Say, “kai.” Now, say, “ho.” “Kai. Ho.” Kinda like that song from Slumdog Millionaire.
In Greek, “ho” means “the” and “kai” means “and.” In the New Testament, these two words are used 29,028 times (technically, ho will change forms in different situations, but it’s still basically the same word). Since there are only 138,162 words in the New Testament, you now know 21% of word occurrences in the NT. Congratulations!
The Greek word, “autos,” means “he,” “she,” “it,” or “self,” depending on form and context. That’s where we get words like “automobile” (self-moving). Autos occurs 5,597 times in the NT, so now you know slightly over ¼ of New Testament occurrences.
There are really a bunch of Greek words that we’ve derived English words from. Here are seven that you should be able to pick up on easily.
angelos – angel
Christos – Christ
theos – God (as in ‘theology,’ the study of God)
anthropos – man (as in ‘anthropology,’ the study of man)
ek – out (as in “exit)
en – in
megas – big, “mega”
Got it? Ok, now you’ve got 10 words, which make up 30% of the New Testament!
Pretty easy, right? Well, to be honest, Greek gets more complicated as you get into it (but, then again, so does everything). Notice that the first 25% were less words than the next 5%. There are plenty of words with much fewer occurrences that have great theological meaning. Pneumatikos means “spiritual” and ‘only’ occurs 26 times (as opposed to ho’s 19,867 occurrences). But that doesn’t mean pneumatikos (‘spiritual’) is less important to the Christian life, after all, Lewis Sperry Chafer did write a book called He that is Spiritual and not He that is The.
Learning another language is tough, but we are living in a great time to be Greek students. Many people don’t realize this, but we have better Greek word study tools available to us today than any Christians have had for well over 1,000 years. If you really want to nerd out sometime, check out this article on the history of concordances.
I’d encourage you to expand your Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic vocabulary. A good starting point might be the word, “sozo,” which is often translated “save.” People often jump to the conclusion that it always means “save from hell” in the Bible, but really it can be used in a variety of contexts. If you would be interested in spending some time in the Word to find out what “sozo” means, then here is a list of occurrences for you to start with: https://taproot.honestox.com/strongs/G4982.