What resources are there to consider if one so desires to begin studying the Greek New Testament, and yet are on a very fixed budget? Today’s post will aim to equip readers on how to begin studying New Testament Greek for less than $100. Ideally, having the opportunity to take a formal two-year track of four courses in New Testament Greek is preferred (whether in a standard Bible college Bachelor’s program or seminary Master’s degree). Such an option may not be feasible and can be quite costly. This particular post is not claiming that the below suggestions for beginning one’s study will compare to the more formal route. However, until one sees that self-study has led to the need to acquire expertise from one trained in the language – certain resources are available that can gain a competency in the language for the student willing to do the work. Below is a suggested list of three resources I have used for years and which, in their combined cost, add up to less than $100.
1. Zondervan Reader’s Greek New Testament. $11-$32
The opening photograph in today’s post features the author’s personal copy of the Reader’s Greek New Testament” produced by Zondervan publishers. The copy in the photograph is the first edition from 2003. Zondervan has since then released two other editions (the 2nd edition in 2007 and the third in 2015). What mainly distinguishes each successive edition is the type-set of the Greek text, the underlying Greek text and the arrangement of the English words in the bottom page. For those on a shoestring budget, Amazon has the 2003 edition still available here: https://www.amazon.com/Readers-Greek-New-Testament/dp/0310248884/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1477772479&sr=8-3&keywords=reader%27s+greek+new+testament
Prices range from as low as $11.50 for the first edition to $32 for the new third editions. To give the reader an idea of what is meant by the term “Reader’s Greek New Testament”, I have included a picture from Matthew 1:1, first of the text:
The text pictured above is from portions of Matthew 1:1-10. May the reader note the little numbers beside the Greek words. The numbers beside the Greek words correspond to English “glosses” or translations of those words on the bottom of the same page, pictured below:
The value of having the English translations of words that occur less frequently (in this case, less than 100 times in the entire Greek New Testament) is in aiding the student to acquire reading competency. So what about thoese words that don’t have numbers? No worries! “The Reader’s Greek New Testament” has a Greek dictionary in the back that a reader can use for words that don’t have the numbers. Over time, readers will learn vocabulary in the best way possible, by actually working with the text.
2. Biblical Greek – A Compact Guide. $19.99
When studying New Testament Greek, the three major areas of study are vocabulary acquisition, grammar (the rules of the language) and syntax (rules governing sentences and relationships between words in a sentence). Thankfully today there are inexpensive resources that aid the beginning student in covering the areas of grammar and syntax. Dr. William D. Mounce is among the most well know contemporary Greek scholars. In the early 90’s he put out an introductory Greek Grammar, appropriately titled: “Basics of Biblical Greek”. Over the last 20 years, Mounce has went on to produce workbooks, videos and online resources that one can view in starting their journey in knowing the language (billmounce.com). For those on a shoestring budget, Mounce’s resources and availability are a boon. The particular resource pictured above is a compact version of Mounce’s grammar and costs only $19.99. Included in the grammar are various charts, information on the Greek New Testament’s verbal and noun systems and other pertinent information. Mounce’s attention to detail is a hall mark of his resources. The compact guide is still quite useful for students who desire to go deeper . So, if the reader is keeping count, with the Reader’s Greek New Testament and the Compact guide, we are up to $52.00. Now let’s consider one more resource that is absolutely free. It is a resource that this author uses every day.
3. Daily Dose of Greek (Free resource online)
Dr. Robert Plummer is a New Testament Professor at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. Known for his accessible teaching style in the field of New Testament Greek studies, Dr. Plummer has made an online resource that delivers daily 2-minute long Greek training videos to your own mailbox, the link being here: http://dailydoseofgreek.com/. These videos are high quality and aid greatly in not only learning the language, but also in retaining it. Included in the site are a series of videos that takes the viewer through the first year Greek grammar here: http://dailydoseofgreek.com/learn-biblical-greek/ .
The value of such a site is that it ensures, as close as possible, that the beginning student is “on the right-track” in their attempt to study the Greek New Testament.
Today we considered how eager readers wanting to study New Testament Greek can begin doing so for less than $100. We noted Zondervan’s “A Reader’s Greek New Testament”, “Biblical Greek, A Compact Guide” (also produced by Zondervan) and the amazing website produced by Greek scholar Dr. Robert Plummer called “Daily Dose of Greek”. The combined cost for all of these resources is less than $60, falling way under our goal of $100. Readers can go on sites such as Amazon.com to view other sources related to the ones mentioned above. Again, this writer is not at all claiming that these efforts will entirely replace a fully-prescribed course of study. However, if one wants to get started or aims to get into a more formal track of studying the Greek New Testament, such a beginning point can be done for less than $100.