Note: We are pleased to announce the immediate release of Understanding New Testament Greek by Mark G. Vitalis Hoffman. Rather than have us describe this phenomenally unique resource (designed specifically to work with Accordance) ourselves, we thought we'd let Dr. Hoffman tell you about this work himself.
Mark G. Vitalis Hoffman
There was a time when the typical language requirement for Master of Divinity students was two years of Koine Greek plus a year of Hebrew followed by expectations of using the languages in exegetical classes. For Greek, the goal was to teach students how to read the Greek New Testament. Experience showed that not many students actually achieved that level of competence. Further, it takes ongoing practice to retain and expand one’s reading ability. The unfortunate result was that most pastors had forgotten their Greek and no longer used it in a couple years after seminary.
Meanwhile, changing curriculum requirements often reduced the language requirements to the point where some institutions have no language requirements at all. At the same time, however, incredible advances were being made in Bible software capabilities. What formerly took many books and the tedious process of paging through them was now accessible simply with the click of a mouse button.
This Understanding New Testament Greek grammar is the culmination of these factors in my teaching experience. It was developed out of necessity as a way to teach Greek in one semester. The goal, however, is not to read Greek but, as the title states, to understand Greek. There is very little memorization of vocabulary that is expected, since the software can easily provide the lexical information. The only paradigms students are encouraged to memorize are those of the Greek article and forms of the verb εἰμί. The software provides all the analysis. The focus is on understanding Greek grammar and syntax and becoming proficient in using the tools and resources available in the software.
If one steps back for a moment, the wisdom of such an approach becomes apparent. Unless a student ends up in advanced Greek studies, it is unreasonable to expect that they are going to come up with an English translation that is superior to one that committees of scholars have produced in the many standard versions now available. What students can do, however, is understand why a translation renders in a certain way. Further, they should be able to compare English versions, assess why there are differences, and make decisions on preferred renderings. Approaching Greek this way is a skill that is more easily retained and can be used throughout a ministry career than trying to maintain the ability to read Greek. Learning the software also provides them with the tools and resources to do a wide variety of secondary research.
Understanding New Testament Greek comes with a special highlighting file, available on the Accordance Exchange, for anyone to download.
How can the Bible software be leveraged to make understanding Greek possible in a semester’s worth of work? Understanding New Testament Greek accomplishes this by using a color coding system applied to the Greek text (GNT28-T) and in the grammar. For example, most Greek sentences have an indicative verb which appears with gold highlighting in the text. To learn about the possible nuances of translating the different Greek indicative tenses, one consults the gold section of the grammar. Similarly, infinitives are highlighted in green in the text, and one consults the green section of the grammar to identify all the syntactical functions of infinitives in Greek and determine what is the function and how to render it in any particular context. Highlighting is provided for nominative nouns and pronouns (to help locate the subject of a sentence), participles, subjunctive verbs, imperatives, conditional constructions, and prepositions with their objects.
The value of this approach is quickly evident to students.
- The color coding makes it easier to visualize the structure of the Greek.
- The color coding provides a visual way to reference the information needed in the grammar.
- They work with the New Testament Greek text from the beginning. There is no need for made-up simplified sentences.
- They are equipped to compare and evaluate various English translations.
- They are trained to use the range of resources available in the Bible software.
- Studying a Greek text ‘feels doable’ in that it does not require huge commitments of time to get through a verse, and it is a skill that can be applied over a ministry career.
This grammar is intended as a reference grammar, but I have also used it as a teaching grammar. By the end of the second week, students have reviewed English and Greek grammar and are able to translate any Greek indicative verb. In the third week, nouns, the Greek article, and the function of cases is covered. One session covers all that is needed to know for infinitives and another one for imperatives. Subjunctives and conditional constructions get two sessions. Participles take three sessions to cover. That still leaves time to cover the remaining, finer points of Greek grammar.
Whether used for a class or by individuals, whether as an approach to the language or as a resource to more efficiently study the text, Understanding New Testament Greek is a wonderful and colorful (!) resource to use.
Understanding New Testament Greek
Regular Price $19.90
Note: The highlight file (UnderstandingNTG2) used with this product works with the Greek New Testament (tagged, based on NA28) (GNT28-T). It does not highlight any other Greek text.
Mark G. Vitalis Hoffman, Glatfelter Professor of Biblical Studies at United Lutheran Seminary, has over 20 years of experience teaching Greek. He has been a leader in using technology in the service of seminary education. (Cf. his Biblical Studies and Technological Tools blog.)
Fall semester is upon us, and scores of students at Bible colleges and seminaries will begin (what will hopefully be) lifelong studies in biblical languages. This week, we are releasing an often-requested introductory Hebrew grammar for Accordance as well as a revision to a standard work for learning biblical Greek.
Accordance makes the perfect platform for learning biblical languages because of quick access to Hebrew and Greek texts as well as lexicons and grammar works. Instead of spreading out a half dozen physical books on a crowded desk, an Accordance user can organize specialized workspaces to accommodate each class. Every grammar comes with practice exercises. These can be worked in Accordance User Notes for later study or exported to turn in as homework assignments. For more ideas for using Accordance in biblical or theological studies, see our blog series, “Seven Strategies for Students Who Use Accordance.”
Click/tap on any of the images below for a larger view.
By the second edition of William D. Mounce’s Basics of Biblical Greek (BBG), his introductory grammar had already become the standard introduction to Koine Greek of this generation. Most grammars prior to BBG began with students learning Greek verbs and memorizing paradigms. The method used in Mounce’s grammar turned everything on its head by using a more natural approach, such as introducing nouns first. Now in its fourth edition, BBG is used in more English-speaking first-year classes in Koine Greek than any other grammar of its kind.
There are at least two kinds of Accordance users who will want to add BBG in the 4th edition to their personal Accordance Library. The first category is the student taking elementary Greek for the first time. These students probably don’t have any choice regarding selection of BBG over other grammars. Perhaps the Accordance edition of BBG is required for class, or perhaps the student wants to supplement a print copy with a digital version where more reliable notes and answers to exercises can be stored than with print copies.
The second category of Accordance users who will want to add the 4th edition of BBG are those who have benefitted from previous editions. The primary question these users will ask is How is the 4th edition different? There is a full list of differences available at Bill Mounce’s website. Some of these differences relate to issues specific to the print copy, so I’ve taken the liberty of condensing the list, only giving attention to differences users will see between the 3rd and 4th Accordance editions of BBG:
- The layout is cleaner, which makes the content less intimidating, and the Professor has been moved to the website.
- Vocabulary is the same (except ἅγιος is moved forward to chapter 9). However, pay close attention to the semicolons in the vocabulary listings. They identify the different glosses for a word.
- A few exercise sentences have been replaced, and the order of the parsing exercises have been re-ordered in later chapters so that they go from easier to harder. Eventually, there will be a listing of those changes.
- Scholarship's new understanding of the middle voice has been included, and teachers are invited to decide which approach to use. The same goes for the debate over σα and θη forms. QC codes will point you to YouTube presentations on some of these issues.
- Aspectual language is now used throughout. So the book talks about the imperfective aspect, imperfect tense, perfective aspect, aorist tense, combinative aspect, and the perfect tense. I always include the words "aspect" and "tense" to avoid confusion.
- Roots have been emphasized from chapter 4 on, are listed prominently in the vocabulary sessions, so when the student comes to chapter 20 it is natural and easy to think in terms of roots and stems.
And, of course, we can’t help pointing out that Dr. Mounce is an Accordance user himself. In the preface of BBG, he writes, “Much of the work, especially in the exercises, could not have been done without the aid of the software program Accordance. Thanks Roy and Helen.”
For a limited time, Accordance users may purchase both the grammar and workbook for Basics of Biblical Greek at introductory discounted pricing.
Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar
Regular Price $59.90
Basics of Biblical Greek Workbook
Regular Price $24.90
Mark D. Futato has been a professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando for 20 years. His introductory grammar, Beginning Biblical Hebrew (BBH) has often been requested by our users for Accordance, as it has become a favorite textbook in elementary Hebrew courses over the past two decades.
As stated in the introduction, BBH has been designed to provide “students with a thorough introduction to Biblical Hebrew in an easy-to-learn format.” Content does not assume any familiarity with Hebrew or even English grammatical terminology. Students will learn around 400 Hebrew words giving them a foundation for reading the Hebrew Bible.
40 chapters comprise BBH with each chapter broken into sections for grammar, vocabulary, and practice. Practice sections cover both new material as well as reviewing previous content. The back of the grammar contains a Hebrew-to-English vocabulary list, an answer key, and morphology charts for the verb.
If you have the Theological Journal Library in Accordance, you can read Andrew J. Schmutzer’s review of Beginning Biblical Hebrew in the December 2004 issue of The Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. For a limited time Accordance users can purchase Futato’s Hebrew grammar at introductory discounted pricing.
Beginning Biblical Hebrew
Regular Price $49.90
Sale Price $49.90
In this previously recorded webinar, Dr. Bill Mounce (author of the bestselling Basics of Biblical Greek and the founder of BiblicalTraining.org) offers an introduction to New Testament Greek using Accordance Bible Software.
Koine (from the Greek κοινός) refers to the style of ancient Greek in the late Hellenistic period. Koine is most often associated with the kind of Greek language found in the New Testament, but it also can characterize a wider body of literature including the Septuagint (LXX) and Early Church writings, among others.
A little over three years ago, we released Reading Koine Greek: An Introduction and Integrated Workbook by Rod Decker (see also our "Closer Look" at this title). This had been a posthumous release after Decker’s untimely passing a year or so earlier. Rod Decker was not only a beloved Greek professor and New Testament scholar, he was also a passionate Accordance user. His grammar, Reading Koine Greek, a resource enhanced with audio in Accordance, remains a favorite tool among Accordance users for learning and reviewing New Testament Greek.
Now, as a companion to Reading Koine Greek, we are thrilled to release Koine Greek Reader: Selections from the New Testament, Septuagint, and Early Christian Writers for the Accordance Bible Software Library. The latter category of selections includes content from the Apostolic Fathers and early creeds of the church (Nicene, Nicene-Constantinopolitan, Chalcedonian, and Apostles).
Click/tap any of the images below for a larger view of the Koine Greek Reader.
Reading Koine Greek assumes at least one year of New Testament Greek study. Although not designed necessarily for advanced students, I would agree with Decker’s statement in the introduction that those with much mastery of Koine Greek “might find it useful for casual reading.” This resource can be used for personal study or in the classroom over two semesters. With 23 separate readings in all, the New Testament portion could be use by itself in one semester with the remaining readings studied in a second semester.
To give you a feel for what each section covers, here is an outline of chapter 7, which features a study of 1 Peter 5:1-14.
Grammar Review: Infinitives
In addition to a grammar lesson, each review also includes a “Recommended Reading” section of content from popular Greek grammars. When a grammar referred to here is available in Accordance, it is hyperlinked for quick access.
Forms Review: Infinitive Endings
Forms are always arranged in a chart for quick review or even printing/exporting for later study.
Vocabulary to Learn (25-49x)
Previous words found in this passage
Additional New Vocabulary to Learn
Vocabulary for Reference (24x or fewer)
If you’re familiar with a “Reader’s Greek New Testament,” the list of words here function much the same as the list of words immediately below the text in these kinds of resources.
1 Peter 5
This section includes the Greek text itself, preceded by a brief introduction. The text is presented verse by verse. Underneath each verse the reader will find explanations similar in nature to those found in some of our Greek exegetical resources.
Supplemental Reading: 2 Peter 1:1-11 with HCSB
An additional reading appears here with the Greek text in one column and the HCSB (several different translations are used throughout the reader) in the other column.
That is, the footnotes for the section.
With the amount of content as described above, I can easily see how this book could be used for a year’s study in the classroom. There are also eight appendices of further helps for learning and maintaining one’s mastery of Koine Greek.
For sake of greater context, some Accordance users may want to place a selection in the Koine Greek Reader in parallel with a complete original language text, even though the Greek text for each selection is included in the Reader itself. To facilitate this kind of use, the Koine Greek Reader will appear in your Accordance Library under two entries: “Decker’s Koine Reader (NT & LXX)” and “Decker’s Koine Reader (Apostolic).” The content of the two modules is completely identical. For parallel use, open your Greek text first, and then add the appropriate Koine Greek Reader in a parallel pane.
Koine Greek Reader
Regular Price $24.90
Morphologically Coded Highlights and Greek Diagrams can both help identify the underlying structure of the Greek text. In this podcast Dr. J uses both to exegete the purpose clause of Col 1:9-12. What did Paul mean when he asked the Colossian Christians to “walk worthy” of their faith?
Check out more episodes of the Lighting the Lamp podcast!
No doubt, anyone who knew Rod Decker still feels his absence. I did not know him well, but had met him at biblical conferences where I had conversations with him that were never long enough. An Accordance user since the early days, Decker posted frequently in our forums. However, what really stands out to me when I think of Rodney Decker is the high praise that always came from those who took his classes, especially the courses on Koine Greek.
Long before his grammar was published, the notes from his classes were frequently shared on the Internet. There had long been talk about Decker publishing a Greek grammar, and it was finally released posthumously last year, about a year after his untimely death from cancer. We released the Accordance edition of Koine Greek: An Introduction and Integrated Workbook in time for November’s ETS and SBL conferences. In all of that end-of-year busyness, I admit that I only began exploring Decker’s Greek grammar recently. And wow—what a wonderful contribution to Greek studies he has produced!
Even if you believe that the market is oversaturated with Koine Greek grammars, I encourage you to take a look at Decker’s work. As I have been exploring it, I have been struck by the freshness of approach beyond the “rules, paradigms, and practice” model that so many grammars take. First, of all, it should be noted that Decker does not limit his instruction only to New Testament Greek. He introduces the student to the wider Koine world by incorporating the Septuagint and even the Pseudepigrapha and Apostolic Fathers. Having taught seminary-level Greek myself, I know at times how restricting it was trying to pull grammatical examples only from the New Testament. Introducing students to the wider body of literature from the beginning would certainly be very helpful.
Koine Greek includes not just introductory material, but intermediate as well. This means that it could be used in both first and second year classes with the beginning student skipping the more advanced material until later. Moreover, if you’re a few years out of school and your Greek skills have lapsed, Decker’s grammar, with his more comprehensive approach, might just make the perfect refresher text because it covers more than just the basic kind of content found in most introductory grammars.
Click on the image above for a larger view of Rod Decker's Koine Greek.
Besides content tagged according to 11 separate fields (more about that below), ability to amplify, and hyperlinking that integrates Decker’s Koine Greek with the rest of the titles in your Accordance Library, there is another advantage the Accordance edition has over print. Greek excerpts and vocabulary have an audio component that can be played from right from within Accordance. The recorded voice is clear and moves at a very reasonable pace allowing the new Greek reader a chance not only to learn how to read Greek texts, but how to pronounce words as well.
I should also remind Accordance users that beginning with Accordance 11 released last year, notes can be taken on all titles including grammars. That means that answers to the integrated workbook exercises can be answered right in the Accordance Notes feature and displayed in parallel with Decker's grammar on the screen.
The Accordance Team has carefully analyzed all text in Decker’s Koine Greek and identified content according to the following fields: Titles, Section Numbers, English Content, Scripture, Greek Content, Transliteration, Manuscripts, Table Titles, Captions, Bibliography, and Page Numbers. Such precise classification of content allows the user to find the exact content needed quickly and efficiently.
Having spent some time with Rodney J. Decker's Koine Greek, I now understand why his students appreciated his classes so much. If you are a student or instructor, a layperson considering learning Koine Greek, or someone who just needs a refresher, I can easily recommend adding this title to your personal Accordance Library.
Reading Koine Greek (Rodney Decker)
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