Biblical Greek - Lesson 6

Nominative and Accusative; Definite Article

In this lesson, you gain an in-depth understanding of the nominative and accusative definite article in Biblical Greek. You will learn about the importance of the nominative case in identifying the subject of a sentence and the accusative case in identifying the direct object. Through examples and usage explanations, you will see how these cases function within the context of Biblical Greek. Additionally, you will explore the forms and functions of the definite article, including its application in Biblical Greek texts.

Bill Mounce
Biblical Greek
Lesson 6
Watching Now
Nominative and Accusative; Definite Article

I. Introduction to Nominative and Accusative Definite Article

A. Definition and Function

B. Importance in Biblical Greek

II. Nominative Case

A. Identifying the Subject

B. Examples and Usage

III. Accusative Case

A. Identifying the Direct Object

B. Examples and Usage

IV. The Definite Article

A. Forms and Functions

B. Application in Biblical Greek

  • Bill Mounce invites you to join this course on Biblical Greek and learn the language that he believes is not as hard as people make it out to be, and assures that his lectures will hit just the high points of Greek and that there are resources available on his website for deeper understanding.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the fundamentals of biblical Greek, including the alphabet and pronunciation, nouns and adjectives, pronouns and verbs, and the importance of further study. You will learn about the declension of nouns and the conjugation of verbs in different tenses, such as the present, imperfect, future, and aorist. This lesson provides a comprehensive overview of the basics of biblical Greek, making it accessible to beginners who are just starting to learn.
  • In the Learning Greek lesson, you will tackle memorization, learn about tools to assist you, understand the importance of exercises, and discover the significance of time, consistency, and discipline to enhance your Greek language skills and develop a closer connection with Jesus.
  • In this lesson, you learn the Greek alphabet and its pronunciation, discovering similarities to the English alphabet and mastering special pronunciation rules like gamma nasal, vowels, diphthongs, iota subscript, diuresis, and breathing marks, crucial for Greek language study.
  • You will gain insight into the importance of punctuation and syllabification in Greek, which will help you better understand the meaning and pronunciation of Greek texts.
  • Through this lesson, you will develop a solid foundation in English nouns, their types, functions in sentences, and practical tips for mastery.
  • In this lesson, you grasp the significance of nominative and accusative definite articles in Biblical Greek, exploring their roles in identifying subjects and direct objects, and applying the definite article in context.
  • This lesson equips you with the knowledge to identify and translate the genitive and dative cases in biblical Greek, enhancing your understanding and interpretation of biblical texts.
  • Gain insight into the importance of prepositions in Biblical Greek, explore their different categories and meanings, and learn how they modify verbs, nouns, and adjectives to enhance your understanding of the New Testament's original language.
  • In this lesson, you will learn about adjectives in Biblical Greek, their declension, comparison, and their crucial role in syntax, semantics, interpretation, and translation of Biblical texts.
  • By studying the third declension in Biblical Greek, you gain insight into noun and adjective formations, enhancing your ability to analyze and interpret New Testament texts.
  • You gain knowledge of first and second person personal pronouns in Biblical Greek, learning their forms, usage, and application in translating and interpreting New Testament texts.
  • You will gain a comprehensive understanding of Greek pronouns, focusing on forms and genders, and learn to apply this knowledge to accurately interpret biblical texts.
  • By studying this lesson, you acquire a thorough understanding of demonstrative pronouns and adjectives in Biblical Greek, their forms, syntax, and proper application in New Testament passages.
  • This lesson equips you to comprehend relative pronouns in Biblical Greek and their role in connecting ideas and forming dependent clauses.
  • In this lesson, you gain an in-depth understanding of verbs in Biblical Greek, learning about tenses, voices, and moods, and how to apply this knowledge in biblical exegesis.
  • Master the present active indicative in Biblical Greek to understand the language's structure, form regular and irregular verbs, and accurately translate and interpret the text.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into contract verbs in Biblical Greek, learning to identify and parse them, enabling accurate translation and interpretation of the New Testament texts.
  • This lesson provides a deep understanding of the present middle-passive indicative verb forms in Biblical Greek, including their formation, usage, and tips for accurate translation.
  • This lesson provides you with a comprehensive understanding of the future active and middle indicative verb forms in Biblical Greek, equipping you with translation techniques and practice exercises to enhance your skillset.
  • Through this lesson, you acquire knowledge of verbal roots and future forms in Biblical Greek, enabling better interpretation of the New Testament by recognizing regular and irregular patterns.
  • This lesson teaches you how to understand and use the imperfect indicative in biblical Greek, offering insights into verb conjugations, context, and translation accuracy.
  • You will gain expertise in Second Aorist Active and Middle Indicative forms in Biblical Greek, their formation, usage, and importance in biblical interpretation.
  • This lesson equips you with knowledge of the First Aorist Active and Middle Indicative in Biblical Greek, covering formation, parsing, and translation techniques while providing examples from the New Testament.
  • By studying this lesson, you learn to identify and translate Aorist and Future Passive Indicative verb forms in Biblical Greek, enabling accurate exegesis and interpretation of the New Testament.
  • In this lesson, you acquire knowledge on forming, conjugating, and translating perfect indicative verbs in biblical Greek, with a focus on understanding context and handling irregular verb forms.
  • Through this lesson, you learn about Greek participles, their types, and translation techniques, enhancing your ability to analyze and understand the New Testament texts.
  • This lesson teaches you to identify, translate, and interpret present continuous adverbial participles in Biblical Greek, enhancing your understanding of New Testament exegesis.
  • Gain insights into aorist undefined adverbial participles, their types, and translation techniques to improve your understanding of the Greek text and biblical exegesis.
  • Through this lesson, you master the intricacies of adjectival participles in biblical Greek, including their forms, translation, and syntax, ultimately enhancing your ability to analyze and translate biblical texts.
  • This lesson teaches you the intricacies of perfect participles and genitive absolutes in biblical Greek, enabling you to accurately translate and understand complex grammatical structures.
  • Gain insight into the subjunctive mood in Biblical Greek, understanding its formation, functions, and importance for interpreting the New Testament's nuanced meanings.
  • Through this lesson, you learn to recognize and understand the various roles and functions of infinitives in Biblical Greek, ultimately enhancing your ability to study the biblical text.
  • In this lesson, you learn about the imperative mood in Biblical Greek, its forms and uses, negation, and the subjunctive as an alternative for expressing commands and requests.
  • In this lesson, you learn to understand and apply the imperative mood in Biblical Greek, including its formation, nuances, and its use in exegesis.
  • In this lesson, you gain a deeper understanding of non-indicative forms and conditional sentences, learning to differentiate between subjunctive, imperative, infinitive, and participle forms, as well as first, second, and third class conditional sentences, while expanding your vocabulary.
  • Gain insights into Biblical Greek constructs, conditional sentences, Greek particles, and techniques for parsing and translating complex passages, enhancing your ability to interpret the New Testament.

These lectures will take you through the main points of each chapter in Bill Mounce's Basics of Biblical Greek (3rd edition). These Summary Lectures are also available at billmounce.com, along with other free resources for learning biblical Greek. [The first lecture was originally given in the course Dr. Mounce was teaching at Gordon-Conwell seminary. The syllabus he mentions was for that group of students and is not available.]


BillMounce.com also sells video lectures by Bill Mounce that cover every point in the grammar.

Recommended Books

Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar 3rd (third) Edition

Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar 3rd (third) Edition

William D. Mounce's "Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar" and its companion tool "Basics of Biblical Greek Workbook" are the best-selling and most widely accepted textbooks for learning New Testament Greek.
Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar 3rd (third) Edition

Dr. Bill Mounce
Biblical Greek
Nominative and Accusative; Definite Article
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:00] Well, welcome to chapter six. Chapter six. We're going to learn the nominative. Yeah, You made it this far, right? Cool. In chapter six, we're meeting two cases, the nominative case and the accusative case. And so we're finally getting into the heart of this language. Your average run of the mill Greek noun is made up of two parts. You may have memorized the lexical form as a Apostolos, but there's really two parts that make up that word. And the first is its stem a pass to law. In this case, the stem of the word is the most basic part of the word. It carries the meaning of the word. Doesn't matter what you do to the stem. That's the part that carries its meaning. But on to the end. In most cases, what we will find is the Greek appends things called case endings. And in the case of the word Apostolos, it's the sigma that is the case ending that has been added to the end of the stem. Now, Why, you may ask, did they do that? To make your life miserable. Of course. No. At least listen to what we talked about last time. The words perform different functions in a sentence and in Greek. What function they perform determines what case sending is used. In other words, from the speaker's standpoint, they think function therefore case. Therefore, case sending. And what we're going to do is the exact reverse as translators. We will look at the case sending determine what case it is and determine what function the word is performing in the sentence. But the basic point is that words perform different functions in a sentence, and what function a word performs determines what case ending is attached to the stem.

[00:02:17] So, for example, if you saw the word Apostolos, you will recognize that that is a certain case setting that indicates Apostolos is functioning as a subject. If you saw a past along with a new case sending, you would recognize that it's performing a different function. That of a direct object. So do you understand the relationship between case endings and function? Function affects the case endings, but there's other things as well that affect what case sending is used. One of those is gender. What you'll find is that there are different patterns of case endings. And if the word, for example, is masculine, the right case ending in a certain situation may be sigma. But if that word were a neutral word in exactly the same situation, it would use a new or if it were feminine, it in fact might not use any ending at all. What I've shown you on the overhead is the dash just means there's a word in front of it and that vowel is the last letter of the stem. In other words, all the you need to see at this point is that what gender a word is can determine what case ending is used. What else effects the key sending that's used. Well, number does. Now we're getting into meaning at this point. But for example, if you saw the word Apostolos, you would look at that sigma and you would say, Oh, it's singular. It's only one. But if you saw a pasta loi with the new Yoda, you say, Oh, plural. There's more than one apostle being discussed here. So whether you're singular or plural can determine what case setting is used. What declension a word follows can determine what case ending is used. Horror is called a first declension noun, and in one particular case it doesn't have a case ending.

[00:04:23] It's just the bare stem standing there. But if it's a second declension noun like a past a loss, then it's going to have a stigma. Aragon is a second declension neuter, and it uses a new. Can I don't know the specifics in any of these examples. Well, all I want you to see is there are three or four things that all kind of mixed together to determine what case ending is used. And that's one of the things that's a little difficult about languages. You can't just hold one thing in your memory. You have to sometimes hold four or five. The words meaning the gender, its case, its numbers, declension, all these kinds of things. Okay. So with all that as background, let's look at the two cases. The first case you learn in this chapter is the nominative case. The nominative case in Greek is roughly equivalent to the subject of case in English. In other words, if a word is functioning as the subject of a verb. The speaker will put it into the nominative case and he'll do that by appending the appropriate nominative case ending. Speaker thinks I need to tell the here or the reader that this word is the subject of the verb. Therefore, I need to put it in the nominative case. Therefore, I need to attend the appropriate nominative case ending onto this word. And of course, depending upon gender and declension and things like that, there will be different nominative case endings they'll put under the word. Now again, what we do is just the reverse. We see the sigma, for example, and we say, Oh, a sigma on this particular type of word means that it's in the nominative. And if it's in the nominative, it means it's functioning as the subject of a verb.

[00:06:27] So we just do the exact reverse of what the speaker does. So if you saw the sentence Apostolos Temperton a past Dylan. It's not so much that a past the loss comes before the verb PMP is that it has a nominative case pending, therefore is functioning as the subject of the verb. That sentence could read Tempe a past the last town, a pastel on and still mean the same thing. It could read tan a pastel on pimp ha a past loss and it would still be in the same thing. It doesn't matter where in a sense. It doesn't matter where the subject is. What matters is that it has nominative case endings. The second case in this chapter is the accusative case. The accusative case is roughly the same thing as the English objective case. In other words, if a word is going to be the direct object. The speaker will have put it into the accusative case. And again, go through the same process. The speaker's saying, I need to tell my reader that this word is the direct object of that verb. Therefore, I have to put it in the accusative case. So now I have to go find the appropriate accusative case ending and stick it out to the stem. We do the reverse. We see an accusative case sending. We go, Oh, this must be in the accusative case. This must be functioning as the direct object. Please recognize it's not word order and that it's just a conceptual barrier and you need to get over it because your tendency is going to take is to be to take the first known that you see in a sentence to go, oh, the subject. And what you have to train yourself is I've got to find this subject.

[00:08:23] And what you're looking for is anything in the nominative case and you start scanning the verse looking for nominative case endings. Gotcha. There's a subject. Now where's the verb? Okay. And you start to do your translation work that way. It's not word order, it's inflection. So since case endings are so significant, these are one of the few charts that you absolutely must memorize. So what you have here are just the case endings, The suffixes that are going to be added on to the end of the stem to indicate case and number. All right. Here are some examples of what those case endings are going to look like when they're actually on words. In other words, you have a lexical form. Lagos means word, and when it's a singular word and it's the subject of the sentence, you will find it as Lagos, because Sigma can be in nominative singular case ending, and that is the nominal, singular case ending that Lagos uses. If the word go to the other, to the far right hand column, if the word air gone is the word that's the subject of the sentence it happens to be neuter is still is going to be nominative, singular. But because it's a neutral word, it has a different case ending the new. And so you'll find Aragorn. If, however, the subject of your verb is a feminine singular, you will find that the nominal singular there is no case sending for first declension feminine words. And so the bare stem stands there and you have graphic or horror. Now you notice first declension stems are stems ending in alpha or ETA. That's why there's two words there. If you go into the accusative. In other words, if you have a word, that's going to be the direct object.

[00:10:23] It has to have an accusative and in this case, singular case ending. And so the speaker is going to say what is the appropriate accusative, singular case sending? Well, for a second declension masculine, it's new and so you'll find log on. If it's a neutral word, that's a direct object. Second declension. Neuter. It's new again. Eragon. If, however, your direct object is a first declension feminine, it's going to use the new case ending and you're going to get grief Thane or Horan on. You get into the plurals and all you have are a different set of endings. Le goy. Graffiti horror. I notice something about graph. I extend vol change, didn't it? In feminine words you can have stems ending in Alfreda. When you get into the plural, they all go to Alpha. Erica, is what happens. You'll notice. You may have noticed in the initial paradigm the alpha was underlined. That's my way of saying that the final the case ending merges with the final stem vowel and overtakes it. So you don't get ergo, I'm a crown alpha, but you get ergo. And if your word is a plural accusative, the speaker will have used of the writer will have used an accusative plural case, sending whatever is appropriate for that word, determined by its declension, by its gender and other things. And you get lagoon's graphs for us. Or again, ergo. Okay. Are you seeing what's important at this point is that you see how case endings are functioning? Not so much memorizing what they are, but seeing how they function. Okay. There are three known rules in the book. What I do is that you have one chart and eight noun rules, and that replaces about 50 paradigms. You're welcome. Now, the downside is you have to know them perfectly.

[00:12:41] You have to know the case setting chart perfectly and you have to memorize the noun rules perfectly. So please do so. These three nine rules are absolutely critical. You'll learn your case earning chart and the eight rules altogether. And that's your substitute for all the other paradigms. But you have to know these things. Exactly. All the other noun paradigms, I should say. The first non rule is that stems ending in alpha or ETA are in the first declension stems ending in and I'm a coroner in the second and continental stems are in the third. Basic rule. It helps you know when you see a word what column to put it in. Critical for parsing the second noun rule. Every neuter word has the same form in the nominative and the accusative. So, for example, when you see Ergon, I'm across new. What is it? Well, you know, it's a neuter second declension. So that tells you it could either be a nominative singular or an accusative singular. And it's really important because what will happen is that you will see, you'll see a word like Eragon, and you may perhaps assume that it's a nominative and you can't translate the sentence. And it's somewhere along about 2:00 in the morning, you'll say, Oh, that's right. Now it could be an accusative. Oh, yeah. Now you can go to bed happy and then get up early to come to class. Right. All right. The third non rule is that almost all neutral words end in alpha in the nominative and accusative plural. In other words, if you follow the Aragon paradigm down, it's Aragon. Aragon. Ergo. Aragon. Aragon. Aragorn or Ghost? Eric God. In other words, Alpha occurs in several places, but it most commonly occurs in the nominative and accusative.

[00:14:40] Plural neuter. Second declension. Okay. And this chapter will also see the definite article, the word roughly translated as the again, absolutely critical that you memorize this different article. Exactly. Precisely. It has 24 forms. The definite article is your friend. You like the definite article? You will learn to love the Greek definite article. Your spouse may feel jealous that you love the definite article so much. Do you know why? Because it gets you out of all sorts of troubles. The noun system can kind of go all over the place when it feels like it. The definite article doesn't, even if you get stuck with the noun. The article that is normally with it is always going to be one of the 24 forms that you memorized. And it brings up a very important point. The definite article agrees with the noun that it modifies if you say the word. What the speaker's going to do when you gets to say the he has to go check what form of Lagos he's looking at. Is it accusative, singular? Is it nominative, plural. And whatever case number and gender the noun is, the article will be the same case number and gender. And ha American with a rough breathing is always nominative, singular, masculine. Hey Ada with a rough breathing is always nominative singular feminine, always no variation, no changing, no shadow. All right, so really commit the definite article to memory. There are our inspirations we all get in life that have more impact than you ever think they're all going to have. I put this last statement in the grammar more as a kind of an afterthought and people have latched on to it. I actually have a T-shirt from a school in Tennessee where it has fog on it.

[00:16:52] Friends of Greek. You are now entering the fog. Life used to be clear. He used to be somewhat precise. You used to feel like you knew who you were and where you're going and where you came from. That's all going away. Sorry. You enter the fog when you enter a new chapter. Things just aren't quite so clear. You read it and you reread it and say, Well, I. I think I know it, but I'm not absolutely sure. What I want to tell you is this. Please listen carefully. It's okay. It's okay to be in the fog. It doesn't mean you're stupid. It doesn't mean you don't understand it, but language learning takes a little bit of time to sink in unless you're a linguistic genius. And some of you may. But for most of us, it has to sink in. And it has to. And this is just an issue of days. And this is why you can't cram in Greek, because it just takes time to settle into your mind and to kind of mesh with everything else you've learned about the language. So please don't be frustrated with yourself. Be patient with yourself. If you feel like you're stupid and you can't learn this language. All that you have to do is go back to chapters. Go back to chapter four when you're done with chapter six. If you're frustrated with yourself after chapter six and say, okay, how Chapter four was a piece of cake, I can still have a few words. I pronounce the words I can sing solid. I mean, really? Okay, as long as you can go back to chapters and it's clear you're safe. Now, if you're really struggling two chapters back then, you need to tell your to tell your T.A.

[00:18:41] that. That the old fog still there. Tell me the old fog is still there. And that's a that's a problem. But don't worry about a fog in your current chapter. Okay.