The one reason people tell me they haven't started learning biblical Greek is because they don't have time. Sound familiar? I totally understand. But from the time I first learned Greek to today, and through helping many people on their journey to master biblical Greek along the way, I've learned that there is one proven activity that overcomes this. Let me explain.
Do you have the right expectations?
The problem we have is that we think that learning biblical Greek will take us hours every day as we immerse ourselves in books, practice saying words, writing out exercises, etc. We tend to think this way because we are expecting to be able to converse in the language, and we all remember what taking a class was like in school. Who has time for that?
There are several reasons why this is not true. First, with biblical Greek, you're only learning to read the language, not speak it. This means that while you'll learn to pronounce the language, you're not going to have to figure out how to construct sentences the same as you would if you were conversing. Instead you'll focus on recognition, which significantly reduces the level of learning.
Second, I remember language classes at school too. You spend an hour (or more) in a classroom then several hours out of a classroom (at least in theory), with no real idea of what you're doing. Then there is the question of relevance, "why am I taking this language again?"
Presumably if you're interested in learning to read biblical Greek, you know why it's relevant. If not, here are 5 reasons to consider it.
Can I encourage you to put all that to one side? Let me set a new set of expectations for you. It won't take as much time as you probably think.
Master biblical Greek in small amounts
Learning biblical Greek doesn't take a huge herculean effort up front. The secret is to learn small amounts over a long period of time. The one proven activity is to do something small every day.
Instead of trying to learn everything all at once, the key to master biblical Greek is to do a little often. In the past I've explained 3 things that you can do every day that will help you master biblical Greek. Even if you do just one of these, you'll make progress. If you do two, you'll speed up your progress significantly. If you do all three, you're probably only taking 30 minutes each day and even then, much of it will be your regular devotional time.
First, let me ask you, can you spend 10 minutes reviewing vocabulary while you're waiting in lines? For the coffee to brew? In the bathroom? If you normally spend time on social media, consider swapping social media with vocabulary review, and you've probably already found more than enough time.
Second, do you read your Bible each day? Most days? Why not spend some of that time working through the Greek text of the New Testament? Yes, it will be slower than your reading in English, but that isn't a bad thing. You'll think more deeply about what you're reading and you'll apply it to your life more richly.
Master biblical Greek over a long period
Rather than spending a couple of weeks, or even a few months learning biblical Greek, just do these small amounts over a few years. If you keep growing what you do and you keep working at it, you'll make the progress you want to make.
If you work at learning 90 new vocabulary words per month, or 30 words a week and take a week off each month, you can learn the entire vocabulary of the Greek New Testament in 5 years. Most people don't need that many breaks. If you're taking 10-15 minutes a day to read the Greek New Testament, you'll also read those same words in their context.
This is how Master New Testament Greek is structured. You learn the words then you read the words. Along the way you watch a 10 minute grammar video each week to help you learn some new grammar from the reading.
Just starting your journey?
If you've never learned Greek before, you should expect the first 30 weeks or so to be the hardest. During the first phase of learning Greek, the learning curve is the steepest. However, you still only need 30-60 minutes a day to make serious progress.
My suggestion is that you extend your devotional time for a while, and spend a little time first thing in the morning doing exercises to help you master the concepts you're working on. Then review your vocabulary during the day (which won't take long). Over about 30 weeks, you should complete beginning Greek. Once you're through the beginning phase, your time requirements will drop back to the levels indicated above.
What's stopping you?
It isn't just the time. It is also the question of what do I do to learn? That's where a long term approach can help. Master New Testament Greek is designed to provide you with a clear, step-by-step approach to learning to read biblical Greek from beginner all the way to reading fluently. It's designed to give you small steps to complete every day and every week. Steps designed to be completed by busy people.
I came up with this approach when I was a seminary student with a busy, growing family and ministry and work responsibilities. I was busy, and this system worked for me, and it's currently working for others. I'm confident that it will work for you too.
The secret to master biblical Greek is to learn small amounts over a long period of time. It's not necessary to learn everything all at once. In fact, this will likely mean you'll never start. Keep making small steps on the path the fluency and you'll eventually get there. How long it takes isn't important. It's whether you're making progress.