In 2018 I plan to read the Greek Gospels in a Year. Will you join me?
I’ve created a reading plan, which divides the Gospels into three months each, with readings scheduled for Monday through Friday. This leaves weekends open to catch up, review, or take a break.
Since study of grammar and vocabulary makes for good "cross-training" (as Prof. Rob Plummer calls it), there is also a weekly reading suggestion for an accompanying Greek textbook: Rod Decker’s Reading Koine Greek.
The plan also includes suggested passages for lectio divina each week, an ancient way of reading Scripture that goes back to at least the Middle Ages. Lectio divina is Latin for “divine reading” or “holy reading."
Finally, the plan concludes with 16 tips for Scripture memory, for readers who want to add that component in 2018.
You can download the Greek Gospels in a Year reading plan here as an Accordance User Tool (or here as a PDF). The User Tool is a free module I created that integrates seamlessly with your Greek New Testament and Decker's grammar in Accordance, if you own them.
Click/tap the image above for a closer look at Abram K-J's reading plan as an Accordance User Tool, as well as associated Accordance resources.
Would you like to join me and others? Leave a comment at Accordance Bible Software’s “Greek in a Year” forum.
Here's to a good year in the Greek Gospels!
Abram Kielsmeier-Jones is Pastor of Union Congregational Church in Gloucester, Massachusetts. He writes at Words on the Word.
Dr. Bill Mounce, President of biblicaltraining.org and author of Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar and Workbook, has been an enthusiastic Accordance user since the early days! In this video recorded at the 2016 ETS meeting in San Antonio, Dr. Mounce describes the specific new feature that has him most excited about Accordance 12.
This podcast picks up where Basic Greek Searches ends. It covers searching for Greek tags, using Search in, and adding more sophisticated Search commands. It also gives an overview of Searching and Amplifying to Greek Tools, and using Research for Greek language searches. Join Dr. J for this in-depth look at what Accordance offers those with a working knowledge of Greek.
See more episodes of Lighting the Lamp on our Podcast Page!
If you’ve invested the time to learn Greek, Accordance is the Bible Software for you! We have a host of Greek texts and resources—and an amazing set of search tools. In this podcast Dr. J covers the basic kinds of Greek searches, modifying those searches with search commands and symbols, and how to type in Greek.
See more episodes of Lighting the Lamp on our Podcast Page!
When I teach or preach the Bible in church settings, I tend to avoid making too much of a distinction between original language texts and English translations. I’ve listened to plenty of preachers who like to show off their knowledge of Greek or Hebrew as if to occasionally remind their congregations of how much they know. On the other hand, in discussing this issue with a church member once, she told me, “If we don’t hear about the original languages from you, where will we hear it?” I suppose there has to be balance in such things.
Kenneth Wuest, former professor at New Testament Greek at the Moody Bible Institute in the mid-twentieth century and one of the New American Standard Bible translators, was absolutely gifted at being able to communicate the nuances of Koine Greek to audiences who had no knowledge of the ancient language. And Wuest was able to do so without talking down to his audience or creating mistrust for their English translations. In spite of his very popular teaching ministry to pastors in training, Wuest’s greatest ongoing contribution to the church—and specifically to the laity in the church—is his four-volume Word Studies from the Greek New Testament with Expanded NT.
Wuest’s Word Studies were published well over a half century ago, but they continue to reach those who hunger to know the New Testament better, even if they haven’t had the opportunity to study biblical languages. Wuest had the remarkable ability to discuss the Greek language, clearly and thoughtfully, to those who have never studied Greek. And in doing so, Wuest continues his teaching ministry long after his passing.
The first two volumes of Word Studies presents a running exposition on selected books from the New Testament: Mark, Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, Hebrews, 1-2 Timothy, Titus, 1-2 Peter, 1-3 John, and Jude. If you’ve ever read A. T. Robertson’s Word Pictures in the Greek New Testament, Wuest’s Word Studies are comparable, but Wuest may be slightly more accessible for the non-specialist.
The third volume is a collection of five previously published works containing essays that include word studies, the meaning of particular Greek phrases, as well as theological studies. There are over 160 of these essays all together, aimed at the serious student of the Bible who has never formally studied Greek.
Wuest bases his Greek expositions on the Nestle edition of the Greek New Testament that was current at his time of writing. When distinguishing the Greek text from the English, he primarily interacts with the King James Version, which was the Bible mostly used by English readers in the mid-twentieth century. However, Word Studies may be placed in parallel with any text or translation in Accordance.
The fourth volume is the well-known New Testament: An Expanded Translation by Wuest that attempts to follow the word order of the Greek New Testament as closely as possible. That doesn’t mean Wuest’s translation is yet another literal translation as he chose to use as many words as possible to properly communicate the Greek text into English.
Click on the image above for a larger view of Wuest's
Word Studies from the Greek New Testament.
The Accordance edition of Kenneth Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament comes in two separate modules. One contains the first three volumes together; and as mentioned earlier, these can be placed in parallel with the biblical text to act as a commentary. The second module contains Wuest’s Expanded Translation, so that it may be used in parallel as well.
Although Wuest was writing for the person who had never studied original languages, his insights into the Greek New Testament are valuable for the scholar as well. His understandable communication style and years of experience in the classroom make him a teacher across many levels of study.
I can still remember my first semester of elementary Greek in seminary years ago. About halfway through the course, most of us were a bit overwhelmed. So, one of my classmates raised his hand and asked our instructor how long he thought it would take for us to “master” New Testament Greek. Without even hesitating, he shot back, “There’s always something more to learn when it comes to Greek.”
When I first saw the title of Murray J. Harris’ book Prepositions and Theology in the Greek New Testament, I remembered my Greek instructor’s words. There always seems to be something to explore at a deeper level when it comes to biblical languages. However, that doesn’t mean that such explorations are always all that interesting. Fortunately, Murray Harris, professor of New Testament Exegesis and Theology at Trinity Evangelical School in Deerfield, Illinois, has written a work on Greek prepositions that is engaging from the first chapter. Really.
Even any first-semester student knows that propositions in Greek can be tricky. Recognizing this, Harris writes,
This volume is offered to the reader in the hope that it may encourage close study of the Greek text of the New Testament, since interpreting the text grammatically — including giving attention to the nuances of prepositions — is the necessary prelude to understanding it theologically [p. 15].
Good translation comes from a combination of study, experience and perhaps a bit of common sense. How can prepositions affect exegesis and theology? Consider this example given by Harris on p. 41:
In the last clause of the Lord’s Prayer (Mt 6:13b), not ἐκ but ἀπό follows ῥῦσαι. In the NT ῥύεσθαι ἐκ denotes deliverance from nonpersonal evil (7x; note esp. 2Pe 2:9, ἐκ πειρασμοῦ, never personal enemies, while (elsewhere) ἀπό with ῥύεσθαι is twice used with persons (Ro 15:31; 2Th 3:2) and once with a nonpersonal object (2Ti 4:18). In Mt 13:19, 38 and probably 5:37, as also in Jn 17:15, ὁ πονηρός refers to “the evil one” (= the devil/Satan). If τοῦ πονηροῦ in Mt 6:13 referred to “evil,” we might have expected ἀπὸ παντὸς πονηροῦ (“from all/every kind of evil”; cf. πᾶν πονηρόν in Mt 5:11). Cf. 2Ti 4:18, ῥύσεταί με ὁ κύριος ἀπὸ παντὸς ἔργου πονηροῦ. The probability, then, is that τοῦ πονηροῦ means “the evil one” rather than “evil.”
If, like me, you first memorized the Lord’s Prayer from the King James Version, you quickly see how a proper understanding of prepositions makes a big difference in how one understands, translates, and even recites ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ.
In Prepositions and Theology in the Greek New Testament, Harris devotes an entire chapter to each of the 17 “proper” prepositions found in New Testament Greek with lesser but adequate attention given to the 42 “improper” prepositions. Thus, this work serves as both a reference as well as a book offered for further study of Greek. Although I believe this book will be best appreciated by those who have studied at least a second year of Greek, there’s nothing to prevent someone who has completed only a first semester from gaining insights from it as well.
Click on the image above for a larger view of
Harris' Prepositions and Theology in the Greek New Testament
The Accordance Team has closely analyzed the text of Harris’ Prepositions and Theology in the Greek New Testament and have tagged the content according to the following fields: Titles, Greek Titles, English Content, Scripture, Greek Content, Transliteration, Manuscripts, Captions, and Page Numbers. Such detailed analysis will aid the Accordance user in finding the exact content needed both quickly and efficiently.
Prepositions and Theology in the GNT
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“Blessed is the one who reads…and blessed are those who HEAR and keep what is written…" (Revelation 1:3).
Coinciding with the release of Accordance 11.1, we are pleased to announce the release of the Audio Greek New Testament. Designed to run in parallel with any New Testament text, the Audio Greek New Testament provides a professionally spoken Erasmian reading of the UBS4/NA27 text by Dr. John Schwandt.
The Greek New Testament Audio requires Accordance 11.1 and is available now.
Professor Steve Walton, Research Fellow at Tyndale House in Cambridge, has been using Accordance since version 1.0! In this video, he describes his use of Accordance in the classroom and his personal workflow for research.
In this video, Dan Wallace discusses his history with Accordance (he has been using Accordance since the first beta!). He also names what he considers to be the "must have" Accordance titles needed for textual criticism.
Dr. Wallace is professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary and founder and executive director of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM).
Some other members of the team and myself are currently in Minneapolis demonstrating Accordance at the Desiring God Pastor's Conference. Since the exhibit hall is basically deserted during the main teaching sessions, I slipped out last night and listened to the first speaker. Early in his message, he made an oft-repeated observation about the book of Ephesians: namely, that it is clearly divided into two parts. The speaker asserted that in the first three chapters, Paul uses verbs in the indicative mood—that is, verbs that make a statement or convey information. In the last three chapters, Paul switches to imperative verbs. Thus, he moves from theology to application, from instruction to exhortation.
It's certainly an interesting point, but is it accurate? Is the book of Ephesians really so clearly divided between indicatives and imperatives? I'm glad you asked! Because it is just these kinds of patterns that Accordance is perfectly designed to reveal.
If you have a tagged Greek New Testament such as the GNT-T or the new NA27-T, click the Words button, then hit the tab key to select the contents of the search entry box. Now go to the Search menu and choose Verb… from the Enter Tag submenu. In the dialog box that opens, select indicative from the Mood pop-up menu, then hold down the shift key and choose imperative. (Holding the shift key enables you to select multiple items within the same category.) When you're finished, click OK to dismiss the dialog and return to the Search tab. You'll notice that Accordance will insert the proper search syntax for you.
Before we run this search, let's limit it to the book of Ephesians by selecting Define Range… from the range pop-up menu at the top of the Search tab (the pop-up that usually reads [All text]). In the dialog box that appears, click the New button, then set both the Range Name and the Range Definition to "Ephesians." When you click Update and close the dialog, your new Ephesians range will be selected in the Range pop-up. (Of course, if you've previously defined an Ephesians range, you only need to select it from the pop-up menu without having to go through the Define Ranges dialog.)
When you hit Return to perform this search, Accordance finds every indicative and imperative in the book of Ephesians. Now we just need to analyze the distribution of these two forms throughout the book. To do that, click the Graphs and Stats menu to the left of the Compare checkbox and choose Analysis Graph.
The Analysis Graph lets you choose the criteria you want to have graphed from the pop-up menu at the bottom right. Choose Mood from this pop-up to see a comparison of indicatives and imperatives.
The Analysis Graph graphs the frequency of occurrence in a particular sample size. The default sample size is hits per 1000 words, which is perfect for a large range like the entire New Testament, but too large for a small range like the book of Ephesians. To see more detail, we'll need to customize the graph to use a smaller sample size. While we're at it, we'll also customize the look of the graph to make it a little slicker.
To customize the look of anything in Accordance, you can always use the keyboard shortcut command-T. With the Analysis Graph selected, use command-T to open the Set Analysis Display dialog. In that dialog, change the Words per hit to 100, select Areas rather than Bars, Overlay rather than Stack, and check the Use black background.
When you click OK, your Analysis Graph should now look like this:
From this we can see that it's true that imperatives don't really begin until the latter half of Ephesians. However, it's not as if indicatives drop out completely. In fact, the highest concentration of indicatives comes right in the middle of the imperative section, and at that point the imperatives drop off dramatically. What point is that in the text? It's the instructions to husbands and wives at the end of Ephesians 5. You would think this section would include lots of imperatives, but there are really only two, followed by a long discussion of the relationship between Christ and the church.
The graphs and statistical breakdowns Accordance provides are designed to enable you to see patterns like this in all their complexity, including the parts which run counter to the general trend.
What other interesting observations can you make from looking at this graph?