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!


F. F. Bruce and W. E. Vine

I think it would be cool if someone took time to update it, you know… in service to the church.  😁

A Word in Edgewise

Most pastors I know, and a few laypeople, have a particular book in their library.  It is typically referred to as “Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words.”  It was originally published in four volumes but is available now in a single volume.  Vine’s refers to W. E. Vine.

Recently a friend of mine, Frank Couch, sent me some information which I find compelling and likely true, but I’ve never read it before.  It is in a document from Robert F. Hicks, and it indicates that when Vine was writing his now-famous book, F. F. Bruce, who was destined to become one of the finest NT scholars of his age, was hard at work with him. Vine's expository dictionary

Hicks it seems is now in charge of the works of the late W. E. Vine.  He knows Vine’s immediate family and his personal secretary, John Williamson.

Hicks came to understand through his contact…

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Hosanna! or Crucify Him!?

It is often taught and preached (we go always go with what preaches, right? 😉 ) that the same crowd that sang “Hosanna!” is the same crowd that cried out “Crucify him!”  Well…

Marc Turnage, Director of the Assemblies of God Center for Holy Lands Studies, says, not so fast…  He writes in part:

Most Christians have heard at least one sermon stating, “The crowds that cried, ‘Hosanna’ on Palm Sunday cried, ‘Crucify’ on Good Friday.” But there is evidence in the Gospel narratives that Jesus’ death was primarily incited by Jerusalem’s religious leaders. Many of the common people would be receptive to His teaching in the temple during Passion Week and would mourn His arrest and crucifixion.

Funny how this works.  Jesus was a man of the people.  He came to seek and save the lost not to lord it over people and put many burdens on them.  It’s usually the people who love the liberator and the leaders that hate him is it not?

Jesus came to serve and to set people free.  The leaders wanted to control the people and often put heavy burdens on them.

I’m wondering if there is a case of true leadership verse false leadership going on here as well…

True leadership serves others and sets them free to truly be.  False leadership is self-serving and seeks to control others and how they live.

True leadership is humble and lowly, seeking only to serve.  False leadership is proud and haughty, and exalts itself over others.

Jesus exhibits the characteristics of a true leader.  The Jewish leaders (Scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, experts in the Law and so on) they were not true leaders, they were false ones.

May this Palm Sunday be a reminder that Jesus Christ, our true leader, is also our Lord and our King.

Let our hearts truly sing:

Hosanna!  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!


on 2 Cor 6:7

I’ve been contemplating this phrasing in 1 Cor 6:7
” … with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; …. “
διὰ τῶν ὅπλων τῆς δικαιοσύνης τῶν δεξιῶν καὶ ἀριστερῶν
It comes right in the middle of his listing of his hardships (beatings and imprisonment, sleepless nights and hunger) (reasons to be really frustrated and even angry) he writes….
(that he had great endurance) in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left;
When Paul could have got bitter and angry about his circumstances… he goes about life in purity and kindness … with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left…
Keener suggests in his Bible Background Commentary that it was common for soldiers to have weapons in both hands such as a spear and shield –  fully equipped; always ready for battle. As a soldier of the cross and one who lived for the sake of the gospel, Paul knew that righteousness was imperative in how one lived and in how one went about proclaiming the gospel – Paul was also establishing his authority among the Corinthians – and to do that he did it not with the common virtues of wisdom and knowledge but with hardship and suffering (for the sake of the gospel) done with purity, understanding, patience, kindness, in the power of God through the Holy Spirit in sincere love.  It seems to be these are the “weapons” of righteousness.
Well, it’s giving me some things to think about. lol

New PhD Program in Septuagint Studies (McMaster Divinity College)

Septuaginta &c.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you will know that I occasionally lament the fact that there are very few options for studying the Septuagint at the graduate or postgraduate level. This is particularly true in North America if you are hoping to find a supervisor for your doctoral work. In the past, I have assembled an unfortunately short list of North American graduate programs in Septuagint. (I am also working on a post that will list current scholars involved in supervising Septuagint PhDs, so stay tuned for that.)

Thankfully, the situation is about to change for the better. McMaster Divinity College, located in Hamilton, ON, has announced the launch of a new doctoral program focused specifically upon Septuagint studies. In case you are unaware, McMaster is an excellent institution that is quickly becoming known for churning out well-trained and rigorous PhDs, particularly in biblical studies…

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