Why a 90% Failure Rate in Teaching/Learning Koine Greek?
” A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways “. — James 1:8
” No man can serve two masters “: — Mt. 6:24
No wonder there is a 90% failure rate in teaching New Testament Greek!
From the very first moment of learning, the student is forced to serve two masters. This causes him or her to be double minded. Thus, distracting the mind from concentrating on the job at hand with a determined single mind. Confusion sets in! Big time!
Let me give you a simple example. In one book, one of the simplest grammars, within the first FIVE lessons a student must learn two languages, not just one. The one he or she is taking class to learn. And, the one he or she did not expect to have to learn. Within those first five lessons the student is forced to learn 44 GRAMMAR “slang” terms along with just 45 Greek vocabulary words. WHY? That’s a one to one ratio at the least opportune time in learning.
The simple answer is “money,” plain and simple. It is “believed” one cannot learn a language without a heavy dose of GRAMMAR terms and explanations. Thus, leading to a “profession” of “scholars” who are paid to teach you a “language.” Instead, they teach you English GRAMMAR as applied to the New Testament Greek language. Result? By the end of the lessons, within six months, or less, 90+% of the students forget BOTH vocabularies. Take a look:
First Five Lessons’ Vocabularies.
I. Greek Vocabulary
II. Grammar Vocabulary
- Active Voice
- Causal Clause
- Definite Article
- Direct Object
- Future Tense
- Grammatical Function
- Imperative Mood
- Improper Diphthong
- Indefinite Article
- Indicative Mood
- Inflectional Form
- Persistent Accent
- Present Infiinitive Active
- Present Tense
- Proper Dipthong
- Recessive Accent
Now, at first, that doesn’t seem so bad, right? The above vocabulary covers just five lessons with 45 Greek words and 44 Grammar words. Two vocabularies which are “reviewed” in the SIXTH lesson. However, this is only six lessons out of FIFTY. Wait, there’s MORE!
In another “simplified” grammar titled User-Friendly Greek, A Common Sense Approach to the Greek New Testament we find this information:
” Much of my professional ministry as a college and seminary teacher has involved teaching students New Testament Greek. I love Greek, and I love teaching Greek. After teaching for several years I discovered that most of my former students–overwhelmed with the time demands of ministry–had let their Greek rust out. What they had worked aggressively and diligently in the classroom to master was laid aside. Apparently, my labors in the Greek classroom had been wasted on these students.“
” Is there a way to help those who study Greek to bridge the gap between formal classroom study of Greek and effective use of Greek in ministry? I have been unable to find anything in print that is both easy to use and practical, but I am persuaded that the answer ought to be a resounding yes. My personal answer is this book. ” –p. vii
In another revealing statement the author has this to say:
” Many students who have completed at least a year of Greek study in college or seminary have NEVER used their Greek in any effective way, despite their good intentions. Either they have never learned that Greek is their friend, or Greek has simply been crowded out of their schedule “. — p. 1.
On page 3 of his book the author reveals the awful truth about the teaching of New Testament Greek and its absolutely astounding failure rate. Here it is:
” During my first two years of Greek study, it was hard to see where it was all heading. I was so involved in studying the indivdual trees that I could see little, if any, of the forest. I was bogged down trying to determine whether this verb was iterative imperfect or that noun was subjective genitive. To know exactly how these distinctions mattered or whether they could help in my sermon preparation was almost impossible. “
Here the author, as do most of the others who write their grammars, sees the problem. But, I don’t think he or the others recognize what they have said! Why? Because he goes on and tries to teach the same grammar confusion in “simpler” terms. That’s what they all seem to do. They try to reteach the grammar failing to realize they have just said that is the problem. The confusion created because of the grammar. In other words, they seem to have no concept of teaching the actual language, instead, they teach the grammar as the primary language, and the language itself (Greek) as the secondary, unimportant part to learn. A catastrophe in progress.
Look, the entire vocabulary of the Greek New Testament is only 5,425 different words. Out of those words, only 300-350 of them are needed to read and understand 80% of the text! That is, you need only 6% of the vocabulary to read and understand 80% of the text. Amazing!
So, instead of teaching you to do that, they teach you to learn over 1100 NEW and CONFUSING terms supposedly describing the grammar of Greek. Believe me, that is NOT the way to teach. It only breeds confusion and failure.
Where does this “simplified” grammar rewriting lead us? Into the same old rut of language learning failure. This is why we will soon begin teaching the proper method that will give students a 90-95% success rate, instead of a 90-95% FAILURE rate. There is no real reason for Greek to remain “Greek to you.”
Having said that, let me now show you what you must learn BEFORE, as is taught now by the “scholars,” you can learn to read and understand the New Testament in Greek.
III. Grammar Language on Steroids.
- Ablative of agent.
- Ablative of comparison.
- Ablative of separation.
- Ablative of source.
- Ablative of the whole.
- Accusative of general reference.
- Action noun.
- Adjective complement infinitive.
- Adjective genitive.
- Adversative clause.
- Agent genitive.
- Alpha privative.
- Antecedent action.
- Aorist tense.
- Aphoristic future.
- Appositive genitive.
- Attendant circumstance participle or clause.
- Attributive genitive.
- Attributive participle.
- “BE” verb.
- Cause participle.
- Cause participle.
- Cause to effect. [Note: By now, if instead of memorizing these terms, and memorized the same number of Greek words instead, you could read 28-30% of the Greek text!]
- Circumstantial participle.
- Cohortative subjunctive.
- Command future indicative.
- Command imperative.
- Comparative genitive.
- Complex sentence.
- Compositional pattern.
- Compound sentence.
- Compound word.
- Compound-complex sentence.
- Conative present.
- Concession participle or clause.
- Condition participle.
- Conditional clause.
- Conditional imperative.
- Conditional indicative.
- Condititional sentence.
- Conditional subjunctive.
- …Plus 173 more “technical” terms of grammar.
Is all of that necessary? Just think of it, you only need to memorize 320-350 Greek words to read 80% of the Greek text. BUT, the scholars say you need to remember another 228 words, minimum, in addition in order to “understand” the Greek text. Does that sound reasonable?
Now, in addition to those words presented above, NOT counting the Greek words presented, one needs to “know” 1,700 terms of grammar, word study, textual criticism, exegetical method, New Testament criticism! All, according to the money making “scholars” teaching NT Greek, necessary to comprehend a simple text. Does that make sense? With that many actual NT Greek words memorized instead, including phrases and expressions, one would be more fluent in the NT Greek text than the “scholars” themselves!
Look at this:
” Here is a book that will deliver you from late-night ponderings of the predicate and fuming over the fricative. It is the indispensable lexicon to that THIRD LANGUAGE THAT’S NEITHER GREEK NOR RECOGNIZABLE ENGLISH–the technical vocabulary of grammarians, lexicographers, linguists and Greek instructors.”– backcover Pocket Dictionary for the Study of New Testament Greek “.
BUT WAIT — There’s ANOTHER Problem!
With all the above presented, which doesn’t scratch the surface of a “manufactured problem” there is THIS:
” This raises the issue of competing definitions. It may come as a surprise to the new student that in grammatical and exegetical tools, writers adopt certain nomenclature and discard other terms. Neologisms are widespread too. The fact that terms have been, and continue to be, used differently makes composing definitions rather challenging. It is not simply that writers use different terms for the SAME [my emphasis throughout] phenomena (though they do this) or the same term for DIFFERENT language features (though they do this too); rather there is OFTEN overlapping usage or a slightly different signification given to a term. Also, as is frequently the case in discussions of grammatical features, certain writers subsume one or more categories under a single heading. What I have tried to do in such cases is COMPOSE definitions that encapsulate the essence of a term so that the student can construe the basic idea. ” (?) — p. 10, Ibid.
Why, then is NT Greek STILL “Greek to me??????” It should be obvious by now. But, to summarize, here is a major part of the problem, and it IS NOT THE LANGUAGE itself. The problem is “the scholar.” Look at this and learn:
The Basis of the “It’s Greek to me, problem.”
- The student must learn at least THREE languages to learn the ONE language they want to learn.
- The student has to face the fact that in too many cases, no two “scholars” agree with the others.
- The student has to memorize a new vocabulary almost as large, and more foreboding, than the simple Greek vocabulary.
- The student has to face the fact that virtually every grammar, or lexicon/dictionary, uses DIFFERENT definitions for not only the same terms but for the different terms.
- The student must face the fact that the majority of what he is taught is mostly the preference and opinion of the particular teacher/grammarian he studies under.
- The student must deal with the fact that each vocabulary word of the Greek is given multiple meanings, all based on the preferences of the men who teach and translate, NOT on the simple and actual and basic meanings within the text itself.
- The student must deal with the fact that virtually no “scholar” of NT Greek will tell him the truth about this chaos, confusion, and HOAX.
A proper teaching of the NT Greek, or any other language for that matter, is done at first without ANY GRAMMAR. A student should not be confused and burdened with nonsense “grammar” until the student can learn that grammar IN the language itself.
Do YOU really want to learn NT Greek properly? Do YOU want to learn it in a quarter of the time that is “normally” required? Do YOU want to learn the language versus the grammar? Do YOU want to learn it without using any grammar vocabulary or rules and eliminate the confusion? Do YOU want to learn to read at least 80% of the NT text in Greek, fluently, and in a short space of time? Well, YOU can do it with the right tools, techniques, and instruction. Why not begin now?
Write me now at: firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know of your interest. You’ll be glad you did.