Re: Grading NT Greek by difficulty

From: Edgar M. Krentz (
Date: Fri Mar 22 1996 - 09:36:51 EST

>Assuming John's gospel and letters to be the NT's simplest Greek, what
>would be at the other end of the spectrum? And how would the other books
>lay out from one extreme to the other?
>Such "grading" would be useful to anyone teaching NT Greek, and I suppose
>we all have our own hunches, but I have never seen anything in print on the
>matter, not the list itself, not to mention a rationale for such a list.
>Any ideas?

Tom, Here's my list of the NT books in order of difficulty for students who
come to the NT without having read any extra-NT Greek. This is not an
iron-clad order. Some students will find some books easier, apparently not
because the Greek is less difficult, but because the content is very
familiar from English. In one sense I recognize that the difficulty in some
is simply novel vocabulary, e.g. the 12 precious stones that are
foundations of the new Jerusalem in the Apocalypse. And I the order is
certainly not absolute from Galatians on.

I arranged it by books. If one were to arrange a reading course by
chapters, then it might look different; e.g. Acts 14, 17, and 27-28 might
be ranked as more difficult, Ephesians 1 also

I think that 2 Peter is tough for students because of its vocabulary and
sentence structure. Ephesians has these long, involved sentences. 1 Peter's
use of the participle is very difficult for students. Could I put James
earlier in the list? Of course. I will be interested in other such lists.

Some forty years ago I taught a reading course in the NT for students who
came to seminary with four semesters of clasical Greek in HS and four more
in junior college--but without having read any of the NT. There we read
selections from the NT somewhat in the order below.

John (gospel and epistles)
Luke [but not Acts]
Paul's Letters: 1 Thess, Philemon, 1 Cor, Philippians, Romans
Apocalypse [especially because of the many grammatical peculiarities]
2 Corinthians [most difficult authentic Paul]
2 Thessalonians
Colossians, Ephesians, Pastorals
1 Peter
2 Peter and Jude


Edgar M. Krentz Tel: 312-256-0752
Professor of New Testament FAX: 312-256-0782
1100 East 55th Street Home:312-947-8105
Chicago, IL 60615

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