Vasile Stancu

New Testament Greek for Beginners

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


Present Middle and Passive Indicative
ὑπό with the Genitive
The Dative of Means
Deponent Verbs
Compound Verbs
The Position of οὐ
Various Cases with Verbs

108. Vocabular

ἀκούωI hear (may take the genitive, but also takes the accusative)
ἀλλά conj., but (stronger adversative than δέ)
ἁμαρτωλός, ὁ a sinner
ἀποκρίνομαι dep., I answer (takes the dative)
ἄρχω I rule (takes the genitive); middle, I begin
γίνομαιdep., I become (takes a predicate nominative, not an accusative)
διέρχομαιdep., I go through
εἰσέρχομαιdep., I go in, I enter
ἐξέρχομαιdep., I go out
ἔρχομαιdep., I come, I go
ὅτιconj., that, because.
οὐ(οὐκ before vowels, οὐχ before the rough breathing), proclitic, not
πορεύομαιdep., I go
σώζω I save
ὑπό prep. with gen., by (expressing agent); with accusative, under

109. There are three voices in Greek: active, middle and passive.

The active and the passive voices are used as in English. The middle voice represents the subject as acting in some way that concerns itself, or as acting upon something that belongs to itself.

(1) Rarely the middle has the force which a verb followed by a reflexive pronoun in the objective case has in English. Thus λούω means I wash, and λούομαι means I wash myself.

But usually the force of the middle is much more subtle. Sometimes, therefore, it is impossible to make any difference in an English translation between active and middle. In the case of some verbs, on the other hand, the difference in meaning is so great that in an English translation it is necessary to use one verb for the active and an entirely different verb for the middle. For example, ἄρχω means I rule, and ἄρχομαι (middle) means I begin.

(2) The middle of λύω does not occur in the New Testament. But it is very important to learn it, since it will enable the student to recognize the middle of other verbs. The translations given in the paradigms for the middle of λύω serve to indicate, in a rough sort of way, the fundamental meaning of the middle voice, rather than the actual meaning of the middle voice of this particular verb.

(3) In the present tense the middle and passive voices are exactly alike in form, though in certain other tenses they are entirely distinct. In the exercises in this lesson, the forms which might be either middle or passive should be regarded as passive.

110. The Present Middle Indicative of λύω, is as follows:

1λύομαιI loose (or I am loosing) for myselfλυόμεθαwe loose (or we are loosing) for ourselves
2λύῃthou loosest (or art loosing) for thyselfλύεσθεye loose (or are loosing) for yourselves
3λύεταιhe looses (or is loosing) for himselfλύονταιthey loose (or are loosing) for themselves

111. The personal endings in the middle and passive of the so-called primary tenses are -μαι, -σαι, -ται, -μεθα, -σθε, -νται.

Between the stem and the personal endings is placed, in the present tense, the variable vowel ο/ε (ο standing before μ and ν, ε before other letters). The second person singular, λύῃ, is a shortened form instead of λύεσαι.

An alternative form for λύῃ is λύει. But the former seems to be preferred in the New Testament.

112. The Present Passive Indicative of λύω, is as follows:

1λύομαιI am being loosedλυόμεθαwe are being loosed
2λύῃthou are being loosedλύεσθεye are being loosed
3λύεταιhe is being loosedλύονταιthey are being loosed

113. The present active indicative, λύω, it will be re membered, can be translated either I loose or I am loosing. The passive of I loose, in English, is I am loosed; the passive of I am loosing is I am being loosed. Both I am loosed and I am being loosed might, therefore, have been given in the translation of λύομαι (passive). But I am loosed is so ambiguous that the student is advised, at least in the earlier lessons, to adopt the alternative translation, I am loosed may mean I am now in a loosed condition, in which case it indicates a present state resultant upon a past action and would be translated, not by the present tense, but by the perfect tense in Greek.

Example: σώζομαι means I am being saved. It represents the action as taking place at the present time. It could also be translated I am saved in such a sentence as every day I am saved from some new trouble. Here I am saved is present because it indicates customary action. But in the majority of cases I am saved means I am in a saved condition resultant upon an action that took place in the past. And in these cases the English sentence I am saved would be translated by the perfect tense, not by the present tense, in Greek. It will be seen, therefore, that the translation I am loosed for λύομαι, though it is not wrong (since λύομαι may sometimes be translated in this way), would be misleading.

114. ὑπό with the Genitive

The preposition ὑπό with the genitive expresses the agent by which an action is performed. This usage occurs principally with the passive voice.

Example: ὁ ἀπόστολος λύει τὸν δοῦλον means the apostle looses the servant. If the same thought be expressed by the passive voice, the object of the active verb becomes the subject of the passive and the subject of the active verb becomes ὑπό with the genitive. Thus ὁ δοῦλος λύεται ὑπὸ τοῦ ἀποστόλου means the servant is being loosed by the apostle.

115. The Dative of Means

The simple dative without any preposition sometimes expresses means or instrument.


(1) ἐγείρονται τῷ λόγῳ τοῦ κυρίου, they are being raised up by (by means of) the word of the Lord. Compare ἐγείρονται ὑπὸ τοῦ κυρίου, they are being raised up by the Lord. The comparison will serve to distinguish ὑπό with the genitive (expressing the active personal agent) from the dative expressing means.

(2) ἄγομεν τοὺς δούλους μετὰ τῶν υἱῶν αὐτῶν λόγοις καλοῖς, we are leading the servants with their sons with good words. This example will serve to distinguish the dative expressing means from μετά with the genitive expressing accompaniment. The two ideas, though they are logically quite distinct, happen often to be expressed by the same preposition, with, in English. μετά with the genitive means with in the sense of in company with; the dative means with in the sense of by means of.

116. Deponent Verbs

Many verbs have no active forms, but only middle or passive forms with active meaning. These verbs are called deponent.

Example: πορεύομαι is passive in form, like λύομαι, but it is active in meaning, like λύω. It means simply I go or I am going.

117. Compound Verbs

Prepositions are frequently prefixed to verbs. The meaning of the verb is modified by the preposition in a way that is often easily understood from the common meaning of the preposition. Sometimes, however, the matter is not so simple; sometimes the meaning of the compound verb cannot easily be determined from the separate meanings of its two component parts.

Example: ἐκ means out of, and πορεύομαι means I go. Hence ἐκπορεύομαι means I go out. But the meaning of ἀποκρίνομαι, I answer, is not easily derived from the meanings of its component parts.

118. The Position of οὐ

The negative, οὐ, precedes the word which it negatives. And since in the great majority of cases the negative in a sentence negatives the verb, the normal place of οὐ is immediately before the verb.

Examples: οὐ λύω, I do not loose, or I am not loosing; οὐ λύομαι, I am not being loosed.

119. Various Cases With Verbs

Many verbs take the genitive case and many the dative case to complete their meaning, where the corresponding verbs in English take a direct object.

Examples: ἀκούω τῆς φωνῆς, I hear the voice (but ἀκούω may also take the accusative); ἀποκρίνομαι τῷ ἀποστόλῳ, I answer the apostle.

120. Exercises


1. λύονται οὗτοι οἱ δοῦλοι ὑπὸ τοῦ κυρίου.
2. τῷ λόγῳ τοῦ κυρίου ἀγόμεθα εἰς τῆν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ θεοῦ.
3. οὐκ ἀκούετε τῆς φωνῆς τοῦ προφήτου, ἀλλ' (*1) ἐξέρχεσθε ἐκ τοῦ οἴκου αὐτοῦ.

(*1) The final vowel of ἀλλά is often elided before a words that begins with a vowel. The elision is marked by an apostrophe.

4. τῷ λόγῳ αὐτοῦ τοῦ κυρίου γίνεσθε μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ.
5. ἐκεῖνοι οἱ ἀγαθοὶ διδάσκαλοι οὐκ εἰσέρχονται εἰς τοὺς οἴκους τῶν ἁμαρτωλόν.
6. οὐ βαπτίζονται οἱ ἁμαρτωλοὶ ὑπὸ τῶν ἀποστόλων, ἀλλ' ἐξέρχονται ἐκ τούτων τῶν οἴκων πρὸς ἄλλους διδασκάλους.
7. λέγετε ἐκείνοις τοῖς ἁμαρτωλοῖς ὅτι σώζεσθε ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ ἀπὸ τῶν ἀμαρτιῶν ὑμῶν.
8. ἄρχει αὐτὸς ὁ θεὸς τῆς βασιλείας αὐτοῦ.
9. εἰρήνην ἔχει ἡ ἐκκλησία, ὅτι σώζεται ὑπὸ τοῦ κυρίου αὐτῆς.
10. οὐκ ἀποκρινόμεθα τῷ ἀποστόλῳ ὅτι οὐ γινώσκομεν αὐτόν.
11. οὐχ ὑπὸ τῶν μαθητῶν σώζῃ ἀπὸ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν σου, ἀλλ' ὑπ' αὐτοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ.
12. οὐ πορεύῃ ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ τῇ κακῇ, ἀλλὰ σώζῃ ἀπὸ τῷν ἁμαρτιῶν σου καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοί σου ἀκούουσι τῆς φωνῆς τοῦ κυρίου.
13. μετὰ τῶν ἀδελφῶν αὐτοῦ ἄγεται εἰς τῆν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ τῇ φωνῇ τῶν ἀποστόλων.
14. οὐ γίνῃ μαθητὴς τοῦ κυρίου, ὅτι οὐκ εἰσέρχῃ εἰς τὴν ἐκκλησίαν αὐτοῦ.


1. These churches are being saved by God from death.
2. I am being saved by Him and am being taught by His word.
3. We are becoming disciples of the good apostle, but ye are not hearing his voice.
4. I am a sinner, but am being taught by the apostles of the Lord.
5. I am an evil servant, but thou art becoming a teacher of this church.
6. The evil men say to those churches that our brethren do not see the face of the Lord.
7. The world is being destroyed by the word of our God.
8. We know the Lord because we receive good gifts from Him and are being taught by Him in parables.
9. Thou art writing these things to thy brethren and art being saved from thy sin.
10. He is teaching others and is himself being taught by this apostle.
11. That disciple is not answering this prophet, because he does not know his words.
12. Thou art saying to this church that thou art a bad servant.
13. You are abiding in that temple, because you are not servants of the Lord.
114. We do not see the faces of our Lord’s disciples, (*2) because we are not in their houses.

(*2) The phrase should be turned around into the form, the desciples of our Lord, before it is translated into Greek. A similar transposition should be made in other similar phrases.

15. In our Lord’s house are joy and peace.
16. God rules this world by His word.
17. These sinners are not entering into the Lord’s house, but are going out into the desert.
18. These words are being written by God to His faithful churches.