Vasile Stancu

New Testament Greek for Beginners

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


The Imperative Mood

403. Vocabulary

ἁγιάζω I hallow, I sanctify
ἀγρός a field
γῆ, γῆς, ἡ earth, land (γῆ has the circumflex accent throughout, because there has been contraction)
ἐγγύςadv. near
ἐλεέω I have mercy on, I pity
ὅσος, -η, -ονrel. adj., as great as, as much as, as many as
ὅστις, ἥτις, ὅ τι(plur. οἵτινες) indef. rel. pron., whoever, whichever, whatever; (scarcely used except in the nominative case; sometimes used almost like the simple relative pronoun ὅς)
οὖς, ὠτός, τό an ear
ὀφθαλμός, ὁ an eye
σκότος, σκότους, τό darkness
ὕδωρ, ὕδατος, τό water
φῶς, φωτός, τό light

404. The imperative mood occurs in the New Testament almost exclusively in the present and aorist tenses.

405. The present imperative, active, middle, and passive, is formed on the present stem; the aorist imperative, active and middle, on the aorist stem; and the aorist passive imperative, on the aorist passive stem. There is of course no augment. See §245.

406. The imperative mood has no first person, but only second and third.

407. The present active imperative of λύω is as follows:

IIλῦεloose (thou)λύετεloose (ye)
IIIλυέτωlet him looseλυέτωσανlet them loose

408. The present middle imperative of λύω is as follows:

IIλύουloose (thou) for thyselfλύεσθεloose (ye) for yourselves
IIIλυέσθωlet him loose for himselfλυέσθωσανlet them loose for themselves

409. The present passive imperative of λύω is as follows:

IIλύουbe (thou) loosedλύεσθεbe (ye) loosed
IIIλυέσθωlet him be loosedλυέσθωσανlet them be loosed

410. It will be observed that the present active and the present middle and passive imperative have the variable vowel ο/ε.

411. The aorist active imperative of λύω is as follows:

IIλῦσονloose (thou)λύσατεloose (ye)
IIIλυσάτωlet him looseλυσάτωσανlet them loose

412. The aorist middle imperative of λύω is as follows:

IIλῦσαιloose (thou) for thyselfλύσασθεloose (ye) for yourselves
IIIλυσάσθωlet him loose for himselfλυσάσθωσανlet them loose for themselves

413. It will be observed that the aorist active and the aorist middle imperative have the characteristic -σα of the aorist stem. This -σα is disguised only in λῦσον, the second aorist active imperative, second person singular.

414. The aorist passive imperative of λύω is as follows:

IIλύθητιbe (thou) loosedλύθητεbe (ye) lossed
IIIλυθήτωlet him be loosedλυθήτωσανlet them be loosed

415. It will be observed that the aorist passive imperative has the characteristic -θε of the aorist passive stem. This -θε is lengthened to -θη.

416. The second aorist active imperative of λείπω, I leave, is as follows:

IIλίπεleave (thou)λίπετεleave (ye)
IIIλιπέτωlet him leaveλιπέτωσανlet them leave

417. The second aorist middle imperative of λείπω is as follows:


418. It will be observed that the second aorist active and the second aorist middle imperative are formed on the second aorist stem. They have the same endings as the present imperative.

419. The second aorist middle imperative second person singular (e.g. λιποῦ) always has an irregular accent, instead of following the rule of recessive accent.

Further, the forms εἰπέ, ἐλθέ, from λέγω and ἔρχομαι, have an irregular accent.

420. The Tenses in the Imperative Mood

There is no distinction of time between the tenses in the imperative mood. The aorist imperative refers to the action without saying anything about its duration or repetition, while the present imperative refers to it as continuing or as being repeated. Thus λῦσον means simply loose while λῦε means continue loosing, or the like. Ordinarily it is impossible to bring out the difference in an English translation. Compare §283.

421. The Use of the Imperative

The imperative mood is used in commands.

Examples: ἀκούσατε τοὺς λόγους μου, hear my words; ὁ ἔχων ὦτα ἀκουέτω, let him who has ears hear. It will be observed that the English language has, properly speaking, no imperative of the third person. Hence in translating the Greek imperative of the third person we have to use the helping verb let, so that the noun or pronoun that is the subject of the imperative in Greek becomes the object of the helping verb in English.

422. Prohibition

Prohibition (the negative of a command) is expressed by the present imperative with μή or by the aorist subjunctive with μή.

Examples: (1) μὴ λῦε or μὴ λύσῃς, do not loose (μὴ λύῃς or μὴ λῦσον would be wrong); (2) μὴ λυέτω or μὴ λύσῃ, let him not loose; (3) μὴ λύετε or μὴ λύσητε, do not loose; (4) μὴ λυέτωσαν sau μὴ λύσωσιν, let them not loose.

423. Present Imperative of εἰμί

The present imperative of εἰμί, I am, is as follows:

IIἴσθιbe (thou)ἔσθεbe (ye)
IIIἔστωlet him beἔστωσανlet them be

424. Exercises


1. ἐὰν δὲ μὴ ἀκούσῃ, παράλαβε μετὰ σοῦ ἕνα ἢ δύο.
2. ὃ ἐὰν ἴδητε τὸν Χριστὸν ποιοῦντα, τοῦτο ποιήσατε καὶ ὑμεῖς.
3. κύριε, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς, οὐ γὰρ ἐποιήσαμεν ἃ ἐκέλευσας.
4. μὴ εἰσέλθῃ εἰς τὴν πόλιν ὁ ἐν τῷ ὄρει.
5. οὕτως οὖν προσεύχεσθε ὑμεῖς Πάτερ ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς· Ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου· ἐλθάτω (*1) ἡ βασιλεία σου· γενηθήτω (*2) τὸ θέλημά σου, ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς.

(*1) A first aorist ending is here placed on a second aorist stem, as very frequently in New Testament Greek. See §186, footnote.
(*2) The aorist passive of γίνομαι is the same in meaning as the aorist middle, the verb being deponent throughout. The meaning of the verb here is to take place, to be done.

6. ἀπόλυσον οὖν, κύριε, τὰ πλήθη· ἤδη γὰρ ἔρχεται ἡ νύξ.
7. μηδεὶς ἐξέλθη εἰς τὰ ὄρη, προσευξάσθωσαν δὲ πάντες τῷ πατρὶ αὐτῶν τῷ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς.
8. λάβων αὐτὸν ἄγε πρὸς ἡμᾶς.
9. μηδενὶ εἴπητε ὃ εἴδετε.
10. ἐγέρθητε (*3) καὶ μὴ φοβεῖσθε· ὁ γὰρ κύριος σώσει ὐμᾶς.

(*3) The passive of ἐγείρω is frequently used as a deponent meaning I arise, I rise.

11. πάντα οὖν ὅσα ἐὰν εἴπωσιν ὑμῖν ποιήσατε καὶ τηρεῖτε, κατὰ δὲ τὰ ἔργα αὐτῶν μὴ ποιεῖτε· λέγουσιν γὰρ καὶ οὐ ποιοῦσιν.
12. ἔλεγεν αὐτῷ μαθητής τις Κύριε, κέλευσόν με ἐλθεῖν πρὸς σὲ ἐπὶ τὰ ὕδατα. ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν Ἐλθέ.
13. ὅσα ἐὰν ἀκούσητε τοῖς ὠσὶν ὑμῶν καὶ ἴδητε τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς ὑμῶν εἴπετε καὶ τοῖς ἔθνεσιν.
14. ἃ ἐὰν ἀκούσητε ἐν τῷ σκότει κηρύξατε ἐν τῷ φωτί.
15. μακάριος ὅστις φάγεται ἄρτον ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τοῦ θεοῦ.
16. ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ πόλει εἰσὶν ἱερεῖς πονηροί, οἵτινες οὐ ποιοῦσι τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ.
17. ἐξελθόντες εἰπετε πᾶσι τοῖς ἔθνεσι τοῖς ἐπὶ πάσης τῆς γῆς ἃ ἐποίησεν ὁ θεὸς τοῖς ἀγαπῶσιν αὐτόν.
18. ὅταν κληθῇς ὑπό τινος, πορεύθητι.
19. ὅταν ἴδητε ταῦτα γινόμενα, γνώσεσθε ὅτι ἐγγύς ἐστιν ἡ κρίσις.
20. ἴδετε πάντες ὑμεῖς τὰς χεῖράς μου· οὐ γὰρ ἐποίησαν αὗται αἱ χεῖρες ὧν λέγουσιν ἐκεῖνοι οὐδέν.


1. Speak ye to all the Gentiles the things which I have spoken to you.
2. Do not say in your heart that ye do not wish to do the things which the king commands.
3. Let no one fear those evil priests, for whoever does the will of God shall go out with joy.
4. Let Him who has saved us through His blood have mercy on us in these evil days.
5. Whosoever loves God shall come to the light, but he who does not love Him shall walk in the darkness.
6. As many soever things as ye do, do in the light, in order that the name of God may be hallowed.
7. Let these men be baptized, for Christ has saved them through His word.
8. Pray to thy Father in heaven, for He will do whatsoever things thou askest.
9. Let not the king say this, for we are all faithful men.
10. Let us not do the things which the evil men said to us.
11. Have mercy on all men, for the Lord has had mercy on you.
12. As many things as are good, do; but as many things as are evil, do not even speak concerning these.
13. The disciples asked the apostle what they should eat, and the apostle said to them, "Go into the villages and eat the bread which is in them".
14. Do not begin to say in yourselves that you do not know the truth.
15. Let those who are in the fields not return into their houses.
16. Lord, save me, for I have broken thy commandments.