Re: How Long to Learn K. Greek?

From: Jim West (
Date: Wed Apr 22 1998 - 16:38:25 EDT

At 01:03 PM 4/22/98 +0000, you wrote:
>List Members, including lurkers and the more verbal types. Here is a question
>that anyone can respond to. In a private exchange with one of our younger
>members I suggested that learning NT Greek takes a while. I gave 10-20 years
>as a sort of rough estimate for the time it takes to become reasonably
>proficient. Rather than try and justify this opinion I thought I would just
>put this question on the list.
>How long, does it take for some one who not a John Brown type to become more
>or less competent in NT Greek?

Depends on- 1) their level of interst. If they are very interested they can
learn it quickly. If they are dabblers it will take longer.

My first exposure to Greek was in a summer course in college- and at the end
of the summer we were reading 1 John.

It took about 1 full year before the synoptics were fairly simple and
another year before the Johannine stuff (I know- its easier than the
synoptics). It took 3 years of work to be able to read comfortably Paul's
letters and about 3.5 before I was on speaking terms with Hebrews, and 1
Peter. And (as many of you know) I am not exactly the swiftest learner!!!
:) so I suspect others will give impressive testimonials.

>If this is a silly question then just ignore it.

Not at all. If a person is starting a language they always want to know how
long it will take until they are proficient.

>Clayton Stirling Bartholomew

Best to all God's creatures,


Jim West, ThD
Quartz Hill School of Theology

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