How To Boost Your Greek Vocabulary With the Biblical Greek Dictionary

Learning a new language takes time, especially when it’s an ancient scripture immersed in rich vocabulary. Mastering the Greek New Testament demands not only an understanding of Biblical Greek morphology, syntax, and pronunciation but also the words and their meanings. Likewise, anyone could do it with the right drive and dedication; by studying the Greek alphabet and committing to vocabulary memorization, the words will spring to life in turn.

Koine Greek Vocabulary Basics

In our comprehensive online classes and Bible Greek dictionary, we start students with the core basic terms before diving into in-depth scripture translations and exegetical texts. One of the principal practices taught is frequency prioritization, where we first begin with the common words and then move on to the uncommon terms. Though there are 138,607 words in the Greek New Testament, only 5,394 are unique. But before you can recognize context based on word frequency, you’ll need to learn your Greek Bible ABCs (or “αβγs”).

Koine Greek Alphabet

  • The 24-letter alphabet consists of 7 vowels, 15 single consonants, and 2 double consonants.
  • Some letters complement the English alphabet: β γ δ ε = a b c d e; ι κ λ μ ν = i k l m n; ο π ρ σ τ υ = o p r s t u.
  • There are seven vowels: α, ε, η, ι, ο, υ, and ω. Vowels η and ω are always long in pronunciation, ε and o are always short, and α, ι, υ may be either, depending on the word.
  • It is sinistrodextral (written from left to right).
  • Vowels can be combined to make a single syllable, otherwise known as a diphthong. Example: αυ pronounced “ow,” like in “spouse,” and οι pronounced “oi” in “boy.” 
  • The letter sigma comes in three forms (Σ, σ, ς). Each variation’s positioning in the word varies in pronunciation.
  • Diacritical marks, breathing marks, and accents such as (‘) are all incorporated.

Phonics is Key

In New Testament Greek, the way you sound out the words is far more important than the names of the letters themselves. Instead of a separate name for each letter like most letters in the English alphabet have, the Greek letter’s pronunciation becomes its name. That’s why verbalization is crucial in learning the language quickly and assigning meaning to Greek vocabulary.

To illustrate an example, think of the English letters “Y” and “W.” If you were to ask a child how to pronounce “Y,” he may sound it out as “why,” but in Bible Greek, it’s pronounced “yu” like “yes.” This also goes for “w”— where it may be sounded as “double you,” but it’s “wu” like “well.”  

Mnemonics: The Portal to Vocabulary Retention 

Once you’ve developed your expertise in the Koine Greek alphabet, you’ll be ready to elevate your faith education to the next level. That’s where the Greek To Me™ New Testament Greek textbook and Mobile App come in—think of them as your Greek bible dictionary.  With 300+ practice problems, 600+ most common Greek vocabulary words, irregular verbs, 24 chapters, and a complete mnemonic learning approach, they are the cornerstone tools for students in and out of the classroom.  And with the Mobile App, you’ll gain access to all of this plus additional exclusive content, all at your fingertips.

Both emphasize a mnemonic learning approach, a scientifically proven tactic for long-term memory retention. Mnemonic devices are essentially word patterns to help with memory retrieval (for example, the mathematical phrase PEMDAS stands for Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, and Subtraction). Using this method, you will begin with the alphabet, and then step-by-step unpack basic vocabulary and grammar. Soon, you will grasp and solidify Biblical Greek concepts and fill in the gaps in New Testament scripture.

Expand Your Greek Vocabulary— Take an Online Class!

Greek To Me offers various building-block-style online courses to elevate your Greek vocabulary and stimulate your mental potential. We connect our certified instructors and students through text, video, and mobile mediums to create an atmosphere rooted in spiritual growth.

Open the door to Biblical Greek fluency today!  Set up your Login to begin, or contact our team at

TAGS: Greek New Testament, Koine Greek Vocabulary