Vasile Stancu

New Testament Greek for Beginners

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


The Present and Aorist Infinitives
The Articular Infinitive
Indirect Discourse
Proper Names

292. Vocabulary

δεῖ impersonal verb, used only in third person, it is necessary (takes the accusative and infinitive)
ἔξεστι(ν) impersonal verb, used only in third person, it is lawful (with dative of the person for whom "it is lawful")
θέλω I wish
Ἰησοῦς, Ἰησοῦ, ὁ Jesus
Ἰουδαῖος, ὁ a Jew
κελεύω I command
κώμη, ἡ a village
μέλλω I am about (to do something), I am going (to do something)
ὀφείλω I owe, I ought
πάσχω I suffer
πρό prep, with gen., before
σωτηρία, ἡ salvation
Φαρισαῖος, ὁ a Pharisee
Χριστός, ὁ Christ; ὁ Χριστός, Christ, or the Messiah

293. The present and aorist infinitives of λύω are as follows:

Present Aorist
Act. λύειν to loose λῦσαι to loose
Mid. λύεσθαι to loose for one's self λύσασθαι to loose for one's self
Pass. λύεσθαι to be loosed λυθῆναι to be loosed

294. It will be observed that the present infinitives are formed upon the present stem, the aorist active and middle infinitives upon the aorist stem (with the characteristic -σα), and the aorist passive infinitive upon the aorist passive stem (with the characteristic -θε lengthened to -θη) .

295. The first aorist active infinitive is accented upon the penult, even where this involves an exception to the rule of verb accent. Thus πιστεῦσαι, to believe, not πίστευσαι.

296. The second aorist active infinitive of λείπω is λιπεῖν, and the second aorist middle infinitive is λιπέσθαι. These are like the present infinitives in their endings except for the irregular accent. They are formed, of course, upon the second aorist stem.

297. The present infinitive of εἰμί is εἶναι.

298. The infinitive is a verbal noun. In many cases the use of the Greek infinitive is so much like that of the infinitive in English as to call for no comment. Thus θέλω ἀκούειν τὸν λόγον means I wish to hear the word. Here the English is a literal translation of the Greek.

299. There is ordinarily no distinction of time between the tenses in the infinitive, but the distinction is the same as that which prevails in the subjunctive. The present infinitive refers to the action in its continuance or as repeated; the aorist infinitive refers to it in no such special way. It is usually impossible to bring out the distinction in an English translation.

300. The negative of the infinitive is μή.

The Articular Infinitive

301. The Greek infinitive, being a verbal noun, can have the article, like any other noun. It is treated as a neuter noun and so has the neuter article.

302. The infinitive with the article can stand in most of the constructions in which any other noun can stand. Thus καλόν ἐστι τὸ ἀποθανεῖν ὑπὲρ τῶν ἀδελφῶν, means the act of dying in behalf of the brethren is good, or, less literally, it is good to die in behalf of the brethren. Here τὸ ἀποθανεῖν is a noun in the nominative case, being the subject of the verb ἐστιν.

303. Of particular importance is the use of the articular infinitive after prepositions.


μετὰ τὸ λῦσαι, after the act of loosing
ἐν τῷ λύειν, in or during the process of loosing
διὰ τὸ λυθῆναι, on account of the fact of being loosed
μετὰ τὸ λυθῆναι, after the fact of being loosed
πρὸ τοῦ λῦσαι, before the act of loosing
εἰς τὸ λῦσαι, into the act of loosing

This last preposition, εἰς, is very frequently used with the articular infinitive to express purpose. If one act is done so as to get into another act, it is done for the purpose of that other act. Thus εἰς τὸ λῦσαι means in order to loose.

304. So far, the infinitive has been viewed as a noun. But it is also part of a verb, and as part of a verb it can have not only, as the participle can, adverbial modifiers and a direct object, but also, unlike the participle, a subject. The subject of the infinitive is in the accusative case.


(1) ἐν τῷ λέγειν αὐτοὺς ταῦτα, in (or during) the circumstance that they were saying these things = while they were saying these things. Here αὐτούς is the subject of the infinitive λέγειν and ταῦτα is the direct object of it.

(2) μετὰ τὸ ἀπολυθῆναι τὸν ὄχλον ἀπῆλθεν ὁ κύριος, after the circumstance that the crowd was dismissed, the Lord went away, or after the crowd had been dismissed, the Lord went away. The same thought might have been expressed by ἀπολυθέντος τοῦ ὄχλου ἀπῆλθεν ὁ κύριος.

(3) διὰ δὲ τὸ λέγεσθαι τοῦτο ὑπὸ τῶν ὄχλων ἀπῆλθεν ὁ ἀπόστολος, and on account of the circumstance that this was being said by the crowds, the apostle went away, or because this was being said by the crowds, the apostle went away.

(4) ταῦτα δὲ εἶπον ὑμῖν εἰς τὸ μὴ γενέσθαι ὑμᾶς δούλους τῆς ἁμαρτίας, and these things I said to you, with the tendency toward the result that you should not become servants of sin, or and these things I said to you in order that you might not become servants of sin.

305. It will be observed that the articular infinitive with prepositions is usually to be translated into English by a clause introduced by a conjunction. But it must not be supposed that the details of such translation have anything to do with the details of the Greek original. It is rather the total idea expressed by the Greek phrase which is transferred into a totally different idiom.

Indirect Discourse

306. Indirect discourse is sometimes expressed by the accusative and infinitive.

Example: ἔλεγον οἱ ἄνθρωποι αὐτὸν εἶναι τὸν προφήτην, the men were saying that he was the prophet.

307. But usually indirect discourse is expressed by ὅτι with the indicative. The usage is exactly like that in English except for the following important difference:

308. In indirect discourse in Greek, in part contrary to the English usage, the same mood and tense are retained as those which stood in the direct discourse lying back of the indirect.


(1) λέγει ὅτι βλέπει τὸν ἀπόστολον, he says that he sees the apostle. Here the direct discourse lying back of the indirect is I see the apostle, for such are the actual words of the speaker; such are the words which would have stood in the quotation if quotation marks had been used. In this sentence there is no difference between the Greek and the English usage.

(2) εἶπεν ὅτι βλέπει τὸν ἀπόστολον, he said that he saw the apostle. Here βλέπει is in the present tense because the direct discourse lying back of the indirect discourse is I see the apostle - those were the actual words of the speaker. The tense of the direct discourse, I see, is retained in the indirect discourse (though of course the person is changed). English, on the other hand, changes the tense in the indirect discourse, when the leading verb is in past time. Thus, although a perfectly literal translation was possible in (1) it is impossible in (2).

(3) εἶπεν ὁ μαθητὴς ὅτι εἶδεν τὸν ἀπόστολον, the disciple said that he had seen the apostle. Here the direct discourse was I saw the apostle, or I have seen the apostle. English throws the tense in the indirect discourse a step further back (had seen instead of saw or has seen); Greek retains the same tense.

(4) εἶπεν ὅτι ὄψεται τὸν ἀπόστολον, he said that he would see the apostle. The direct discourse was I shall see. English changes shall to would (or should with the first person); Greek retains the same tense.

Proper Names

309. Proper names (spelled with a capital letter) often have the article. Of course the article must be omitted in an English translation.

310. The declension of Ἰησοῦς, ὁ, Jesus, is as follows:


311. Certain nouns, referring to persons or things which instead of being only one of a class are quite unique, are treated as proper nouns, the article being either inserted or omitted. So θεός or ὁ θεός, God; πνεῦμα or τὸ πνεῦμα, the Spirit; κόσμος or ὁ κόσμος, the world; νόμος or ὁ νόμος, the Law.

312. Exercises


1. οὐκ ἔξεστίν σοι ἔχειν αὐτὴν.
2. κελεύσας δὲ τοὺς ὄχλους ἀπολυθῆναι ἐξῆλθεν εἰς τὴν ἔρημον.
3. οὐκ ἔστιν καλὸν λαβεῖν τὸν ἄρτον τῶν τέκνων καὶ ἐκβαλεῖν αὐτόν.
4. ἤρξατο δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς λέγειν τοῖς Ἰουδαίοις ὅτι δεῖ αὐτὸν ἀπελθεῖν.
5. μέλλει γὰρ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἔρχεσθαι ἐν δόξῃ μετὰ τῶν ἀγγέλων αὐτοῦ.
6. εἰ θέλει μετ' ἐμοῦ ἐλθεῖν, δεῖ αὐτὸν ἀποθανεῖν.
7. καλόν σοί ἐστιν εἰς ζωὴν εἰσελθεῖν.
8. ἐν δὲ τῷ λέγειν με τοῦτο ἔπεσε τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ἐπ' αὐτούς.
9. μετὰ δὲ τὸ ἐγερθῆναι τὸν κύριον ἐδίωξαν οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ.
10. πρὸ δὲ τοῦ βληθῆναι εἰς φυλακὴν τὸν προφήτην ἐβάπτιζον οἱ μαθηταὶ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ τοὺς ἐρχομένους πρὸς αὐτούς.
11. διὰ δὲ τὸ εἶναι αὐτὸν ἐκεἶ συνῆλθον οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι.
12. θέλω γὰρ ἰδεῖν ὑμᾶς, ἴνα λάβητε δῶρον ἀγαθόν, εἰς τὸ γενέσθαι ὑμᾶς μαθητὰς πιστούς.
13. ἀπέθανεν ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἰς τὸ σωθῆναι αὐτούς.
14. ἔπεμψεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν, ἵνα ἀποθάνῃ ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν, εἰς τὸ δοξάζειν ἡμᾶς τὸν σώσαντα ἡμᾶς.
15. εἶπεν ὁ τυφλὸς ὅτι βλέπει τοὺς ἀνθρώπους.
16. εἶπεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς ὅτι ἐλεύσεται ἐν τῇ βασιλεία αὐτοῦ.
17. ταῦτα ἔλεγεν ὁ ἀπόστολος ἔτι ὢν ἐν σαρκί, εἰς τὸ πιστεῦσαι εἰς τὸν Ἰησουν τοὺς ἀκούοντας.
18. κελεύσας ἡμᾶς ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐλθεῖν εἰς τὴν κώμην εὐθὺς ἀπέλυσε τὸν ὄχλον.
19. σωθέντες ὑπὸ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ ὀφείλομεν καὶ πάσχειν διὰ τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ.
20. ἐν τῷ πάσχειν ἡμᾶς ταῦτα ἔλεγον οἱ ἀδελφοὶ ὅτι βλέπουσι τὸν Ἰησοῦν.


1. While Jesus was preaching the gospel to the people, the Pharisees were commanding the soldiers to bring Him.
2. After Jesus had commanded the crowds to go away, His disciples came to Him.
3. If we wish to see Jesus, let us go into this village.
4. They said that it was lawful for them to take these garments.
5. They saw that it was necessary for the Son of Man to suffer these things.
6. After Jesus had said these things to the Pharisees, the multitudes went away.
7. On account of our not being disciples of Jesus, the ruler will command us to go away.
8. After salvation had been proclaimed to the people, Jesus taught His disciples.
9. We ought when we suffer these things to pray to the One who has saved us.
10. We shall be saved in that hour, because we have believed on the name of Jesus.
11. Those who had come into that village saw that Jesus was in the house.
12. Let us not sin, for God will not receive into His kingdom those who sin and do not turn to Him.
13. While these men were praying to God, the soldiers were persecuting the Church.
14. And when they had entered into this village, they said that they wished to see Jesus.
15. This woman came to see the works of the Christ.
16. The men were brought to Jesus Christ in order that He might heal them.