Mentioned in the Old Testament by its Hebrew name Javan (Gen. 10:2–5, 20; 11:2; Zech. 9:13). The name only occurs once in the New Testament, in Acts 20:2, where it is a translation of Hellas and denotes the southern part of the Greek peninsula, elsewhere in the New Testament called Achaia. In New Testament times Greece formed part of the Roman empire.
The Greeks were a highly educated race, and their civilization, culture, and philosophy were of great service to the Church. Every educated man in the Roman Empire spoke Greek, and it was in the Greek language that the gospel was preached as soon as it spread outside Palestine. Care must be taken to distinguish between Greeks and Grecians. The Greeks, or Hellenes, are men who are Greek by descent (John 12:20; Acts 14:1); Grecians, or Hellenists, are Greek-speaking Jews (Acts 6:1).