J. GRESHAM MACHEN, D.D., Litt.D.
Professor of New Testament in Westminster
Theological Seminary, Philadelphia
MACMILLAN PUBLISHING COMPANY
© Copyright, The Macmillan Company, 1923
All rights reserved. No part of this book may
Printing: 66 67 68 Year: 1 2 3 4
Copyright renewed, 1951, by Arthur W. Machen
The Macmillan Company
Collier-Macmillan Canada, Ltd., Toronto, Ontario
Printed in the United States of America
TO MY MOTHER
This textbook is intended primarily for students who are beginning the study of the Greek Testament either without any previous acquaintance with the Greek language or with an acquaintance so imperfect that a renewed course of elementary instruction is needed. Owing to the exigencies of the present educational situation, many who desire to use the Greek Testament are unable to approach the subject through a study of classical Attic prose. The situation is undoubtedly to be regretted, but its existence should not be ignored. It is unfortunate that so many students of the New Testament have no acquaintance with classical Greek, but it would be still more unfortunate if such students, on account of their lack of acquaintance with classical Greek, should be discouraged from making themselves acquainted at least with the easier language of the New Testament.
The New Testament usage will here be presented without any reference to Attic prose. But a previous acquaintance with Attic prose, even though it be only a smattering, will prove to be an immense assistance in the mastery of the course. By students who possess such acquaintance the lessons can be covered much more rapidly than by mere beginners.
The book is an instruction book, and not a descriptive grammar. Since it is an instruction book, everything in it is made subservient to the imparting of a reading acquaintance with the language. In a descriptive grammar, for example, the rules may be formulated with a lapidary succinctness which would here be out of place. The effort is made here to enter upon those explanations which the fifteen years' experience of the author in teaching New Testament Greek has shown to be essential. In a descrip-
The character of the book as an instruction book has also determined the choice and order of the material. The treatment has been limited to a few essential points, and no attempt has been made to exhibit the real richness and flexibility of the New Testament language, which can be discovered only through reading. This limitation may in places give rise to criticism, as for example in connection with the treatment of participles. The author is well aware of the fundamentally non-temporal character of the tenses in the participle, and also of the great variety in the shades of thought which the participle can express. But after all it is highly important for the beginner to understand clearly the distinction between the present and the aorist participle, and that distinction can be made clear at the beginning only through the proper use of our temporal mode of thought. Only when what is simple and usual has been firmly impressed upon the student's mind by patient repetition can the finer and more difficult points be safely touched.
Special attention has been given to the exercises. Until the very last few lessons (and then only in the Greek-English exercises) the sentences have not for the most part been taken from the New Testament, since the book is intended as an instruction book in Greek and not as a stimulus to memory of the English Bible. At a later stage in the study of New Testament Greek, the student's memory of the English Bible is not an unmixed evil, for repeated reading of already familiar passages will often fix the meaning of a word in the mind far better than it could ever be fixed by the mere learning of a vocabulary. But in the early stages, such assistance will do far more harm than good. In the exercises, the effort has been made to exhibit definitely the forms and grammatical usages which have just been discussed in the same lesson, and also to keep constantly before the mind, in ever new relationships, the most important usages that have been discussed before.
The vocabularies have been limited to words which are very common in the New Testament or which require special explanation. Everywhere the effort has been made to introduce the words in the illustrations and exercises. The learning of lists of words, unless the words so learned are actually used, is a waste of time.
The author desires to express appreciation of the pioneer
work which has been done in this country by Professor
John Homer Huddilston, Ph.D., in his Essentials of New
Testament Greek, First Edition, 1895, and also of the larger
English book of Rev. H. P. V. Nunn, M.A., entitled The
The author is deeply grateful to Professor Edward Capps, Ph.D., LL.D., of Princeton University, who, in the most gracious possible way, has examined the proof of the book throughout, and (of course without becoming at all responsible for any faults or errors) has rendered invaluable assistance at many points. Much encouragement and help have also been received from the wise counsel and unfailing kindness of the Rev. Professor William Park Armstrong, D.D., of Princeton Theological Seminary.