Biblical Greek - Lesson 10

Third Declension

In this lesson, you will learn about the third declension in Biblical Greek, which is a crucial aspect of understanding the language. You will explore the formation and patterns of third declension nouns, including their gender, number, and case. Additionally, you will study adjectives in the third declension, focusing on their formation and comparison, as well as their agreement with nouns. Finally, you will apply your knowledge to analyze New Testament texts, gaining a deeper understanding of translation and interpretation by examining third declension words in context.

Bill Mounce
Biblical Greek
Lesson 10
Watching Now
Third Declension

I. Introduction to the Third Declension

A. Definition

B. Importance in Biblical Greek

II. Third Declension Nouns

A. Formation of Stems

B. Patterns and Paradigms

C. Gender, Number, and Case

III. Adjectives in the Third Declension

A. Formation and Comparison

B. Agreement with Nouns

IV. Application to New Testament Texts

A. Analysis of Third Declension Words

B. Impact on Translation and Interpretation

  • 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
Third Declension
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:01] Welcome to the third declension, the third and final declension. So let's work our way through this. What is the first noun rule again? Consonants there. That's pretty ugly. You know, basically, right? Yeah. Stems sending an alpha array to our first declension stems ending in an American, our second declension. And then the only other option are stems ending in a consonant. So with a stem of the word ends in a consonant, it's going to follow the third declension pattern. Now, again, remember, we're dealing here only with the issues of form, not meaning. In terms of meaning. It doesn't matter whether a pastor lost his first, second or third declension, it still means apostle. So this is only issues of form. And thankfully you've been learning the true endings. Now, some of you who have had Greek before may not have been learning the true endings. As it's generally taught. Case settings are often taught with the final stem vowel. And what happens then when you get to third declension? It's very difficult. In fact, some of you may be here with some real fear because you remember what third declension nouns were like. Okay, but we've been learning what the true case endings are and you're about to see why. Let's look for example, you have log us. It's a second declension known. The stem ends in Adam Akron. So the nominative singular ending is sigma. And you get Lagos, right. In this chapter, we're going to learn a third declension noun that the root is Sark with a Kappa. It's a third declension known. In the formation of the nominative singular, it adds the same ending as the point you need to hear. But what happens to it? Try to say Kappa Sigma. What is that? Sexy.

[00:02:11] So when you look at success, the nominative singular form of the word meaning flesh, it goes, Oh, I never seen that before. Yes, you have. It's. There's a sigma wrapped up inside the seat. So I have to think about it. It's a stem ending in a Kappa. It adds the same case ending that we're used to. And you end up, though, with sharks. Now, let me give you four hints to recognize in the form of third declension words. And if you can grasp these for then you're well on your way to understanding the third declension. Hit number one. It is very difficult when you look at the lexical form of a third declension word to figure out what its root is and therefore hit. Number one is that you must always memorize the genitive form of a third declension word. Why, you say? Well, because if you take the genitive form and then drop off the case ending, which is an acronym sigma, then you will always be left with the words root. In other words, if you go to the vocabulary section, you'll see sa ex sa cos hey, now what I'm telling you is that the lexical form of this word is saki's. That's the number of singular. The feminine definite article. Hey tells you that Saki has feminine and then the genitive is sa cos drop the I'm crown sigma. And the root of this word is Sark in a Kappa. So the way to remember the root of a third declension word is to always memorize not only the nominative singular, but also the genitive singular. And from the genitive you be able to get the words root. Hit. Number two, whatever happens in the nominative, singular also happens in the data of plural.

[00:04:09] Now, this isn't only a place to third declension words that use sigma as the nominative singular case ending, but that's the vast majority of third declension words. Now, here's why this rule is important. The nominative singular case ending is sigma. The date of plural case ending is sigma iota. So since both case ending, start with a sigma. Whatever happens in the name of singular is also going to happen in the data of plural. And so as we just saw in the nominative, singular sarc plus sigma forms circles, and then in the data of plural sarc plus C forms sarc C. So whatever happens in the nominative, singular also happens in the date of plural. Hint number three. And by the way, you should be kind of guessing by now that Sigma is the issue in third declension. It's whenever you put the sigma up against a consonant, things happened. Well, that's the essence of the problem for third declension words. Hit number three when you have the combination of a new followed by a sigma, the new drops out. It's a pronunciation thing. So you have the root ten and in the nominative singular, you add sigma. They didn't want to say didn't. So they dropped the new. And you say tace in the data plural. Tin plus C doesn't go to tint. See it goes to to see. And then someone like it hit number four. Whenever you have Tao Sigma or if you have Tao is the last letter in a word. The Tao also drops out. And so you had the route unmarked. And in the dead of plural, you have the ending. C goes to a nama, C, but in the nominative singular of this kind of word, there's no case ending used.

[00:06:08] So you have animate final tiles drop off and you end up with anima. Okay, Now those are the four hints relative to third declension. And if you can get those down, then the majority of the issues that we're going to raise in the third declension you're going to already be able to handle. Okay. Killers walk through the paradigm of success and you're going to see how all this happens. Tell you upfront that some of this is a mind game. And I like to say that the third declension only uses three new case endings. All the other case endings you've seen, or they're variations of what you've seen some. That's a mind game, but you'll see why in a second. Anyway. The nominative singular. These words are easy if for no other reason than the lexical form. You memorized it, right? So if you see sparks, you know that it's a nominal singular. And you also know, because you've memorized that this is a Kappa stem, but the key setting is sigma. And you can see the sigma wrapped up in the C. All right. The genitive singular likewise is easy because you've memorized it. Now, what's the genitive singular case endings that you've learned so far? Gay in the feminine first declension. It's a sigma and in the masculine and neuter second declension. It's a it's an OB salon. If you in reading your footnotes, you'll see that technically it's an army Quran that goes through a whole bunch of convoluted changes, and it's easier just to memorize a resume. Epsilon But. And the third declension, You kind of get both of those put together. That's how I think of it. The genitive singular case setting in third declension is I'm across sigma. So if you want to play mind games, fine.

[00:07:55] Otherwise. Again, it's not that big of a deal because you've memorized the genitive singular. Right. Saka saka. So when you see saka, as you noted, genitive singular, and you recognize that the case ending is Ömer Akron Sigma, because this is a third declension stem. See, that's how you can tell the difference between this and logos. Okay. What's the date of Cingular going to be? It's date of singular ending is Zenyatta. What do you think it's going to look like in a third declension word? It's not some script. Very good. You've learned your rules carefully. Yours can only subscript under a long vowel. Third declension stems end in a consonant, so it stays on the line. This is exactly the same ending we have with Largo and with Ergo and graph a same ending. It just happens to not be subscript. Okay. In the accused it of singular. We have a new case ending. And you're just going to have to memorize it. And the last really new ending is nominative plural. It's Epsilon Sigma. So Sarkis is a nominative plural, and in this case, feminine. Those are your three new endings. All right. What do you think the genitive plural is? Serkan genitive plurals. Absolutely regular. Now, Dative, plural. We're going to play a little game. What's the date of plural ending? You know, from the first and second declension. Because you're two sigma. Well, instead of having your two sigma, the case ending for the dative plural. Third declension is sigma iota. Now, what's going to happen, though, with that Sigma? Whatever happens in the nominative singular is going to happen in the dative plural. Because both case endings start with a sigma. And so you have saarc see with your new movable. And in your accusative plural, this is technically a different case ending, but it shouldn't be hard for you to recognize because what's the accusative plural of graph fe? Graph us alpha sigma, but in the case of graph fair, the alpha is part of the stem.

[00:10:22] Right. Well, here is part of the case ending and you get graphs. What I want you to see is that it's not completely brand new, although there are three new case endings. And I also want you to see how the case endings in the final vowel of the con of the stem are working together. One of the neat things about third declension is that once you start seeing the patterns emerge, you can anticipate it with words that have stems ending in different consonants. Most people just have to memorize all these paradigms. I don't want you to do that. I want you to learn the true case endings. Learn just a couple of rules that can show you how they go together. Because once you start seeing it, you'll recognize it. You can see what happens with anima Animus, the word that means name. It uses no case sending in the nominative singular a title can't stand at the end. So goes anima. But then it goes on a mateus on a mattie. But then what's the rule in neuters nominative, accusative or same. So you get back to anima and the plural onomatopoeia Anima tone. You get to the dative plural. Oh, wait a minute. Thousand sigma's an arm, ac with a new movable. And a namita. You see if you know the rules, you can figure these things out when you see them. Okay, Now that we've learned the rules, I kind of had to run through this little game of guessing. And it's more by way of encouragement because I want you to see that you really do know a lot about the third declension. Here's a word that we're going to learn in this chapter, and it's a word that means all.

[00:12:09] And in the masculine and in the neuter, you have the same stem as punt. And both of those are going to be third declension. The feminine has the first declension form, so that's pretty easy. But let's look at the masculine and the neuter and you tell me what this word looks like in this different inflection of forms. Okay, So don't be afraid to be wrong. Let's just guess and see how we're doing in the nominative. Singular. You have Pont. What's the nominative singular case then? And we've learned, okay, you get Sigma. What happens if you have Pont Plus Sigma? Yeah. Good. The tail drops out and the new drops out. And so the nominative singular form of this word, it's lexical form is pos. The neutral. Both drop off. Very good key. What about genitive? Singular? Yeah. That's easier, isn't it? Pontus dative. Right. Ponty. Now why doesn't the you're a subscript. Okay, so don't get tricky. They're all right. Yeah, right. Use your subscript Only under long vowels twist on a vowel so it has to stay on the same line. And then in the accusative, singular, you're going to have. This is one of the new case endings, right? Alpha. So, Ponta Very good. So the root part goes to pass Pontus Ponti. Ponta in the singular. Very good. Now let's guess about the plural. What is the new nominative? Plural ending, you know. Yeah. Epsilon Sigma. So it's. Yeah. Pontus genitive singular pontian. Can I think about the dative? Plural? Whatever happens in the nominative, singular is going to happen in the data. Plural. Here. Good pass. See, now this happens to have a new movable. So posse or we pass in and then the new accusative plural ending that looks like the feminine first declension.

[00:14:19] The ending is. Yeah, Alpha sigma. So, Pontus. Hey, look what you just did. You took the rules. You apply them to a root, and you got his paradigm. Now the genitive and dative are the masculine, and the neuter are going to be identical. So let's look at the other ones. What's going to happen in the nominative and accusative singular of part? This may not be immediately apparent. What's the case ending with animate, right? Nothing. So animate the tile drops off so you go to animate. Same thing is going to happen here. The stem is part. There's no case ending used in the nominative and therefore the accusative singular. And so part goes to pawn. Very good. So it's going to be pawn Pontus Ponti pawn and then the plural is very regular as you would expect Ponte on pass. See again with the new movable and Ponte. Okay, it's really important that you just see what you just did. I don't want you to get discouraged in this chapter. I want you to see that by knowing the rules, you can figure these things out. And that way, when you see the inflected form in the biblical texts, you can go the other direction. So that's very good. Very good. All right. We now have our full master case ending chart. We will find that there are still some sub patterns. There's still some slight variations off of this chart. But these are the basic endings and you need to know this chart and you need to know it perfectly. In the plural. It's no big surprise. Except you notice that the alpha and the omegas are not underlined. Because they can't join with the preceding vowel because there is no preceding vowel. You're also going to learn your last two noun rules.

[00:16:23] One of them you already know. But this one, rule seven is called The Square Stops. I cannot emphasize how important it is that you learn this chart. It's absolutely critical for third declension nouns and for verbs. You're going to see this over and over and over again. There are a classification of consonants based on, if you use your voice box or not to pronounce them and how your mouth forms the words. And so the first three we call labels because you use your lips and they're p beta and a fee. Then the Wheelers, some people call them pallet tiles because you use a soft pallet, your tongue goes up against the middle part of the roof of your mouth to pronounce them Kappa Gamma. He. And then there's the dental. Tal. Delta and Theta. It's important that you learn these not only left to right, but top down, because what's going to happen is that the labels are all going to act the same way in certain circumstances. So if you know what a stir, meaning in a P does, you therefore by default know what is stem in ending in a beta does. Let me give you just one quick example. What happens when you add a sigma to a stem? Not so much ending in a P, but ending in a labial. So it doesn't matter whether the stem ends in a pea or a bead or a fee. When you add a sigma to it, it gets written as a C. It doesn't matter which of the Vilas the stem ends in, whether it's Kappa Gamma or he. When you add a sigma, you always get a C. If you have a stem ending in a dental and you had a sigma, the dental simply drops out.

[00:18:20] Now there's one example of why the square stops is so crucial to understand, because what you're going to see is the C, C, or the sigma, and you're going to have to be able to work backwards. The eighth rule is we already have learned that is the final tower is going to drop off. No big deal. But that's the end of the known rules.