Question:

What is the real Greek of the New Testament? Koine Greek or Aramaic? Wikipedia says suggest it is the Aramaic Greek, but I was taught it was the Koine Greek but you can find many web sites that say it was Koine Greek, this is become very confusing to me. Which is correct? What language did Jesus and the apostles speak?

Thanks in advance.


Answer:

The New Testament was written in a form of Greek known as Koine Greek or Common Greek. This is the form of Greek that was used around the Roman Empire where Greek was not the common language. It was the Greek used by the everyday person. Classical Greek is the form of Greek used by the famous Greek philosophers. The difference between Classical Greek and Koine Greek is similar to the differences between Shakespearean English and American English.

Aramaic is a completely different language that is in the same family of languages as Hebrew. It was the regional language people spoke, especially in the northern regions of Israel during Jesus' day. It would have been the language Jesus and the disciples spoke most often.

Unlike the United States, people in that time usually spoke several languages. There was the language of your neighborhood (Aramaic), the language you used to talk to foreigners and to do business (Koine Greek), the language of the government (Latin) and the language you used for religious services (Hebrew).

The New Testament has some Aramaic and Latin words and phrases, but the language it was written in was Koine Greek. It is easy to see why God picked this language: it insured widespread understanding of the Bible since in the Roman Empire Koine Greek was the most prevalent language. If you didn't know what someone else spoke, you would usually start with Koine Greek. (It is sort of like how English is commonly spoken around the world.)