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#1 RafeAndersen

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 08:14 PM

I have recently purchased David Allan Black's beginners book on learning Greek. I am feeling very discouraged and overwhelmed in memorizing all the grammatical rules and such

 

Any  advice?


Edited by RafeAndersen, 19 November 2014 - 08:17 PM.


#2 JonathanHuber

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 08:39 PM

Just keep going. Mounce (I think) likes to describe learning Greek as a fog. You learn something and it seems foggy, but you keep working at it. When you move to the next step that will seem foggy too, but then you come back to the previous step and you realize that it's less foggy than it was before. Greek does have a lot of rules and patterns, but little by little you'll get it.

 

I haven't used Black's book but there are quite a few Greek grammars out there. If you're doing this yourself, you might consider buying another grammar since each author will have a different way of presenting the material. Maybe another approach will make more sense. Similarly, don't underestimate the value of a teacher. If you have the money for it, taking a class or buying DVD materials (like Mounce's) will be helpful.

 

Finally, keep in mind why you're doing this. My Greek classes were probably the best classes I took in college (and I studied molecular biology) because it is really thrilling to study the NT in its original language. It's well worth the effort you're putting in, so keep at it!


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#3 RafeAndersen

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 08:52 PM

Just keep going. Mounce (I think) likes to describe learning Greek as a fog. You learn something and it seems foggy, but you keep working at it. When you move to the next step that will seem foggy too, but then you come back to the previous step and you realize that it's less foggy than it was before. Greek does have a lot of rules and patterns, but little by little you'll get it.

 

I haven't used Black's book but there are quite a few Greek grammars out there. If you're doing this yourself, you might consider buying another grammar since each author will have a different way of presenting the material. Maybe another approach will make more sense. Similarly, don't underestimate the value of a teacher. If you have the money for it, taking a class or buying DVD materials (like Mounce's) will be helpful.

 

Finally, keep in mind why you're doing this. My Greek classes were probably the best classes I took in college (and I studied molecular biology) because it is really thrilling to study the NT in its original language. It's well worth the effort you're putting in, so keep at it!

Thanks!  I sort of wanted to get a head start on it while i am getting my undergraduate degree. I do have both Black and Mounce.  

 

I will have a teacher for it one day soon, when I attend seminary. But at this rate I may avoid the original languages all together and just get a M.A.



#4 Peter Brylov Christensen

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 08:58 PM

I can only agree with Jonathan 100% - just keep going and keep your "eyes on the prize". :) The original languages are difficult, but very rewarding. I can't recommend any teaching grammars, unless you're comfortable with reading Danish. I have heard good things about Mounce's teaching grammar, though. (Once you're more experienced, I can personally recommend Daniel Wallace's Greek Grammar - Beyond the Basics. While I'm more of an Old Testament kind of guy and thus haven't used it for a few years now, I still remember how well made this grammar is and how useful it was back when I had New Testament classes.)

 

I also really enjoyed my Ancient Greek classes back in the day. This was mainly due to the teacher who really knew his stuff and how to teach it, too, so a good teacher is pretty much the most important thing in my opinion.


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#5 דָנִיאֶל

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 09:02 PM

Hey Rafe,

 

  I've read two of Black's books but I not the one you are using. I find his material good but I have not read his introductory text "Learn to Read New Testament Greek" which I'm guessing you are referring to.

 

  As Jonathan said - stick with it if you want to succeed with it - it does come. Mounce is worth a look as you talk about memorization. His BBG (Basics of Biblical Greek) is aimed at reducing memorization to a bear minimum. You still have to memorize things but he presents rules that apply to as broad category as possible reducing the amount one has to memorize. That said one has to remember the rules and apply them. So yes there is memorization. I used his DVDs and his book and reader.

 

  Another thing worth considering is material that teaches Greek in another way. I have used Randall Buth's (http://www.biblicallanguagecenter.com/) introductory material. He starts by simply using pictures and speaking the words in Greek. There is almost no English except in the installation and usage notes. The point is that you see and image of a horse and think ιππος rather than seeing "horse" and saying to yourself "horse in Greek is ιππος". I had already done a year and a half of Greek by the time I came that material but it was very interesting to see the difference. His subsequent material then introduces more morphological material. Overall the approach is to the learn the language by use rather than by learning rules. The rules can come later. This may be more up your street I don't know.

 

  Other people to study with is great but I only had that for a brief period in a reading group - quite simply it was just fun. And having fun is motivating.

 

Thx

D


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#6 RafeAndersen

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 09:21 PM

I can only agree with Jonathan 100% - just keep going and keep your "eyes on the prize". :) The original languages are difficult, but very rewarding. I can't recommend any teaching grammars, unless you're comfortable with reading Danish. I have heard good things about Mounce's teaching grammar, though. (Once you're more experienced, I can personally recommend Daniel Wallace's Greek Grammar - Beyond the Basics. While I'm more of an Old Testament kind of guy and thus haven't used it for a few years now, I still remember how well made this grammar is and how useful it was back when I had New Testament classes.)

 

I also really enjoyed my Ancient Greek classes back in the day. This was mainly due to the teacher who really knew his stuff and how to teach it, too, so a good teacher is pretty much the most important thing in my opinion.

 

 

Hey Rafe,

 

  I've read two of Black's books but I not the one you are using. I find his material good but I have not read his introductory text "Learn to Read New Testament Greek" which I'm guessing you are referring to.

 

  As Jonathan said - stick with it if you want to succeed with it - it does come. Mounce is worth a look as you talk about memorization. His BBG (Basics of Biblical Greek) is aimed at reducing memorization to a bear minimum. You still have to memorize things but he presents rules that apply to as broad category as possible reducing the amount one has to memorize. That said one has to remember the rules and apply them. So yes there is memorization. I used his DVDs and his book and reader.

 

  Another thing worth considering is material that teaches Greek in another way. I have used Randall Buth's (http://www.biblicallanguagecenter.com/) introductory material. He starts by simply using pictures and speaking the words in Greek. There is almost no English except in the installation and usage notes. The point is that you see and image of a horse and think ιππος rather than seeing "horse" and saying to yourself "horse in Greek is ιππος". I had already done a year and a half of Greek by the time I came that material but it was very interesting to see the difference. His subsequent material then introduces more morphological material. Overall the approach is to the learn the language by use rather than by learning rules. The rules can come later. This may be more up your street I don't know.

 

  Other people to study with is great but I only had that for a brief period in a reading group - quite simply it was just fun. And having fun is motivating.

 

Thx

D

Thanks for all the help. 



#7 tony10000

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 10:01 PM

The first five Mounce lectures are free.  They should get you started:

 

https://www.teknia.c...testamentgreek1


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#8 RafeAndersen

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 10:09 PM

The first five Mounce lectures are free.  They should get you started:

 

https://www.teknia.c...testamentgreek1

Thank you, Tony. I have them :)


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#9 Drew Brown

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 11:20 PM

Keep at it!!

 

There's not a single person reading this who hasn't had more than their fair share of "bang-you-head-against-the-wall" moments in Greek.

 

My experience has been that studying Greek to pass a test and using it to learn more about God's Word are two very different things. You need to *survive* at times to get through it, and that's ok. Once you're on the other side, however, and want to use your Greek for personal study and also in ministry, you'll find:

 

1) You are able to interact with the very best scholarship and literature on a given issue

 

and

 

2) You will always be learning and re-learning, which is the very best attitude to have, anyway. I didn't have a clue about textual criticism the first time around, but now it's an integral part of my study and preaching. No, I can't identify every symbol and I still have to look up words (this is where Accordance takes all that work away!!), but like everything worthwhile, it just takes practice.

 

Hang in there - it's worth it!


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#10 RafeAndersen

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 12:08 AM

Keep at it!!

 

There's not a single person reading this who hasn't had more than their fair share of "bang-you-head-against-the-wall" moments in Greek.

 

My experience has been that studying Greek to pass a test and using it to learn more about God's Word are two very different things. You need to *survive* at times to get through it, and that's ok. Once you're on the other side, however, and want to use your Greek for personal study and also in ministry, you'll find:

 

1) You are able to interact with the very best scholarship and literature on a given issue

 

and

 

2) You will always be learning and re-learning, which is the very best attitude to have, anyway. I didn't have a clue about textual criticism the first time around, but now it's an integral part of my study and preaching. No, I can't identify every symbol and I still have to look up words (this is where Accordance takes all that work away!!), but like everything worthwhile, it just takes practice.

 

Hang in there - it's worth it!

Those words were much needed for me to hear. Thank you so much. 



#11 sfarson

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 12:25 AM

Another learning idea, in addition to the preceding, just fwiw... go to Amazon and browse ("look inside") learning Greek books. I've collected quite a few, and often all it takes is for one writer to teach it using an approach that works fo you. I've gone through Mounce (seminary), Black, etc. but it was an obscure book or two that really resonated with how I learn by book.

#12 RafeAndersen

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 03:03 AM

Another learning idea, in addition to the preceding, just fwiw... go to Amazon and browse ("look inside") learning Greek books. I've collected quite a few, and often all it takes is for one writer to teach it using an approach that works fo you. I've gone through Mounce (seminary), Black, etc. but it was an obscure book or two that really resonated with how I learn by book.

Thanks, I am looking at them now.



#13 Alistair

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 05:08 AM

I have his

Linguistics for Students of New Testament Greek: A Survey of Basic Concepts and Applications

and his

Using New Testament Greek in Ministry: A Practical Guide for Students and Pastors.

I don't know of any other books.

 

I learned with Wenham, which has been supplanted by Duff. It's not easy to learn on one's own, try to get a tutor, a retired minister maybe if you cannot take a Greek class. I know someone who taught himself and when he reads aloud it sounds very bizarre compared to the way I was taught. It might be better to just wait and learn in a class with others, you might just get an amazing teacher. 



#14 Tony Pyles

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 05:27 AM

Martin Luther is full of colourful quotes to help boost your motivation when the going gets tough, especially his "Letter to the Councilmen of All Cities in Germany that they Establish and Maintain Christian Schools." Here are a couple of snippets:

 

Truly, if there were no other benefit connected with the languages, this should be enough to delight and inspire us, namely, that they are so fine and noble a gift of God, with which he is now so richly visiting and blessing us Germans above all other lands. We do not see many instances where the devil has allowed them to flourish by means of the universities and monasteries; indeed, these have always raged against languages and are even now raging. For the devil smelled a rat, and perceived that if the languages were revived a hole would be knocked in his kingdom which he could not easily stop up again. Since he found he could not prevent their revival, he now aims to keep them on such slender rations that they will of themselves decline and pass away. They are not a welcome guest in his house, so he plans to offer them such meager entertainment that they will not prolong their stay. Very few of us, my dear sirs, see through this evil design of the devil.
 

 

 

 

And let us be sure of this: we will not long preserve the gospel without the languages. The languages are the sheath in which this sword of the Spirit [Eph. 6:17] 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 [Matt. 14:20], they are the baskets in which are kept these loaves and fishes and fragments.

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#15 RafeAndersen

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 12:41 PM

I have his

Linguistics for Students of New Testament Greek: A Survey of Basic Concepts and Applications

and his

Using New Testament Greek in Ministry: A Practical Guide for Students and Pastors.

I don't know of any other books.

 

I learned with Wenham, which has been supplanted by Duff. It's not easy to learn on one's own, try to get a tutor, a retired minister maybe if you cannot take a Greek class. I know someone who taught himself and when he reads aloud it sounds very bizarre compared to the way I was taught. It might be better to just wait and learn in a class with others, you might just get an amazing teacher. 

 

 

Martin Luther is full of colourful quotes to help boost your motivation when the going gets tough, especially his "Letter to the Councilmen of All Cities in Germany that they Establish and Maintain Christian Schools." Here are a couple of snippets:

 

 

 

Thanks guys. 



#16 PhilT

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 09:22 PM

Rafe,

Keep on going, it's hard learning languages.  Part of the problem is we want to see immediate results.

I have never used Black's Textbook.  I learnt Greek about 30 years ago and it was tough.  In the end I just wrote out paradigms till it hurt.  Then after a little while it became easier.

 

There is a website called Daily Dose of Greek.  Does one verse at a time takes about 2 minutes a day.  This will give you someting to be practical with while learning paradigms.  Also Accordance has a volume of devotions in Greek, this will show you how what your learning will be useful later on.  Just do the hard yards, write out paradigms, learn all the vocab you can.  start with John's Gospel or Leters as is easy Greek.



#17 PhilT

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 09:27 PM

Rafe,

 

One thing that was good for me many years ago was reading through John's Gospel with other students at my college.  May be helpful for you


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#18 Peter Brylov Christensen

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 10:01 PM

Good point, PhilT - John is one of the more grammatically straightforward Biblical Greek texts, while others can be quite challenging (In other words, stay clear of texts like 1. Peter!)


Edited by Pchris, 20 November 2014 - 10:02 PM.

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#19 RafeAndersen

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Posted 21 November 2014 - 12:16 AM

Rafe,

Keep on going, it's hard learning languages.  Part of the problem is we want to see immediate results.

I have never used Black's Textbook.  I learnt Greek about 30 years ago and it was tough.  In the end I just wrote out paradigms till it hurt.  Then after a little while it became easier.

 

There is a website called Daily Dose of Greek.  Does one verse at a time takes about 2 minutes a day.  This will give you someting to be practical with while learning paradigms.  Also Accordance has a volume of devotions in Greek, this will show you how what your learning will be useful later on.  Just do the hard yards, write out paradigms, learn all the vocab you can.  start with John's Gospel or Leters as is easy Greek.

I don't know if i will go through with it when I go to seminary, but i pray God changes my heart. 

 

 

Good point, PhilT - John is one of the more grammatically straightforward Biblical Greek texts, while others can be quite challenging (In other words, stay clear of texts like 1. Peter!)

Good idea!



#20 Mark Nigro

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Posted 21 November 2014 - 12:45 AM

Besides good grammars, a very important element is your approach to study in general. For example, a few practical suggestions that have yielded tremendous benefits for my studies are:

 

1. Study when your mind is fresh. For me, this is in the early morning hours before the day takes its toll on me.

 

2. Carry around with you, either on paper or digitally in your cell phone, a running vocabulary list or paradigm list (which you can add to as you master them)

 

3. Throughout the day, repeat the words to yourself and try to formulate simple (even if incorrect) phrases in Greek. If you see an object at home or the office which you learned in Greek, then think it and say it. In short, use it or lose it :). Correct grammar comes in time but the value of "thinking" in the language immediately can't be overstated.

 

4. Flash cards are helpful (essential I'd say) and there are also digital options with applications for PC, Mac and iOS that track your progress

 

5. Maintain consistency with your progress in small portions. Set goals but make them realistic lest you deflate yourself from discouragement in unmet expectations.

 

6. Limit yourself to study in realistic chunks of time. I'm a glutton for punishment, but not everyone should exaggerate the amount of time in one sitting of study, which can be counter productive if you overdo it.

 

There are many other things you can do, but I'd say think about a routine that will work for you and just go for it. Make adjustments as you go along. 

 

Hope that helps.


Edited by Mark Nigro , 21 November 2014 - 12:48 AM.

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