The Koiné Period

The Greek that was widely spoken from about 300 BC to 330 AD is called Koiné (common) Greek. The conquests of Alexander the Great spread the Greek language around the Mediterranean and throughout the Middle East. During ensuing centuries Greek was widely used for international commerce and communication.

The Septuagint Greek translation of the Old Testament was made at the beginning of the Koiné period, the New Testament was written in the middle, and early Christian writings take us to the close of the period. A knowledge of Koiné Greek is therefore valuable for students of the New Testament.


These lessons can help you learn to read and understand the Greek New Testament. They are suitable for beginners and for those who have studied Greek.

It is a 'reading' course with grammar introduced along the way to clarify what you read. It is not a formal study of grammar. If you wish to engage in such a study, you might investigate

The vocabulary of the New Testament is introduced, starting with word-forms used most frequently. Less common words that are similar to words in English and other languages because of transliteration are also introduced, since it will be easy for the student to remember them. After a basic vocabulary is built, much of the reading material consists of excerpts from the New Testament.

The 275 word-forms introduced in lessons 1-40 include the 57 word-forms that appear from 335 to 9268 times in the New Testament. These 275 word-forms constitute 52% of the New Testament text.


Erasmian pronunciation is used for these lessons, with adjustments. The basic assumption is that the various letters and diphthongs originally represented distinctly different sounds and sound combinations.

No doubt because language was a part of God's creation, many ancient languages were much more complex and precise, both in pronunciation and in grammar, than their modern counterparts. Greek has been simplified through the centuries. Thus, in the Koiné period some of the original distinctions in pronunciation had probably been lost.

For didactic purposes, however, the Erasmian principle of one sound for one symbol is extremely helpful, and is therefore used in these lessons.