Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Trying to "Master" One Book in Greek

I'm trying a new approach to New Testament Greek. Instead of reading various chapters and verses here and there, I'm attempting to "master" one book of the bible. I write "master" in quotes because, to be realistic, I'm just hoping for a good understanding of the text. Mastery would take years (and I'm not even sure what it actually means anyway).

I've always loved the epistle to the Philippian Christians. Because of this, I've got a pretty good understanding of the text in English. I even had the great blessing of taking an intensive summer course in seminary from Dave Black on this book. It is one of his favorites; even though the course focused on the English text, Dave still couldn't resist delving into the Greek, which was great for all of us.

Now the goal is to gradually work through the Greek text of Philippians. My plan is to translate it verse-by-verse about five times. By that point I hope to have a good feel for the verbs and participles. More importantly, my desire is to better comprehend Paul's primary themes in the letter.

I encourage all of you to venture into NT Greek in any way you can. If you don't have access to Greek classes but do well learning from books, then this is a good way to start.

8 comments:

micah7 said...

O I'm definitely about to venture into Greek alright...about 2-3 hours a day. 1st Class is at 8am Tuesday.

Eric said...

Micah,

Dig in brother. I know you will do very well.

Here's a little motivation for all of us from Martin Luther, "And let us be sure of this we will not long preserve the gospel without the languages. The languages are the sheath in which the sword of the Spirit is contained; they are the casket in which this jewel is enshrined; they are the vessel in which this wine is held; they are the larder in which this food is stored; and, as the gospel itself points out, they are the baskets in which are kept these loaves and fishes and fragments. If through our neglect we let the languages go (which God forbid!), we shall...lose the gospel..."

BTW - what textbooks are you using?

Norma Hill - aka penandpapermama said...

Okay! I am ordering the book! I've wanted to study Greek for a lonnngggg time :-)

micah7 said...

We are using William Mounce's Basics of Biblical Greek 3rd edition along with the workbook, vocab cards, and DVD lectures purchased from Mounce's website teknia.com. If you haven't been to his site, you should check it out. There are a lot of great resources to be found there.

Eric said...

Norma,

It really is a good book. Dave Black is not only gifted in Greek but also in communicating how to learn the language. Enjoy!

Eric said...

Micah,

Mounce really is "the man." I'm sure it will be good. Thanks for the advice on the website. I'm going to take a look.

micah7 said...

I also have Dave Black's "Learn to read New Testament Greek" which I used to learn the alphabet before I had all my Mounce materials. You may remember when I bought it at the t4G conference. I'm sure I will reference Black's from time to time as well.

Eric said...

Micah,

Black has several good ones. I'm glad you've used his beginning grammar. I also like his "It's Still Greek to Me" and "Using New Testament Greek in Ministry."