Reading Greek (or any language)

I’ve been studying and reading Greek for a number of years now. Ironically, when I first started with Greek, I didn’t like it at all. I’m not quite sure why, but my first semester was not terribly enjoyable. Nevertheless, I persevered. Once I got into more intermediate and advanced studies and began to actually deal with texts and all their attendant issues, I really began to enjoy it, so much so that I took as much as I could. Like most any seminary student, my Greek studies were relegated to the New Testament, and this isn’t surprising. The NT contains enough variety of styles that one could read texts that are in one place quite easy and in others texts that are much more difficult.

During my years in pastoral ministry, I mostly kept up with Greek (my Hebrew didn’t receive the same attention, regrettably), but not with the same intensity that seminary classes required. Over time, my “knowledge” of Greek became more and more limited to what I was familiar with, i.e., NT texts.

Having completed my PhD coursework now I can look back with 20/20 hindsight and can name a number of things I wish I had done differently in preparation for doctoral work. Chief among them would be reading more widely in Greek. As a Christian, obviously the NT is at the heart of my faith and thus it has received the lion’s share of my attention language wise. But, in terms of learning the language, I wish I had a broader exposure to the literature prior to and contemporary with the NT period (of course, post-NT Greek should be included as well). Perhaps some biblical studies profs encourage and even require this of their students, and kudos to them, but I wonder if NT studies across the board are as myopic as my own experience? This is certainly not to disparage my profs who taught me Greek–far from it! Learning from them was formative for me and I will always be indebted to them for their wisdom.

My hope is to teach NT and Greek in the near future in a college or seminary setting and this is something I will think hard about should that opportunity arrive.


Αυτω η δοξα


3 thoughts on “Reading Greek (or any language)”

  1. You can try Philo, but that may turn you off to Greek altogether! (Philo is difficult, with those long sentences, and abstract concepts.)

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