Bible Review 8:6, December 1992

Greek for Bible Readers

Greek verbs: Tenses and aspect

By David Alan Black

Bible Review

We noted in our previous lesson that Greek uses different forms of a verb to indicate person and number (see Greek for Bible Readers, BR 08:05). We also learned that Greek verbs are said to have a mood: in the indicative mood the speaker affirms the factuality of a statement; the imperative mood expresses a command; the subjunctive mood expresses contingency; and the infinitive mood expresses a verbal idea without specifying person or number. Lastly, we distinguished between the active and passive voice; in the former the subject performs an action, in the latter the subject is being acted upon.

Now let us turn to the concepts of tense and aspect. The tenses in Greek are the present, the future, the imperfect, the aorist, the perfect, the pluperfect and the future perfect. In the indicative mood, the usual English equivalents of these tenses are given below:


Active Voice
Passive Voice


I love
I am being loved


I will love
I will be loved


I was loving
I was being loved


I loved
I was loved


I have loved
I have been loved
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