Lesson 1 | The Basics
Why Another Greek Course?
Many Greek grammars and online courses are available today. So, why create another one? While this course will lean on the work of others, it seeks to teach you how to read the NT (New Testament) in Koine Greek in several unique ways:
Unlike most online classes, Biblearc allows you to interact with the Greek text by creating diagrams, highlighting words, dividing the text into clauses, etc. Also, Biblearc’s path courses allow you to interact with course instructors, to participate in group discussions, and to receive personal feedback on your assignments.
While the course uses English to teach Greek, it seeks to do so with simple terminology to help those who speak English as their second or third language. Further, Biblearc offers this course at a missions-oriented price with the hope that pastors from countries in the Majority World will be able to enroll.
Tracing the Argument
One of the greatest benefits of learning how to read the NT in Greek is that it allows us to trace an author’s argument with more clarity and confidence. This course introduces students to one way of doing so—a Bible study method called Phrasing.
As the course progresses, you will learn how to diagram Greek sentences. This focus is helpful in two ways. First, it allows you to see the grammar of the Greek text. Second, it forces you explain how each word in a Greek sentence functions.
This course exists to equip students to read and understand the NT in Koine Greek, its original language. Why? Because reading the NT in Greek helps us read the NT with more understanding. Consider some examples from John 3:16.
οὕτως γὰρ ἠγάπησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν κόσμον, ὥστε τὸν υἱὸν τὸν μονογενῆ ἔδωκεν, ἵνα πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων εἰς αὐτὸν μὴ ἀπόληται ἀλλ᾿ ἔχῃ ζωὴν αἰώνιον. (NA28, Koine Greek)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (ESV)
Knowing Greek helps us understand specific words better. The word “world” (κόσμος) in John 3:16 refers to all of humanity as rebels against God.
In English, most translations of John 3:16 leave the connectors as “that.” Is “that” telling us the result, the content, or the purpose of God’s love for the world? Without Greek, it would be very difficult to understand how each “that” connects. The Greek connectors in John 3:16 help us understand how each clause relates to what comes before it:
ὥστε (“that”) connects God’s gift of his Son as the result of his love for the world. So, our God loves rebels so much that it results in him giving his eternal Son to them.
ἵνα (“that”) connects eternal life as the purpose of God’s gift. Why does God give his Son to rebels? So that (ἵνα) those rebels can have life in the Son. The heart of our God towards rebels ought to comfort us and give us hope in his love for us.
ἀλλ᾿ (“but”) emphasizes God’s life-giving, death-defeating purpose by replacing a negative statement (“should not perish”) of God’s purpose with a positive one (“have eternal life”)
Ultimately, Koine Greek can help us see Jesus in the NT more clearly and with more confidence than reading a translation. In John 3:16, Koine Greek helps us see that Jesus is God’s gift of life to a rebel world. Praise God that he has given us Jesus! May we find life in his name!
By the end of this course, students will be able to do the following.
Translate most words that occur 100x or more in the Greek NT (about 17 words/lesson)
Read, parse (analyze the grammar), and translate all non-verb words as well as participles and infinitives
Visually display how the words of a Greek sentence relate to one another through diagramming
Understand how reading the NT in Greek helps us trace an author’s argument
Each lesson consists of the following steps.
Devotional - A short worship-inducing reading that shows how Koine Greek helps us see Christ more clearly in a NT text.
Vocabulary - This section introduces new words and reviews old words.
Guided Reading - A video where we practice reading a NT text in Greek together.
Grammar Points - Two or three grammar points that teach basic elements of Koine Greek. Each grammar point will include teaching, examples, and practice.
Guided Practice - Short exercises that encourage students to apply the grammar points learned in this lesson.
Review - This section reviews what we learned in the lesson.
Assignment - Homework to be completed before moving on to the next lesson.
Each lesson should take about two hours for the average student to complete. The assignment should take about one hour to complete. Finally, students are expected to study at least one hour of vocabulary between each lesson.
This course consists of ten lessons. Here is a road map for where we are going during these ten lessons.
As you can see, there is a lot to learn! But if you are willing to work hard with God's help, you can do this. Hard work and persistence are the keys to success. Learning Greek ought to humble you and move you to throw yourself upon God for help. He wants to help you! Pray before, during, and after lessons. Pray as you parse and as you practice. I am praying for you that God uses this course to magnify Jesus in your eyes and heart.
A computer with reliable internet access
A Biblearc account
Pencils and a notebook
Optional: A Greek New Testament (We will talk about this more in Lesson 2)