Ranking NT books by difficulty

Resources and methods for teaching and learning New Testament Greek.

Ranking NT books by difficulty

Postby Justin Cofer » May 10th, 2013, 6:20 pm

After reading this following link from the archives, I am posting my ranking of the order of NT books by difficulty.

http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/test-archives/html4/1996-03/12614.html


John
John 1-3
Mark
Matthew
Apocalypse
Luke
Philemon
Philippians
Romans
Colossians
Ephesians
1 Corinthians
1 Thessalonians
Pastorals
Galatians
2 Thessalonians
2 Corinthians
Acts
James
1 Peter
2 Peter
Jude
Hebrews
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Re: Ranking NT books by difficulty

Postby Louis L Sorenson » May 11th, 2013, 2:00 pm

There are a number of threads in the archives on this subject. A Google advanced search [url]difficulty books site:http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-greek/[/url] retreives a number of posts. (The link does not show correctly in this post, but it works on google.)

I like this one by Mark Lightman.

Jim Montesano wrote:

"My question is what is the list from the easier to the more harder books to
read in the NT, and be able to translate on the spot? Also, is there a list
like this for the Septuagint, or at least a place to start?"

Everyone's list is a little different.

JOHN (narrative is easier because you can guess the meaning as you follow the story. JOHN is also in my opinion beautiful, brilliant, artful Greek, easy for beginners but satisfying for advanced readers)
REVELATION (a little tricky in terms of vocabulary but the syntax and word order is simple and close to English (because it is close to Hebrew)
MARK (a little harder than JOHN because it's less polished)
1 JOHN (easy in both vocab and syntax)
MATTHEW
ACTS 1-12 (the first half of Acts is much easier in terms of vocab and syntax)
2 JOHN
GALATIANS and PHILLIPIANS and PHILEMON and 1 CORINTHIANS (I find these to be much easier than the rest of the Pauline corpex)
LUKE (much more complex syntax than the other Gospels)
3 JOHN (quite a bit harder than 1 JOHN, with several tough constructions in a short letter.)
1 THESSALONIANS and 2 THESSALONIANS
COLOSIANS and EPHESIANS
ROMANS (hard I think because the subject matter is subtle and complex)
JAMES (in my opinion the most satisfying Greek in the NT; hard but not frustrating)
1 PETER (hard because it is good Greek)
JUDE AND 2 PETER (hard because it is bad Greek)
1 and 2 TIMOTHY and TITUS (much less fun to read than the rest of Paul)
ACTS 11-28 (lots of hard vocab, some tricky classical constructions in the speeches, and hard to keep straight all the travel)
HEBREWS (word order is a challenge)
2 CORINTHIANS (for some reason by far the hardest. I think Paul was deeply agitated when he wrote it. It has taken reading through it about five times to
appreciate it, but it was awful the first few times.)

As far as the LXX goes, I have not read it anyway near as much, but I would say the Genesis 1-15 is pretty easy and the Psalms are generally not that tough.
A lot of the LXX is easier than the NT, but I found WISDOM 8 to be harder even than HEBREWS.
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Re: Ranking NT books by difficulty

Postby Justin Cofer » May 11th, 2013, 3:18 pm

2 Corinthians is really tough. Upon trying to read through it, I had such difficulties I had to stop and go through Luke which I found enormously easier. 2 Cor was bit over my head and I wasn't getting enough comprehensible input fast enough from Paul in 2 Cor.
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Re: Ranking NT books by difficulty

Postby Justin Cofer » May 11th, 2013, 3:28 pm

Thanks for the link Louis. I particularly liked this post http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-greek/2002-August/022058.html detailing Dr. Wesley Pershchbacher list of the relatively difficulty of the NT.

"Suggested Reading Order of New Testament Books from the Easiest to the Most Difficult, Based on Frequency of Vocabulary Words Used in Each Book

"One may begin reading with any book. However, if one wishes to build vocabulary, the following order is suggested. The vocabulary system included in this volume is based on the sequence given. The list reflects only the frequency of vocabulary words used in the respective books. It does not reflect comparative difficulty from the point of syntax. From that
perspective, Acts, 2 Corinthians, and Hebrews would be among the more difficult New Testament writings.

1. 1 John
2. John
3. Revelation
4. Matthew
5. Mark
6. Luke
7. Acts
8. 1 Corinthians
9. 2 John
10. Romans
11. 2 Corinthians
12. 1 Thessalonians
13. 2 Thessalonians
14. Ephesians
15. Philemon
16. Galatians
17. 3 John
18. Colossians
19. Hebrews
20. Philippians
21. 1 Peter
22. 2 Peter
23. 1 Timothy
24. James
25. 2 Timothy
26. Jude
27. Titus
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Re: Ranking NT books by difficulty

Postby Barry Hofstetter » May 12th, 2013, 11:11 pm

Justin Cofer wrote:2 Corinthians is really tough. Upon trying to read through it, I had such difficulties I had to stop and go through Luke which I found enormously easier. 2 Cor was bit over my head and I wasn't getting enough comprehensible input fast enough from Paul in 2 Cor.


2 Corinthians has always been difficult for me, as these things go. Partly it's because Paul uses a fair amount of odd vocabulary and idiomatic expressions throughout the text. To this day I slow down a bit when I read it. Give me Hebrews any day... :lol:
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Re: Ranking NT books by difficulty

Postby Justin Cofer » May 13th, 2013, 2:01 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
Justin Cofer wrote:2 Corinthians is really tough. Upon trying to read through it, I had such difficulties I had to stop and go through Luke which I found enormously easier. 2 Cor was bit over my head and I wasn't getting enough comprehensible input fast enough from Paul in 2 Cor.


2 Corinthians has always been difficult for me, as these things go. Partly it's because Paul uses a fair amount of odd vocabulary and idiomatic expressions throughout the text. To this day I slow down a bit when I read it. Give me Hebrews any day... :lol:



That's very encouraging to hear for me to hear. I went along 1 Cor just fine and then dove into 2 Cor. Wham! :o lol
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Re: Ranking NT books by difficulty

Postby joshhuntnm » June 29th, 2013, 6:58 pm

That is interesting; thanks for posting. I struggle with anything besides John.
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