FluentGreek Syllabus

Printer-friendly version

Course Description:

The FluentGreek course emphasizes the acquisition of fluency in reading the Greek New Testament. This is achieved by the following means:

  • Koine Greek pronunciation videos to help you learn to comfortably pronounce the Greek text
  • A vocabulary flashcard tool to help you learn your first words
  • A parsing flashcard tool to help you learn the most important Greek forms
  • Over 4,000 Greek Verses – over half the New Testament - arranged into 35 levels whose progression aims to maximize your learning and minimize difficulty. The levels are covered twice, first at an easy to moderate difficulty setting followed by a harder setting after you’ve become more comfortable with Greek
  • The Greek New Testament with helps for each word
  • And a task app that helps you stay consistent

For more details, see the Learning Approach, What's Required to Learn NT Greek, and Greek Learning Tools pages.


Prerequisites:

No prior knowledge of Greek is assumed. This course does assume an understanding of the basics of English Grammar. If you need review, check out this overview of English grammar.


Objectives

This course aims to take the beginning Greek student from zero knowledge of Greek to comfortably reading the Greek New Testament. FluentGreek does this primarily through the presentation, and repetition, of verses from the Greek New Testament. It uses technology to leverage the latest discoveries in language learning to make your study time effective.

Over 5000 unique Greek words are used in the New Testament so I do not promise that you will be able to read the entire Greek New Testament without helps at the end of the course, nor should you trust courses that do. However, because the bulk of FluentGreek coursework is reading the Greek New Testament, at the end of your study you will be comfortable reading the majority of words you encounter in the New Testament.


Required Texts and Resources

Required Resources

Introductory Greek Parsing and Grammar Textbook

Proper selection of a Greek textbook that is right for you takes some thought. Not everyone learns the same way and therefore not every textbook is optimal for you. Additionally, it's important to understand how to use the textbook you select with this course. See Your Greek Textbook for details about how to select the right textbook and how to use it.

Intermediate Greek Grammar: Syntax for Students of the New Testament by David L. Mathewson and Elodie Ballantine Emig

To learn a language, you need to understand the language’s structure, which is called grammar or syntax. Your introductory textbook will teach you basic grammar, but since FluentGreek focuses on reading Greek, you will quickly encounter use cases your intro textbook doesn’t cover. Thankfully, in 2016 Mathewson & Emig produced an accessible grammar textbook and once you’ve finished your introductory textbook you should review it. Remember that you don’t need to review the verb grammar sections until you unlock those levels.

The Audio Greek New Testament, Read by John Schwandt

You need to get comfortable with the sound of Greek and the best way to do that is to read along with recordings of the Greek New Testament. One consequence of the lack of Greek fluency in the church is that audio Greek NTs with Erasmian pronunciation (used in seminary) aren't readily available. Schwandt’s recordings are the best I'm aware of. However, the mp3 files come on a DVD so you'll need a device, such as a laptop DVD drive, to play them. Also, if you don’t already have one, download a playback device - I use VLC Media Player - that lets you slow the playback speed until you are able to follow along with the text. Use your Reader’s NT and speak the words aloud with the recording. Slowly increase the speed as you become more comfortable. It doesn’t matter which chapters you choose to read aloud as your goal is to familiarize yourself with the sound of Greek.

For those that don't have access to a DVD drive, I am creating readings of 1 John in Greek for you to practice along with.

The Greek New Testament, Produced at Tyndale House, Cambridge, Reader's Edition by CrossWay

You’ll want a reader’s edition of the Greek NT. Even advanced Greek students don't know the definitions of every Greek word. This edition defines words that are used in the NT 25 times or less. It also parses them for you, in case you don’t recognize the form.

Word-for-Word English Translations

You need a couple of reliable, word-for-word English translations to reference when you get stuck on difficult verses. I recommend the English Standard Version (ESV) and the New English Translation (NET) translations. Both of these versions provide an accurate, equivalent translation of the Greek text. Versions that paraphrase the text won’t help you learn to interpret the Greek phrases accurately.

Bible Gateway is a free website that displays multiple translations of a passage side by side. When you can’t decipher the meaning of a verse, search the verse name in Bible Gateway and see how the translators have interpreted the verse.

Recommended Resources

One More Intermediate Greek Grammar

At this point you already have introductory and intermediate Greek grammars. This is optional, but I recommend you purchase one more. Those who are using Merkle & Plummer's Beginning with New Testament Greek will be happy to hear that they have also produced an intermediate grammar, Going Deeper with New Testament Greek. Their grammar has the accessibility of Mathewson & Emig’s but with slightly more extensive explanations and examples.

A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (a.k.a. BDAG) or
The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament

Lastly, you’ll want a dictionary, also known as a lexicon. The brief definitions supplied in flashcards are necessary to avoid overwhelming the beginning student, but ultimately won’t be sufficient. To get a fuller sense of the meaning of the Greek words used in the New Testament you will need to purchase a Koine Greek lexicon. BDAG is the standard. It’s expensive and its definitions have abundant supporting material that can confuse the beginner. Thankfully, Danker, the D in BDAG, created a simplified version. Review the samples of BDAG and the Concise version and pick whichever one will work best for you.

The Morphology of Biblical Greek by William Mounce

This book is helpful for the type of person who wants to understand the inner workings of things. It explains why the Greek words appear as they do--why the various prefixes and suffixes look so irregular but are quite regular, how letters combine, etc. If you want to understand what is happening with a particular word or type of word, this is an excellent reference work. You don't need this, but if you like understanding how the Greek forms function, this will show you.


Course Outline

Task Description Goal
Learn the Greek letters and punctuation Read the alphabet page and the relevant section in your introductory textbook. Then follow the methodology described in Pronouncing Biblical Greek to become comfortable pronouncing Greek. Until you are comfortable pronouncing Greek words without reference to the pronunciation table
Learn 50 Most Common Words Use the Vocabulary flashcard tool, under Supplemental Work. The tool uses spaced repetition to present vocabulary at certain intervals to aid memory. The default intervals can be set on the Manage Account page of your account. Use the flashcard tool until you readily understand the most common words. Flashcards are an inefficient approach so it’s best to learn the remaining vocabulary through your Verse review work. For those that still wish to use the tool, nearly all words used in the New Testament are included.
Learn Most Common Greek Forms Use the Paradigm flashcard tool, under Supplemental Work, to learn the Greek forms. Work your way from most common to least. Review the verb forms as you unlock their levels. Suggested practice time is 10 minutes per day. Maintain this practice until you recognize all forms
Read the Greek New Testament Out Loud Read the Greek New Testament out loud. Suggested practice time is 10 minutes per day. You can use Schwandt's Audio Greek New Testament or FluentGreek's 1 John pronunciation series on YouTube. Slow the playback speed to a rate you can follow along with. The goal is to be able to vocalize Greek text the same way you vocalize English text internally as you read. You can stop this practice when you begin reading Greek verses yourself as you will sound those verses out as part of your translation work.
Initial Greek Grammar Review First, review Overview of NT Greek Grammar. Then read the recommended sections of your introductory Greek textbook. Reading should be done at a high-level. Imagine this as a circular approach, rather than a linear walk through the material. Grammatical material should be learned in an ever-deepening manner, instead of trying to master each concept before moving to the next. The goal is to familiarize yourself with the primary concepts of Greek grammar. You need to know enough to know where to look in your textbook when you encounter certain syntax in your Greek reading. Grammatical study continues throughout the course.

Once you know the alphabet, basics of grammar, have memorized the fifty most common words (a rough guideline), and are starting to get a feel for how noun endings change by case and number you can begin to read actual verses in Greek for comprehension.


Task Description Goal
Review Greek Verses with Explanation The First Verses page contains over 80 Greek verses with translation and explanation. The verses are organized into groups that build on the ones before. Go through each section once, or as many times as you like to feel comfortable with the material.
Learn Most Common Greek Forms Continue to use the Paradigm flashcard tool to learn the Greek forms. Work your way from most common to least. Review the verb forms as you unlock their levels. Suggested practice time is 10 minutes per day. Keep this practice until you recognize all forms.
Read Greek Verses This is the heart of FluentGreek. Read the verse out loud, trying to understand the meaning as you read. Click on the words you don’t recognize and glance at the paradigm page, if the word is inflected, to get a sense of how the word changes. Refer to the Help! I'm Stuck page for what to do when you don't understand the material. When you finish the Verses, you've finished the course!
Review Grammar FluentGreek requires one introductory and one intermediate textbook, and recommends an additional intermediate textbook. Spend 10 minutes a day reviewing these. Only review verb syntax as you unlock their levels. As explained in the Preliminary Stage, you should read your Greek grammars in an ever deepening fashion. After skimming the introductory grammar, skim the intermediate grammar, then go back to the introductory grammar for a deeper read, and so on. Once you've done this deeper reading, you can refer back to these grammars as questions arise from your Greek reading.
Top