RE: Keeping up with NT Greek after class

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Fri May 21 1999 - 11:25:39 EDT

Jim West wrote:
>The problem with chaining oneself to a lexicon is that the going is so slow
>that one is prone to give up in frustration. If, however, one simply reads
>one will discover that over time one retains vocabulary much better and will
>not need to look up every word as the context will make it plain enough.

We agree on a lot here: I also think that it is best to read several times
and try to figure it out on your own first. One of the problems with
continuing to read without verifying what you read is that you can guess
wrong, coming up with reasonable but mistaken ideas of what a word or
grammatical construction means.

I agree that a lexicon is generally too much work, and slows me down.
That's where Zerwick & Grosvenor make things so much easier.
>>Next, I use Zerwick & Grosvenor and a lexicon to figure out anything that I
>>still do not understand.
>That is a mistake; for in putting your eggs in the Zerwick basket you will
>remain dependent on them. Or you will find it easier simply to let them do
>your thinking for you.

That's why it is important to read it several times for myself first. But
there's nothing wrong with learning from a teacher who is wiser and more
experienced than I am. In general, I think it is important to put in the
work to understand something yourself, but it is equally important to be
able to learn from others.

>Finally, let me be clear in this; there is a difference between reading and
>translating. Translating must be done carefully and with all available
>tools. Reading must be free and inductive. A good reader will be a good
>translator- but a good translator may never be a good reader.

I've been astonished to find the extent to which people have been able to
translate well even though they do not necessarily understand the fine
points of the Greek. By using context, comparing with other translations,
and using tools, it really does seem to be possible. Of course, if you want
to squeeze the subtleties out of the text, you really do have to understand
the Greek.



Jonathan Robie

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