Biblical Greek - Lesson 15

Introduction to Verbs

In this lesson, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of verbs in Biblical Greek, including their importance, structure, and components. You will delve into the various tenses, such as present, imperfect, future, aorist, and perfect tenses, and how they function within the language. Additionally, you will explore the different voice types, including active, middle, and passive voices, and learn about the various moods, such as indicative, imperative, subjunctive, optative, and infinitive moods. By the end of the lesson, you will be equipped with the necessary tools to apply your understanding of Greek verbs in biblical exegesis and interpretation.

Bill Mounce
Biblical Greek
Lesson 15
Watching Now
Introduction to Verbs

I. Overview of Greek Verbs

A. Importance in Understanding Biblical Greek

B. Basic Structure and Components

1. Tense

2. Voice

3. Mood

II. Tenses in Biblical Greek

A. Present and Imperfect Tenses

B. Future, Aorist, and Perfect Tenses

III. Voice in Biblical Greek

A. Active, Middle, and Passive Voices

IV. Mood in Biblical Greek

A. Indicative, Imperative, and Subjunctive Moods

B. Optative and Infinitive Moods

V. Using Greek Verbs in Biblical Exegesis

A. Practical Applications

B. Examples and Exercises

  • 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
Introduction to Verbs
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:00] Well, congratulations. You're done with nouns, and we move on to verbs. And chapter 15, I'm going to give you an introduction to verbal grammar in general, much like we did with nouns in chapter five. But in fact, you already know most of what Chapter 15 has to say, because we've learned it a lot in connection with Amy in Chapter eight, but also in other bits and places throughout these first chapters. So most of this should read as a review to you. Verbs are those words that express action or a state of being. I am studying Greek. Greek is the heavenly language. So those are verbs and that's what we're going to work with now. We've already seen that verbs have both person and number first, second or third person, singular or plural. And we've also seen that verbs have to agree with their subject in person and number. So if the subject is first person singular, the verb has to be first person singular. And you would have, for example, Amy. But if the subject were second person plural, you would have to have a verb that is second person plural in its form. And for example, step. That's agreement. It's really important that you distinguish the terms time and tense. It's going to be easy to confuse them because of English, but it is critical for reasons of X to Jesus that you keep these two words separate. When I talk about the time of a verbal construction, I'm talking about when the action described by the verb occurred, occurs or will occur. When I talk about the tense of a verb, I'm talking strictly about its form. When I talk about tense, I'm not talking about time. I'm talking about the form of the verb.

[00:02:03] And so, for example, in English, we can have a verb in the past time, the present time or the future time. But how do you form a future verb? Well, you take the present tense form of the verb study. A new ad in your helping word, Will. So the future form of a verb. Whose time is future? Is formed with a helping verb and the present tense. Form of the verb. It's a little confusing, but is critical, especially fractured Jesus, that you keep the concepts of time and tense separate. But there's another thing in the verbal system in English, and as far as I know, in almost every other language. And it's called Aspect. And again, this is something that you probably can just feel instinctively in English if you're a native English speaker. And while it has some significance in English, we're going to find that aspect has a tremendous amount of significance in Greek and even more so in Hebrew. But what we're going to find is that in Greek aspect is tremendously significant. But more about that later. You probably haven't read much about aspect, whether you've learned Greek earlier with another textbook or even in your high school English class. The whole concept of aspect is relatively new and is the product of the work in linguistics. Well, let me give you a couple of terms that are important to know. In English. We have basically and again, this is a simplification, but it's good enough for No. In English, we basically have two aspects. And I call those aspects the continuous and the completed aspects. Now, those aren't the technical terms. The technical terms in linguistics are the imperfecta and the perspective. But those terms get very confusing when we're talking about Greek.

[00:04:25] Because it overlaps, or at least it comes close to overlapping with issues of temps. So what I want to talk about is the spectral significance of the continuous and the completed basically aspect refers to kind of action. What was the kind of action that the verb is describing? Well, if the verb is a continuous form of, it's continuous in its aspect. It will describe the action as an ongoing process, as something that is linear. And you might say, for example, I was eating. Now that's continuous. The completed aspect. Is the aspect that says the action was finished. It was accomplished. It was completed. And in English we would say, for example, I ate. Now I've put those in past time. I wouldn't have to. I could put them in present time or future time. But the important thing is that you see the spectral difference between I was eating and I ate. The first is continuous and describes a continuous action. The second describes a completed action. Another example might be just to kind of close your eyes and to feel the difference between hearing. I studied last night and I was studying last night. So the first simply describes the completed action I studied last night. But if you just instinctively here I was studying last night. You can hear that the person is expressing the action as a process and you're probably going to expect something else. I was studying and my friend called or something, but do you hear the difference between an action that is completed and an action that is continuous? That's aspect in English. Let's switch a bit over into Greek. How do Greeks form verbs? Well, in a sense they form the same way that they do nouns.

[00:06:41] In other words, they start with the basic stem of the word. And then they add stuff to it. Now, in this example, you don't to memorize this, but it's just an example of how Greeks construct a verb. In this particular case, you have a stem which is blue, and then you have something called the connecting vowel, which in this case is O Macron. And then you have what's called a personal ending, and it's the personal ending that indicates person and number. And so, Greg, stick all that together and you get Lululemon, which means we are destroying, we are loosing. So they take their verbs and they stick pieces together. What we will do as translators is that we will look at the inflected form. We will draw lines through it and try to extract out the different pieces and then instructing out the other pieces will be able to see what the verb form is. Now you need to understand how different my approach is on this point than just about everyone else. There's a chart in the bookstore. It's about, oh, four feet by about two and a half feet. But the itty bitty little writing on it, if you want to go memorize all the paradigms, that's the chart you have to memorize. What we're going to do in this class, though, is learn how Greeks put verbs together, and we're going to learn to look at the little triggers, the little bits and pieces, and extrapolate out from those pieces what in fact, the form is. So what we have in this class are two charts. We have the master personal lending chart, which has a whole 48 forms to learn. And then we have the master verb chart, which shows how all the pieces got together, and that's all that we're going to learn.

[00:08:30] Now, I don't want to underestimate it. There's some work there, but there's not nearly as much work as if you were to memorize all the paradigms. Okay. So we're learning how Greeks put verbs together. So we can take them apart. So once we've learned those pieces, we can look at a verb and pull it apart. And here, for example, is a paradigm of a cool. A cool means I hear a coo, ace, ace is second person. Singular means you hear a coo. He she it hears. You've seen this paradigm with Amy before, right? This is your typical verb paradigm. And finally, I need to say one thing about aspect. And I've already introduced the two aspects in English grammar. Greek aspects. Your grammar is a little different. And so I want to say something about Greek aspects. You will grammar actually in Greek and this is an area that's debated, but I think this is the easiest way to teach it. In Greek, a special grammar. We have three aspects not to. The first aspect is continuous. In other words, a Greek verb can express a linear, ongoing, improv fictive kind of idea. That's the same as in English. However, the second aspect in Greek I call the undefined aspect, and what's critical to understand is that when a verb is in the undefined aspect, it's not telling you anything. About the nature of the action other than it occurred or occurs or will occur depending upon the time. In other words, the undefined aspect is kind of the dump aspect. If you want to just kind of say something, describe a verb, describe an action. And so when you see a verb in the undefined aspect, the author is just not telling you anything about the nature, about the kind of action.

[00:10:32] It's simply telling you about an event. Now, that event could have been a linear event, or it could have been a repeated event, or it could have been what we call in English a punctilious event, an action that happened quickly in point of time. Like in the English, I hit the ball. The hit is punctilious. It just happens just like that. The action could be anything. But when the Greek author uses an undefined aspect with its verb, it's the author's way of saying It's not important to me to express the kind of action I'm simply telling you that have happened. Another example would be Niagara Falls. I'm looking at the falls, I'm looking at the water coming over. And if I wanted to emphasize that the water falling over Niagara Falls is a continuous. Event, I could use a continuous aspect. The water is falling over Niagara Falls, but I can also just as accurately say, Well, the water falls. Over Niagara Falls. In other words, I can use an aspect that doesn't specify the precise kind of action. It just means it wasn't important to me to express it. Okay, so in Greek we have the continuous aspect where it's definitely an ongoing process. Secondly, we have the undefined aspect that doesn't tell us anything about the nature of the action other than it happened. And there is a third aspect. But we're not going to get to it for a while, so we don't need to cover it now. Okay. I just want you to know there's one more aspect that we're going to fill into this slot.