top Lesson 3
ἄγωI lead, bring, drive 
ἀκούωI hearCognate: acoustics
βάλλωI throw, castCognate: ballistics
βλέπωI see, look at
γινώσκωI knowCognate: Gnostics, diagnosis
γράφωI writeCognate: telegraph, graphics
διδάσκωI teach
εὑρίσκωI findCognate: eurika! Note the rough breathing
ἔχωI have, holddon't mix this up with echo (although they sound alike).
We get our word echo (reflected sound) from ἤχω which means "I wail."
θέλωI wish, willin classical Greek this word is ἐθέλω
λέγωI say, speakCognate: "-ology"
λαμβάνωI receive, takenot "take" as in "steal"; but responding to what is offered
λύωI loose, break, destroyCognate: analysis means to break up into its component parts
παύωI stop, ceaseCognate: pause
πέμπωI send
πιστεύωI believe
φεύγωI fleeCognate: fugitive
φυλάσσωI guardCognate: prophylactic. In classical Greek, this word is φυλάττω.


  1. Verbs are words which indicate an action or a state (e.g., jump, develop, climb, is, seems).
  2. When we looked at nouns we said the various forms of a particular noun are "declined" into case, gender, and number.
  3. Now we look at verbs which are "conjugated" or "parsed" into five characteristics: tense, mode, voice, person, and number.


  1. The tense of a verb in English indicates the time of action (present, past, future).
  2. Greek verbs indicate two things:
    1. time of action
      1. present
      2. past
      3. future
    2. kind of action
      1. spot action
      2. continuous action
      3. spot action with continuing results
    3. The most important feature of Greek verbs is the kind of action, not its time.
  3. Continuous action is shown in the Greek present tense and imperfect tense.
    1. You might think of these tenses as a video-camera view of the action. It is on-going.
    2. While the word γράφω may mean I write, it may also be translated: I am writing, I keep on writing. In some instances, it may be translated: I do write.
    3. The basic idea of the present tense is that of continuous or continual action.
    4. Thus "He is coughing all night" may mean that it was one steady, eight-hour cough (continuous), or it may mean the sessions of coughing were interspersed by periods of silence (continual).
  4. Spot action is shown in the aorist tense.
    1. You might think of this tense as a snapshot. "He hit me."
    2. In some instances, this tense may be used to describe something as a spot action, which may have taken quite a long time to do.
    3. For instance, "He built a house." It may have taken eight months to build the house, but that whole period of time is seen as one event.
    4. Further details on this tense will be indicated in future lessons.
  5. Another kind of action is found in the perfect tense. This tense indicates spot action with on-going results. "I have built a house with the on-going result that the house is still standing."


  1. When we talk about mode (some grammars call it mood), we usually indicate whether a particular verb action is actually happening or might happen.
  2. The indicative mode gives factual information from the perspective of the writer or speaker:
    1. "I ran to town."
    2. "I am breathing."
    3. "I will kiss you tonight."
  3. Other modes indicate the possibility of happening:
    1. "Run to town!"
    2. "I would be running if I knew the direction."
    3. "I might be able to finish my assignment."
    4. "I wish I could kiss you."


  1. When we talk about voice, we are indicating the relationship between the subject and the verb.
    1. Is the subject doing the action?
    2. Is the subject receiving the action?
  2. Active voice: We use the active voice if the subject is doing the action: "The dog bit the postman."
  3. Passive voice: We use the passive voice if the subject receives the action: "The dog was bitten by the postman."
  4. Note: in each of these two sentences, "the dog" is the subject.
    1. In the first sentence the subject (the dog) is doing the biting
    2. But in the second sentence, the subject (the dog) is receiving the biting.
  5. Unlike English, Greek has another voice which we will study later.
  6. Some students confuse passive voice with past tense.
    1. The expression past tense indicates action which happened in the past.
    2. The passive voice means that the subject is receiving the action of the verb.
  7. Examples:
    1. Bill found a ball in his yard. The subject is Bill and he is doing the action—thus the voice of the verb is Active.
    2. Bill was found by the police. The subject is Bill and the police are doing the action—thus the voice of the verb is Passive.
    3. When the police found Bill, he was returned to his mother.
      1. There are two clauses (thus two verbs) here.
      2. In the first clause, the subject "police" is doing the action—thus the voice of the first verb is Active.
      3. In the second clause, the subject "he" (referring back to Bill) is receiving the action—thus the voice of the second verb is Passive.
    4. Bill lost his ball glove. The subject is doing the action—thus the verb is Active.
    5. Dad bought Bill a new glove. Again the verb is Active.
    6. Bill's old glove was found in the dog house. The subject glove is not doing the action—thus the verb is Passive.
    7. The glove was retrieved by Dad. Passive.
    8. The old glove will never be used again. Passive.


  1. In English, we must add a pronoun or noun to a verb in order to clarify who is doing the action.
  2. The verb "are running" may mean "we are running," "you are running," or "they are running."
  3. In Greek, the designation of who is the subject is indicated by attaching a personal ending (suffix) to the end of the stem of a verb.
  4. For example, γραφ- is the stem of the verb for the action of writing.
  5. By adding the appropriate personal endings, we discover who is writing.
    1. Thus γράφω means I write.
    2. The stem (or root) of the word is γραφ-.
    3. When we add the personal ending , we discover that the subject, "I", is doing the writing.
    4. You will never find the stem by itself in any sentence—it will always have a personal ending.
    5. For instance, γράφει means he writes.
      1. Thus, the personal ending -ει indicates that the subject is the personal pronoun he, she, or it.
      2. You will learn the endings a little later in this lesson.
    6. Sometimes, the subject is already identified: ἄνθρωπος γράφει means a man writes.
      1. Don't translate it a man he writes.
      2. The word "he" is not necessary this time, because you have already identified who the personal ending refers to (a man) and you don't need the pronoun.
      3. Remember that a pronoun is a substitute for a noun.
      4. If we know the noun, we don't need the substitute.
      5. But we will still need the personal ending -ει.


  1. Number indicates singular or plural.
  2. In Classical Greek, there is a form for dual referring to a pair of people or things; but it does not appear in the New Testament.


Present Indicative Active Forms
γράφω I write
1stγράφωI writeγράφομενwe write
2ndγράφειςyous writeγράφετε youp write
3rdγράφειhe/she/it writesγράφουσιthey write

  1. Notice that each Greek verb is made up of three elements:
    1. the stem (γραφ-)
    2. the thematic vowel ο/ε (sometimes called the connecting vowel)
    3. the ending
  2. Examples of the thematic vowel:
    1. In some instances, the thematic vowel is hidden in the ending: γράφω
    2. The stem (or root) is always the same: γράφ-
    3. The thematic vowel is either ο or ε.
    4. It follows this rule:
      1. ο always comes before the letters μ or ν
      2. while ε comes before the others.
    5. This rule will make more sense later.
    6. You will note that there are apparent exceptions to this rule in the first and last words: γράφω and γράφουσι.
    7. This discrepancy came about because the original pattern was:
      γράφομιγράφομενhere the rule works

    8. In the process of time, some of these words experienced contraction.
      1. Similarly, in English, "do not" became "don't."
      2. In Greek,
        • -ομι became
        • -εσι became -εις
        • -ετι became -ει
        • -οντσι became -ουσι.
      3. Some of the rules of contraction will be explored in later lessons.
    9. You don't have to learn the original pattern. Instead, concentrate on the contracted pattern.
    10. Learn the endings -ω, -εις, -ει, -ομεν, -ετε, -ουσι.
    11. They sound like "Oh, ice, eye, ah-men, et-uh, oo-see"
  3. The endings indicate both person and number.
    1. The first person is the one closest at hand: e.g., I or we.
    2. The second person is the next nearest one: e.g., you. In Old English, the word thou was used for the second person singular and ye for plural.
    3. The third person is the furthest one away: e.g., he, she, it, they.
  4. Number indicates singular or plural.


  1. To parse a verb means to indicate its characteristics of tense, mode, voice, person, and number.
  2. Thus γράφεις is parsed by saying it is present, indicative, active, second person, singular.
  3. The stem of each one of these verbs is found by removing the final ω from the Greek vocabulary word.
  4. Add the appropriate personal endings to form the meaning you want.
  5. You should memorize the endings
    -ω, -εις, -ει, -ομεν, -ετε, -ουσι.
  6. When a sentence has no subject indicated, use the pronoun found within the personal ending of the verb.
    1. Thus βλέπει ἄνθρωπον means he sees a man.
    2. You will notice that the word ἄνθρωπον is in the ACC case, so it cannot be the subject of the sentence.
    3. Thus you must not translate it: A man sees.
    4. If the subject (a word in the NOM case) is identified, you do not need to repeat the pronoun.
    5. Thus ἀπόστολος βλέπει ἄνθρωπον means An apostle sees a man.
    6. Do not translate it An apostle he sees a man.
    7. The word he is not necessary because you already know the subject.
    8. Pronouns are substitutes for missing subjects.


  1. In order to translate effectively, here is some help
  2. Learn all the words given in the vocabulary.
  3. Learn all the forms as they are presented in each lesson.
  4. Note the significance of the various nouns in the translation sentences—are they singular or plural? What case are they?
  5. Note the tense, mode, voice, person, and number of each verb.
  6. Read the Greek sentence aloud.
  7. Note familiar and cognate words. Cognate words are words that are similar in both Greek and English.
  8. Group words together by their endings (i.e., keep a group of words in the GEN case together).
  9. Do not jump around in the sentence, follow the logical order.
  10. The most emphatic word is at the beginning of a sentence or clause; the next most important is at the end of that sentence or clause.
  11. Consult a dictionary or lexicon as a last resort.
  12. Put your English translation above each Greek word. If you are not sure of a particular word, leave it and do the others. Then come back and try the ones you left blank.
  13. Locate the noun in the NOM case—that is probably your subject. If there is no NOM noun, maybe the verb contains the pronoun idea.
  14. For other nouns, check the case.
    1. If it is in the GEN case, put either of/from in front of your English word.
    2. Later you can consider which of your options (e.g., of a river or from a river) works best.
    3. If it is in the DAT case, write in/by/to in front of your English word (most often it will be to).
    4. If the noun is in the ACC case, it will probably be the direct object.
  15. If it is still unclear, copy out the parts of the sentence which are clear.
    1. Then leave the sentence to work on another one.
    2. When you are done, come back to the sentences which were incomplete.
    3. Reread the sentence in Greek until it becomes clear.
  16. Translate into clear and accurate English.
  17. If the exercise has an English word in brackets, it means that the Greek word to the left was not included in the vocabulary, so its meaning is given to you.

Translation examples

  1. ἄνθρωπος γράφει.
    1. A man writes.
    2. Not: The man writes.
    3. If there is no article "the" in the Greek sentence, then translate it "a" in the singular.
    4. Note also, it is not A man he writes.
    5. If you know the subject, drop the "he."
  2. ἄνθρωποι γράφουσι ἀποστόλῳ.
    1. Men write to an apostle.
    2. "Men" is the subject, not "apostle," because "men" is in the NOM case.
    3. γράφουσι is the third person plural "they write" -- that's another clue.
    4. "Apostle" is in the DAT case, note the iota-subscript.
    5. Technically this word could be translated "for an apostle," "at an apostle," "with an apostle," "in an apostle."
    6. The context will make the sense clear.
    7. Probably "to" or "for" makes the most sense.
  3. δοῦλος ἀνθρώπου λέγει λόγον.
    1. A slave of a man speaks a word.
    2. "Slave" must be the subject because it is the only noun in the NOM case.
    3. "Man" is in the GEN case and thus the need for "of," "from," or even "off of."
    4. Probably "of" is best.
    5. Be sure not to put a "the" in front of "man."
    6. "Speaks" is in the third person singular form.
    7. "Word" is in the ACC case.
    8. It receives the action.
    9. It is the direct object.
  4. ἀνθρώπου δούλος λόγον λέγει.
    1. A slave of a man speaks a word.
    2. This is translated just like the previous sentence.
    3. The emphasis is different, but the literal translation is exactly the same no matter what the word order is like.
    4. So, to translate a sentence like this, find the NOM case and verb.
    5. Admittedly man is at the front of the sentence, but only slave is in the NOM case.
  5. In the translation exercise below, the little words (ὁ, οἱ, τοῦ, τοῦς, τὸν, τῷ, τῶν, τοῖς) all mean the. We will study them in the next lesson.

Translate the following:

  1. ὁ ἀδελφὸς τοῦ ἀγγέλου βλέπει τοῦς ἀποστόλους.
  2. γινώσκετε τὸν γάμον τοῦ δούλου.
  3. ἄνθρωποι λύουσι τὸν θρόνον λίθοις.
  4. εὑρίσκομεν ἄρτον καὶ οἶνον τῷ οἶκῳ.
  5. ἔχω υἱόν.
  6. λέγω λόγους τοῖς ὄχλοις καὶ βάλλεις λίθους ἐν [in] τῷ ποταμῷ.
  7. λαμβάνομεν νόμους τῶν ἀποστόλων.
  8. ὁ υἱος παύει χρόνον καὶ ὁ ὄχλος παύει τὸν γάμον.
  9. πέμπoμεν ἀρτον, καρπὸν, καὶ οἶνον τοῖς δούλοις.
  10. οἱ ὄχλοι φεύγουσι καὶ οἱ φίλοι τοῦ ἀγγέλου ἄγει τοὺς δούλους τῷ τόπῳ τοῦ θρόνου.