Koiné Greek

By way of introduction, Luke, who wrote the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts, had a classical background. Luke was an exponent of Hellenistic culture.  The first three verses of Acts are classical Greek, and the only illustration of Classical Greek in the new Testament.

All of the New Testament writers were influenced by their culture and background in writing the Books of the New Testament. God the Holy Spirit used these men without changing their background, their vocabulary or other personal factors. 

The New Testament was originally written in the “Koiné Greek” (pronounced koy-nay). Koiné means “common.” Of course, the so-called aristocrats of the day made their own modifications to distinguish their superior intellect and this is called “Attic Greek.”

Even today, the original Koiné Greek is still recognized as one of the world’s most perfect languages of expression. Koiné Greek is a language of accommodation, designed by a genius for commanding his troops, it is actually a military language. It was invented by none other than Alexander the Great (356 – 323 B.C.). Each military command given by Alexander had only one exact interpretation. The interpretation by the soldiers receiving the command had to be brief and understood exactly because victory or defeat hung in the balance.

Every country and Greek city-state, conquered by Alexander had to learn his version of Greek. Every nation even the Greek City States (as they were called) spoke a different tongue. You cannot win on the battlefield if the troops do not understand the field commands.

By the time of Christ and the writing of the first century Booklets of the New Testament, Koiné Greek was the prominent language. By the way, for those of you who have questioned how Alexander died — he died of fever in Babylon at the age of 33 … ironically the same age as Christ.

In our Lord’s day, in Palestine most people were tri-lingual.  They spoke Latin (of the Roman conquerors), Aramaic (which was the Hebrew of their day), and they all spoke Koiné Greek.  

The Koiné Greek has many parts of speech for exact expression. For example: the “verb” has various tenses and these tenses explain the relationship of the verb to time. Whenever you have an “Aorist” tense in the Greek you have two concepts for the expression of time — “time and eternity.” In Ephesians 1:4 God  “chose us” in eternity past. In Acts 16:31 “believe,” we have a point of time divorced from time and perpetuated forever. So, when Acts 16:31 reads “you will be saved” it is simply saying you will be saved forever (once and for always) if you decide to believe

The Greeks had an ingenious way of preserving time forever by using the  “tense” to express this thought precisely. We also have the “Present” tense, the “Imperfect” tense,” the “Future” tense,” and the “Perfect” tense of the verb.

Then there is the “Voice” such as the “Active,” the “Middle,” the Passive” and so on.

Then we have the “Mood:  the “Indicative,”  the “Subjunctive,” the Optative,” the “Imperative,” the “Infinitive” and so on. There is much, much more to the grammatical nomenclature of the Koiné Greek,  such as Nominative, Genitive, Dative, Accusative, Vocative; the First person, Second person, Third person; the Masculine, the Feminine, the Neuter;  Singular, and Plural forms of the word.

We haven’t even discussed the “Adjective,” or the “Definite Article” and so on. Understanding the parts of grammar, writing, and speech is necessary for precise interpretation. It is important to understand the syntax of the original languages in the historical setting. If your Pastor does not know the grammatical usage of the Koiné Greek, he may struggle with accurately communicating the context. In addition, the historical setting and culture of those to whom the Letters were written must be considered. So many things go into the interpretation and correct exposition of Scripture. This gives you an idea of what is meant by “exact expression” or even exact interpretation.

We have brought these grammatical terms to your attention so that you may better understand that Jesus Christ controls history and the integrity of Scripture in the original signature. Omniscient God gave Alexander The Great much brilliance in military strategy, and linguistic organization. Alexander’s particular time in history was preordained by God. NOTE: Each persons time in history is ordained.

God through Alexander the Great formulated the Koiné Greek which is  a precise expression of communication, so that the Gospel could be clearly presented and understood, without confusion or dispute.

Here is a Point of Doctrine: God has always raised up men, women, children — the right person, the right people, for whatever His purposes throughout history. In every generation Christ controls history by raising up people to fill the gaps … to be his representative. There is NO circumstance in your life, or in history that surprises God. God’s Grace Plan for all mankind centers around His Son … Jesus Christ. “In the fullness of time, Christ came” (Galatians 4:4). Life centers around Christ. Life itself is centered IN Christ! Christ is the focal point of history and the human race should be looking at the Cross for forgiveness. Every person should be looking for the imminent return of Christ.

Happy Studying in Fields of Grace.

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