Biblical Greek - Lesson 32


In this lesson, you gain knowledge about the infinitive in Biblical Greek, including its definition, function, and types. You learn how infinitives can function as nouns, being the subject or direct object of a sentence, and as modifiers, acting as adverbs or adjectives. Furthermore, you explore the different kinds of adverbial infinitives, such as those expressing time, cause, purpose, and result, and the usage of infinitives with prepositions. This lesson equips you with a deeper understanding of Greek grammar, helping you in your biblical studies.

Bill Mounce
Biblical Greek
Lesson 32
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I. Understanding the Infinitive in Biblical Greek

A. Definition and Function

B. Types of Infinitives

1. Anarthrous Infinitives

2. Articular Infinitives

II. Infinitive as a Noun

A. Subject of the Sentence

B. Direct Object

III. Infinitive as a Modifier

A. Adverbial Infinitive

1. Time

2. Cause

3. Purpose

4. Result

B. Adjectival Infinitive

IV. Infinitive with Prepositions

A. Examples and Usage

  • 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
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:01] Well, today we're in chapter 32 and we're going to learn the infinitive. If you can get this, you're pretty much home free. Wow. Slight overstatement, but you're a good way there. All right. What's an infinitive? Well, then, infinitive is a verbal noun. A participle as a verbal adjective. The infinitive is a verbal noun. In other words, however, you form an infinitive. And however you're going to translate it. Infinitive. You need to remember, first and foremost, that it is performing a substantive function. It's a verbal noun. And so in English we would say, to study is my highest aspiration. Well, we'll just pretend it is. To study is an infinitive. You form an infinitive in English by taking a verb and putting the word two in front of it. But you can see in this sentence that to study, there's your infinitive is performing. What function in the sentence. It's a subject, isn't it? If you were to say I began to sweat when the teacher walked by to sweat is another substantive function. It's completing the idea of the verb, isn't it? I began. I began what I began to sweat. My favorite hobby is to eat. To eat. Is performing. What function in the sentence is a pretty good nominative, isn't it? So an infinitive. What we form in English with two in the verb is performing basic substantive functions. When we get into Greek. Same thing. Infinitives are verbal nouns. They are in decline of all. Yeah. No case, No number. Now, sometimes there's an article attached to an infinitive. And when there is, it's always neuter. Now, that's not always the case, but when there is an article, the infinitive is viewed as a neuter construction, but basically it's in decline able.

[00:02:20] And the normal way to translate them in Greek is simply to say, to add the verb. Now we're going to fine tune that a bit, but for the most part, when you see infinitive, you'll say two and then take the meaning of the verb and stick it after it. So it's not that hard for the most part, but we're outside of the indicative verbal system. So guess what went bye bye. No, no time at all. The only significance is aspect. And there's three infinitives because there's three aspects. So the infinitive that's built on the present tense stem is going to be indicating a continuous action. The infinitive built on the arrows ten stem is indicating an undefined action and the infinitive built on the perfect ten stem as indicating a completed action. Now, what you're going to find is that it's almost impossible to bring the present tense nuance, the continuous aspect into English. Very rarely is this done, but that's why we have preachers. I have tried and tried and tried to find a way to simplify infinitives. In other words, to not have you simply to memorize things. I can't find it. Maybe someday some will come up with one. But this is one of the few paradigms that you're simply going to have to learn. These are all the infinitive morphemes with the tense formative. It's kind of important to see the tense formative. Now, there is some consistency, isn't there? What do most of the infinitives end in the Alpha Yoda? And you'll notice that in the present and in the perfect, the middle and passive of the same form. You would expect that just from the tense system. They'll. Right. So you have an essay in essay. If it's a first errors you have say source three and say no.

[00:04:20] If it's a second verse, you'll notice in the active a middle, it's going to look just like a present. The stem will be different though. Ane and se sti. But when you get into the passive, you have the energy. There's the aid of the transformative. And then in the perfect, you have Kenny and then Sly. Sly. You're just going to have to commit this to memory, as far as I can tell. The problem is I could say, Well, if it ends and I'll Fiona's probably an infinitive. But the problem is sometimes these forms can get kind of get buried down on a verse and they won't stand out as much to you that it's an infinitive and you can get lost. So you probably you just need to memorize this. So let's just quickly play our little guessing game. If you saw Lon Bonnin. What tense is that? It has to be the present, right? Because that's the present tense stem of the word Lombardo. So you would pass this as a present active infinitive from Lombardo meaning to receive. Luci. There's an earnest active infinitive from Luo meaning to loose. You notice what's missing. All right. We're outside the indicative system. There's no augments in the earth. Luci. Present. Middle or passive infinitive. From Luo and these we just generally translate in our passings as passives to be loosed. Lobbying. Right. There's your. But you have the lab stem, the Mu Alpha news gone. You're outside the present system Without the augment, you know, you're in the arrests. So it's an arrest. Active infinitive from long or translated. To receive. In other words, LAMB, Bonnin and Le Bahn are generally going to be translated the same way. I mean, if you want to distinguish the present, you can do it something like to continue to receive, which is what it means.

[00:06:38] It's just horrid English. Let CanI. Perfect active infinitive from Luo to. Have loosed. It's pretty straightforward what, you know, your earnings now that you're used to putting verbs together, it'll make pretty good sense. Just real quickly so you can actually see the endings hooked on the paradigmatic forms the prison infinitive, lu ane lu sty and lu usto the arrest infinitive in the active. It's the first arrow stem. It's Luci. If it's a secondary stem, it's been in the middle lu source. They le bsi and in the passive it's luthien I graphene I It is so much more fun in Greek not to memorize all these paradigms, but rather to be able to see how pieces fit. And what you're doing now is you're really enjoying the benefit of the way I've been teaching you, because instead of just learning forms, it's all making sense, or at least some sense in how it all goes together and in the perfect or the completed infinitive Luchini let loose. They let loose they. Okay, so housing infinitive used in Greek. Let me give you just the three main ones. The textbook gives you a few more. The most basic function of the infinitive is as a straight substantive. So if you saw tar as a eston Augustan, it'd be. To eat is good. I must have been hungry when I made these slides. That's the most basic form. The second use, though, is probably the most common. What we call the complimentary infinitive. And all that this does is that there are certain verbs that are not complete in and of themselves in terms of their meaning. And so they have to be followed with by an infinitive in order to make sense. So for example, day, which means it is necessary, exists in which means it is lawful and mellow, which means I am about.

[00:08:57] None of those verbs make sense without something to complete their thought. And Greek uses the infinitive to complete their thought. These are the really easy infinitives to translate, so they obtain is the aim. It is necessary for her to eat. It is lawful for him to eat. I am about to eat. Can you see how the infinitive It's this natural to use the infinitive in Greek and in English in this case. The third use is called the articular use of the infinitive. And this is the one that might cause a little bit of problem if you don't recognize what's going on. Actually, it's not the articular uses the articular with a preposition. Here's what happens when you have one of these six constructions where you have a preposition and your definite article, which will be neuter and an infinitive and normally a word in the accusative. That's the construction right there. This is a special kind of idiom in Greek, and it kind of defies some of the rules you're used to. And so on your vocabulary cards, you need to make six separate vocabulary cards for these six constructions. That's how important it is to recognize these. Here's what's happening. When you have, for example, DIA. Normally DIA with the accusative is on account of that's not what it means in this construction. When you have DIA followed by the articular infinitive, it means because now here's the other kind of interesting twist. C Alten in the accusative that's acting as if it were the subject of the infinitive. So if you saw a digital blip in our time, you would translate it because he sees, Oh, this is an idiom. We don't have the same construction in English. And so you have to flex a bit in the translation.

[00:11:02] So deal with the particular infinitive means because and the word in the accusative is acting as the subject of the infinitive. And so it's because he sees a star blip in our time, as with the articular infinitive means in order that in order that he sees cross also means in order that with the articular infinitive, in order that he sees. You can see the problem, can't you. The because in the in order that our definitions that we attach to the prepositions only when they are followed by the articular infinitive, you also have three temporal prepositions. And these are a little more apparent. Proverb means before end means or while. And the term means after. So it's before he sees. While he sees. After he sees. Now you notice the case of the article is changing depending upon what preposition, isn't it? So the preposition is still governed. Or in the case of its object. Here in this case, it's the article. Before he sees. While he sees. After he sees. Okay, so these are a special idiom in Greek. They are the preposition with the particular infinitive. And you're going to have to be a little looser in your translation.