Biblical Greek - Lesson 25

Perfect Indicative

In this lesson, you gain a comprehensive understanding of the perfect indicative in biblical Greek. You learn its definition and usage, as well as how to form and conjugate perfect active and perfect middle/passive verbs. The lesson provides guidance on reduplication and augment, important aspects of forming the perfect middle/passive. Additionally, you learn translation tips and how to tackle challenges, including understanding context and working with verbs that have irregular forms.

Bill Mounce
Biblical Greek
Lesson 25
Watching Now
Perfect Indicative

I. Introduction to the Perfect Indicative

A. Definition

B. Usage

II. Forming the Perfect Indicative

A. Perfect Active

B. Perfect Middle/Passive

1. Reduplication

2. Augment

III. Conjugating the Perfect Indicative

A. First and Second Conjugation

B. Third Conjugation

IV. Translation Tips and Challenges

A. Context

B. Verbs with Irregular Forms

  • 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
Perfect Indicative
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:00] Well, you made it sometimes you probably weren't sure, but you've made it to chapter 25 and chapter 25. We're going to learn the last of the tenses. We learn the perfect active and the perfect middle passive. And we're done with tenses. Let me ask you a question in English first. What is the difference between these three sentences? I wrote. I have written and it is written. What's the difference? Right. The first is describing a simple past actions. I wrote I did something in the past. Now, if you were to say this in Greek, what tense would you use? Right. The first. But when you say I have written, what are you saying? Yeah, right, Right. You're describing an action that was completed, an action that was done in the past, but it's an action that has ongoing consequences, that there's implications that have come out of the completed action and are still true at the present. I have written this. And when we say that we almost expect someone to draw out those implications, whatever they would be. What is the difference, then, between saying, I have written and it is written? Right. Great. When you say it is written, I mean both I have written and it is written in a very real sense are describing the same event. If you say it is written, you are describing a past completed action. But the emphasis of it is written is on the ongoing implications of the past event. And saying I have written puts the emphasis upon the actual completion of the event while allowing for ongoing implications. Well, this is exactly what the perfect tense in Greek does. It describes a completed action and therefore one that's in the past. But it's a completed action that has consequences or implications or is still true at the time of speaking.

[00:02:23] And what we generally do in first year Greek is reserve. The use of the helping verbs have and has to translate the perfect tense. So you say I wrote for the arrest and I have written. For the perfect. And once you get more comfortable with the perfect and look, you may look at the consequences of a verse and you may say, Oh, it is written will become your translation of a perfect. But that's a little on down the line and we may want to just stick with a have her has right now with the perfect arc how do you form the perfect and we'll start with the perfect active. Very easy. Couple of new things, but it's not hard. You start with something that's called re duplication. Talk about that in a second. And then you use the perfect, active, tense stem. And in fact, we now are going to know all six of our ten stems and they go present. Future active. Eris active middle. Then we're going to have the perfect active. And then the fifth tent stem is the perfect middle passive. And the sixth is the air passive from which is also form the future passive. And then you have a tense, formative. Now, if it's the first perfect, the tense formative is Kappa Alpha. If it's a second perfect, it's just alpha. But you would expect that, right? Because you go from theta ETA to ETA in the aerospace passive, you go theta eta sigma to ETA sigma in the future passive. So the tense formula for the perfect is Kappa Alpha. If it's a second perfect, it's just the alpha. And then because it's not an augmented tense, you have primary active personal endings. Let's just talk a second about re duplication.

[00:04:29] And basically there's two kinds of re duplication. If this stem begins with a consonant, you undergo continental re duplication. In other words, that initial consonant duplicates and then you put an epsilon in between them. So Lou goes to Lou and then Luca. If, however, the stem begins with a vowel, it undergoes vocaliq re duplication. VocalIQ we duplication looks just like an augment. But it's not the same thing as an augment. It doesn't indicate past time. It indicates completed action. So Agar Par undergoes is VocalIQ. We duplication and you get agar PA and then finally a GA picker. And so here's your paradigm of Luol and the perfect active Luka. Lucas. Luka la Luka min la Luka to la Luka. See? Now, there's a couple of things worth noting in this, isn't it? It looks a lot like the heiress. The first heiress doesn't exactly have a cap instead of a sigma. Except for the third plural. And they've got a dozen. The third singular. Exactly the same thing. The Arizona's right car goes to cap. And then common Carter. And then in the third plural, you have Cassie. The ending actually is new Sigma Yoda, right? The new drops out and everything's there. So there you have a little more difference from the eras, but there's your first perfect, active, perfect. You actually are very easy, for the most part to recognize, especially at the stem begins with the consonant because that duplication just jumps out at you. The only time you get the re duplication is in the perfect. So you see that, you know, right off the bat you're in the perfect. Q Let's switch over to the perfect middle passive. Well, straightforward. We're in the perfect, so we still have your duplication.

[00:06:44] But we're going to use that fifth 10th stamp. So we're going to be using the perfect middle passive temp stem. And then primary passive personal endings. And so you get Lalu. Now you notice there's two things missing in the perfect middle passive. There's no connecting vowel and there's no. Right. Transformative. You know what I do when I when I see one of these things? The second I recognize that there's no connecting vital or transformative bone. That's it. It's got to be a perfect middle passage. It can't be anything else. There's nothing. There's no other time in the Greek verbal system where there's no connecting vowel and no transformative. So the minute you see the personal ending stuck on to a stem, your perfect middle passage. No exceptions. Cool, huh? And in the case of Louisville, it looks the same. And both the perfect two active and the perfect middle passive. And so you get Lelo mei Luci, look at that. The real second person singular ending finally comes through. Oh, it's so shy. It's Lucia, Lulu, my love. Luci, Lulu, Tyler Luma, Thorn, Lellouche, Lulu Tai. And I put the present middle passage there for comparison. And obviously at this point it is just imperative that you work through all your different tense forms. It's absolutely imperative that you go through the previous word section in chapter 25 carefully. Make sure all your vocabulary cards are updated. It's imperative that you go through that chart in the back of BBG. That's got all the words that occur 50 times or more with all their different verb stems and all the different tenses. You just have to go through these at this point. And all that you're saying is, if I saw this form, this inflected form in this tense when I recognize it, or do I have to memorize it? That's what you're doing.

[00:08:47] So go through with your markers or whatever and mark things up. So there's no question what you have to memorize and what you're going to allow the rules to inform you about. And don't forget the four category of verbs that form their different ten stems regularly. They are stems ending in Yoda and oops line like. Contract stems. Liquid stems. Stop stems stems that in and stop. Those four categories of verbs are going to form all of their different tense stems very regularly. All right. Very regularly. It is finally time to learn the middle. I've put it off as long as I could. Now, let me emphasize, 75% of all the middle forms in the New Testament are deponent. Erica is a middle deponent. So 75% of all the medals you see are going to be deponent. Of the other 25%. A lot of the words in the middle have almost exactly the same meaning that they have in the active. In other words, the middle is very, very close in meaning to the active. And yet there are some true middles in the New Testament. You need to understand if you had learned classical Greek, the middle would be much more important because it was much more prevalent in classical Greek. But the middle voice is dying out in Greek, and that's why it's not such a factor in the New Testament. You have your subjects and verbs and direct objects. If the verb is active, it means the subject. Does the action of the verb to the direct object? Right? If the verb is passive, then the subject is receiving the action of the verb. If the verb is middle. The subject is still doing the action. The direct object is still receiving the action.

[00:10:53] And yet the nuance of the middle is that the action of the verb is done in such a way that it also comes back and affects the subject. A verb that is middle. A true middle describes an action which in some way comes back and affects the subject. The subject is still doing the action. The direct object is still receiving the action, but the verb in the middle describes an action in some way. It comes back and affects the subject in a way that an active form doesn't. Now, here's one of the best examples I know of in Mark 1124 says Dear to do for this I say to you. All things whatsoever. Price you kiss the. I was the deponent price you come I that you pray and. A taste the. Okay. What's that from? I taste the. Is from I tell. Is, I tell deponent. No. What tense is this? It's present, isn't it? You have a present tense form with middle passive endings. No. You would just instinctively translate. This is a passive. Yes. What? It doesn't make any sense. Isn't passive. That's your clue that it's a middle. Now, how would you take the verb? I tell to ask in the context of a prayer and translate it in such a way that the action of the verb comes back on the subject. You are still doing the praying, but how would you translate it? What's the nuance? It's whatever you ask, whatever you pray and ask for yourself. In other words, in mark 1124, we're not talking about praying for other people. We're praying for yourself. If you look at most paradigms of middles, they're going to translate them as reflexive. So Lou M I would be I lose for myself.

[00:13:11] Louie You lose for yourself, Lou. He she it loses for him her itself. The only way we can kind of do this in English is reflexive. Now, this is a little advanced, but I need to get this through to you. Normally in Koine Greek, when the speaker wants to be reflexive, they use the reflexive pronoun. Whoever therefore humbles himself. As this child. This one is greater in the kingdom of heaven. So normally when you want to say for yourself, it usually is a an active verb with a reflexive pronoun. And yet there are some cases and I got three or four good illustrations in the exercises where you have a middle form. Where the middle nuance is coming through. You see why we waited so long? Well, we don't have anything really like this in English. And so it can be confusing. A verb that is middle. Is describing an action that in some way concerns or affects the subject. And the only way that we have to express that in English is this for idea where some kind of reflexive pronoun. But I remember 75% of the middles are the opponents. So this doesn't happen very often. It will happen when you see a form that is not deponent and doesn't make any sense as a passive. You're going to go, Oh, maybe this is a middle. And finally, we are done with the master verb chart, which really should be named the Master indicative verb chart, by the way. But we have three new lines. First, perfect active, second perfect active and the perfect middle passive.