Do Greek speaking Christians still use the Septuagint and original New Testament text? Or do they have a "modern Greek translation"? I ask because the New Testament is 2000 years old, presumably the Greek language has changed and evolved a lot in that time and so the original NT might not even be understandable to a modern Greek speaker.

I'm interested in what Greek speaking Christians use in general (Catholics, Orthodox, Protestant), but I'm also very interested in the Greek Orthodox church in particular. I'm curious what version of the scriptures they draw upon in their liturgy: the originals? or a modern paraphrase/translation?

2 Answers 2

  1. The language has certainly changed. As such, translations into modern Greek are used.

  2. Today's Greek Bible is often used, and translations by the Hellenic Bible Society have the Blessing and Approval of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Holy Synod of the Greek Church and the Patriarchates. There are other translations of the Bible into modern Greek, and it must be noted that the underlying manuscript(s) used vary just as they do in English translations, but perhaps more so because of Greek Orthodox distinctions. Going beyond this into the realm of what every Christian group in Greece prefers is too broad. Given that Eastern Orthodoxy is the predominant Greek religion, I've stuck to this.

  3. The history of translating the Bible into modern Greek is fascinating and filled with lots of controversy, but such a review is beyond the scope of this answer. I refer you to this Wikipedia article for some additional context, but it is quite biased and often unsourced. The Greek version has a list of translations.

  4. The type of Greek used in Divine Liturgy varies by jurisdiction and local conventions. Increasingly, Greek Orthodox churches use the predominant language of the country where services are held. Where Divine Liturgy is in Greek, it is often a mixture of modern and biblical (Koine) Greek (similar to how English-speaking churches retain some archaic English phrases in their liturgies).

  • So in your opinion, Greek-speaking Christians use neither the 1904 Patriarchal New Testament Text nor the Apostoliki Diakonia Septuagint? My understanding is that these texts are the texts of the Greek Orthodox Church. Is there any reason why you failed to mention either of these?
    – guest37
    May 3, 2017 at 18:54
  • Big difference between what the Greek Orthodox Church (liturgically and in scholarly discourse) uses vs. what many Greek-speaking Christians read at home in many cases.
    – Dan
    May 4, 2017 at 3:42
  • @guest37 just to clarify also, isn't Apostoliki Diakonia the publisher, not the translation itself (I really don't know)?
    – Dan
    Apr 5, 2018 at 18:53

The majority of Greek-speaking Christians (Greece, Turkey, Cyprus and the diaspora) belong to the Orthodox Church. While some sectarians (i.e. non-Orthodox) may use some other text, to my knowledge the Greek New Testament text used within the Church is the 1904 Patriarchal Text. It is very close to the so-called "Majority Text". You can find the complete text online via the preceding link. I have never heard of any translation of the Koine text into "modern" Greek being used in any Orthodox Church.

The Old Testament text used by the Orthodox Church has been the version based on the Septuagint and includes all of the deuterocanonical books. The version commonly used in Greece is that published by the Apostoliki Diakonia.

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    This post is interesting because it's representative of a common (not universal but common) Greek Orthodox attitude even if it doesn't cover the details of the case very well. There are in fact modern Greek translations (as alluded to in Dan's answer) that see use in several notable contexts.
    – Caleb
    Jan 29, 2017 at 17:28
  • @bruisedreed I was being facetious. I thought that the inclusion of the inflammatory claim that the Orthodox church is the one true church is unnecessary and irrelevant to this question and answer. This answer could be improved by removing the statement. Jan 29, 2017 at 22:02
  • @TheIronKnuckle such dry humour doesn't really communicate through text alone - unfortunately we have quite a few people around that write such things in all seriousness. Jan 30, 2017 at 4:07
  • @Caleb - question was "I'm interested in what Greek speaking Christians use in general (Catholics, Orthodox, Protestant), but I'm also very interested in the Greek Orthodox church in particular". Are you suggesting that Greek Orthodox do not comprise the majority of Christians in Greek-speaking Christians and/or use something other than the PT or Apostoliki Diakonia. I know you are in Turkey and have probably been to Greece, so perhaps you are right. I believe my answer was accurate, though. Do the majority use something different than what I suggest?
    – guest37
    May 3, 2017 at 18:44

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