Ἓν οἶδα ὅτι ουδὲν οἶδα

Paul's Greek School

At the very last minute I was asked to teach an introduction to New Testament Greek this week at a local college. There’s nothing like being the last resort. This graphic was designed by a web designer in Canada for a Regina Greek Language School, and I thought it was hilariously appropriate for my class.

So for the first time in several years I began reviewing basic Greek grammars. There are two basic approaches to teaching grammar and syntax. The first method is largely by memorization which is then applied after all the paradigms have been memorized. The second method appears to be largely inductive. It teaches grammatical principles as they arise in the course of applying what has already been learned.

Cleary, the former has the potential to more thoroughly understand the language. It is how I learned all my classical languages. But is it best for the typical adult Bible College student who just wants to be able to understand a technical commentary?

In 1991, a student at the University of Arkansas wrote a dissertation in which he claims to have found the perfect blend between the inductive and deductive approaches to teaching New Testament Greek. He wrote in the abstract:

In the literature, many experts in Greek and exegesis stated a concern that colleges and seminaries are not adequately preparing students for exegesis in the New Testament. This project describes the application of an adaptive-mastery system in teaching inductive exegesis in the Greek-English New Testament. It describes a step-by-step inductive method of biblical exegesis that uses Greek and is accessible to non-professionals as well as to preachers and teachers. It also describes an adaptive-mastery system of instruction that provides students having a variety of aptitudes an equal opportunity to master exegesis and the Greek grammar required in exegesis in one year. — William Tullis Lambert, “USING AN ADAPTIVE-MASTERY SYSTEM TO TEACH INDUCTIVE EXEGESIS IN THE GREEK-ENGLISH NEW TESTAMENT: DESCRIPTION AND APPLICATION,” Dissertation submitted to the Univ. of Ark., 1991.

Alas, I do not have the liberty (nor the time, nor the desire) to develop my own curricular approach to teaching Greek grammar, so I must choose one already in existence. It must be extremely basic. I considered Mounce, of course. And I considered Wenham. And Black. I have until Monday to decide.

Your favorite?

Now if only I can find a way to incorporate My Big Fat Greek Wedding into the class.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Kay says:

    Good luck to you on your lecture on Monday. I hope it goes well.

  2. Richard Ramsay says:

    You might try my new study manual called Basic Greek and Exegesis, published by P&R. It combines basic Greek with the steps of exegesis, and teaches how to use the tools.

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