So you want to learn Biblical Greek but don’t know where to start or what to buy first? Learning NTG is a lifelong endeavor, but you have to start somewhere. Let’s begin with first year Greek. This is where the foundation is laid, this is where people say you will either "love or hate it". It is sometimes viewed as being torturous and may indeed be the most challenging time only because so many new things are introduced, but trust me, it really is fun and the reward is great! There are great materials available to us today for the study of Greek, which were not even available 20 years ago. We have so much to give God thanks for. Even more so, many of them, and all which I will list in this post, serve to be used in self-study.
An * indicates that I believe these items are “must haves” if you are going this route. Anything without it would still be helpful, but it not necessary.
You must study Grammar:
For first year Greek I recommend Bill Mounce’s materials. They are excellent and written and geared for home self study students.
*Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar – William D. Mounce
This is the Grammar book you would use.
*Basics of Biblical Greek Workbook – William D. Mounce
You must have the Workbook which goes along with the Grammar in order to do the translation exercises.
*Biblical Greek Laminated Study Sheet – William D. Mounce
This is helpful to review the many charts and bits of information which pile up.
*Basics of Biblical Greek Summary Lectures - William D. Mounce (FREE)
I encourage you to listen to these lectures from the author of the textbook as he goes through each chapter. They are summary lectures, about half the length of the full class, but still worthwhile. You can find them at Biblical Training and Teknia.
Basics of Biblical Greek Lectures on DVD and Audio - William D. Mounce
These are the full version of the lectures. They are available on both DVD and audio. I did not use them and do not believe that they are absolutely necessary for self-study, though I assume they would be a great help, aid, and encouragement if you are on your own. If you can afford them at $60, then they would be profitable to have, but don’t feel obligated.
You must study Vocabulary:
You can't do anything in Greek or enjoy it on any level if you are constantly having to look up every other word in the lexicon. Vocabulary is a must!
*Basics of Biblical Greek Vocabulary Cards – William D. Mounce
These vocabulary cards cover all the word in the textbook in chapter order, and then they move on through order of frequency in the NT. These can be used for year 1 and 2 and even afterward. They are great, being keyed to the textbook, good quality, large print, and very portable. You can also purchase the Biblical Greek Survival Kit, which includes the Laminated Sheet listed above, the Vocabulary Cards, and an Audio CD of all vocabulary words in the Grammar book. It is $19 for all 3, and is cheaper to purchase them as a package than individually.
You must have a Greek New Testament:
This is the book you are studying to be able to read. Make it your best friend and close acquaintance.
*The UBS Greek New Testament: A Reader’s Edition.
I highly recommend this GNT over against the others. It is very user friendly, large font, good binding, and is excellent for what you are doing. This is the one to start with here.
You can get everything listed with an * for around $75. That will get you through first year Greek and is a very feasible price for getting started.
Getting to Know the Author:
Going through first year Greek is like going on a journey with someone. So I think it is helpful to learn a little about the teacher/author of the book that you will be using. Bill Mounce is a very good teacher and has a pastor’s heart, as you can get a sense of in the book. In the three introductions below he talks about himself, his family, his love of the Lord and Greek, as well as some pointers for studying Greek:
Author Introduction Audio - 1999
Author Introduction Video - 2008
Author Introduction Video - 2010
Bill Mounce has provided a really great website which corresponds with his textbook the Basics of Biblical Greek. At the following page you will find information corresponding to every chapter of the book, from vocabulary, parsings, quizzes, workbook translation exercises, and much more.
Several different articles mentioning the place, correct use of, and importance of the Biblical Languages in life and ministry. These are must reads for anyone interested in the languages, and should be read by all preachers and pastors and should be of great encouragement to learn Greek and press on with it.
The Importance of the Biblical Languages
If you have the money and want other resources in addition to these (books or commentaries), let me know and I will send you a list. Though you don't need anything else to get through year 1.
Next Post: Learning Greek Part 2: Learning and Keeping Greek: Practical Helps
I am starting a short series for those who are wanting to start studying Greek, namely those who plan to study at home, i.e. self-study, as opposed to studying in a formal environment, i.e. seminary. We will look at the "what, where's and, how's" of learning Biblical Greek. Where do I start? How do I start? What's first? etc. Sure we are all busy, we have family, work, and church obligations. Money may be tight. We may not think we are quite smart enough to learn a language like this. But all doubts and obstacles aside, if you truly want to learn this language you can! There is a way to learn it regardless of what your time and money commitments demand, and regardless of intellectual capacity. Really, there is!