Vasile Stancu

New Testament Greek for Beginners

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


Imperfect Active Indicative
Imperfect Indicative of εἰμί
Accent of ἔστι(ν)

121. Vocabulary

αἴρω I take up, I take away
ἀναβαίνω I go up (ἀνα- means up)
ἀπάγω I lead away, I carry off
ἀποθνήσκω I die
ἀποκτείνω I kill
ἀποστέλλω I send (πέμπω is the general word for send, while ἀποστέλλω means I send with a commission)
ἄρτος, ὁ a piece of bread, a loaf, bread
βαίνω I go; (the simple verb does not occur in the New Testament, but the compounds with various prepositions are exceedingly common)
ἐσθίω I eat
κατά prep., with gen., against; with acc., according to (κατά, of which the original meaning was down, has many meanings in the New Testament)
καταβαίνω I go down
μέν... δέ on the one hand... on the other (used in contrasts, the μέν often being best left untranslated and the δέ being then best translated by but)
οὐκέτι adv., no longer
παρά prep. with gen., from; with dat., beside, in the presence of; with acc., alongside of
παραλαμβάνω I receive, I take along
σύν prep. with dat., with (a close synonym of μετά with gen.)
συνάγω I gather together
τότε adv., then

122. In present time there is no special form of the verb in Greek to indicate continued action - there is no distinction in Greek between I loose and I am loosing. But in past time the distinction is made even more sharply than in English.

The tense which in the indicative is used as the simple past tense is called the aorist. It will be studied in Lesson XIV.

The tense which denotes continued action in past time is called the imperfect.

The aorist active indicative of λύω means I loosed, etc., whereas the imperfect active indicative means I was loosing, etc. This distinction should be carefully observed.

123. The imperfect active indicative of λύω is as follows:

1 ἔλυον I was loosing ἐλύομεν we were loosing
2 ἔλυες thou wast loosing ἐλύετε ye were loosing
3 ἔλυε(ν) he was loosing ἔλυον they were loosing

124. The imperfect indicative, like the indicative of the other secondary tenses (see §20, footnote), places an augment at the beginning of the stem of the verb.

125. In verbs that begin with a consonant the augment consists in an ε- prefixed to the stem.

Examples: ἔλυον, I was loosing; ἐγίνωσκον, I was knowing.

126. In verbs that begin with a vowel, the augment consists in the lengthening of that vowel. But α lengthens not to long α but to η.

Examples: The imperfect of ἐγείρω is ἤγειρον; of ἀκούω, ἤκουον; of αἴρω, ᾖρον.

127. The personal endings in the active of the secondary tenses are as follows:

3none-ν (or -σαν)

128. The variable vowel (placed between the stem and the personal endings) is, in the imperfect as in the present, ο before μ and ν and ε before other letters.

129. The third person singular, ἔλυε(ν), has the movable ν (under the conditions mentioned in §44).

130. It will be observed that the first person singular and the third person plural are alike in form. Only the context can determine whether ἔλυον means I was loosing or they were loosing.

Augment of Compound Verbs

131. In compound verbs (see §117), the augment comes after the preposition and before the stem. If the preposition ends with a vowel, that vowel is usually dropped both before a verb that begins with a vowel and before the augment.

Examples: The imperfect of ἐκβάλλω is ἐξέβαλλον; of ἀποκτείνω, ἀπέκτεινον; of ἀπάγω, ἀπῆγον.

132. It should be observed that the accent does not go back of the augment. Thus ἀπῆγον is correct, not ἄπηγον.

133. Imperfect Indicative of εἰμί

The imperfect indicative of εἰμί is as follows:

1ἤμηνI wasἦμενwe were
2ἦςthou wastἦτεye were
3ἦνhe wasἦσανthey were

134. Accent of ἔστι(ν)

After οὐκ and certain other words the third person singular present indicative of εἰμί is accented on the first syllable. This does not apply to the other forms of εἰμί. Thus οὐκ ἔστιν, but οὔκ ἐσμεν, etc.

135. Exercises


1. ἠκούομεν τῆς φωνῆς αὐτοῦ ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις, νῦν δὲ οὐκέτι ἀκούομεν αὐτῆς.
2. ὁ δὲ μαθητὴς τοῦ κυρίου ἔλεγε παραβολὴν τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς αὐτοῦ.
3. ἀπέκτεινον οἱ δοῦλοι τὰ τέκνα σὺν τοῖς μαθηταῖς.
4. τότε μὲν κατέβαινον εὶς τὸν οἶκον, νῦν δὲ οὐκέτι καταβαίνω.
5. παρελαμβάνετε τὸν ἄρτον παρὰ τῶν δούλων καὶ ἠσθίετε αὐτόν.
6. διὰ τὴν ἀλήθειαν ἀπέθνησκον οἱ μαθηταὶ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις.
7. συνήγεν οὗτος ὁ ἀπόστολος εἰς τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοὺς μαθητὰς τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν.
8. νῦν μὲν διδασκόμεθα ὑπὸ τῶν ἀποστόλων, τότε δὲ ἐδιδάσκομεν ἡμεῖς τὴν ἐκκλησίαν.
9. ὁ κύριος ἡμῶν ᾖρε τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν.
10. τότε μὲν ἀνέβαινον εἰς τὸ ἱερόν, νῦν δὲ οὐκέτι ἀναβαίνουσιν.
11. πονηροὶ ἦτε, ἀγαθοὶ δὲ ἐστέ.
12. ὑμεῖς μέν ἐστε ἀγαθοί, ἡμεῖς δέ ἐσμεν πονηροί.
13. τότε ἤμην ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ καὶ ἐδίδασκέ με ὁ κύριος.
14. λέγομεν ὑμῖν ὅτι ἐν τῷ οἴκῳ ὑμῶν ἦμεν.
15. ἐξέβαλλες αὐτούς ἐκ τοῦ ἱεροῦ.
16. ἀπέστελλον οἱ ἄνθρωποι τοὺς δούλους αὐτῶν πρός με.
17. ὁ κύριος ἀπέστελλεν ἀγγέλους πρὸς ἡμᾶς.
18. ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ ἦν καὶ ὁ κόσμος οὐκ ἔβλεπεν αὐτόν.
19. δοῦλος ἦς τοῦ πονηροῦ, ἀλλὰ νῦν οὐκέτι εἶ δοῦλος.
20. τοῦτό ἐστι τὸ δῶρον τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, καλὸν δὲ οὐκ ἔστιν.

Answer Key


1. The servant was saying these words against them.
2. According to the word of the apostle, they were going up into the temple.
3. The Lord was in His temple.
4. They were killing our children.
5. Ye were dying in those days on account of the kingdom of God.
6. Thou wast taking away the sins of Thy disciples.
7. The prophet was sending the same servants into the small house.
8. We are no longer sinners, because we are being saved by the Lord from the sin of our hearts.
9. I was receiving this bread from the apostle’s servants.
10. Then he was writing these things to his brethren.
11. In that hour we were in the desert with the Lord.
12. They are good, but they were evil.
13. Thou wast good, but we were sinners.
14. Then I was a servant, but now I am a son.
15. The sons of the prophets were gathering these things together into the temple.
16. Now I am being sent by the Lord to the children of the disciples, but then I was sending the righteous men into the desert.

Answer Key