Greek Brainteaser

Not everyone can read the biblical languages. Some of us can read them at a decently intermediate level, a few people at a higher level.

But there is an entire army out there with little to no Greek, who claim to be able to reinterpret the Bible from the original language, usually based on the Strong’s Concordance (this leads to products such as The Pure Word New Testament; see also “Morpho-Syntatical Exegesis: Is it a thing?“)

Since many of us are going through a period of shut-down, I thought I’d provide a puzzle for true Greek readers. I take this from an ancient Christian book (not the one pictured before). Some years back, I translated another passage from the same work. Let us say that it is intermediate level Greek, no more difficult than that of the New Testament.

But in fact, it is relatively more easy to read the New Testament – because of our previous knowledge of what the text “should” say, and because of interlinears and other tools. That is why it’s a good practice to read and translate and analyze Greek texts which we do not already know, to evaluate our level.


Οἱ ἄνθρωποι ἁμαρτάνοντες γενικῷ λόγῳ διχῶς ἁμαρτάνουσιν, ὑποβαίνοντες τὰς ἐντολὰς ἢ ὑπερβαίνοντες. ὅταν γὰρ μὴ ἀπ’ ἐπιστήμης πολιτευώμεθα μηδὲ γινώσκοντες τὰ μέτρα τῆς δικαιοσύνης σφαλλόμεθα, καὶ ἔσθ’ ὅτε ὑπερβαίνοντες τὸν κανόνα φαντασίᾳ τοῦ ποιεῖν τι κρεῖττον ἐκπίπτομεν τοῦ προκειμένου. ΣΤΑΘΜΙΟΝ οὖν ἐστιν, ὃ οὔτε ΜΕΓΑ ἐστὶν οὔτε ΜΙΚΡΟΝ ἀλλὰ σύμμετρον, τὸ εἰδέναι πῶς δεῖ βιοῦν.

Good luck! Gary

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