Re: Teaching Greek in a Christian College

From: Burt Rozema (
Date: Wed May 20 1998 - 09:30:20 EDT

I have tried more introductory NT Greek texts than I care to remember
over the years, and the most success I have had is with James Voelz,
Fundamental Greek Grammar (Concordia). As a classically trained person,
I find his approach the most systematic, efficient, and effective,
taking into consideration the classical usages and the balance of
inductive and deductive learning (and I'm convinced you need a balance
of both with most students.) Not everything is perfect -- his sentences
for translation are good but made up, and his lexicon could be more
complete in terms of principal parts of verbs -- but over all, this
class of students has made better progress than any I have had in a
decade of experimentation. You have to have a NT text along side from
day one; that is essential, and Voelz acknowledges that.

Pace Brother Wheeler, getting students to read the entirety of John or
Mark in the first year is not really proof of learning, is it? I've
been there, done that. We all know you have to give first year students
a lot of "helps" -- even "artificial helps" -- to accomplish that, but
the real question is what they carry over into reading on their own, and
how effectively they can tackle a new author, eg Paul. Yes, vocabulary
acquisition is important, but the real nub is learning the nuances of
participles, conditions, and ellipsis, etc.

Yes, read read read is the best way to make Greek a part of your bone
marrow, but continual parsing has to accompany the reading, or it's just
so much translation of words you already know in English.

Those are my thoughts, anyway.


Perry L. Stepp wrote:
> In light of the thread discussing different grammars, and especially in
> light of Dr. Pendergraft's reports concerning the difficulties religion
> students (who'd likely started studying Greek through standard seminary
> grammars, such as Machen) had with Greek compared to students who began with
> a classical orientation, let me pose the following:
> I, like several others on the list, will likely someday be teaching Greek at
> a church-affiliated school. The majority of students who will take Greek
> from me will be what I was as an undergrad--someone looking to fulfill the
> requirements for a ministry-oriented degree.
> (As I've written before, I didn't learn Greek properly. Even as a Ph.D.
> candidate in NT, I'm still struggling with the deficiencies in my
> education.)
> The question: how should teachers in Christian Colleges approach the
> teaching of Greek? How many different alternative approaches are there, and
> what are the benefits and problems of each?
> PLStepp
> *****************************************************************
> Pastor, DeSoto Christian Church, DeSoto TX
> Ph.D. Candidate in Religion, Baylor University
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> They will become flatterers instead of legislators;
> the instruments, not the guides, of the people.
> --Edmund Burke
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Burton J. Rozema
Vice President for Academic Affairs
Trinity Christian College
6601 W. College Dr.
Palos Heights, IL   60463
work phone:  (708) 239-4760
work fax:    (708) 239-3986

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