Understanding Greek Verbs

As you go through your Bible studies, it is important to remember that the Scriptures were not originally written in English.  The English version you are studying is most likely a translation from one or more manuscripts.  Remember, the New Testament was originally written in Greek.  Because verbs express action, it is critical to understand how Greek verbs are used in the New Testament in order to accurately understand and interpret what is being communicated. Greek verbs have five aspects - tense, voice, mood, number, and person, with the major aspects being tense, voice, and mood (which is what we will focus on in the section).  A Greek verb describes more than just a lexiconical translation.  By the way the verb is placed in a sentence, you can tell who is performing the action, when the action is done, whether it is just one or more than one person performing the action, whether it is a single event that is being described or a process that continues, whether it is an actual happening, a command, or something wished for, or whether the subject of the verb is active, passive, or both.  A single Greek verb typically needs a sentence or more to convey the same idea in English and other languages. 

Failure to understand how verbs are used in the Greek language can, has, and will resulted in improper hermeneutics (scientific rules for interpretation), which will almost certainly produce faulty exegesis (critical explanation) of the text.

This section provides some guidance on how to understand the tense, voice, and mood of Greek verbs. Select one of the following to begin this lesson.

"These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."  Acts 17:11