Appendix 3 - The Numerical Interpretation of Greek Words

A significant feature of the Judeo-Christian scriptures - though hardly ever referred to by theologians - is that all translations rest upon Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek originals whose letters and words may also be fairly read as numbers. Evidences of these old alphabetic numbering systems confront us still - as, for example, on the dials of many townhall clocks and in the verse and chapter numberings of some of the older books on our shelves.

What distinguishes the Hebrew/Aramaic and Greek systems from the Roman are, (a) all (not just the seven: I, V, X, L, C, D and M) alphabetic characters were requisitioned for use as numerals and, (b) the value represented by a string of letters was understood to be the simple sum of its constituent parts.

Here is the Greek scheme - introduced circa 600 BC:

The Greek scheme of alphabetic numeration

This scheme was instituted before the Hebrew and dates from c600BC. There are 24 letters - presented here as uppercase/lowercase pairs. Observe, (a) that because the values 6 and 90 were represented by non-alphabetic characters, they do not feature in this table, and (b) that the character occupying the 18th position ('sigma') is the only one possessing an end-form. There are two applications of particular interest - the first involving John 1:1 and the second, the Lord's name and title as they appear (nominative case) in the New Testament (interestingly, also in the Septuagint - a Greek translation of the Hebrew of the Old Testament - c300BC!). The numerical equivalents of the respective words - the sums of their constituent letters - are here referred to as their characteristic values, or CVs.

The numerical expression of John 1:1

Here we read from left to right - the17 words comprising a total of 52 letters. Observe that the last letter of the second word is subscripted by another, viz iota, this being the second element of a long vowel dipthong. In fact, therefore, the word has 5 letters; hence the entry "8 + 10" above the dipthong - 8 and 10 being the respective values of letters 4 and 5. The CV for the verse is 3627.

The numerical expression of "The Lord"


To summarize:

Vernon Jenkins MSc