Thursday, January 9, 2014

Koine Greek Anyone?

During the elementary and junior high years of our homeschool, our boys study Koine Greek and Latin (with a sigh of relief, they transition to Spanish in high school).  Neither my husband nor I knew Latin or Greek when we started our home education journey in 2003, so we decided to divide the languages between us and teach them to our boys.  I studied and taught Latin, and my husband studied and taught Koine Greek.

Lately, I've realized the benefit of knowing Greek as I participate in Sunday School, listen to sermons, and read on-line resources.  Undoubtedly, there's usually a reference to the "underlying Greek" of the New Testament verse and what it "really means".  Therefore, I've decided to attain a working knowledge of Koine Greek.

To accomplish my goal of reading and writing, I'm working through A Greek Alphabetarion and A Greek Hupogrammon: A Beginner's Copybook for the Greek Alphabet with Pronunciations, both by Harvey Bluedorn.  If I decide to tackle Greek grammar, then I'll study New Testament Greek for Beginners by Machen with the accompanying workbook by David Thompson.

Of course, as a reader of the King James Bible, I have Scrivener's Greek New Testament on my Olive Tree app and The Interlinear Literal Translation of The Greek New Testament with the Authorized Version by George R. Berry to use as reading resources.

My waning ability to memorize may not be up to the challenge, but nevertheless, I was encouraged to continue my pursuit after reading the following excerpt from the 'Introduction to the Student' in A Greek Alphabetarion; Mr. Bluedorn writes:
"...The early Christians all knew and studied the Greek Scriptures.  

However,  as the knowledge of Greek diminished among the common people, a darkness crept over professed Christianity.  The people became more and more dependent upon religious professionals, and those professionals became less and less accountable to the people.

In the sixteenth century this trend was reversed.  After the fall of the capital of the Greek empire (Constantinople), Greek scholars fled with their manuscripts to western Europe. A revival of Greek studies followed, and this marvelous old book--which hadn't been seen for a thousand years--was unearthed. It was called "The Greek New Testament." The republication of the Greek New Testament by Erasmus in 1516 was immediately followed by the greatest period of the spread of the Gospel since the first century.

However, once again we have allowed the Scriptures to be covered over with the speculations of men. In the recent past, Christians in general and ministers in particular were competent students of the Scriptures in their original languages. But we have lost the tools with which to personally examine the actual Word of God. A genuine renewal of the Gospel in our day awaits a renewal of the study of the Greek Scriptures. Those who pursue the study of the Greek New Testament will become God's vessels for the recovery of His truth."
I don't agree with everything in Mr. Bluedorn's assessment, but I do believe that every Christian is responsible for letting "the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom," (Col. 3:16).

"Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ,"
(1 Peter 1:13).