Introduction to New Testament Greek

by Nate Wilson


Once you know the alphabet, it is easier to work with the Greek text than to work with transliterations. The Greek alphabet along with equivalent English letters or pronunciations is as follows:


a = a (short)

b = b

g = g

d = d

e = e (short)

z = z

h = a (long)

q = th

i = i (short)

k = k

l = l

m = m

n = n

x = x

o = o (short)

p = p

r = r

s = s

t = t

u = u (ooh)

f = f

c = ch

y = ps

w = o (long)



· If a word ends in “s,” the s changes in shape to look like s.

· If a vowel is at the beginning of a word, it will have either ‘ or ’ over it. The ’ indicates to pronounce the vowel like we normally would (beginning with a glottal stop), but the ‘ indicates to pronounce the vowel with an “h” before it (i.e. ‘a= “ha.”).

· One other thing, two gammas in a row (gg) are pronounced “ng.”


Verbs are the key to Greek. They indicate actions or state of being, but they can also be used like nouns. They are packed with the following attributes:




First Person



Second Person

You (Thee)


Third Person

He, She, It



· Present: indicates continuous action, usually in the present time, usually ongoing – not completed.

· Aorist: indicates a one-time act, often used as a sort of past tense, action is completed

· Perfect: indicates an action in the past which has results continuing into the present. (There is also a rarely-used Pluperfect which indicates action done in the distant past which affected events between it and the present, but not necessarily the present.)

· Future: simple or progressive action in the future

· Imperfect: Progressive or repeated action in the past



· Active: The subject is acting upon the object

· Middle: The subject is acting upon itself

· Passive: The subject is being acted upon

However, occasionally, a verb will be written in middle-voice form, yet not be definite as to which voice it is, in which case, it is labeled “Deponent” (Dep.).



Greek verbs also have a mood, which gives more information about the action. The three basic moods are:

· Indicative: Statement of fact or question

· Subjunctive: indicates contingency, potential, or uncertainty (There is also an Optative mood which is similar, but weaker, and rarely used.)

· Imperative: Direct command or prohibition

NOTE: Some verbal forms, such as the verb of being and the infinitive (“to ____”) do not have all of these attributes.


Nouns indicate a person, place, or thing. Greek nouns carry the following attributes:




The following cases are used in New Testament Greek to indicate the relationship of a word to other words in the sentence:

· Nominative: designation; indicates a subject

· Dative: usually translated with “to,” indicating motion toward, location, or instrumentality/means

· Genitive: usually translated with “of,” indicates a possessive or description, also sometimes a separation

· Accusative: limitation; Indicates an object

· Vocative: An exclamation or direct address (rarely used)

NOTE: The Greek Participle (a verbal adjective) carries all the properties of both a noun and a verb and can be used for just about anything, depending on its context.

Click here to download a quiz on the Greek alphabet and to learn your first 100 vocabulary words! This is a 258KB zip file that you install in your computer. Instructions are included.


Return to Nate & Paula Wilson's Homepage