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Chapter 10

Translating the words of the original
Hebrew and Greek Bibles.

There are two original languages of the Bible.

The Old Testament was written in Hebrew.

The New Testament in Greek.

Here is a brief introduction to each language:


Hebrew is a Semitic language dating back in its earliest form to 1400 B.C. It is very logical and its words can be traced back to three letter root words.

It has 22 letters and they form the skeleton of each word.

The points or marks below the words are the vowels that make it possible to pronounce the words. They are like the flesh of a skeleton.

The Hebrew Alphabet and the points or marks shown below:

- The Hebrew Alphabet

- The Hebrew grammatical points or marks

These points or marks are vowels placed beneath the Hebrew consonants. (Letters)

The Vowel Signs

Traditionally Hebrew has 10 vowels (5 short and 5 long vowels). The long vowels have their sound extended just slightly but it is not easily noticed.

Short Vowels                                               Long Vowels

Pronunciation of Vowels

Pronouncing the sounds of the Hebrew accurately is quite easy but takes practice.

Unlike English there is only one way to pronounce Hebrew vowels and consonants. Once one has learned to pronounce Hebrew vowels correctly the words are easier to read. 

Most Vowels are placed under the consonants. Two vowels as seen below are placed after the consonant.

When the Cholem (on the right with the dot on top) appears without the vav then you will notice the dot placed over the left-hand corner of the consonant. This can radically change words.

By example: 


 is read Shlomo (Hebrew for Solomon)


is Shalom (Which means peace)

When you are reading Hebrew where there are no vowels you will notice that the vav and the yod are still used.


The Hebrew syllable is formed by a consonant and a vowel and

the vowel always follows the consonant.

= La (pronounced lah)


= Lu (pronounced loo)

= Le (pronounced leh)

The Shva

The shva is a sign with two dots in a straight vertical line. It is not considered a vowel, but is placed under a consonant to indicate the absence of a vowel for. By example:

(pronounced siphri) The ph does not have a vowel.

The shva sign is usually left out when occuring at the end of a word. There are two kinds of shvas:

The Vocal Shva (When it occurs at the beginning of a word or at the beginning of a syllable followed by a closed vowel, or after a long vowel). By example:


(pronounced BeNi)

(pronounced SHeLomo)

The (e) sound is like a short seghol (barely vocalized)

The Silent Shva (As it occurs in closed syllables and at the end of words) By example:

(pronounced siphri) The 'ph' is vowel-less

(pronounced elmad)

The 'l' does not have a vowel and a 'd'

We would like to give credit to Rusty Russel and recommend his teachings in Old Testament Hebrew and New Testament Greek which have been used in this study. Additional material is available on his website at -

To understand and read Old Testament Hebrew, one may study or download more information on the internet on his website:,,000FXN,.html


Greek is an inflexional language and meanings are communicated by adding prefixes, suffixes and making internal changes in the word stems. It dates back in its earliest form to about 730 B.C.

There are 24 letters in the Greek

The Greek Alphabet:


There are 7 diphthongs that serve as vowels between the letters of the words, to complete the pronunciation.

The Diphthongs:

Ai - pronounced - ah'ee

ei - pronounced as - ei in height

oi - pronounced as - oi in oil

ui - pronounced as - we in sweet

au - pronounced as - ow

eu - pronounced as - eu in fued

ou - pronounced  as - ou in through

A mark before a vowel, in the front of each word is pronounced as an H and as described as rough breathing.  ( example - )

The opposite mark is described as smooth breathing. ( example - s`)

To understand and read New Testament Greek, one may study or download this course on the internet:,,000FXN,.html

Understanding specific Hebrew and Greek words.

To be able to do this, we recommend the use of;

1. A Hendrickson Interlinear Hebrew and Greek Bible.

It has the Hebrew and Greek text with the English translations.

It also gives the Strongs Concordance numbers above each Hebrew and Greek word.

2. A Strongs exhaustive Hebrew and Greek Concordance and Dictionary of the Bible.

With this book, words can be looked up alphabetically or by the number taken from the Hendrickson Interlinear Bible.

When reading the meaning of the word, additional reference numbers may appear, that could give more depth to the meaning.

         Material available on the internet include:

-       An Interlinear Hebrew and Greek Bible.

-       Strong`s Hebrew and Greek Concordance and Dictionary

-     Several other helpful Bible tools.

     Available on the following website:


Using other Bible Dictionaries will help to understand the historical, social, geographical and circumstantial backgrounds of a Scripture. This will help to interpret them.

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