The NT Textbook that is Right for You
How Grammar is Taught
Grammar is a description of how language operates. Grammatical instruction in language courses spans the gamut from near exclusive grammar study to essentially none. For example, Hans Ørberg’s popular Latin series is completely in Latin with only pictures to aid the student. A supplemental grammar, Grammatica Latina, is available, but that is entirely in Latin as well. This is an immersion approach where grammar is meant to be discovered and absorbed as the student progresses through the course. On the other hand, many Greek courses spend the vast majority of their time covering word parsing and grammatical categories with little time spent reading texts.
Orberg’s method is much closer to how people learn their primary language. However, having to “discover” grammatical rules as one goes along can be excessively frustrating. FluentGreek suggests an immersion approach with reference to helps as needed, both the tools provided in the software and to reference works, such as reliable English translations, Greek lexicons and NT Greek grammars, always keeping in mind that fluency comes from reading Greek text, not helps.
People learn differently. Therefore, there isn’t one best textbook for everyone. Here are two reliable introductory Greek textbooks for you to choose from:
For those that prefer simple, succinct explanations, I recommend Merkle & Plummer's Beginning with New Testament Greek. The text is only 281 pages plus appendices and answer key, yet the coverage is clear, covers the basics well, and gives up-to-date explanations. They also have free online lectures, which auditory learners will find very helpful.
For those who want extended explanations, Harris' An Introduction to Biblical Greek Grammar is the best I’m aware of. For comparison, Harris’ text is 466 pages before you get to reference material. Harris also offers video lectures; however, they are not free like Plummer’s lectures. If you are an auditory learner and your budget allows, the price will likely be worth it to you.
How to Use Your Grammar
Now that you’ve purchased one or more Greek grammars, let me explain how to use them in conjunction with FluentGreek. Levels in FluentGreek are arranged by verb frequency, verb difficulty, and vocabulary frequency. That means all non-verbal forms, such as nouns and adjectives, are presented from the start, with different types of verbs introduced slowly.
Therefore, at the beginning of your Greek study, in addition to reviewing vocab and paradigms, you should be spending some time every day reviewing your Greek textbook. Below is a table of content to review for each of the recommended grammars. Material on verbs should be reviewed as you unlock those levels. For example, when you unlock perfect active participles, you should review the chapter on perfect participles in your textbook.
During your first read through don’t get bogged down memorizing the parsing tables and grammatical explanations. Also, don’t memorize the vocabulary, as that is addressed more efficiently by FluentGreek. Instead, focus on getting a general feel for the concepts. Then deepen that understanding by reading the New Testament, referencing your textbook when you have questions. Later, revisit the material in your textbooks and you will find that you understand more of it this time around.
A possible plan is to spend 10-15 minutes a day reading the noted sections of your textbook, then move to the intermediate Greek grammar. After that, you might increase your daily verse review time for a while before reviewing the grammars again. You'll likely pick up on things you missed your first time through.
Comparison Chart of Review Concepts
|The Greek Alphabet||Ch. 1||Ch. 1|
|Nouns||Chs. 2, 3, & 14||Chs. 4, 8, & 12|
|Article||pp. 21-22||pp. 97-102, Ch. 8 (pp. 146-148)|
|Pronouns||Chs. 9 & 20||Ch 6 (pp. 122-129), Ch. 9 (pp. 171-180) & 12 (pp. 230-231)|
|Adjectives||Ch. 16||Chs. 5 (pp. 102-111) & 14 (pp. 250-253)|
|Prepositions||Ch. 8||Ch. 6 (pp. 117-122), Ch 9 (pp. 180-185)|
|Adverbs||Ch. 16||Ch. 14 (p. 255)|
|Conjunctions||p. 22||Ch. 6 (pp. 129-131) & Ch. 20 (pp. 331-332)|
|Verb Overview||Ch. 4 & 7||Ch. 2, Ch. 10 (pp. 188-195), & Ch. 14 (pp. 253-254)|