Greek Vocabulary

One of the biggest obstacles to learning Koine Greek (and any language, for that matter) is the vocabulary. Vocabulary is essential. All the ending memorization in the world is not going to matter one bit if you don’t recognize the stems. Fortunately, I have great news. When you look at a Greek New Testament (GNT), you are seeing book that contains 18,532 words used 138,013 times. That might intimidate anyone into giving up, thinking they have to memorize well over 18,500 words. that is the not the case. A mere 750 words make up almost 70% of the usage in the GNT:


I know it seems a little backwards, but just like in English, we use a small group of words over and over and over again. The GNT is the same way. It uses a short list of 750 words over and over and over again. And those words are listed below.

So the next question is, how do you memorize those 750 words. You can try to do the brute memory thing. Or you can try to do clever, mnemonic word associations. But I’ve found one helpful approach is to find the vocabulary word in a well-known New Testament verse. For example, if you need to memorize κοσμος –ος, ὀ, it’s helpful to know that it’s the κόσμον found in John 3:16: “For God so loved τὸν κόσμον”.

So by way of an exercise for me and hopefully a tool for you, I’ll be building a vocab list and including key references (Unless otherwise noted, all English translations are my own. Though, honestly, most of the verses are so notorious the translations tend to render them almost identically)

[table id=greek-vocabulary /]