I'm in the beginning stages of learning Koine Greek. I could not find a community with a specific focus on this subject. So I hope this is the right one to ask.

Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ Λόγος, καὶ ὁ Λόγος ἦν

En arche en ho Logos kai ho Logos en

The word "En" at the beginning of this verse uses the epsilon for the first letter. whereas two words later, the first letter is an "eta", for the first letter of the same word "en". I want to know if there is some sort of rule explaining why the two letters are different for the same word.

  • 4
    En is a preposition "in", and the eta ἦν is a verb "was". You should read the basic books like John Dobson's Learn NT Greek bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/… and use duolingo a free app for modern Greek (it's same as the ancient Greek) for all fundamentals. Such basic questions belongs on social media like Facebook groups.
    – Michael16
    Commented Jul 25, 2023 at 16:37
  • use readlang com site, and languagereactor site for regular learning, also imtranslator.net browser extension for easy translation by popup window and use google bard ai and perplexity.ai for basic searches
    – Michael16
    Commented Jul 25, 2023 at 17:00
  • 2
    @Todd. I agree with Michael16 that this is a "basic question". My understanding is that BH does not exist to teach basic Greek.
    – C. Stroud
    Commented Jul 25, 2023 at 18:34
  • @Todd. I think this question is described in the Tour as "Homework", so I am voting to close.
    – C. Stroud
    Commented Jul 25, 2023 at 18:45
  • 3
    They are totally different words. Hence, they are spelled differently. Simple as that. Commented Jul 25, 2023 at 21:54

1 Answer 1


I suggest you examine a site like https://biblehub.com/interlinear/john/1-1.htm that will answer this type of question. But let me summarize the data you ask about. We are dealing with two quite different words:

  • Ἐν = "in" = a preposition
  • ἦν = "was" is a verb, imperfect indicative active 3rd person singular of εἰμί (eimi), the verb "to be".

Indeed, this verb occurs three times in this verse and perfectly illustrates the varied use of the verb "to be" = εἰμί in its three main senses:

  • existence = "in the beginning was the word"
  • relationship = "the word was with God"
  • predication = "the word was God"
  • 1
    +1 no more to explain.
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Jul 25, 2023 at 21:44

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