Did Jesus Speak Greek? Get The Facts!

By Charalampos •  Updated: 03/31/23 •  6 min read

When you explore the Bible, it’s evident that Jesus and His disciples spoke a great deal of Aramaic, with some Hebrew sprinkled in. But did He also speak Greek? It’s likely — as well as important for us to understand!

If we’re familiar enough with the local language, then his teachings and messages make more sense. Let’s take a closer look at how Greek may have become intertwined into Jesus’ teachings so that we can deepen our knowledge and understanding.

The Bible’s Original Written Language

The Bible's Original Written Language is Greek

It’s important to know that the New Testament was originally written in Greek. It happened because the apostles got a gift to speak that language, thus we can understand that it wouldn’t be a problem for God to speak it too.

Jesus himself didn’t write any of the books of the New Testament, so this fact can’t be proof that Jesus used Greek in His life.

Aramaic was the language spoken in Judea at the time. However, the New Testament authors, including Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, wrote their gospels in Greek, which shows that the Greek language was the lingua franca back then.

It can be possible that Jesus spoke Greek.

The language spoken by Jesus and his disciples was Aramaic, which was a common language in Israel during that time. However, it is also possible that Jesus spoke Greek if it was needed, as Greek was widely used as a common language throughout the Eastern Mediterranean region during that time, especially among educated people and those who traveled extensively.

Examples in the Bible About Jesus And The Greek Language

Examples in the Bible About Jesus And Greek

There are also a few examples in the New Testament where Jesus was speaking with Greeks or where Greek is used in reference to Him.

Jesus Speakes With Greeks At The Festival

For example, in John 12:20-22, it says about Greeks who went to worship at the festival and wanted to see Jesus.

After it, Jesus starts talking to them and to people around Him. It isn’t said in what language he was speaking, probably it was Aramaic, so all Jews could understand it.

In this case, we can assume that Greeks could understand Aramaic. There is another version, which says that Jesus spoke Greek to them, however, other people wouldn’t understand such preaching. Because of such controversy, we can’t say if Jesus indeed spoke Greek or not.

Inscription on The Cross was in Greek

Another example of usage of the Greek language can be found in Matthew 27:37, which describes the inscription on the cross that read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews”.

The inscription was written in three languages: Aramaic, Latin, and Greek. Aramaic was a local language, while two others were lingua franca, in other words, they were languages for multinational speaking.

This shows that Greek was a language that was commonly used and understood by those present at the crucifixion. Most probably there were many people who spoke Greek.

Jesus Meets A Greek Woman

In Mark 7:26-30, Jesus meets a Greek woman who begs him to heal her daughter.

Jesus talks to her and grants her request, saying that the demon has left her daughter. It’s also written that the woman was born in Syria, which can mean that she knew multiple languages.

Jesus Speaks With A Roman Centurion

In Matthew 8:5-13, Jesus heals the servant of a Roman centurion who had asked for his help.

The centurion asks Jesus to heal his servant saying that he isn’t worthy that Jesus would come under his roof. Most probably this was said in Greek, therefore Jesus also answered in Greek, saying that the servant will be healed.

Jesus commends the centurion’s faith and heals his servant from a distance, without even entering his home. Roman centurion definitely couldn’t speak Aramaic since he wasn’t born near Judea and wasn’t a Jew.

Greek Words in The Bible

In Matthew 23:24, Jesus criticizes the Pharisees for their focus on outward appearances, saying, “You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.”

This statement contains a pun in Greek, where the word for “gnat” (kónops) sounds similar to the word for “camel” (kámēlos). This type of wordplay would have been more effective in Greek than in Aramaic, as the two words have different roots in Aramaic and don’t sound similar.

Pharisees were very educated people and could definitely speak Greek fluently, thus we can assume that Jesus used some words from Greek during preaching.

The Truth Behind Jesus Speaking Greek

Jesus Speaking Greek

Regardless of whether or not Jesus spoke Greek, his message of salvation could transcend barriers of languages and cultures.

The fact that the New Testament was written in Greek and has been translated into many languages shows the universality of his teachings. That’s why we mustn’t read the Bible exactly in Greek or Hebrew, but we can read it in the language in which we speak.

The ability to speak many languages isn’t what made Jesus glorious, though it could amaze some people. His true power came from His spiritual connection with God the Father and His ability to inspire others to live righteous life of faith and love.

Final Thoughts

It can be concluded that Jesus could speak Greek to some people. The Greek language was common in that region for talking to people who didn’t know Aramaic, because of this the Bible has few examples describing Greeks, Greek writing, and conversations that definitely could be spoken only in Greek.

In a few examples, we can’t fully understand if Jesus Christ spoke Greek to people, because people He talked to could speak Aramaic, and others wouldn’t understand Greek.

The example of the Roman centurion shows that Jesus spoke Greek. Centurions in Judea spoke Greek, they couldn’t speak Aramaic fluently, and at the same time, we can read a full conversation between Jesus and the Roman centurion.

This can show that although Jesus lived according to the traditions of Jewish society, He could simply make things that amazed everyone around Him.

We found out that Jesus who was considered a carpenter from a small city could fluently speak Greek. Most probably this miracle could also attract attention, and that’s why thousands of people were going together with Christ and everyone knew about him.

Jesus was known for his ability to communicate with all people, including those who spoke different languages or dialects. After all miracles that He had shown it isn’t surprising for us that He had a gift for speaking to people in their own language, including Greek.


Charalampos is an Orthodox Christian who wants to help others learn about Christianity. His main goal is to help people understand the Bible and how to apply its teachings in their everyday lives. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing sports, and hiking.

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