Friday, June 1, 2007

It really is still Greek to me...

One of my long range plans is to enhance the ways of teaching/learning Greek so that it remains a practical tool for biblical study long after one has left seminary. From both formal and informal surveys, it appears that almost all the pastors in my tradition (ELCA) rarely use their Greek at all in sermon or teaching preparation. I am becoming convinced that learning how to use Bible software as part of Greek instruction is key to being able to use Greek longterm. I'm not the first to think this way (cf. the articles posted on the Logos site), but I'm still trying to discern exactly what this kind of instruction looks like. (I'm also just focusing on Greek for now, though this would of course also extend to the use of Hebrew.) I would appreciate insight and advice any of you may have to offer. In particular, I'm thinking of questions like:

  • What are the most important skills/understandings needed to use Greek profitably? How can Bible software address those needs?
  • What are some ways that you regularly use the NT Greek? What sort of 'exercises' could be taught to make learners proficient in such uses?
  • What other questions or considerations should I keep in mind?
Thanks for sharing!


  1. Mark, for Hebrew I suspect the most useful tool we have *failed* to give students is the ability to listen to the text. Hearing adds a new dimension. So, if I was still teaching Hebrew I'd now (with the benefit of hindsight) be aiming to get students capable and practised at listening to the texts they have analysed!

    For Hebrew there is a good audio version available now on the web, and if slowed slightly in Audacity it becomes easily listenable by students.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Tim. The matter is more complicated with the NT and the possible Greek pronunciation schemes. (A good survey is HERE.
    For those using BibleWorks or Logos, there are audio files of the lexical forms available in either Erasmian or modern pronunciation. (In BibleWorks, you need to access the sound files through the vocabulary Flashcard module. In Logos, you can right click on a word in a Greek text to get the lexical pronunciation, or you can use the menu: Tools > Bible Data > Pronounce Original Language.) For those interested in having the whole Greek NT in audio, this site by Marilyn Phemister has a mp3 file for every chapter in the NT.