As we have seen, there are, roughly speaking, about 950 post-Aristotelian words in the New Testament, i.e. about 20% of the whole vocabulary. About 314 of these occur in the Septuagint, i.e. 33%, 104 in Plutarch, i.e. 10%, 115 in Polybius, i.e. 11% , 98 in Philo, i.e. about 10%. Taking these general results, we are not justified in pronouncing the language of the New Testament to be a “vulgar” language. Yet one must not be misled by the statistics. The list of pre-Aristotelian words includes the prepositions, conjunctions, particles, and common adverbs, which are, of course, to be found in every Greek writer whose works are extant. The post-Aristotelian words, on the other hand, are almost exclusively nouns, verbs, and adjectives.
But this rough and cursory glance at the constituent elements of the New Testament vocabulary may suffice to show that one is dealing here with a language which can be termed, at least in the broad sense, cultivated, and which comes unquestionably nearer the literary dialect of the period than does the language of the Septuagint…
The New Testament vocabulary, as compared with the Septuagint, shows a far more distinct classical strain… In 2 Corinthians, 17% of the vocabulary is found in Plato, while 5% represents that author’s share in the language of Deuteronomy. We are certain that less Hellenistic books of the New Testament, such as 1 Peter, Hebrews, and James, would show an even greater preponderance.
This pure element is constantly showing itself. In parts of Hebrews and Acts one can sometimes forget for a moment that the Greek is Hellenistic. But the classical element in the New Testament vocabulary is usually made indistinct by the thoroughly Hellenistic character of the grammar and syntax. This is further helped by the Jewish cast of thought which underlies the actual words.