Bible Review 7:4, August 1991

Greek for Bible Readers

From Greek to English

By David Alan Black

Bible Review

Our first column (“Starting with Alpha,” BR 07:03) introduced the Greek alphabet and showed how to pronounce the Greek of John 1:1: ejn ajrchóß h\n oJ lovgo~, kai; oJ lovgo~ h\n pro;~ to;n qeovn, kai; qeo;~ h\n oJ lovgo~ (en archeµ eµn ho logos, kai ho logos eµn pros ton theon, kai theos eµn ho logos). Now we ask, how do we translate this verse into English?

In the first place, translation involves a knowledge of vocabulary. John 1:1 contains several common New Testament words: ajrchóß (archeµ, “beginning”), h\n (eµn, “was”), lovgo~ (logos, “word”), qeov~/qeovn (theos/theon, “God”). We also find the prepositions ejn (en, “in”) and prov~ (pros, “with”), the article oJƒtovn (ho/ton, “the”), and the conjunction kaiv (kai, “and”). A knowledge of these meanings allows us to make one simple translation: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”.

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