top Introduction
  1. The Apostle Paul says that God sent forth His Son at the "fullness of time" (Gal. 5:4).
    1. There were many factors which contributed to making this time ideal.
    2. There were Roman roads which allowed for quicker transportation.
    3. There were many merchant ships which moved both goods and people around the Mediterranean Sea.
    4. There was a common ruling body.
    5. But, most importantly, there was a common language: Greek.
  2. You might think that almost any language would be suitable for communicating the Gospel, but such was not the case.
    1. It is true that Aramaic was spoken by Jesus and His disciples, but it was too local.
    2. A religion that was destined by God to reach the world needed to be communicated in a world-wide language.
    3. Classical Greek would not be suitable because it was the language of the upper-class in wealth, culture, and refinement.
    4. Christianity had a message of hope to the uneducated, the poor, and the oppressed.
    5. Classical Greek could never reach the general populace.
    6. At the same time, the upper-class could still understand the common Greek.
    7. Latin, at this time, was spoken by only a few in what is now Italy.
  3. The Greek language was ideal because of its inflection, exact vocabulary, precision of tenses, and its clarity.
    1. Take the Hebrew language, for instance, as a contrast with Greek.
    2. When you read Psalm 119, you quickly suppose that the psalmist must have written this psalm with a Hebrew thesaurus on his lap.
    3. Look at all the different words he uses to refer to Scripture.
    4. There really does not seem to be much distinction between these words.
    5. They are used interchangeably.
    6. Even in English we use one word which may have two different meanings.
    7. Do you remember the child's joke: "Who has more power than Superman?" The answer: "A policeman, he can stop a whole line of cars with one hand."
    8. The Greeks, however, distinguished power as strength from power as authority by using two different words.
    9. They were never used interchangeably.
  4. Prior to the writing of the New Testament, Greece was not a unified country.
    1. There were many autonomous city-states separated by rugged terrain.
    2. In order to maintain their individuality, they fought with each other.
    3. Each area had its own dialect and orthography (way of forming the letters).
    4. The prominant dialect, Attic, became the language of culture and philosophy.
    5. But there were other dialects just as popular: the Aeolic, the Boeotian, the Doric, and the Ionic.
  5. Two factors brought the κοινη [koy-NAY] Greek language into prominence.
    1. First, Philip of Macedon unified the Greek states around 350 B.C.
    2. As a result these states were no longer isolated and distinctives of dialect began to disappear.
    3. Second, Alexander the Great began a rapid conquering of the world.
    4. Greek culture circled the Mediterranean world and stretched into Asia Minor and even into Persia.
    5. When Alexander assembled an army from various parts of Greece and Macedonia, the recruits had many differences in dialect and orthography; but these were merged into a popularized language and became the common language spoken by all.
  6. This common language not only influenced the Greek army and Greek colonies, but it also affected the Jews of the Diaspora who were to translate the Old Testament into Greek.
    1. We refer to this translation as the Septuagint (LXX).
    2. The corresponding influence of the Septuagint upon the New Testament is significant.
    3. The κοινη language was popular from about 300 B.C. to 330 A.D.