Re: Keeping up with NT Greek after class

From: Edgar Krentz (
Date: Fri May 21 1999 - 16:34:46 EDT

>At 11:45 AM 5/21/99 -0400, you wrote:
>> Jim, I did have one other question. You said you would save 1 Peter for
>>near the last. I will be teaching 1 Peter next year so this was of
>>interest to
>>me. I have always heard that 1 Peter was some of the best Greek in the NT
>>(which was confirmed in the recent posts on the Greek of Revelation). If
>>it is
>>good Greek, why read it so late? Are there a lot of uncommon words? Is the
>>grammar complex? If it is "good" Greek, why wait so late to read it?
>I would wait till last to read it simply because it is the best and most
>difficult Greek of the NT. Starting easy (with John) and ending with 1
>Peter will give you a nice progression from simplest to most complex.

Here is one case where I would differ with Jim. I think that after one has
read 1 John, Philemon, etc. one ought to tackle a book with more literary
Greek--and 1 Peter is not the most difficult in the NT! I would put Hebrews
ahead of 1 Peter.

And contrary to Jim, too, if you really want to get the Greek, do the

1. read the Greek text you are translating out loud a number of times.

2. translate it as best you can without recourse to a dictionary.

3. fill in the gaps by consulting a dictionary.

4. now read it out lound again, only this time interpreting it as you would
any other text.

Finally, the best way to learn it is to do two things:

1. teach it to someone else

2. Read larger chunks. See if you can get to the point where you can do
tehree chapters of Matthew or Luke in two hours, then one hour.

My son as a college junior came home and translat ed classical Greek for
four hours a day for two months. He went back much more able to read it.
And he used LSJ as his lexicon. READ, READ, READ.

Edgar Krentz
Professor of New Testament Emeritus
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
1100 E. 55th Street
Chicago, IL 60615 USA
e-mail: (Office)

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