Reflections on Learning to Read Biblical Greek Better in 2011 (Part I)

January 7, 2012

This past year, I forced myself to read through the LXX and the GNT. Although this project was very demanding at times, it yielded some valuable fruit.

I had several goals in mind when I began this major project to learn to read biblical Greek better. I praise God that He enabled me to succeed in meeting each of these goals, although not necessarily to the same extent for each one.

Greater discipline in reading Greek

I wanted to get to the place where I would be reading Greek every day. In the first half of 2011, I missed reading Greek on at least 53 days; in the second half, only six. So, I did become much more consistent as the year went on.

In spite of not reading any Greek on about 60 days (about 1/6 of the year), I was still able to finish by reading much more diligently on the other days.

Increased understanding and knowledge of Greek

Reading through the Bible in Greek resulted in advances in my understanding and knowledge of Greek vocabulary, forms, syntax, and semantics. Of the four areas, I probably increased the most in my grasp of Greek syntax.

Especially when I came to read the GNT this past year, I had a better grasp than before of how to connect words and phrases together that are arranged in ways that differ greatly from English word order. I did not notice this advance as much at first when I was reading the GNT, but as time went on, it became quite clear to me that I am now able to put together Greek sentences with more skill and with less effort!

Additional insights into NT use of the OT

I had hoped to find many more insights into NT use of the OT through this project, but such finds were not nearly as common as I had hoped. One major reason was my missing many days early in the year, which forced me to read much more than I would have liked on many days of the rest of the year. Had I been more consistent throughout the year, I would have had much more time to absorb more of what I was reading and would surely have seen more connections between the LXX and the GNT than I did.

Another factor that may have affected how much I saw this time around was my previous reading through the LXX and the GNT over a period of many years. Because in much of that previous reading, I have examined what I read much more thoroughly than I did this time around, I have already made numerous discoveries before this past year, which may have meant that I had already previously found a lot of what there is to find in this respect.

Progress toward thinking more in Greek and less in English

This is the hardest area to assess progress in, but I think that I did progress some. I hope that similar immersion in biblical Greek in the years ahead will result in my noticing plainly that my thinking in Greek has truly progressed.

I praise God for granting motivation and grace to finish this project and for the benefits that He has allowed me to receive as a result of completing this reading through the Bible in Greek!

(In Part II, I plan to give a number of examples of helpful things that I discovered this past year.)

Rajesh

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