Biblical Greek - Lesson 17

Contract Verbs

In this lesson, you will learn about contract verbs in Biblical Greek, which are essential to understand for proper translation and interpretation of the New Testament. Contract verbs come in three types: alpha, epsilon, and omicron, each with their own unique characteristics and examples. As you dive deeper into the topic, you will discover how to identify and parse these verbs, allowing you to better translate and interpret the New Testament texts. Furthermore, you will explore the common contract verbs found in the New Testament and develop strategies to overcome challenges when translating them.

Bill Mounce
Biblical Greek
Lesson 17
Watching Now
Contract Verbs

I. Introduction to Contract Verbs

A. Definition

B. Importance in Biblical Greek

II. Types of Contract Verbs

A. Alpha Contract Verbs

1. Characteristics

2. Examples

B. Epsilon Contract Verbs

1. Characteristics

2. Examples

C. Omicron Contract Verbs

1. Characteristics

2. Examples

III. Identifying and Parsing Contract Verbs

A. Steps to Identify

B. Parsing Tips

IV. Applying Contract Verbs to Biblical Greek Translation

A. Common Contract Verbs in the New Testament

B. Challenges and Strategies

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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • In this lesson, you learn to understand and apply the imperative mood in Biblical Greek, including its formation, nuances, and its use in exegesis.
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  • 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.]


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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
Contract Verbs
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:00] Today we're going to look at Chapter 17 and what's called contract verbs. We're still inside the present active indicative, so we haven't gone anywhere else in those paradigms. But contract verbs are a special kind of verb. And so I wanted to talk about it at this point. Contract verbs are verbs whose stems end in alpha, Epsilon or micron. In other words, there's a whole class of verbs that are going to their final stem letter is going to be one of those three vowels. And that final vowel is called a contract vowel. And the reason for the name and the reason for the need for a chapter on contract verbs is that when that final contract vowel comes into contact with the connecting vowel, those two vowels contract and emerge, they change into something else normally. And so we have to look at how these contract verbs function. Now, one of the nice things about contract verbs is that once you've learned, for example, Poea or an epsilon contract, you then know how all epsilon contracts behave. All right. So there's three patterns. But once you learn an example of one verb and one pattern, you know how all the other verbs in that same pattern are going to function? Okay. Actually, in one sense, having to learn the rules of contraction are not a big deal because almost always you can figure out what they are without understanding the contraction. In other words, if you saw a poor human, even if you don't know the lexical form of this word, what is it? Person in number. First person, plural. You've got the men there. And if you've done your vocabulary, you know that there's a verb. Pooya or happens to be an EPS and a contract.

[00:02:03] But you would look at that and you say, Well, I may not fully understand why there's an arm across on Epsilon. That's the contraction. But I can tell that is from Poya and I can tell that is first person plural. Now, we do need to learn the rules of contraction because you need to be able to go backwards. You need to be able to look at the Earth to figure out what the final stem vowel of the verb really is, because you're going to have to go figure out what it means and you can figure out what it means unless you can look it up in the lexicon. So you do need to be able to work backwards through the contractions. But in terms of parsing, these words are very straightforward. There's a verb play rattle an American contract that means to fulfill what is play root to second person plural. There's a verb agate part or how to look this one carefully. What's this? The second person singular. Right. Look at the other. It went under a long vowel. Same thing we had in the date of singular is right. See, there's rules that I'm teaching. You don't apply just to the one example. We're going to see them being applied over and over again. Notice one other consistency throughout these three examples. Where's the accent in the present indicative. Contract verbs are always accented on the contracting vowels over the contract syllable, and that circumflex can become a little clue as to say, Oh, that's right. Contract file present indicative. Just a couple of others. This is another example of the verb poea or absent a contract. But how would you pass poi your? Yeah. You may not know why the epsilon is gone, but you know it's got to be a first person singular, right? Well, one of the peculiarities of contract verbs is that if you have like, poi o, the only place you're ever going to see the epsilon is in the lexicon because the lexicons lists their words in their uncontracted form.

[00:04:16] Otherwise, you'd never know what that contract vowel is. So in the lexicon, sweet uncontracted. So you get poi all agar pa all play right o. But when they actually occur in the text, the contraction has occurred and the contract vowels been swallowed up by the omega. Our post c has to be a third person plural. Where the omega word the epsilon goal That thing small enough. Two vowels, actually. Three. Okay. All this was just to say that in terms of passing, the contractions are not a big deal. If you know your endings and if you know your vocabulary, you can still pass these things. Okay. Having said that, there are several rules of contraction you need to learn. The first five I call the big five, they're the most important because they occur the most frequently. There are a few other rules, especially with diff thongs, and be sure you read them carefully in the textbook. So let's just cover the five rules of contraction quickly. Rule one is that if you find I'm a Crown epsilon, there's three possible vowel combinations between contract vowel and connecting vowel that could have formed OO and they are epsilon. Akron. I'm Akron Epsilon or I'm Akron. I'm Akron. In other words, if you saw a poor human, there's three possible combinations that could create the OO. Now, it doesn't matter for parsing, but it does matter. To get back to the lexical form, you have to be able to figure out what that final contract vowel is. But there's a clue here. Could this possibly be a Akron Epsilon? Why not? Right. Because the personality begins with the MU. And therefore you know that the second vowel of the contraction has to be an Akron. So use what you know in figuring these things out.

[00:06:25] And so you can always figure out what the second vowel is because of the personal ending. So poor human is a first person plural from POI. Oh, it's an excellent, um, Akron contract. How would you know that this is not poi or. And I'm Akron contract verb memory. I mean, what would happen is if you didn't know the verb and you would look it up. And you may guess that it's an American contract. You'd go to point oh and you wouldn't find an entry. Oh, there must be an epsilon contract. Now, the fact of the matter is, most contracts are epsilon in contracts. Then alpha contracts. Then I'm across contracts. And in fact, there's no present indicative of any, um, occur on contract. It occurs more than 50 times in the New Testament. That's why there's no American contract examples in the exercises, because there aren't any in the Bible with words that occur 50 times or more, but in pecking order in frequency order, it's epsilon, then alpha, then I'm a crown play to what's the second vowel has to be an epsilon because of the tear. So this has got to be play root to firm play rule. I'm a crown contract. The second rule is that Epsilon, the era is formed by Epsilon Epsilon. So if you see poi eta with an Epsilon Yoda, you know, the second vowel has to be an epsilon, but it's really irrelevant because it has to be an epsilon epsilon. And therefore, you know that the lexical form is poi o can't be anything else. Rule three Is that an armed cron or an omega almost always contract with anything to form an omega except for those combinations in rule one. Now, let me say it another way.

[00:08:19] If it's an omega, it absorbs everything. If it's an armor Quran and it's some combination other than rule one, it also will go to an omega. So you have ergo Pohlman and the only way you're going to know the contract vol and this one is memory work. But it's an alpha. All Macron has contracted to omega I composed C you have an alpha, a macron epsilon, and has gone to an omega. So when you have omega as they swallow up everything, when you have an occurrence other than rule one, they go to Omegas as well. And rules four and five could actually be one rule if you wanted to, and that is when it comes to a combination of alpha and epsilon. Whichever one comes first wins, alpha lengthens to a long alpha. So Alpha Epsilon goes to Alpha Epsilon, lengthens to an ETA. So Epsilon Alpha goes to ETA. So in the Alpha Epsilon or Epsilon Alpha contracts, it all depends upon which one comes first.