Greek I; Lesson 1

John 1:1

Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος

Ἐν

This is the preposition εν but with a capital epsilon. Ἐν means “in”.

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  • The apostrophe (’) over the vowel is the smooth breathing mark.
  • We know that every preposition must have an OP. In this case, it is the very next word.

 

ἀρχῇ

ἀρχῇ is the OP of εν and is translated “beginning”. When you translate this word, you will have to supply the article to make it sound right in English.

 

ἦν

This is a verb. It is third singular. Remember that in Greek, the subject is embedded in the verb (principle 3).

Because of this, the subject isn’t always present. It is implied. This verb is third person, so we will use “he”, “she”, or “it”.

This verb is translated into the English past tense. In Greek, its tense is the imperfect tense.

 

This is the article “the”. The mark above it is the rough breathing mark. It is nominative singular.

 

λόγος

This is the subject of the verb ην. Just as in English, we always expect the subject to be nominative case. We know λογος is nominative in two ways:

You can see from this that word order in Greek is not as important as it is in English. The period after this word means this is the end of the sentence.

 

Translation so far...
Ἐν    ἀρχῇ                    ἦν     ὁ     λόγος…
In     [the] beginning  was  the  word…

 


καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν

καὶ

και is a FANBOYS conjunction and is almost always translated “and”.  The alpha and iota of και make up a dipthong.

 

See above for ο λογος ην…

 

πρὸς

προς is the preposition “with”. Every preposition must have an OP. Here, the OP is θεόν.

 

τὸν

τον is the same as ο above (see article). In this case, however, you will not put “the” in your translation. The article functions differently in Greek than it does in English so we often leave it untranslated.

The article is spelled differently here because it must always be the same case as the noun it modifies (remember principle 7). Since it is modifying θεόν, it must agree with θεόν in gender, number, and case. τον is accusative, singular, masculine so θεόν must be accusative, singular, masculine.

 

θεόν

This is the same word as θεος only here it is accusative case, not nominative. It agrees with its article.

 

Translation so far...

…καὶ  ὁ     λόγος  ἦν    πρὸς τὸν θεόν…
…and the Word   was with         God…

 


καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.

The words in this line are all familiar to you. But should this line be translated, “and God was the Word” or “and the Word was God”? Which of these nouns is the subject and which is the PN? The case of each of these nouns doesn’t help since both the subject and PN will be nominative case. When two nouns, both in the nominative case, occur with some form of ειμι (in this case ην) the subject is the articular noun. Hence, ο λογος is the subject and θεος is the PN.

Translation so far...
… καὶ   θεὸς           ἦν   ὁ λόγος.
…and   the Word was God.

 


John 1:2

οὗτος ἦν ἐν ἀρχῇ πρὸς τὸν θεόν.

The words in this line are all familiar except the first. ουτος is the demonstrative pronoun “this”. Since there is no noun for it to modify, you have to supply one based on the context.  Since ουτος is masculine, we will use a masculine pronoun “This Man…”

ουτος is also the subject of ην.

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