It is my understanding that the original text of the Bible is mostly in Hebrew and Greek. There are a few quotes from other languages, like “Mene mene tekel …” (language seems to be unclear) or Jesus's “Eli, Eli, lama sabachtani” (Aramaic). But since the New Testament, at least, came into being in a world where the Romans had a word or two to say, I wondered if is there any Latin to be found.

I know, of course, that there are Latin names in the Bible, like Pontius Pilatus. But are there any other words or even sentences?

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    I have never read the Greek New Testament, but my guess is there could be some Latin vocabulary when talking about Roman military (e.g. centurio). I doubt there are any full Latin sentences, but I'd search the epistle to the Romans and the passion. I guess the titulus (itself written in Latin, Greek and Hebrew) is only described in one language, which should be Greek
    – Rafael
    Sep 17, 2020 at 21:36
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    @Rafael Yes, the titulus seems to be quoted in Greek only. But I may very well be overlooking something. Sep 17, 2020 at 22:00
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    And centurio seems in Greek in the original: ἑκατοντάρχης (act 10:22)
    – Rafael
    Sep 17, 2020 at 22:10
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    “Mene mene tekel …” is Aramaic (like much of the rest of Daniel)
    – b a
    Sep 17, 2020 at 22:37
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    @tum_ Ah, I see. The NT canon, as currently recognized by most Christian churches, was first explicitly recorded by Athanasius in 367. That said, there was minimal disagreement about which books were authoritative before that, except perhaps with the so-called Catholic epistles. As for the "content being edited along the way," I'm not sure what you mean. We have many manuscripts from many families dating back to the 2nd century: there's no evidence that radical alterations were made and--if you look at a Nestle-Aland textual apparatus--you'll see that variants are rarely more than trivial.
    – brianpck
    Sep 17, 2020 at 22:43

3 Answers 3


According to the study, "A Study of Latin Words in the Greek New Testament", by Esther Laverne Benjamin, there are about thirty Latin words transliterated into Greek in the New Testament. The majority of these are nouns. The study divides the words into the following categories:

  • Words of Economic Significance — coins, weights and measures
  • Words of Judicial Significance — such as σικάριος, φραγέλλιον
  • Words of Military Significance — such as κεντυρίων, λεγιών
  • Words of Political Significance — such as κολωνία, λιβερτίνος
  • General — winds, articles of dress, commercial and social centers, and writing materials
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    Very nice finding, indeed!
    – Rafael
    Sep 18, 2020 at 13:18
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    Chapter II even briefly discusses idioms built with Greek vocabulary and seemingly Latin grammar
    – Rafael
    Sep 18, 2020 at 13:46

I too am looking for a list of words used in the original manuscripts with Latin. This morning, in the NKJV study Bible from Nelson, I read the commentary on Mark 6:27; 37 where they mentioned two Latin words spekoulatora and denarii respectfully. These are their notes:

spekoulatora - an executioner. Herod dispatched an executioner. Here Mark uses a Latin word easily understood by his Roman readers

denarii - this is the plural word of denarius -a commonly used silver coin. It was the sum typically paid to a laborer for a days work.

If anyone else comes across a latin word list in the original manuscripts, please share

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    Did you read the study linked in Expedito's answer?
    – cmw
    Nov 17, 2021 at 1:02

Acts 13:1 Simeon called Niger. I’m sure Niger is Latin.

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