Should I Study Greek?
I can't tell you how many times this past week someone asked me about studying New Testament Greek. They're curious but scared by the challenge. I don't blame them in the least. I lasted 3 weeks in my first Greek class, remember? The Dave Black 101 of learning Greek goes something like this. One, you don't have to be good at languages to start learning Greek. You just do it. Two, if it's miserable, change your teacher or textbook. Three, well, I'm not sure there's a three, but if there were it would be to persevere. If you keep on studying, you'll eventually master the subject. Think of the act of sharpening a chain saw by hand. It takes a lot of time. It can seem tedious and mundane. But if you persist, the chain eventually gets sharp again. The same is true with Greek. When the chainsaw begins to fail, don't get rid of it. Instead, face the struggle, one tooth at a time. Exchange the tedious now for a sharper edge later.
"But," you say, "I'm too old to learn Greek." Yes, there are challenges as we age. But there's also more wisdom. The other day I read about a new Greek grammar that will be published this month. It's 600 pages and it calls itself an "introduction." You're kidding, right? The older I get, the more I realize that less is more. Beginning students don't need to learn everything you know about Greek.
I love watching my newbies learning Greek every Monday night. I can identify with their nervousness. I think of my own "career" as a runner. While teaching is my safe spot, running isn't. I figure me running is kinda like one of my students taking Greek for the first time. It's just plain hard work but oh so satisfying once you begin to get the hang of it.
Should you study Greek? Yes. Can you learn the language? Absolutely. So what's holding you back?
September 18, 2020
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com.