Keep your Greek (09)

16 02 2009

Image by Usodesita via Flickr

Image by Usodesita via Flickr

9. Get your Greek back.

I suppose there are many things that might be said when asked the question of how to get one’s Greek back. Here are a few suggestions.

a. Take heart: it will come to you more quickly than it did the first time. Even if you’ve let your Greek go cold, once you start working it up again, I think you’ll find that it will get progressively easier. Don’t be discouraged by relearning what you’ve forgotten; be encouraged that you’ll learn it faster than those who are learning it from scratch!

b. It’s a bit like muscle-building. It hurts at first, and there may not be any visible results right away. But with perseverance, you will get your Greek into shape. Like muscle-building, you’re better off taking small steps to start with, lest you hurt yourself! As you get stronger, turn up the volume (to mix metaphors) and work on harder Greek. You won’t get stronger by only doing the easy stuff that you already know: those muscles have to be strained in order to be rebuilt.

c. Don’t take short-cuts. While you’ll do better by being positive rather than demoralized, still you need to be real. If you have gaps; if your Greek is weak; if you’ve forgotten lots of stuff, don’t pretend you’re in better shape than you are. Do the work: read every day, revise your vocabulary and paradigms, and read every day. Put into practice the suggestions I’ve already made in this blog series.

Remember: the main difference between someone who keeps their Greek and someone who loses it is the commitment to give it a little time each day. Are you up for it?

Posted by Con Campbell




6 responses

16 02 2009
Keep your Greek « …that great city

[…] at Read Better, Preach Better Con Campbell has written a very helpful series of posts on how to keep (or get back) your reading […]

17 02 2009
Mark Stevens

Con, I find it relatively easy to remember the paradigms however, what are your tips for remembering what the paradigms refer to and how they are used? For instance, how do I remember what an aorist or participle means to the actual sentence structure? I often find my translation is on the right track but I have missed a tense or mood somewhere along the line!

Thanks for these posts they have been helpful and challenging!


18 02 2009
Con Campbell


It sounds like you would appreciate some help with syntax. Wallace is a good resource for helping to think through the different uses of particular parts of speech. Check it out.


23 02 2009
Sandy Grant

The thing that has helped me most recently is buying A Reader’s Greek New Testament – one of those NTs that instead of giving you the textual apparatus, footnotes every piece of NT vocab that occurs less than 30 times in the text. The time saving in looking up lexicons is enormous and has made me more inclined to pull out the Greek and to practise!

23 02 2009
Con Campbell

Thanks Sandy. Yes, some have said they appreciate that tool, and it appears to be of genuine value.

10 03 2009
Chris Lindsay

Con, great series. thanks. really appreciate how you’ve broken down ‘keeping your greek’ into manageable micro steps.

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