Re: Keeping up with NT Greek after class

From: John Barach (
Date: Thu May 20 1999 - 20:35:40 EDT

Brett --

I haven't worked with Mounce's _Graded Reader_, so I'm not sure how it is
structured. I like the looks of Wesley J. Perschbacher's _Refresh Your
Greek_ (Chicago: Moody, 1989). Pershbacher has a rather extensive
(albeit somewhat outdated) bibliography and a very brief but helpful
grammatical section at the back of the book. He begins with a list of
words used 50 times or more in the NT.

The rest of the book is the Greek New Testament. You're supposed to
start with 1 John. As you read through the first verse, you'll find that
you know most of the words. When you run into a word you don't know
(i.e., used less than 50 times or perhaps in a form you don't know),
Perschbacher gives you a footnote parsing the word for you. The second
time you run into that word, though, there's no footnote. Instead,
there's a marginal note, referring you back to the first time you ran
into the word. The same for the third time you encounter it. That's
true for all the subsequent times you meet that word in the book. The
goal is that you start to recognize the word and *learn* it.

(The second occurence of a noun or adjective may be in a different case
or number or gender. It won't be parsed. You've got to figure it out
from context.)

When you're done reading 1 John, you're supposed to go on to the gospel
of John. Perschbacher will give you a list of words used 20 times or
more in 1 John and in John. Memorize them (if you haven't already), and
then plunge into John ... and so on through the whole reading list.

It may be something of a crutch, but it's a crutch that intends to wean
you off itself (if you'll pardon the mixed metaphor). I'm not sure how
to apply Jim West's suggestion of reading without a lexicon, but this
book will help you learn the words in context, force you to memorize them
as you go, and in that way build your vocabulary and your ability to work
with the grammar at one and the same time, all while reading the Greek

Now if I'd just start using it myself again....



John Barach
Box 295, Lethbridge, AB T1J 3Y7
Ministerial Candidate (URCNA)

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