Vasile Stancu

New Testament Greek for Beginners

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


The Third Declension

210. Vocabulary

ἅγιος, -α, -ον holy , οἱ ἅγιοι the saints
αἵμα, αἵματος, τό blood
αἰών, αἰώνος, ὁ an age; εἰς τὸν αἰώνα, for ever; εἰς τοὺς αἰώνας τῶν αἰώνων, for ever and ever
ἄρχων, ἄρχοντος, ὁ a ruler
γράμμα, γράμματος, τό a letter
ἐλπίς, ἐλπίδος, ἡ a hope
θέλημα, θελήματος, τό a will
νύξ, νυκτός, ἡ a night
ὀνομα, ονόματος, τό a name
πνεῦμα, πνεύματος, τό a spirit, the Spirit
ῥήμα, ῥήματος, τό a word
σάρξ, σαρκός, ἡ flesh
σῶμα, σώματος, τό a body

211. The declensions of (1) ἐλπίς, ἐλπίδος, ἡ, a hope, (2) νύξ, νυκτός, ἡ, a night, and (3) ἄρχων, ἄρχοντος, ὁ, a ruler, are as follows:

ἐλπίς, ἡ, stem ἐλπιδ-νύξ, ἡ, stem νυκτ-ἄρχων, ὁ, stem ἀρχοντ-

plN, Vἐλπίδεςνύκτεςἄρχοντες
Dἐλπίσι(ν) νυξί(ν) ἄρχουσι(ν)

212. The case endings in the third declension are as follows:

Nor none -ες
G-ος -ων
VLike nominative or none

213. These case endings are added to the stem, and the stem can be discovered, not from the nominative, as is possible in the first and second declensions, but only by dropping off the ος of the genitive singular. Thus the genitive singular must be known before any third declension noun can be declined.

214. It will be observed that both in the accusative singular ending and in the accusative plural ending the α is short. The dative plural -σι(ν) may have the movable ν. (See §44.)

215. The nominative is formed in various ways, which it will probably be most convenient not to try to classify.

216. The vocative also is formed differently in different nouns. It is very often like the nominative.

217. In the dative plural the combination of consonants formed by the -σι of the case ending coming after the final consonant of the stem causes various changes, which are in general the same as those set forth in §156. But where two consonants, as ντ, are dropped before the following σ, the preceding vowel is lengthened, ο, however, being lengthened not to ω but to ου. So in ἄρχουσι(ν), the dative plural of ἄρχων.

218. The gender of third declension nouns, except in the case of certain special classes like the nouns in -μα, -ματος, cannot easily be reduced to rules, and so must be learned for each noun separately.

219. Thus if the student is asked what the word for flesh is, it is quite insufficient for him to say that it is σάρξ. What he must rather say is that it is σάρξ, σαρκός, feminine. Without the genitive singular, it would be impossible to determine the stem; and unless the stem is known, of course the noun cannot be declined. And without knowing the gender, one could not use the word correctly. One could not tell, for example, whether ὁ σάρξ or ἡ σάρξ or τό σάρξ would be correct.

220. These two difficulties, coupled with the difficulty of the dative plural, make the third declension more difficult than the first and second. Otherwise the declension is easy, when once the case endings have been thoroughly mastered and have been distinguished clearly from those of the other two declensions.

221. Monosyllables of the Third Declension

Monosyllabic nouns of the third declension have the accent on the ultima in the genitive and dative of both numbers. In the genitive plural it is the circumflex.

Example: σάρξ, σαρκός, σαρκῶν

This rule is an exception to the rule of noun accent. In accordance with the rule of noun accent, the accent would remain on the same syllable as in the nominative singular so nearly as the general rules of accent would permit.

222 . Nouns in -μα

An important class of nouns in -μα, with stems ending in -ματ, are declined like ὄνομα. These nouns are all neuter. The declension of ὄνομα, ὀνόματος, τό, a name, is as follows:

N, A, Vὄνομαὀνόματα

Since ὄνομα is a neuter noun, it has its accusative and vocative of both numbers like the nominative, and its nominative, accusative, and vocative plural ending in α. (See §42.)

223. The declensions of other third-declension nouns will be found in §§559-566, and can be referred to as they are needed.

224. Exercises


1. ἐλπίδα οὐκ ἔχουσιν οὐδὲ τὸ πνεύμα τὸ ἅγιον.
2. διὰ τὴν ἐλπίδα τὴν καλὴν ἤνεγκαν ταῦτα οἱ μαθηταὶ τοῦ κυρίου.
3. ταῦτά ἐστιν τὰ ῥήματα τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος.
4. ἐγράφη τὰ ὀνόματα ὑμῶν ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν τῷ βιβλίῶ τῆς ζωῆς.
5. τῷ λόγῳ τοῦ κυρίου ἔσωσεν ἡμᾶς ὁ θεός.
6. οἱ ἄρχοντες οἱ πονηροὶ οὐκ ἐπίστευσαν εἰς τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ κυρίου.
7. ταῦτα εἶπον ἐκεῖνοι τοῖς ἄρχουσιν τούτου τοῦ αἰῶνος.
8. ὄψεσθε ὑμεῖς τὸ πρόσωπον τοῦ κυρίου εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα, ἀλλ' οὐκ ὄψονται αὐτὸ οἱ πονηροί, ὅτι οὐκ ἐπίστευσαν εἰς τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ.
9. οὐκέτι κατὰ σάρκα γινώσκομεν τὸν κύριον.
10. ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ ὑμῶν εἴδετε τὸν θάνατον, ἀλλὰ διὰ τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος ἔχετε ἐλπίδα καλήν.
11. τὸ μὲν γράμμα ἀποκτείνει, ἐν τῷ δὲ πνεύματι ἔχετε ζωήν.
12. βλέπομεν τὸ πρόσωπον τοῦ κυρίου καὶ ἐν νυκτὶ (*1) καὶ ἐν ἡμέρᾳ.

(*1) In phrases such as ἐν νυκτί and ἐν ἡμέρᾳ, the article is often omitted.

13. ἐδίδαξαν οἱ μαθηταὶ καὶ τοὺς ἄρχοντας καὶ τοὺς δούλους.
14. ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ νυκτὶ εἴδετε τὸν ἄρχοντα τὸν πονηρόν.
15. μετὰ τῶν ἀρχόντων ἤμην ἐν ἐκείνῳ τῷ οἶκῳ.
16. μετὰ δὲ ἐκείνην τὴν νύκτα ἦλθεν οὗτος ἐν τῷ πνεύματι εἰς τὴν ἔρημον.
17. ταῦτά ἐστιν ῥήματα ἐλπίδος καὶ ζωῆς.
18. ἤγαγεν αὐτὸν τὸ ἅγιον πνεῦμα εἰς τὸ ἱερόν.
19. ταῦτα τὰ ῥήματα ἐκηρύχθη ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ νυκτὶ τοῖς δούλοις τοῦ ἄρχοντος.
20. ἠγέρθησαν τὰ σώματα τῶν ἁγίων.


1. By the will of God we believed on the name of the Lord.
2. The rulers did not receive this hope from the apostle, because they did not believe in the Lord.
3. We shall know the will of God for ever.
4. In this age we have death, but in that age hope and life.
5. In our flesh we remain in this age, but through the Spirit of God we have a good hope.
6. By the will of God we were saved from our sins through the blood of the Lord.
7. In those days ye saw the rulers.
8. This age is evil, but in it we have hope.
9. These words we wrote to the rulers.
10. We came to the good ruler and to the apostle of the Lord.
11. In our bodies we shall see death, but we shall be raised up according to the word of God.
12. Ye were persecuted by the ruler, but the blood of the Lord saves you from sin.
13. We wrote those good words to the evil ruler.
14. This night became to them an hour of death, but they believed on the name of the Lord.
15. The evil spirits were cast out by the word of the Lord.