Co-ordinate grammar learnt with NT texts

Resources and methods for teaching and learning New Testament Greek.
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Posts: 2
Joined: October 19th, 2015, 10:24 am

Co-ordinate grammar learnt with NT texts

Post by selflearner » October 19th, 2015, 11:01 am

Dear Greek-learning community,
I am starting to teach myself Greek and have a question. I'm learning it to be able to read or at least to cope with NT Greek with a vocabulary.
I have some decent Russian grammar books (I'm a Russian speaker). What I lack is a set of exercises/drills containing NT text or selections of NT text to pratise reading and understanding. is a great resources, but I'll soon have completed the lessons.
I would most prefer a workbook with answers with NT text (not artificial koine phrases), but this seems hard to find on the internet.
I can also proceed with resources like
or -
but I'm unsure in which way exactly.
Say I start with Jhn. Do I just print out lexicon and try to understand and parse words as I go along? I don't know much grammar yet and even understanding what words I can parse and which I cannot may be tricky.
I.e. the best thing would be if I could be reading NT texts related to grammar I just learned. It doesn't seem possible. But it turns out my progress with grammar is in no way related to texts I'm reading - they may coincide, and that'll increase with time, but there's no way to co-ordinate them. Is that the usual drawback for self-teaching, with no work-around?
Thank you.

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Joined: June 1st, 2011, 4:19 am
Location: Lilongwe, Malawi

Re: Co-ordinate grammar learnt with NT texts

Post by Paul-Nitz » November 1st, 2015, 9:58 am

Nunn's "Short Syntax of New Testament Greek" is a beginner book and free online.
It explains a grammatical point and then gives examples from the New Testament in English, Latin, and Greek.

Nunn's "Elements of New Testament Greek" has translation and composition exercises and an key. I imagine that is on as well.
Paul D. Nitz - Lilongwe Malawi

Stephen Hughes
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Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Re: Co-ordinate grammar learnt with NT texts

Post by Stephen Hughes » November 1st, 2015, 3:12 pm

As with everything else in life that we can know, there are so many ways that we can know Greek.

One way would be to know which words in the Russian correspond to which words in the Greek. Some people see that as just seeming how the translation is encoded in the original, and perhaps for some people it is. Seeing which words correspond to the others can also lead to a partial understanding of how meaning is encoded in one or another language, or at least to a translation. This way of knowing can be achieved by either using an interlinear or translating the text. Overall knowledge of Greek is limited to it expressability into a foreign language.

A second way of knowing Greek is to know the names of parts of speech and the different cases, etc. that are used in the language. That type of analytical language is great if you want to describe things to others. To get that information, one needs to memorise tables and recognise forms. Knowledge of Greek is reduced to the grammatical abstractions used to describe it.

A third way of knowing Greek is to be able to pictorially relate the to meaning by "seeing" what is happening in the text, in your imagination. Given current resources, it is not easy to do this for the New Testament. Knowledge of Greek becomes deeply personal and in many ways the knowledge so gained can not be expressed to others in words.

A fourth way of knowing Greek is to think in Greek and to process the language as a language, rather than a foreign language. Words are processed and recalled in the way that you would do for your mother tongue. The drawback in knowing in this way is that learners are cut off from the experiences and resources that they have accumulated over the years in their own languages of life experience and education. As with learning any other language, learners are benefited by going through a process of expressing their own thoughts and experiences in the target language to work around the information and experience exchange bottle-neck that would otherwise leave learners marginalised in their newly acquired language.

A fifth way of learning is by memorising and progressively building up an understanding of a text. A text is repeated over and over again, perhaps at first with no palpable meaning, but over time it comes to mean more and more. There may be multiple steps and many paths to get to meaning, and meaning may come on multiple levels. Recitation of prayers, or liturgical use of phrases could be examples of this. Depending on the person, perhaps only the meaning of the text is learnt, perhaps the langage of the text is learnt. If language is learnt, it is like the steps of Taichi (Chinese shadow boxing) rather than any form of creative use of the language.

I guess that you are working towards one or others of those. In doing so, don't forget that the others exist too. Broadening your ways of knowing to include some others can be a rewarding and re-motivating experience.
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Posts: 2
Joined: October 19th, 2015, 10:24 am

Re: Co-ordinate grammar learnt with NT texts

Post by selflearner » November 15th, 2015, 10:08 am

Thank you, Paul and Stephen!

I'll try to explore materials suggested by Paul (so far can't get through to the website).

Stephen, that's an interesting mapping of learning strategies/practices. I've learnt a few modern languages, and it always followed a similar pattern: text-words-grammar (in various order), and was done in a group. I guess, learning Greek will be different.

Interestingly, I use Greek-English interlinear on websites I mentioned. However, when something sounds strange/new to me, I check with the Russian one. What makes things more interesting: you may know there are two basic "Russian" languages and hence Scripture translations - the Church Slavonic and the modern one (XIX century).
Don't know who said that, but the phrase is a good one: you've lived so many lives, as many languages you know.

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