Forum Posts

Feb 03, 2020
In Living Koine Greek Forum
I'm a fourth-year seminary student with future aspirations to pastor a local church. My desire to preach and teach from the Scriptures has led me to tackle the languages. Consequently, I've become convinced that the best way to use the biblical languages is not to "use" them but to imbibe them and develop fluency in order to read the biblical text well, not merely parse and diagram, etc. Melancthon's maxim has stuck with me: "The theologian must be first a grammarian, then a logician, and finally a witness." Ultimately, my aim is to gain fluency in Greek (including Patristic sources), biblical Hebrew, and (eventually) Latin so that I can read original primary sources as much as possible. That said, I'll share my current regimen so that you can have a better idea as to where I'm at, and perhaps (if you have time!) to offer some pointers. I've been fairly consistent in reading the NT Greek and OT Hebrew text ~5 days out of the week. My usual routine is to wake up early and spend 30 mins in Hebrew and Greek (each), using a "Reader's" edition (not interlinears) for both. Ideally, I trace back over 2/3 of what I read the day before and the other 1/3 involves reading "new" portions of text (which is considerably slower going). I've stopped doing vocabulary lists and have just focused on reading the text (is that a mistake?). My hope is that over time I will gain new vocabulary through repeated exposure. I read the text out loud, focusing on pronouncing the words correctly. I don't translate in my head, rather, I try to visualize or conceptualize what's being said without thinking in English. (This often results in taking two passes at a sentence before my understanding can catch up to my pronunciation of the words). I can usually parse 95% of the words I encounter in the text (if I'm not sure, I always stop and check). But I could not comfortably write out comprehensive paradigms for verbs, nouns, adjectives, etc. I've tried to focus on inductive reading as much as possible. At this point (though I realize that language learning is a long and arduous process) I have to say that I've run into some discouragement regarding what I feel like is slow progress (I've been doing the above regimen somewhat consistently for the last 2 years––sometimes spending more time and sometimes less). I'm not absorbing vocabulary like I would like to (I can probably identify most words that occur in the NT at 10x and above) and I'm certainly not able to "think" in the languages beyond very simple phrases. I'm curious what your daily regimen has looked like over time as you've gained proficiency in the languages? Given that we all learn at different rates, I'm also curious what progress looked like for you? (I'm not sure whether my experience is typical and I simply need to push through with what I'm doing or to change what I've been doing substantially. Maybe a little of both?). Do you have any practical suggestions? How have you integrated various modes of language acquisition in a consistent way? For instance, I'm very interested in the audio and video resources available on this site, but I'm at a bit of a loss for how I might integrate them (and to what degree) into a daily routine with limited available time. Thankful for any wisdom you all have on this. Sorry for being a bit long-winded! Josh T


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