Biblical Greek - Lesson 2

Learning Greek

In this lesson about Learning Greek, you will understand the importance of memorization and how the textbook aims to reduce it. You will learn about various tools to help you memorize, such as flashcards, the FlashWorks software, and the online website. The lesson also emphasizes the importance of doing exercises to reinforce your understanding of the material. You will discover the significance of time and consistency in learning Greek, as well as the need for discipline and remembering the ultimate goal of knowing Jesus better through the study of the Greek language.

Bill Mounce
Biblical Greek
Lesson 2
Watching Now
Learning Greek

I. Importance of Memorization

A. Reducing Memorization in the Textbook

B. Tools to Help Memorize

1. Flashcards

2. FlashWorks Software

3. Online Website

II. Doing Exercises

III. Time and Consistency

A. No Substitute for Time

B. Consistency in Studying

IV. Discipline and Remembering the Goal

  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the fundamentals of biblical Greek, including the alphabet and pronunciation, nouns and adjectives, pronouns and verbs, and the importance of further study. You will learn about the declension of nouns and the conjugation of verbs in different tenses, such as the present, imperfect, future, and aorist. This lesson provides a comprehensive overview of the basics of biblical Greek, making it accessible to beginners who are just starting to learn.
  • In the Learning Greek lesson, you will tackle memorization, learn about tools to assist you, understand the importance of exercises, and discover the significance of time, consistency, and discipline to enhance your Greek language skills and develop a closer connection with Jesus.
  • In this lesson, you learn the Greek alphabet and its pronunciation, discovering similarities to the English alphabet and mastering special pronunciation rules like gamma nasal, vowels, diphthongs, iota subscript, diuresis, and breathing marks, crucial for Greek language study.
  • You will gain insight into the importance of punctuation and syllabification in Greek, which will help you better understand the meaning and pronunciation of Greek texts.
  • Through this lesson, you will develop a solid foundation in English nouns, their types, functions in sentences, and practical tips for mastery.
  • In this lesson, you grasp the significance of nominative and accusative definite articles in Biblical Greek, exploring their roles in identifying subjects and direct objects, and applying the definite article in context.
  • This lesson equips you with the knowledge to identify and translate the genitive and dative cases in biblical Greek, enhancing your understanding and interpretation of biblical texts.
  • Gain insight into the importance of prepositions in Biblical Greek, explore their different categories and meanings, and learn how they modify verbs, nouns, and adjectives to enhance your understanding of the New Testament's original language.
  • In this lesson, you will learn about adjectives in Biblical Greek, their declension, comparison, and their crucial role in syntax, semantics, interpretation, and translation of Biblical texts.
  • By studying the third declension in Biblical Greek, you gain insight into noun and adjective formations, enhancing your ability to analyze and interpret New Testament texts.
  • You gain knowledge of first and second person personal pronouns in Biblical Greek, learning their forms, usage, and application in translating and interpreting New Testament texts.
  • You will gain a comprehensive understanding of Greek pronouns, focusing on forms and genders, and learn to apply this knowledge to accurately interpret biblical texts.
  • By studying this lesson, you acquire a thorough understanding of demonstrative pronouns and adjectives in Biblical Greek, their forms, syntax, and proper application in New Testament passages.
  • This lesson equips you to comprehend relative pronouns in Biblical Greek and their role in connecting ideas and forming dependent clauses.
  • In this lesson, you gain an in-depth understanding of verbs in Biblical Greek, learning about tenses, voices, and moods, and how to apply this knowledge in biblical exegesis.
  • Master the present active indicative in Biblical Greek to understand the language's structure, form regular and irregular verbs, and accurately translate and interpret the text.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into contract verbs in Biblical Greek, learning to identify and parse them, enabling accurate translation and interpretation of the New Testament texts.
  • This lesson provides a deep understanding of the present middle-passive indicative verb forms in Biblical Greek, including their formation, usage, and tips for accurate translation.
  • This lesson provides you with a comprehensive understanding of the future active and middle indicative verb forms in Biblical Greek, equipping you with translation techniques and practice exercises to enhance your skillset.
  • Through this lesson, you acquire knowledge of verbal roots and future forms in Biblical Greek, enabling better interpretation of the New Testament by recognizing regular and irregular patterns.
  • This lesson teaches you how to understand and use the imperfect indicative in biblical Greek, offering insights into verb conjugations, context, and translation accuracy.
  • You will gain expertise in Second Aorist Active and Middle Indicative forms in Biblical Greek, their formation, usage, and importance in biblical interpretation.
  • This lesson equips you with knowledge of the First Aorist Active and Middle Indicative in Biblical Greek, covering formation, parsing, and translation techniques while providing examples from the New Testament.
  • By studying this lesson, you learn to identify and translate Aorist and Future Passive Indicative verb forms in Biblical Greek, enabling accurate exegesis and interpretation of the New Testament.
  • In this lesson, you acquire knowledge on forming, conjugating, and translating perfect indicative verbs in biblical Greek, with a focus on understanding context and handling irregular verb forms.
  • Through this lesson, you learn about Greek participles, their types, and translation techniques, enhancing your ability to analyze and understand the New Testament texts.
  • This lesson teaches you to identify, translate, and interpret present continuous adverbial participles in Biblical Greek, enhancing your understanding of New Testament exegesis.
  • Gain insights into aorist undefined adverbial participles, their types, and translation techniques to improve your understanding of the Greek text and biblical exegesis.
  • Through this lesson, you master the intricacies of adjectival participles in biblical Greek, including their forms, translation, and syntax, ultimately enhancing your ability to analyze and translate biblical texts.
  • This lesson teaches you the intricacies of perfect participles and genitive absolutes in biblical Greek, enabling you to accurately translate and understand complex grammatical structures.
  • Gain insight into the subjunctive mood in Biblical Greek, understanding its formation, functions, and importance for interpreting the New Testament's nuanced meanings.
  • Through this lesson, you learn to recognize and understand the various roles and functions of infinitives in Biblical Greek, ultimately enhancing your ability to study the biblical text.
  • In this lesson, you learn about the imperative mood in Biblical Greek, its forms and uses, negation, and the subjunctive as an alternative for expressing commands and requests.
  • In this lesson, you learn to understand and apply the imperative mood in Biblical Greek, including its formation, nuances, and its use in exegesis.
  • In this lesson, you gain a deeper understanding of non-indicative forms and conditional sentences, learning to differentiate between subjunctive, imperative, infinitive, and participle forms, as well as first, second, and third class conditional sentences, while expanding your vocabulary.
  • Gain insights into Biblical Greek constructs, conditional sentences, Greek particles, and techniques for parsing and translating complex passages, enhancing your ability to interpret the New Testament.

These lectures will take you through the main points of each chapter in Bill Mounce's Basics of Biblical Greek (3rd edition). These Summary Lectures are also available at billmounce.com, along with other free resources for learning biblical Greek. [The first lecture was originally given in the course Dr. Mounce was teaching at Gordon-Conwell seminary. The syllabus he mentions was for that group of students and is not available.]


BillMounce.com also sells video lectures by Bill Mounce that cover every point in the grammar.

Recommended Books

Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar 3rd (third) Edition

Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar 3rd (third) Edition

William D. Mounce's "Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar" and its companion tool "Basics of Biblical Greek Workbook" are the best-selling and most widely accepted textbooks for learning New Testament Greek.
Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar 3rd (third) Edition

Dr. Bill Mounce
Biblical Greek
Learning Greek
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:00] In chapter two of the textbook. It's entitled Learning Greek. And basically I just wanted to share the kinds of things with you that I would share if we were actually in a traditional classroom. Now, most of these summary lectures are screencast, but I wanted to do this as a video because what I have to say is very important. In one sense it's very personal. In chapter one, I covered some of the introductory materials about learning Greek, but let me stress a couple of things. Memorization. Everybody has different hurdles to get over. Some people, they're going to memorize easily, but they're going to have trouble conceptually understanding inflected case endings. Some people have little trouble with personal endings, but just memorize the vocabulary so you all will have different places where you kind of hit a brick wall and you have to go, okay. All right. Memorization, though, is one of the more common ones. And one of the things that I've tried to do in the textbook is to reduce the amount of memorization as much as I possibly can. It's one of the hallmarks of the textbook. In fact, I. I must say that, hey, I saved you a lot of memory work. I must say that a lot when I teach, because one class gave me a T-shirt that said that I've saved you so much time, but I really try to save you a lot of memory. And that's partially because I don't I can't memorize very well. I think a lot of textbooks are written by people who are very good in languages, and I'm thankful for them. I'm not especially strong in languages. And so learning Greek was harder for me than for most of my colleagues. Now, I don't know what happened to the genes because two of my kids are just they can learn any language you put in front of me.

[00:01:43] I just watch them. I go, How on earth do you know that? Easy so easily. But it is harder for me. But because of that, I wrote a different kind of textbook, I think, than most people have. And one of those hallmarks is I really want to reduce the amount of memorization as much as much as possible. But now there are some tools to help you. First of all, get flashcards either by the ones that I made or just go out and get a bunch of three by five index cards, cut them in thirds, put the Greek on one side, the English on the other. I actually took a box and made different this before computers, which is how old I am and had different slots where I could handle this. It. I had to review this once a month. But this word, I've got to carry it with me in my wallet because I have so much trouble with it. And if you use flashcards, you can do that kind of thing. If you like electronics, I really encourage you to get my software program. Flash works just free. You download it from the website BillMoyers.com and it has all the smarts in it. You say, Oh, I know this word, I only want to review this periodically. I need to review this one more often. Whatever, whatever kind of system you want to set up and flash works will do that. I have not received many update requests in the last year so far, so I think it's a pretty mature software. It's probably 20 years old at this point, but if you have any ideas, things that would, I can make it stronger with better language to be sure to let me know.

[00:03:10] And the other thing is that make sure you use the online website. Okay it BillMoyers.com a look in the menu and there's there's a free class now there's a videos and other things there that will cost you something. But the basic class is free and that includes all the vocabulary tools. And so there's you can hear me say the word, you can hear it pronounced in modern Greek. By the way, I use a raspy in pronunciation. A lot of people like modern pronunciation better. So pick somewhere in between, you know, your teacher will be dealing with that. But a rasping is a standard pronunciation that most Greek teachers use. And so that's what I use. But you can hear me say a word and arrest me and you can hear Christine say it in modern Greek. She is Greek, so I know she got the pronunciation right. There's mnemonic devices. There's a buddy of mine that sing songs with Greek words in it. There's different ways of flashing through the cards, and there's all kinds of stuff that I've built in that online class. A lot of it has to do, though, with helping you memorize vocabulary. My goal is to simply remove the problems of memorization from learning Greek. And by the way, I'm doing a sequence called the Greek Word of the Day. It's available in several different places. You can again, there's more information on the website and you can you can look at the words and hear them and see what they mean and stuff like that. So I'm doing everything I can, but you still have to memorize, you still have to practice. But that's one of the hurdles that a lot of people are going to have. Another thing that I wanted to say is be sure you do the exercises, okay? The textbook will give you the theoretical knowledge, but until you actually put pen to paper, so to speak, you will not you'll not have really processed the information, but when you do the exercises.

[00:05:00] It will it will force you to say, I really understand that. And my encouragement is read the whole chapter, shut the textbook, do as many of the exercises as you can. If you can't get through all them, go back, review the textbook, shut the textbook and go back. Basically treating the exercises as a test. And I don't know if you have a teacher, they want you to do ten or 12 exercises. There's about 20 for each chapter. So if you want to keep practicing, you can. Another thing that I wanted to stress is that there's no substitute for time and consistency. I made a kind of an offhanded comment once about those who cram perish. Again, a friend of mine teaches Greek, has a teacher that he gives all his students that says those who cram perish. You know, you can cram certain classes, you can't cram Greek. And the reason is that it takes time for all this information to soak in. In fact, what will happen is you'll do, let's say, chapter six, and you won't be comfortable with it. But then you need to go on to the next chapter. Well, I can't go on the next chapter. I completely understand this chapter. No, you need to move on you key. Because what happens once you get a couple of chapters past, let's say, chapter six, you'll look back and you go, Oh, that was easy. What is my problem? And the reason it's gotten easier is that you've been able to let it sink into your head and move on. So don't people who are engineers often have trouble with Greek? In fact, when I was teaching, I would say how many of your engineering majors and they would raise their hands and they weren't used because they tend to be pretty bright folks.

[00:06:35] They weren't used to me a teacher saying what I told them, and I said, You're the ones they're going to struggle the most. Look at me. What's that all about? So well, because you're going to want to get every little thing right before you move on to the next. You can't do that. Do the best you can, Move on to the next. When you get discouraged, look back two chapters and say, Do I understand that? And in almost every situation and I taught Greek for 20 years, 25 years, whatever it's been, and it's almost always the case that they look back, go, Oh yeah, it's two chapters back. That's easy. So you need to keep moving, but you need to spend a consistent time doing this. Keep your pace consistent and keep how much time each day you're going to put in it. Yes, each day. You know, I remember when I first started teaching, accelerated Greek in the summer, Edgar in Commonweal, I thought, oh, this is this is going can be too hard. But what I found was that they actually learned Greek better because they didn't think about anything else. It didn't have systematics, it didn't have hermeneutics. All they had was 6 hours a day of Greek, and they learned it because they had a consistent immersive kind of experience learning it. So in terms of time, you want to you want to make sure you're being regular and you are. And I would actually say be regular in terms of where you're place. I always had a place in the library. I'd go to study and when I got there it was kind of, okay, this is where I do my Greek. And usually it was a place where I could say things out loud because I talked to myself all the time.

[00:08:07] And I'm an external processor, as I like to say. But was I saying I wanted a place that I could kind of, okay, now I'm ready to learn. I'm ready to study. Here comes Greek. So consistency of time, same amount of time. I'd even say same time of the day if possible, in certainly the same location. But at the end of the day, it's really about discipline as most things in life are. Is can you be disciplined in doing Greek and the way to stay disciplined, I think, more than any other way is to constantly remember the goal. Why are you doing this? Well, maybe because you have to have it to get a general education and a general education requirement done. But hopefully you're doing it because you want to know Jesus better. And if you always have to read a translation, you're one step removed from Jesus. Not obviously. I think translations are good. I've invested massive amounts of my life in translations, but there's something to actually seeing the words ago, Amy. I am. I am he I'm the he of Exodus. I am the he is the the burning bush. I am Yahweh. Okay. That English. But you understand what I'm saying? It's ego, Amy and the Gospel of John. You've got to remember your goal. All right? So when I'm a little more and I don't want the right words with me, but I often will ask people and they start saying, Well, do we really need to know Greek? Is it really that important? I'd say, Do you know of anyone that's gotten a master's in German literature? Can you imagine trying to get a master's in German literature and not knowing German? My daughter married a German. She's now fluent in English, French and German.

[00:10:08] And I asked her that the other day and she just started laughing. So why would you even study German literature if you can't read German? And that's precisely the point. Why would you invest huge amounts of your life into the studying of Scripture if you can't actually read what God wrote? So keep that goal in mind. It'll inform your discipline. It will encourage you to be consistent in your time, in your place, and you'll find that as you do the exercises and as you do the memory work, it gets easier and easier. In fact, I should mention one of the things that happens up front is that people will hit one roadblock or whatever it's going to be, and they'll get stuck on it and then they'll move on and they'll still be a little foggy perhaps, but they will move on. And again, that's how you learn language. You can't get it right the first time. It generally takes a little bit of time, a little bit of plodding, making mistakes. And by the way, as a final note, I've been trying forever to get people to say Greek words. When Kirsten married her husband, it was amazing how much of my German I had learned in grad school came back out to How do I know that phrase? You know? You know, it just like, well, because I had learned all these phrases in German everyday life, German. And so I'm trying to do the same thing on my own website and of putting up, you know, how do you say yes, no, please, my name is what is your name? You know, all this the normal kind of exchange, conversational exchange we have. And I would encourage you say it, Say your Greek out loud.

[00:11:58] See it right it listen to it. If I could figure out how to taste it, I would. But you've got to immerse yourself in this. But it's it's really worth the effort. It's I cannot imagine in the years that I preached, I could not imagine getting up and preaching, thus saith the Lord. And not having read what the Lord said, yes, I would get close to it. In English, translations are good. But when I stood up to preach, I wanted to know the actual words that God used in writing the New Testament. And that gave me the confidence to speak as I think a pastor should. A pastor is a herald of the king. One of the two requirements of a herald that you're faithful to the message of the king and you have a loud, clear voice. And that's what a pastor supposed to be faithful to the Word of God. And being able to articulate and say it clearly in Greek is one of those really important tools to be able to do that. So again, welcome to the journey of learning God's language.