Vasile Stancu

New Testament Greek for Beginners

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


Contract Verbs

313. Vocabulary

ἀγαπάω I love ; (the most frequent and the loftiest word for I love in the New Testament)
ἀκολουθέω I follow ; (takes the dative)
Γαλιλαία, ἡ Galilee
δηλόω I show, I make manifest
εὐλογέω I bless
εὐχαριστέω I give thanks
ζητέω I seek
θεωρέω I behold
καλέω, καλέσω, ἐκάλεσα, -, -, ἐκαλήθην I call
λαλέω I speak
παρακαλέω I exhort, I comfort
περιπατέω I walk
ποιέω I do, I make
προσκυνέω I worship (usually takes the dative)
σταυρόω I crucify
τηρέω I keep
τιμάω I honor
φιλέω I love ; (denotes a love akin to friendship. The word is much less frequent in the New Testament than ἀγαπάω)
χώρα, ἡ a country

Rules of Contraction (*1)

(*1) The following formulation of the rules of contraction is, in essentials, that which is given in White, Beginner’s Greek Book, 1895, pp. 75f. It has been used here by kind permission of Messrs. Ginn and Company.

314. Two vowels or a vowel and a diphthong are often united into a single long vowel or diphthong. The process by which they are united is called contraction.

315. It must not be supposed, however, that contraction always takes place when two vowels or a vowel and a diphthong (even in the combinations set forth in the following rules) come together within a word.

316. The rules of contraction are as follows:

I. Vowel with Vowel

1. An open and a close vowel, when the open vowel comes first, are united in the diphthong which is composed of the two vowels in question.

Example: ε-ι makes ει. It must be observed, however, that when the close vowel comes before the open vowel, a diphthong is never formed. Thus ἱ-ε (for example, in ἱ-ε-ρόν), is always two syllables, never a diphthong.

2. Two like vowels form the common long.

Examples: α-α makes long α; ε-η makes η; ο-ω makes ω.

3. But ε-ε makes ει and ο-ο makes ου.
This rule forms an exception to rule 2.

4. An ο-sound (ο or ω) overcomes α, ε, or η (whether the ο-sound comes first or second), and forms ω.

Examples: α-ο makes ω ; ε-ω makes ω.

5. But ε-ο and ο-ε make ου. This rule forms an exception to rule 4.

6. When α and ε or η come together, whichever one comes first overcomes the other, and forms its own long.

Examples: α-ε and α-η make long α ; ε-α makes η.

II. Vowel with Diphthong

1. A vowel disappears by absorption before a diphthong that begins with the same vowel.

Examples: ε-ει makes ει; ο-ου makes ου.

2. When a vowel comes before a diphthong that does not begin with the same vowel, it is contracted with the diphthong’s first vowel. The diphthong’s second vowel disappears, unless it is ι, in which case it becomes subscript.

Examples: α-ει makes (α is first contracted with ε in accordance with I. 6, and then the ι becomes subscript); α-ου makes ω (α is contracted with ο by I. 4, and the υ disappears); ε-ου makes ου (ε is contracted with ο by I. 5, and υ disappears).

3. But ο-ει and ο-ῃ make οι.

III. Accent of Contract Syllables

1. If either of the contracted syllables had an accent, the resulting syllable receives an accent. If the resulting syllable is a penult or an antepenult, the general rules of accent (see §11) will always tell which kind of accent it has. If the resulting syllable is an ultima it has a circumflex.

Examples: (1) φιλέομεν makes φιλουμεν, in accordance with I 5. Since one of the two syllables that united to make ου had an accent, ου must have an accent. The general rules of accent declare that if the ultima is short, a long penult, if accented at all, must have the circumflex. Hence φιλοῦμεν is correct. (2) τιμαόμεθα makes τιμωμεθα in accordance with I. 4. Since one of the two syllables that united to make ω had an accent, ω must have an accent. But in accordance with the general rules of accent only an acute can stand on an antepenult. Therefore τιμώμεθα is correct. (3) δηλόεις makes δηλοις in accordance with II. 3.

Since one of the two syllables that united to make οι had an accent, οι must have an accent. The general rules of accent will permit either an acute or a circumflex to stand on a long ultima. But the present rule gives special guidance. Therefore δηλοῖς is correct.

2. If neither of the contracted syllables had an accent, the resulting syllable receives none.

Example: ἐφίλεε makes ἐφιλει in accordance with I. 3. Since neither of the two syllables that unite to make ει is accented, ει receives no accent, and ἐφίλει is correct.

Present System of Contract Verbs

317. The student should write out in the uncontracted forms the present system (present tense in all moods studied thus far, and imperfect tense) of τιμάω, I honor, φιλέω, I love, and δηλόω, I make manifest, and should then write the contract form opposite to each uncontracted form, applying the rules of contraction. The results can be tested by the conjugation of these verbs which is given in §590, 591, 592.

318. It should be observed that there are two exceptions to the rules: (1) the present infinitive active of verbs in -αω is contracted from -άειν to -ᾶν instead of to -av, and (2) the present infinitive active of verbs in -οω is contracted from ο-ειν to -οῦν instead of to -οῖν.

319. Contraction is carried out in all the forms of the declension of the participles.

320. In general, the uncontracted forms of these verbs in -άω, -έω and -όω do not occur in the New Testament. The reason why the uncontracted forms, and not the contract forms, of the present active indicative first person singular are given in the lexicons is that the uncontracted forms must be known before the verb can be conjugated, since it makes a great difference for the conjugation whether τιμῶ, for example, is contracted from τιμάω, τιμέω, or τιμόω.

Principal Parts of Verbs in -άω, -έω and -όω

321. Verbs whose stems end in a vowel regularly lengthen that vowel (α as well as ε being lengthened to η) before the tense suffixes (e.g. the -σο/ε the future system, the -σα of the first aorist system, and the -θε of the aorist passive system). Thus the principal parts of τιμάω, so far as we have learned them, are τιμάω, τιμήσω, -, -, ἐτιμήθην (not τιμάω, τιμάσω, etc.); the principal parts of φιλέω are φιλέω, φιλήσω, etc.; and the principal parts of δηλόω are δηλόω, δηλώσω, etc. It should be observed that this lengthening of the final vowel of the stem of these "contract" verbs has nothing to do with contraction. The contraction appears only in the present system.

322. It is very important that the student should learn to reverse the process involved in this rule. Thus, if a form φανερωθείς be found in the Greek-English exercises, the student should first say to himself that the -θε in φανερωθείς is evidently the sign of the aorist passive system. The verb stem without the tense suffix would be φανερω-. But since the final vowel of the verb stem is lengthened before the tense suffix -θε, the verb stem was φανερο- and the verb was φανερόω. Or if a form ἠρωτήθη be found, the student should first say to himself that the ἠρωτήθη is evidently the ending of the aorist passive indicative, third person singular, like ἐλύθη. But the aorist passive indicative has the augment, which if the verb begins with a vowel consists in the lengthening of that vowel. Therefore, to get the verb, the η at the beginning of ἠρωτήθη must be shortened. But η is the long of either α or ε. It cannot be determined, therefore, whether the verb began with α or ε. Again, the η just before the -θη in ἠρωτήθη was the lengthened form of the verb stem. The verb stem therefore ended in either α or ε. Accordingly there are four possibilities as to the verb from which ἠρωτήθη may be found to have come; ἠρωτήθη may be found to have come from ἀρωτέω, ἀρωτάω, ἐρωτέω, or ἐρωτάω. Trying each of these in the lexicon we discover that the last is correct.

323. καλέω is an exception to the rule just given. It does not lengthen the final ε of the stem before the σ of the future and aorist systems. The aorist passive, moreover, is irregularly formed.

324. Exercises


1. οὐκ εὐλογήσει ὁ θεὸς τὸν μὴ περιπατοῦντα κατὰ τὰς ἐντολὰς τοῦ Ἰησοῦ.
2. οἱ ἀγαπώμενοι ὑπὸ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ ἀγαπώσι τὸν ἀγαπώντα αὐτούς.
3. λαλοῦντος τοῦ Ἰησοῦ τοῖς ἀκολουθοῦσιν ἤρξατο ὁ ἄρχων παρακαλεῖν αὐτὸν ἀπελθεῖν.
4. ἀκολουθήσαντες τῷ λαλήσαντι ταῦτα ζητήσωμεν τὸν οἶκον αὐτοῦ.
5. εἰ ἀγαπῶμεν τὸν θεόν, τηρῶμεν τὰς ἐντολὰς αὐτοῦ καὶ ποιῶμεν τὰ λαλούμενα ἡμῖν ὑπὸ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ.
6. τοῦτο ποιήσαντος τοῦ Ἰησοῦ ἐλάλει περὶ αὐτοῦ ὁ θεραπευθεὶς τῷ ἀκολουθοῦντι ὄχλῳ.
7. ἐθεώρουν οἱ ἀπόστολοι τὰ ἔργα τὰ ποιούμενα ὐπὸ Ἰησοῦ ἐν τῷ περιπατεῖν αὐτοὺς σὺν αὐτῷ.
8. μετὰ τὸ βληθῆναι εἰς φυλακὴν τὸν προφήτην οὐκέτι περιεπάτει ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐν τῇ χώρᾳ ἐκείνῃ.
9. οἱ ἀγαπῶντες τὸν θεὸν ποιοῦσι τὰς ἐντολὰς αὐτοῦ.
10. ταῦτα ἐποίουν τῷ Ἰησοῦ καὶ οἱ θεραπευθέντες ὑπ' αὐτοῦ.
11. ἐζήτουν αὐτὸν οἱ ὄχλοι, ἵνα θεωρῶσι τὰ ποιούμενα ὑπ' αὐτοῦ.
12. οὐ φιλοῦσι τὸν Ἰησοῦν οἱ μὴ ποιοῦντες τὰς ἐντολὰς αὐτοῦ.
13. ἀγαπῶμεν τὸν θεὸν ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ἡμῶν ἀγαπῶντες καὶ τοὺς ἀδελφούς.
14. ταῦτα ἐλάλησεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς τοῖς ἀκολουθοῦσιν αὐτῷ ἔτι περιπατῶν μετ' αὐτῶν ἐν τῇ χώρᾳ τῶν Ἰουδαίων.
15. ἐὰν μὴ περιπατῶμεν κατὰ τὰς ἐντολὰς τοῦ Ἰησοῦ, οὐ θεωρήσομεν τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ.
16. μετὰ τὸ καλέσαι αὐτοὺς τὸν Ἰησοῦν οὐκέτι περιεπάτουν ἐν ταῖς ὁδοῖς τοῦ πονηροῦ οὐδὲ ἐποίουν τὰ πονηρά.
17. ταῦτα ἐποιεῖτε ἡμῖν διὰ τὸ ἀγαπᾶν ὑμᾶς τὸν καλέσαντα ὑμᾶς εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν αὐτοῦ.
18. τῷ Ἰησοῦ λαλήσαντι ταῦτα μετὰ τὸ ἐγερθῆναι ἐκ νεκρῶν προσεκύνησαν οἱ κληθέντες ὑπ' αὐτου.
19. ἐθεώρουν τὸν Ἰησοῦν σταυρούμενον ὑπὸ τῶν στρατιωτῶν αἱ ἀκολουθήσασαι αὐτῷ ἐκ τῆς Γαλιλαίας.
20. οὐ θεωρήσομεν αὐτὸν ἐὰν μὴ ἀκολουθῶμεν αὐτῷ περιπατοῦντι ἐν τῇ Γαλιλαίᾳ.


1. Those things spake Jesus to those who were following Him out of Galilee.
2. I was beholding Him who had loved me and died in behalf of me.
3. Let us worship the One who does these things and bless His holy name.
4. Those who were beholding Him as He was walking in Galilee were saying that they did not wish to follow Him.
5. Having followed Jesus as He was walking in Galilee, they beheld Him also after He had been raised up from the dead.
6. Let us seek the One who has spoken to us words of hope.
7. Let us bless the name of the One who walked with us in the world and was crucified in behalf of us.
8. If thou folio west Him who does these things, thou wilt behold Him in His glory.
9. If we do not love those who bless us we will not love those who do evil things.
10. He loves us and makes manifest to us His glory, in order that we may bless God for ever.
11. While the multitudes were following Jesus and were hearing the things which were being spoken by Him, the rulers were saying that they did not love Him.
12. I will show to those who have followed me the things which have been shown to me by Jesus.
13. These are those who love Jesus and beheld His works and were called into His kingdom.
14. His brother exhorted him to follow Jesus in order that he might be with Him for ever.
15. This parable we speak to those who love God and keep His commandments.
16. This is the child that blesses God and loves Him.