Easy Reading in the Greek New Testament

Discussion in 'Languages' started by ProtestantBankie, Oct 24, 2017.

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  1. ProtestantBankie

    ProtestantBankie Puritan Board Freshman

    Friends, I have learned about 1/3 of the Greek New Testament, and am familiar with many kinds of declension; tense; case and gender and so on.

    At the moment, every day for 20 minutes are so (after doing some flash cards) I will skim a portion of the TR Greek Testament and when I find a word that looks familiar - I identify the tense, number and so on. I have found this the most encouraging feature of learning the language - actually reading the word of God.

    There are some parts of the New Testament which are very easy to read and which a student could pick up in two weeks.

    I was wondering if some of the learned brethren here perhaps had complied a list of some "easier" portions in terms of the language. Perhaps in the Epistles.

    (I originally assumed that ease of reading in English = ease of translation - I quickly discovered this was not the case!)

    To give an example - the textbook I used introduced me to John 1 very early and I found this easy enough.

    One delusion however, is that I am exceptionally familiar with John 1 in English and I don't know how much my subconscious mind is feeding me answers.
  2. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    I'll say this....I took 3 1/2 years of Greek, and advanced Greek, and Greek exegesis. I took everything the school had, and that forced the teacher to aid 3 of us at the time to create an advanced Greek exegesis class to keep us going.

    For me, my most difficult task is retention in memorization. I'm far more effective with concepts and theory.

    So biblical languages for me were harder than anything because of the need for exstensive memorization at the time.

    If you dont regularly keep up with daily studies in Hebrew or Greek, it doesnt matter how much you previously studied. It will slowly, but surely, evaporate from your memorization.

    That doesn't mean you can't work through whatever you are studying, it just means you wont be a Hebrew or Greek scholar.

    Unless you keep up with that, it will dissipate.

    That said, simple books in Greek are most helpful. Or even short ones. Here are some things I did which I found helpful.

    1,2,3 John are easy books to translate. Work with John's writings.

    Memorize Jude in English, then work through it in Greek. This was very valuable.

    I liked memorizing words by word count. The more a Greek word was used, the more you see it, the more familiar it is. Memorize words in that construct.

    The pastorals and Hebrews contain lots of words used once or twice. You have to have a larger vocabulary to deal with them.

    Consider some of the LXX books, like some of the Psalms, or Jonah.

    Again, I would rather do exegesis than straight translation, but with practice, if you have the time, it can be rewarding.
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  3. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    There are 8,674 different Hebrew words in the Bible, 5,624 different Greek words, and 12,143 different English words in the King James Version.

    hapax legomenon: In the New Testament alone, there are 1,932 words that occur only once (USB). Revelation 21:20 contains eight hapax legomenon, more than any other verse in the Bible. See attached list.

    Of the approximately 5,437 words in the Greek, 313 words occur more than 50 times. See attached list.

    The total occurrence of these 313 words account for 110,425 of the total Greek words of 138,162.

    Students memorizing Mounce’s 319 words will know 79.92% of the words in the Greek NT, or about 4 out of every 5 words.

    But, of the 110,425 occurrences of these memorized words, 29,023 are the Greek words for “the” and “and”, so more than 26% of the words student will recognize are the two most common words.

    In fact, by learning the words that occur more than 50 times, the student will have learned only 6% of all the lexical forms found in the Greek NT (5,437). So that leaves 5,118 words that the student does not know. These 5,118 words account for 27,737 words found in the NT text. That said, only 525 verses in the New Testament do not contain a single word that occurs fewer than fifty times.

    The NT chapter with the fewest rare words is John 17. No word in the chapter occurs fewer than eleven times in the NT.

    Assuming 27,737 words and 9,942 verses, simple and not quite accurate arithmetic tells us that roughly each verse will contain about 3.5 words the reader may not recognize. On the whole, the Old Testaments and the New Testament have about the same number of words per verse on average: 24.6 and 22.1, respectively. That said, the New Testament has an average of 675.4 words per chapter as compared the the Old at 625.59. So, you’re packing in more words on average when you read a New Testament chapter.

    Bible Word Counts
    Pentateuch 149,241
    Historical Books 194,479
    Poetic Books 81,305
    Major Prophets 127,433
    Minor Prophets 28,711
    Gospels 80,502
    Acts 23,475
    Paul’s Epistles 50,190
    General Epistles 9,966
    Revelation 11,473

    The word count of the Hebrew and Greek text in the standard critical editions is 545,202.

    A few stats:
    • Original KJV 774,746
    • Current KJV 790,676 (Blayney 1769 version: 788,280)

    New Testament English Word Counts:
    ASV 180,056
    ESV 175,599
    KJV 180,565
    NASB 95 182,446
    NASB 184,062
    NET 178,929
    NIV 2011 176,122
    NIV 175,037
    NKJV 177,980
    NLT 2ed 186,596
    NRSV 176,417
    REB 176,705
    RSV 173,293
    RV 179,873
    TEV 192,784
    TNIV 176,267
    Modern Hebrew NT 111,154
    Vulgate 125,720
    Italian La Sacra Bibbia 163,870
    Luther 169,536
    French Novelle Version 184,449
    La Sainte Bible (Geneve) 185,859

    Acts 10:41 contains a word with the longest inflected form of the Greek (twenty letters long) in the NRL.

    Every word in 2 Timothy 3:3 appears in the NRL (i.e., each word appears fewer than fifty times in the New Testament).

    1 Peter 4:15 contains one of the longest words with the longest definition appearing in the NRL.

    Acts 27:27, 33 contains a word with the longest lexical form of the Greek (eighteen letters long) in the NRL.

    The above is why daily reading in the Greek is essential in order to retain what one has memorized. ;)

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  4. ProtestantBankie

    ProtestantBankie Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you for this. John 17 then. I will make my translation of John 17 my next project.

    I should point out - I do not need necessarily whole chapters - short sections is good enough.

    At the moment I am: Looking at verse 1 and 2 and of all of Paul's epistles. This is a fun enough project.

    My tutor said to me "if only you weren't allowed to do anything in Greece, this language would be a lot easier to learn!"

    Total List of Recommendations so far:

    John 17
  5. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

  6. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    My associate pastor, in order to complete His Mdiv, had to take the final year of both Greek and the Hebrew, and being awhile since last in school, he said that was really fun.
  7. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    Have you tried doing this through a bible program such as Bibleworks?
  8. ProtestantBankie

    ProtestantBankie Puritan Board Freshman

    I made use of e-sword but I found it contained a plethora of errors. So have stuck to using bits of paper. I love paper anyway.
  9. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    Here is some of the items available for use on Bibleworks
    Includes things such as vocabulary flashcards (electronic, audio, and printable), Daily Light in Greek & Hebrew, and paradigms with audio, a full Hebrew OT+NT Bible, two full Greek NT audio Bibles (click on the text to play).
  10. RPEphesian

    RPEphesian Puritan Board Junior

    I would take it a step further and say that if you want to increase your competency in Greek and not lose it then aim to get as close to fluency as you can, and drive at it as though learning a second language. Granted, Koine is dead, no one speaks it, not even in Greece, but you might take those easy passages, memorize some verses, and meditate and apply to your walk just the same as though you were from an English translation. Also, just as you are doing, regularly read Koine with the goal of eventually doing all your Bible reading in the Greek. Just as in English, "δεῖ περισσοτέρως προσέχειν ἡμᾶς τοῖς ἀκουσθεῖσιν" (Hebrews 2:1).

    Ambitious, but for the reasons Dr. Mahon pointed out you just need to be aggressive in the first stages to keep from losing it.
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