You are probably already familiar with the Greek language. Perhaps you spent several semesters at seminary learning the language so you can do exegesis. Maybe you have worked through Greek grammars and learned yourself. Perhaps, having done all this you are wondering if its worth continuing to develop your Greek and what that looks like.
Below you will find 7 reasons to learn to actually read the Greek New Testament fluently. Master New Testament Greek delivers all these benefits in regular installments as you work through the program. Click here to get started right now, for free.
1. To be Free of Tools
This might seem obvious, but the difference is surprising! If you can read the language then you do not need the tools anywhere near as much. You might think that being able to use the amazing tools available today, such as Logos Bible Software or Bible Works, is enough. Certainly these tools are great, but reading is better.
When you use tools to look up words as you go, your mind has to move from lookup to interpretation. This gets tedious. Looking up words is not hard, but it is hard to hold the sentence and the flow of thought in your head while you do so. This is not how the text was intended to be read, and your comprehension suffers as a result. Having the ability to read the text of the Greek New Testament eliminates this, and as a result your dependence on tools is greatly reduced.
The reason anyone learns Greek is to remove the veil between us and the text. Here is an uncomfortable truth: if all we can do is exegesis with tools, we have switched the veil of translations for the veil of tools. There is still a cognitive veil between us and the text.
2. To Eliminate Distractions
Since you are less dependent on tools, you can be free of the distractions they create. You do not have to hold as much in your head just to get a translation done. The translation is much more natural.
Not being able to read means you have mental clutter that draws you away from what the text is saying. You are distracted by parsing and words you do not know that you have to look up. The ability to read fluently means that these are either minor distractions on occasional verses or they are non-existent distractions. Obviously the better you read, the less distractions you will have from the meaning and flow of the author’s thought.
3. To Reflect Deeply Upon the Text
This leads to the real reason you wanted to learn Greek in the first place — to reflect deeply upon the inspired text and authorial intent of the Word of God. Nobody wants to learn Greek simply because they like language. Even those who do love language are selective about the languages they learn. So why select Koine Greek if not to read Koine texts? The foremost of these texts of course is the Greek New Testament.
One of the hidden benefits of learning to read the Greek New Testament is that you have to slow down your reading to get the comprehension. Just like when we were learning our native language, we read slowly at first, but then sped up.
However, as an adult with a desire to know the Lord, this slow reading forces us to think more deeply about what we are reading. Though we do not have the same level of distraction, we have to engage our cognitive functions more fully as we are reading simply because it is not our native language. When it comes to the Word of God, this has amazing pay-off. But it only comes if we are actually reading.
4. To Speed Up Your Exegesis
It should go without saying that if you are able to read without tools, the time you take to do your exegesis will be significantly reduced. Why? Here are two reasons.
First, you can translate the text competently without picking through every word and syntactical construction. The less you have to look up words and struggle to understand how to phrase constructions, the less work you have.
Second, you will know the areas to focus on intuitively because by reading you have picked up the emphases and nuances of the text. When you understand the author’s flow, you can zero in on the meaning of the text without getting lost in the details.
5. To Understand the Mindset of the Authors
Because the language expresses a worldview, the better we understand the language, the better we will understand the worldview of the author. The structure of the language we use and know affects both the way we express ourselves and the way we understand things. Therefore, as we grow in our understanding of the language the authors present information in, we will also learn to categorize concepts the same way they did, loosening us from the constraints of our own worldview and native language, and helping us to understand the world and the Word the way they did.
6. To Get Clarity in the Text
All of this contributes together to help us understand the text with more clarity than we would without being able to read. If we can actually read the Greek New Testament, we will see connections in the language that we do not see in translations. Repetition; alteration; poetic structure; chiasm; word order; and other language features are often entirely lost in translation. Because we are reading and have eliminated the distractions of basic interpretation and translation, we are able to see these features more readily, clarifying the meaning and emphasis of the text.
7. To Have Confidence in the Language
Another result is that we have much greater confidence in the language, with the tools, and with conclusions we draw from the text. If we minister the Word of God to others, this also means we have much more confidence in what we are teaching to others, as well as greater growth in our congregation.
Learning to exegete the Greek text is a wonderful skill that yields some great benefits. However, reading the text of the Greek New Testament amplifies all the benefits of exegesis, and greatly reduces its labor while also boosting your confidence and the understanding you gain from the language. Not only is it good for you, but it is also good for those you minister to!
If your goal is the ability to read the Greek New Testament, you can look forward to all these benefits in the future. However, if you follow Master New Testament Greek, you will get all these benefits in regular installments as you master one book at a time.