Reading Greek

Learning Greek

I had taught myself Greek back in 1980 and 1982 (while still in the Navy) prior to going to Seminary. I used Machen’s book and had a copy of UBS 3rd edition. While I could have passed an entrance exam in Greek, I decided to take Greek at the seminary under Dr. Robert Hoerber. Best decision I ever made. He solidified and greatly expanded my understanding of Greek.

Dr. Hoerber encouraged us to keep reading every day. Even a chapter a day would take us through the NT in three years. So, I slowly began working toward that goal. At the same time once I began serving in the congregation(s), the time creep of other responsibilities sometimes found me letting the Greek reading slide for days at a time. I still studied Greek extensively and could read some of the books very well, but Greek reading as its own entity was sadly not consistent.

Reading Greek

Over the years I have used various aids in trying to keep my Greek up to speed and learning more. I have several grammars, lexicons, concordances, etc.—all hard copies. With the advent of the desktop computer revolution, I have most of those resources in the Accordance program.

For daily reading I tried various resources, including Sakae Kubo’s A Reader’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. While it worked for a while, it never quite fit my patterns of reading and study.

I tried other “devotional” books that would include snippets of Greek and Hebrew for each day. While helpful initially, the snippets were not long enough to get a sense of the Greek (and Hebrew) flow, hence true “reading.”

Then I began looking for more substantial help in improving my reading. I didn’t need to look up many words. Just an occasional vocabulary or parsing to refresh my memory. So I purchased the NET/Greek New Testament. This was a step in the right direction. It was not an interlinear (which I think is a handicap to reading and translating). It has facing pages (Greek one side, English on the other).

It also contained the NA-27 textual apparatus at the bottom. So, I could carry it in some situations, and not bring the NA-27 along as well. But it was bulky to take anywhere beyond the office. I tend to travel some for seminary and pastoral work, and this was not usable for such travel.

A reading solution—for me

I had heard about other reading resources but was beginning to be a little gun-shy of them. I needed something that was readable for older eyes; NA-27 edition was originally small and the font while readable was getting smaller every year.

Recently someone mentioned The UBS Greek New Testament: Reader’s Edition with Textual Notes.

UBS Greek NT Readers

It was on sale recently so I purchased it. The font is the right size, the book itself is larger but not cumbersome for travel. There are minimal textual notes, but for reading purposes, I don’t need them—they can be a distraction.

UBS Reader Pg

It has the running dictionary at the bottom with simple parsing and glosses for those words occurring less than 30 times, and those over 30 times are in an appendix.

The best thing, I began reading and could cover two chapters—I still have a congregation. It has sped up my reading and my vocabulary is coming back into shape.

I will be preaching on John’s Gospel between now and Easter, and I have already gotten through the first five chapters. I will occasionally look at the glosses and parsing at the bottom just to quickly verify what I already knew. But it is neither distracting nor inconvenient. Notice, too, that the appendix does not provide a simple gloss.

UBS Reader Appendix

This is exactly the kind of reading aid I have been looking to purchase for years. For me, it is the best solution where I am in my reading of Greek.

One thought on “Reading Greek

  1. I have recently obtained a copy of this Readers GNT, and have likewise found that it has transformed my bible reading, and like you enabled me to read whole chapters without too much laborious stopping and looking up words, and checking my parsing. One of the big advantages for me is that often I am 95% sure of something, and it is really helpful to be able to check quickly – and sometimes I find that I was wrong in what I had presumed.

    I think it is worth pointing out, however, that the one word glosses are quite often translation glosses rather than lexical glosses. To give one example which I came across today, the gloss for χαρισθήσομαι in Philemon 22 is ‘be returned’. ‘Return’ is not a meaning of ‘χαριζομαι’. In context, for Paul to be granted to Philemon, is perhaps more or less the same as him being returned to him, so might be acceptable as a fairly loose translation (although I much prefer ‘given’ or ‘granted’, since this is what the scripture actually says).

    So I use this GNT with a small lexicon – either Abbott-Smith or Danker and Gingrich’s Shorter Lexicon, and I add lexical meanings to the glosses in pencil.

    Andrew

    Like

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