Vasile Stancu

New Testament Greek for Beginners

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


Personal Pronouns
Present Indicative of εἰμί

90. Vocabulary (audio)

αὐτός, -ή, -ό pron. he
δέ conj., but, and
ἐγώ pron., I
εἰμί I am
σύ pron., thou

91. The conjunction δέ is postpositive - that is, it cannot stand first in its clause. Ordinarily it stands second.

Example (audio):

ὁ δοῦλος γινώσκει τὸν ἀπόστολον, ὁ δὲ ἀπόστολος βλέπει τὸν κύριον.
The servant knows the apostle and the apostle sees the Lord.


92. An enclitic is a word that goes so closely with the preceding word as to have normally no accent of its own.

Enclitics are thus to be distinguished from proclitics, which go so closely with the following words as to have no accent of their own (see §64). Proclitics give rise to no special rules of accent; they simply have no accent and produce no changes in the accenting of preceding or following words. But the case is very different with enclitics, which give rise to the following rules:

I. Accenting of the word before an enclitic

(1) The word before an enclitic does not change an acute on the last syllable to a grave.

Example: ἀδελφὸς μου is incorrect; ἀδελφός μου is correct.

(2) If the word before an enclitic has an acute on the antepenult, or a circumflex on the penult, it takes an additional accent (an acute) on the ultima.

Examples (audio):

ἄνθρωπός μου
δῶρόν σου
ἄνθρωπός ἐστιν
δῶρόν ἐστιν.

(3) If the word before an enclitic is itself a proclitic or an enclitic it has an acute on the ultima.

Examples (audio):

εἴς με
ἄνθρωπός μού ἐστιν

II. Cases in which an enclitic has an accent of its own

(1) An enclitic of two syllables retains its own accent when it follows a word that has an acute on the penult.

Example (audio):

ὥρα ἐστίν is correct because ἐστίν is an enclitic of two syllables. ὥρα μου, on the other hand, is correct because μου is an enclitic of only one syllable.

(2) An enclitic retains its accent when there is emphasis on the enclitic or when the enclitic begins a clause.

93. It may help to fix these rules in the memory, if the enclitic in every case be regarded as forming one word with the word that precedes it and then the general rules of accent be applied. These enclitic rules may then be regarded as attempts to avoid violations of the general rules. Thus if ἄνθρωποσεστιν, or ἄνθρωποσμου or ἄνθτωποσμε be regarded as one word the accenting of that word violates the general rule that the accent cannot get further back than the antepenult; and δῶρονμου violates the general rule that the circumflex cannot get further back than the penult. Something, therefore, needs to be done. And what is actually done is to put in an additional accent to break up the long series of unaccented syllables. Following out a similar principle, the accent of ὥραεστιν would become ὥράεστιν. But two acutes were not desired in immediate juxtaposition in a single word. Therefore in this case an alternative way out of the difficulty was adopted, and the enclitic was made to retain its own accent.

It should be observed, however, that this way of considering the matter will not quite work out in all cases; for ὥραμου, for example, would violate the general rule that the accent cannot stand on the antepenult if the ultima is long.

Personal Pronouns

94. The declension of the personal pronoun of the first person is as follows (audio):

Gμου (ἐμοῦ)ἡμῶν
Dμοι (ἐμοῖ)ἡμῖν
Aμε (ἐμέ)ἡμᾶς

The forms ἐμοῦ, ἐμοῖ, ἐμέ are the forms used when emphasis is desired. The unemphatic forms, μου, μοι, με, are enclitic.

95. The declension of the personal pronoun of the second person is as follows (audio):

Gσοῦof theeὑμῶνof you
Dσοῖto or for youὑμῖνto or for thee

The forms σου, σοι, and σε are enclitic except when they are emphatic. When they are emphatic, they have the accents given in the paradigm.

96. The declension of the personal pronoun of the third person is as follows (audio):


It will be observed that the declension of αὐτός is like that of ἀγαθός (omitting the vocative), except for the form αὐτό in the nominative and accusative singular neuter.

97. The Use of Pronouns

(1) A pronoun is a word that stands instead of a noun.

Example: The sentence, I see the disciple and teach him, means the same thing as I see the disciple and teach the desciple. The pronoun him stands instead of the second occurrence of the noun disciple.

(2) The noun for which a pronoun stands is called its antecedent.

Thus in the sentence, I see the disciple and teach him, the antecedent of him is disciple.

(3) A pronoun agrees with its antecedent in gender and number.

Examples (audio):

(a) βλέπω τὸν μαθητὴν καὶ διδάσκω αὐτόν, I see the disciple and teach him. Here μαθητής is the antecedent of αὐτόν, and since μαθητής is of masculine gender and singular number αὐτόν also is masculine singular.

(b) μένω ἐν τῷ οἴκῳ καὶ γινώσκω αὐτόν, I remain in the house and know it. Here οἴκῳ is the antecedent of αὐτόν, and since οἴκῳ is of masculine gender and singular number αὐτόν also is masculine singular. In English the neuter pronoun it is used, because the noun house, like all nouns denoting inanimate objects, is neuter in English. But in Greek the word for house is masculine, and therefore the masculine pronoun is used in referring to it. Hence the translations, he, she, etc., given in the paradigm above for the masculine and feminine of the Greek pronoun of the third person are correct only when the antecedents are nouns denoting persons. In other cases, the pronouns will be neuter in English even when they are masculine or feminine in Greek. It will be observed, further, that the pronoun does not agree with its antecedent in case, but only in gender and number. In the sentence just given the antecedent οἴκῳ, is dative after the preposition ἐν, whereas αὐτόν has its own construction, being the object of the verb γινώσκω.

(c) ἡ ἐκκλησία διδάσκει ἐμέ, καὶ ἐγὼ διδάσκω αὐτήν, the Church teaches me and I teach it.

(d) βλέπω τοὺς μαθητὰς καὶ διδάσκω αὐτούς, I see the disciples and teach them.

(e) βλέπω τὰ τέκνα καὶ διδάσκω αὐτά, I see the children and teach them. It will be observed that in English in the plural the personal pronoun is the same in form for all three genders, whereas in Greek it varies.

(4) The personal pronouns are not used in the nominative case unless there is emphasis upon them.

(a) The reason for this rule is that the ending of the verb indicates sufficiently whether the subject is first, second, or third person. Thus λέγω means I say. The ἐγώ, therefore, is not put in unless there is emphasis upon it.

(b) Emphasis is usually caused by contrast. Thus in the sentence (audio) ἐγὼ λέγω, σὺ δὲ γράφεις, I say, but you write, ἐγώ and σύ are emphatic because they are contrasted with each other. And in the sentence ἐγὼ λέγω, I say, the natural inference is that someone else does not say. The insertion of the emphatic ἐγώ, naturally suggests an implied (though here not an expressed) contrast.

(c) αὐτός is almost never used as a personal pronoun in the nominative case. The place of it, in the nominative, is taken usually by certain other words, and it itself has in the nominative case a use distinct from its use as a personal pronoun. These matters will be reserved for future study.

(5) To express possession the unemphatic forms of the personal pronouns should be used, and the English phrases my word and the like should be turned around into the form, the word of me, before they are translated into Greek.

Examples (audio):
my word, ὁ λόγος μου
thy word, ὁ λόγος σου
his/its word, ὁ λόγος αὐτοῦ
her word, ὁ λόγος αὐτῆς
their word, ὁ λόγος αὐτῶν.

If it is desired to emphasize the possessive idea - e.g., my word - a possessive adjective, which will be learned later, is ordinarily used instead of the genitive of the personal pronoun.

(6) After prepositions, the emphatic forms of the personal pronouns are ordinarily used.

Examples (audio):
ἐξ ἐμοῦ, not ἐκ μου
ἀπ' ἐμοῦ (*1) , not ἀπό μου
δι' ἐμοῦ, not διά μου
ἐν ἐμοί, not ἔν μοι.
But πρός με is common.

(*1) The final vowel of prepositions is frequently elided before words that begin with a vowel. The elision is marked by an apostrophe.

Present Indicative of εἰμί

98. The present indicative of the verb εἰμί, I am, is as follows (audio):


All these forms except εἶ are enclitic. The accents given in the paradigm occur only when required by the rules given above in §92 above.

ἐστί(ν) and εἰσί(ν) have the movable ν (see §44).

99. The verb εἰμί takes a predicate nominative, not an accusative, to complete its meaning.

Examples (audio):
ὁ ἀπόστολος ἄνθρωπός ἐστιν, the apostle is a man;
ὁ ἀπόστολος ἀγαθός ἐστιν, the apostle is good.

In the sentence, the apostle says the word, it is asserted that the apostle does something to the word; the word is therefore the object of the action denoted by the verb, and stands in the accusative case. But in the sentence, the apostle is a man, it is not asserted that the apostle does anything to a man. A man, therefore, stands here not in the accusative case but in the predicate nominative.

100. Exercises

I. (audio)

1. οἰ μαθηταί σου γινώσκουσι τὴν βασιλείαν καὶ ἄγουσι τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς αὐτῶν εἰς αὐτήν.
2. διδάσκω τοὺς ἀδελφούς μου καὶ λέγω αὐτοῖς παραβολήν.
3. ἄγει με ὁ κύριος πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ.
4. δι' ἐμὲ βλέπεις σὺ τὸν θάνατον, σοῖ δὲ ἐγὼ λέγω λόγους κακούς.
5. διὰ σοῦ ἄγει ὁ θεὸς τοὺς πιστοὺς εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν αὐτοῦ καὶ δι'αὐτῶν τοὺς ἄλλους.
6. δι' ἡμᾶς μένει ὁ κύριος ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ.
7. ἐγώ εἰμι δοῦλος, σὺ δὲ ἀπόστολος.
8. ἀγαθός ἐστιν ὁ κύριος καὶ ἀγαθοί ἐστε ὑμεῖς.
9. μαθηταί ἐστε τοῦ κυρίου καὶ ἀδελφοὶ τῶν ἀποστόλων αὐτοῦ.
10. ὁ ἀπόστολος πιστός ἐστιν, οἱ δὲ δοῦλοι αὐτοῦ κακοί.
11. ἡ ἐκκλησία πιστή ἐστιν, ἡμεῖς δὲ βλέπομεν αὐτήν.
12. βλέπομέν σε καὶ λέγομέν σοι παραβολήν.
13. δοῦλοί ἐσμεν, δούλους δὲ διδάσκομεν.
14. οἱ δοῦλοι ἡμῶν βλέπουσιν ἡμᾶς, ἡμεῖς δὲ διδάσκομεν αὐτούς.
15. ἀφ' (*2) ὑμῶν λαμβάνει ὁ ἀδελφός μου δῶρα καλά, καὶ πέμπει αὐτὰ πρός με διὰ τῶν δούλων αὐτοῦ.

(*2) Before the rough breathing, the π of ἀπ' becomes φ.

16. γινώσκομεν τὴν ὁδόν, καὶ δι' αὐτῆς ἄγομέν σε εἰς τὸν οἶκον ἡμῶν.
17. μετὰ τῶν ἀδελφῶν ἡμῶν βλέπομεν τοὺς μαθητὰς τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν.
18. μετὰ τὰς ἡμέρας τὰς κακὰς βλέπομεν τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν.
19. μεθ' (*3) ἡμῶν βλέπεις αὐτόν.

(*3) Before the rough breathing, the τ of μετ' becomes θ.

20. μεθ' ὑμῶν ἐσμεν ἐν τοῖς οἴκοις ὑμῶν.


1. Your servants are in the house of the Lord.
2. My house is in the desert.
3. The prophet knows his disciples and brings them into his houses.
4. Through my word ye have glory.
5. On account of our children ye see evil days.
6. In our days the world is evil.
7. God knows our souls and brings them out of death.
8. Ye are our sons and we are your disciples.
9. We are in the kingdom of God with Thy faithful disciples.
10. We say a parable to thee, but thou sayest another word to us.
11. The way is bad, but we lead the children in it.
12. My brother takes gifts from you, but ye write an evil word to him.
13. My house is bad, but your disciples bring the children out of it.
14. My disciples are leading their brethren to me.
15. I see and know my sons and lead them to my Lord.
16. God knows his Church and leads it out of death into his kingdom.
17. Thy commandments are good and righteous, and lead us into life.
18. Our Lord is sending His apostles to me.
19. We are sending our servants into your house, but ye are taking our gifts from us.
20. Ye are good, but your disciples are evil.