Mastering New Testament Greek Textbook Ted Hildebrandt Baker Academic

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Parts of Speech

1. Noun names a person, place, thing or idea (e.g., book).

2. Adjective is a word used to qualify the meaning of the noun (e.g., good book).

3. Definite Article is a word that specifies a particular noun (e.g., the good book). The indefinite article is “a” (e.g., a book).

4. Pronoun is a word used instead of a noun (e.g., the book, it).

5. Preposition is a relational word that connects an object (often a noun) to its antecedent (e.g., in the book).

6. Verb is often an action or state-of-being word that makes a statement, asks a question, or gives a command (e.g., read the book).

7. Adverb qualifies the meaning of the verb (e.g., read quickly).

8. Particle is a small indeclinable word expressing some general aspect of meaning, or some connective or limiting relation (see chapter 27).

Sentence Parts (Syntax)

The sentence is divided into two parts:
1. Subject, about which something is said.

Simple subject:

Terry went to the store.

The big red truck moved slowly.

Complete subject:

The big red truck moved slowly.

Compound subject:

Terry and Dawn went to the store.

Understood subject:

Please close the door (“you” is understood).

2. Predicate is that which is said about the subject.

Simple predicate:

Joy walked home.

Complete predicate:

Joy walked home.

Compound predicate:

Joy walked home and raked leaves.

Predicate nominative: It is I (rather than “It is me”). A predicate nominative completes the idea of the subject. It will most often occur with an “is” verb.


A phrase is a group of words used as a single part of speech.
Perhaps the most common is the prepositional phrase:

The book by the bed is my textbook (the phrase acts like an adjective modifying “book”).

He held the book over his head (the phrase acts like an adverb modifying “held”).
Infinitive phrases often act as nouns, adverbs or adjectives:

With work you can expect to master Greek (as a noun).

He played to win (as an adverb).

He had plenty of water to drink (as an adjective modifying water).


A clause is a group of words that includes a subject and predicate. (A clause has a verb; a phrase does not.)
Phrase: The great big strong man (an adjective phrase)

Clause: The man who owns the store (an adjectival/relative clause)

A main clause expresses a complete thought and can stand alone.

A subordinate clause is dependent on the main clause and cannot stand alone. Note the following subordinate clauses.

When the store opened, the people pushed through the front door.

He knew that power had gone out of him.

Vanquishing Verbs

It is crucial for students of Greek to gain mastery over (conquer, vanquish) verbs.

Tense generally describes the time of action of the verb (present, future, past), although the time/tense connection has been hotly contested recently (vid. S. Porter, R. Decker, D. Mathewson, et al.). Some see the Greek tense forms as being used to denote Aktionsart (how the action takes place [punctiliar, durative, iterative, inceptive...]) and others stress aspect (the writer’s view or portrayal of the action as opposed to when/how the action actually happened). You should be aware of all three perspectives.

Tense=time: Time is

Kathy walks everyday (present tense).

Kathy walked yesterday (past tense).

Kathy will walk tomorrow (future tense).

Horses gallop across the prairie (omnitemporal/gnomic; what they usually do).

God loves you (timeless).

The Greek verb forms (present/aorist/perfect) are not directly indicative of the

time an event actually happened. Hence the present tense form can be used

for events that are past, present, future, omnitemporal or timeless.
Aktionsart denotes the type of action, how it happens: These types of features

are better understood as a result of the discourse level or based on the lexical

meanings of particular verbs and combinations rather than to try to force such

“meanings” onto the morphological tense forms (present, aorist, perfect).

Continuous/durative action (the event as a process), He is cooking.

Iterative (happens repeatedly) He kept shooting the ball.

Inceptive (event is beginning) She is leaving now.

Omnitemporal/gnomic: Horses gallop across the prairie (omnitemporal/gnomic; what they usually do)

Timeless: God loves you.

Aspect: the writer’s portrayal of an action (Porter/Decker/Mathewson)

the time is indicated more from adverbials, prepositions or time words

than from the “tense” of the verb.
Present/Imperfect: immediacy, details, in progress, descriptive, foreground material

(can be used to portray present, past, future, omnitemporal or

timeless action; so it is not time locked)

Aorist: wholistic, complete, undifferentiated, background material

Perfect/Pluperfect: state of affairs, frontground form

Mathewson defines background, foreground and frontground as follows:

1. background: this does not refer to material that is non-essential or

unimportant, but to material that serves a supporting role.

2. foreground: this refers to material that is selected for more attention

and often consists of the main characters and thematic elements

in a discourse.

3. frontground: elements that are frontgrounded are singled out for

special attention, are presented in a more well-defined way, and

stand out in an unexpected manner in the discourse (Mathewson, 27).

Voice shows who does or receives the action of the verb. Voice indicates how the subject is related to the action of the verb.

Active: Subject does the action.

Middle: Subject does action for itself or emphasizing the subjects participation in the action of the verb (most often the Greek is translated into an English active or for him/her/itself [benefit])

Passive: Subject receives the action.

Mathewson has described it visually as:
Active: Subject ----> Verb (object)

Middle: Subject <--> Verb

Passive: Subjects <--- Verb (agent)

Examples of verb voice

Zachary shot the ball (active)—Zach does the action.

The ball was shot by Zachary (passive)—ball receives action.

Zachary himself passed the ball (middle)—Zach did it for himself.

Verbal mood shows how something is said.


Portrayal of reality


Desire, prossible


Command, entreaty


Wish, remote possibility

Examples of Verb Mood


He learned Greek well.


In order that he might learn Greek well . . .

If he studies, he may learn Greek well.


Learn Greek well!


Oh that you might learn Greek.

(Hopefully, this will not be a remote possibility.)

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