typical mistakes NT Greek students make

From Dave Black:

The biggest mistakes students make are:

  • Failing to be able to read Greek aloud. (English pronunciation is much harder than Greek.)
  • Forgetting their paradigms.
  • Looking at the word (rather than the morpheme) as the minimal unit of meaning in language.
  • Believing that immersion means speaking Greek with a native Koine speaker. (There ain’t none.)
  • Getting frustrated when listening to the smart guys recite Greek. (Be yourself. Do your best. Race at your own speed. Remember 1 Cor. 12:6: “God is the one who works all things in all people,” so there’s no need ever to compare yourself with anyone else. Trust Him for the results.)
  • Believing that it has to be hard. (Greek grammar is actually very logical and perfectly learnable. It’s us teachers who most often get in the way.)
  • Failing to focus on the big picture. (As in: THE GOAL. It isn’t just using Greek to help you read a commentary. It’s to be able to read and understand the text without even translating it.)

Friend, if you’re struggling to learn Greek, you’re not alone. I lasted a mere three weeks in my beginning class at Biola before dropping. Way over my head! A year later, I was teaching 11 units of Greek at the same university. To master Greek, your brain is required to work in brand new ways, such as constructing new cognitive frameworks. Take a tip from an old geezer: Focus on your goals. Enjoy moments of fresh discovery. Get surrounded (there are many teachers who are using my grammar. Check them out on YouTube when you need a change of pace.) Make peace with your imperfections and/or lack of language aptitude. At the same time, no excuses! What matters in the long run is not aptitude but commitment!

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One response to “typical mistakes NT Greek students make

  1. I tutored two students in Hebrew Exegesis during my final year of seminary. That first “common mistake” of Greek students is a universal language acquisition issue. Speak it! It helps. Blessings on your pursuit of exemplifying the life of Christ through cruciformity.

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