For anyone just here for the Greek NT texts without punctuation and not wanting to read anything else, the files are next. Download, unzip, and enjoy. Make sure you know the EULA for the SBLGNT before you do anything with the texts.

While I don't currently have an interest in texts with no punctuation but leaving the chapter and verse numbers in, that would be easy to do. If anyone wants that, let me know and I can run it without too much difficulty.

In concert with my previous effort–a version of the SBL Greek NT texts with all the chapter and verse divisions removed–I have taken one step further and removed all the punctuation and capital letters from the text. The idea here is so that I can have texts to read without a punctuation overlay. While some punctuation may have been original in the NT texts, the vast majority of punctuation in a critical Greek NT, or even many of our extant manuscripts, is not. In most cases, which punctuation should go where (form the point of view of modern readers, at least–the relationship between modern punctuation and ancient text composition patterns is not always one to one) is obvious. There are always those few places where the punctuation is unclear and it is exegetically significant.

Anyway, using the freely available SBL Greek NT texts in .txt file format, I wrote a python program that would remove all the punctuation and capital letters, in addition to all the chapter, verse, and critical apparatus information. I took the capitals out because, aside from names, capital letters in the text indicate how the editors have divided the text up into units. This is unobjectionable, but for personal reading and study, I sometimes want my own more or less fresh go at things.

Each NT book is a separate .txt file containing one solid mass of Greek text, from beginning to end, without punctuation. Here is what the beginning of the Gospel of Matthew looks like. Notice the lack of tons of periods and commas in the genealogy:

Uses for the texts

Here are a few thoughts on how to use NT texts without punctuation:

teaching learners to read phrases/clauses/sentences, rather than words

I am not currently teaching anyone Greek, but if I had some more advanced students, I would periodically make them do assignments on stretches without punctuation. You could make them punctuate a text according to sense. You could make them start doing their exegesis at the level. Give reading assignments out of it, etc.

Many learners never get past reading Greek word by word, rather than phrase by phrase or clause by clause. Forcing them to read a text where the sentences/clauses/phrases are not marked out for them will, I think, push them towards the all-valuable skill of chunking the text.

And, besides, punctuation is part of exegesis. So, making learners who are keen on learning Greek do their reading/exegesis from puncuationless text is just another push in the direction of making them get better at Greek.

personal challenge

Most of my reading–and I assume yours, as well–is done in a critical Greek NT. I periodically pull out a manuscript for fun, or to check something critical, but otherwise, I just read from one of the critical texts. Reading with no punctuation is like taking the training wheels off. Or maybe it is like skills course training. Whatever the metaphor, it pushes me to develop aspects of my Greek competency which can be taken for granted when reading with punctuation.


Punctuation in our critical Greek texts is great. Don’t get me wrong. For most of what we ever do with the Greek NT, using the pre-punctuated critical texts is great. But, there are times and places where reading without punctuation is a good challenge. Whether for learners, or for more advanced readers. These texts allow you to more easily engage with that challenge.

Happy reading.