
15. ὁ κύριος λέγει παραβολὴν τοῖς μαθηταῖς ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ.
16. διὰ τὴν ἀλήθειαν βλέπουσιν οἱ προφήται τὸν θάνατον.
17. ἀπὸ τῆς ἐρήμου ἄγουσιν οἱ μαθηταὶ τοὺς ἀγαθοὺς δούλους καὶ τοὺς υἱοὺς τῶν προφητῶν πρὸς τοὺς μικροὺς οἴκους τῶν μαθητῶν.
18. διὰ τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ φέρομεν τὰ κακά.
19. διὰ τὰς ψυχὰς τῶν ἀδελφῶν βλέπει κακά.
20. καλὸς ὁ οὐρανός· κακὸς ὁ κόσμος.


1. In the world we have death, and in the Church life.
2. The prophets lead the righteous discipies of the Lord into the way of the desert.
3. The child is throwing a stone into the little house.
4. The man is saying a good word to the disciples and is leading the disciples to the Lord. (*1)

(*1) Care should be taken to distinguish the two ways in which the English word to is used in this sentence.

5. The disciples are remaining in the church and are saying a parable to the other prophets.
6. Through the voice of the prophet the Lord is teaching the disciples.
7. On account of the Church the disciples and the apostles write good words to the brethren.
8. On account of the children the prophet is sending the evil men into the desert.
9. After the Lord the apostle sees the disciple.
10. The prophets are teaching the disciples with the children.
11. They are bringing the disciples to the Lord.
12. The Lord is remaining with the prophet in another place.
13. The righteous are leading the disciples through the desert to the Lord.
14. We see the days of the Son of God in the evil world.
15. Evil are the days; good are the churches.
16. Through the word of the Lord God raises the dead.