The Proven Approach to Reading the Greek New Testament
The only solution designed to teach you to read the Greek New Testament fluently
Learning Vocabulary By Occurrence is only suitable for beginners
Before I went to seminary, I set myself a goal of reading the Greek New Testament for my own personal quiet times. Like many seminarians, I took first year Greek, and then 5 more semesters of Greek, learning vocabulary by occurrence.
But it became clear that this approach wouldn’t work. In fact it got harder the further I went. Let me explain.
First, I found myself learning words I would not use anytime soon. For example, there are 7 words that occur more than 10 times in the New Testament in total, but only occur in Acts.
I wasn’t ready for Acts, but I learned those words and more for other New Testament books I wasn’t ready to read.
Second, as you get lower in occurrence, the task becomes exponentially more difficult.
There are approximately 330 words that occur 50 times or more in the Greek New Testament. There are 331 words that occur between 20 and 49 times. Then there are 487 words that occur 10-19 times. Once you’ve done that, and you want to get down to 5 occurrences, you’ll have another 737 words to learn. And so on.
Each Milestone gets bigger. And harder. And less rewarding. Most people give up or stop short.
Learning Vocabulary by occurrence is necessary at first. It will give you a running start. But it won’t scale. Learning vocabulary by occurrence gets harder, the more you use it.
Almost All Vocabulary Tools are Designed For Beginners
The biggest market for books and software is those who are in seminary. The goal of Greek teachers is to give you a foundation. There is not enough time in a degree program to get you fluent, so the books and resources you use for beginning Greek are just for that – beginning Greek.
The real reason people don’t learn every word
It never occurs to some people to even try to learn every word of the Greek New Testament. But how can we read something when we don’t know each word?
The real reason people don’t learn the hapax legomena is not because it’s too hard, but because they are learning the vocabulary based on occurrence.
There are 1924 hapax legomena in the Greek New Testament. When you’ve done everything else and find that you have one more goal – but it means 1924 words…
That’s right. Most people say, “That’s enough!”
Don’t skip the Hapax! – You are trying to read the Greek New Testament, right? If you don’t know that Hapax Legomena, that means you don’t know 1924 words. That’s 35% of the unique words in the Greek New Testament. You can’t read fluently if you only know two thirds of the words. At best you’ll be dependent on reading aids for the rest of your life. If you want to read fluently, you’ll want to learn those words.
And it’s not as hard as you might think!
Don’t let the wrong tools discourage you
The number of words is not the problem. The problem is the approach and the tools.
The right approach means having a strategy that is designed to scale across the entire Greek New Testament, which solves the problems that have cause people to give up.
Common Reasons People Give Up Learning to Read the Greek New Testament
- exclamation-triangleWhat you learn isn’t immediately useful
- exclamation-triangleNot learning all the words – so you can’t actually read the text
- exclamation-triangleExpecting it to be like a class – you can’t do this in a semester, or even a year
- exclamation-triangleFailing to plan the full path in advance
- exclamation-triangleNot reviewing vocabulary every day
3 Things Necessary to Learn to Read the Greek New Testament
People don’t give up because they can’t learn to read the Greek New Testament. They give up because they lack three key things. Here they are…
A strategic approach designed to walk you through learning to read all of the Greek New Testament
Tangible wins that build on each other in a meaningful way and keep you motivated
A consistent and manageable workload that makes success inevitable.
What It Takes
- angle-rightA Strategic ApproachMaster the Greek New Testament one book at a time. Eliminate words in books you’ve already learned. Order the books based on difficulty.
- angle-rightBroken downWork on one book at a time, in small, manageable sprints. Start with easy books, progress to harder ones as your experience and skills grow. Memorize words in the book, then read the book.
- angle-right…and your consistencyIf you have the right approach and you consistently work on a little at a time. You will learn to read the Greek New Testament. Day-by-day, week-by-week consistency means fluency is inevitable.
You can learn to read the Greek New Testament fluently!
All you need is the right approach, broken down into manageable sections and your consistency over time. With these, your success is inevitable.
You Need the Right Equipment to Scale a Mountain
Learning to read the Greek New Testament is like climbing a mountain. Nobody climbs a mountain without the right equipment and the right mindset.
When I wanted to learn to read the Greek New Testament, I ran into the occurrence problem. I tried different Flashcards apps. I used different books. What I found was that they are all designed for a classroom, not the real-world task of learning to read fluently.
Learning to read the Greek New Testament takes a long-term approach. Work away at small, manageable pieces completing them one after another until you get to the last small, manageable piece.
Memorize. Read. Master
Master New Testament Greek was designed to guide you book by book through the Greek New Testament.
1. A strategic approach designed to guide you to fluency through every book of the Greek New Testament.
2. Broken down book by book from easiest to read to hardest to grow your reading ability with your vocabulary.
3. A simple, scalable solution that keeps you reading regular succession to keep you motivated. Learn each word once – when you need it.
- checkPDF eBook with vocabulary for the entire Greek New Testament
- checkInstructions for setting up and using digital Flashcards
- check8 Optimized acquisition choices
- checkVocabulary in Excel format to import to your mobile device
- check3 Month Learning Plan to get you started
“Realistic and manageable — even for the full time pastor”– Ken Anema, Customer
What Others Say
“I am actually reading my Greek NT !”
“Now, after 20 years in the pastoral ministry I am actually reading my Greek NT rather than tediously dissecting the text for sermon preparation. Master New Testament Greek was just the tool I needed. This plan is realistic and manageable — even for the full time pastor. I love this simple strategy for maintaining the Greek I already know.
“Now that I am started with this method I am motivated by the sheer joy of comprehending the New Testament as I read from my Greek Bible. I wish I would have had this tool when I had completed my first Greek course over 30 years ago! Every seminary student (along with busy pastors) should take advantage of Master New Testament Greek. Darryl Burling has done us all a great favor!”
“I am impressed…”
“I’m impressed with Darryl Burling’s method of tying vocabulary acquisition to a graded reading of actual New Testament texts. It’s true that students learn vocabulary best when it overlaps with their reading of Scripture, and they need to start with easier texts and build to more complex ones. I will recommend this resource to my students.”
Dr. Rob Plummer
– Professor of New Testament Interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“The best post-seminary Greek program“
“Before this program I simply never thought to try and memorize every word of the Greek New Testament. It was too daunting of a task. But memorizing every word of 1 John was a very manageable goal, which then also made memorizing 2 John also manageable, and then 3 John, so on and so forth. For this reason, I’m convinced that this is the best post-seminary Greek program that a pastor, missionary, Bible translator, scholar, or anyone could embark upon.”
Start Your Journey to Read the Greek New TestamentRight Now!
If you’re serious about learning to read the Greek New Testament, you’ll need a solution designed to help you do it.
Master New Testament Greek is the only tool designed to help you reach reading fluency in the Greek New Testament.
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100% Satisfaction Guaranteed
“I heartily recommend Darryl’s method!”
“While I was teaching the difficult Greek of 2 Peter to a group of graduate students, I was impressed with how one student showed real familiarity with the vocabulary, especially the rarely used words. So I asked the student how he was able to master the vocabulary so well and he told me about his Greek vocabulary acquisition method.
“Now that student, Darryl Burling, is ready to share that method with you. Learning vocabulary is probably the greatest obstacle to fluently reading the NT in its original language. I heartily recommend Darryl’s method and encourage you to use it!“
Dr. William Varner
– Professor of Bible and Greek, The Master’s University
“It is focused and specific. This is just what I needed.”
“I tend to get on rabbit trails in the Greek and end up not being able to read the amount that I set out to do. However, in just the three days I have been using your Greek guide I have been making great progress. It has been very helpful because it is focused and specific. This is just what I needed because I always wanted to make progress but lacked the structure to follow. Thank you.“
“One of the best tools available today”
“Any tool that can help students to master the vocabulary of the Greek New Testament is a good thing. Carefully designed for this purpose, Master New Testament Greek is one of the best tools available today.
Dr. Constantine Campbell
– Associate Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Creator of Master New Testament Greek
About the Author
I’m a PhD Student and Adjunct Professor of Biblical Counseling at Boyce College in Louisville Kentucky. I live in New Zealand and am involved in a small church plant in New Plymouth, where I live with my wife and three daughters.
Before I went to seminary I set myself a goal to be able to read the Greek New Testament in the original language. Master New Testament Greek is the system I created to help me learn the vocabulary so I could achieve that goal. From the time I started using this system to the time I finished, it took me less than 4 years.
How much time does it take?
Everybody learns at different speeds. Master New Testament Greek is flexible, so you can work at a pace that suits you. Expect to spend 10-15 minutes each day learning and reviewing vocabulary words. This time will be spread throughout the day. I recommend you review cards when you wake up and before you go to sleep, and one or two more times through out the day.
Beyond that, read the Greek New Testament. I read it every day in my quiet time, and I encourage you to do the same.
Not sure if this is for you?
Master New Testament Greek is not for everyone. Here are some questions to help you consider whether Master New Testament Greek is right for you:
- questionDo you have 1 year of Greek behind you?
- questionCan you review vocabulary instead of going on social media?
- questionCan you review vocabulary when you’re waiting for…. anything?
- questionCan you review vocabulary when you wake up and before you sleep?
- questionCan you read a little bit of Greek in your quiet time?
- questionAre you determined to be consistent for 3-4 years?
If you answered yes to these questions, you can do this. The most important thing is to be consistent.
Need more help?
I also offer a full membership program that provides additional support. The Mastery Membership includes:
- checkA week by week schedule designed to guide you to full fluency
- checkNew vocabulary to learn each week
- checkA passage of text to read each week – you will already know the words
- checkWeekly Video stepping through key grammatical aspects of the reading
- checkReferences to Grammars, Commentaries and resources used in video
- check7 Milestones with strategic breaks along the way
The Mastery Membership is currently not accepting new enrollments, but click the button below to request an invitation and be notified when it next opens.
You can start with Master New Testament Greek today using the student edition on this page, and you’ll be ahead when enrollment opens.
The choice is yours
If you’re serious about learning to read the Greek New Testament, you have a choice to make.
- angle-rightStart your journey and be done sooner
- angle-rightFollow a clear and proven approach to
- angle-rightBe able to read your first NT book in Greek in just a few weeks.
- angle-rightLearn 10 New Testament books in the next 12 months
- angle-rightGet consistent, achieve your goal
Carry on the old way
- angle-rightKeep trying new (free) tools
- angle-rightSwitch tools every few months to try something new in the hope it isn’t made for a classroom
- angle-rightKeep searching for free decks of vocabulary cards on Quizlet
- angle-rightGive up – eventually the tools will let you down
What You Get
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100% Satisfaction Guaranteed
30 Day Money Back Guarantee
If you’re not satisfied with Master New Testament Greek, simply let me know within 30 days of your purchase and I’ll gladly refund your purchase.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will this teach me Greek?
No. This is an intermediate solution so it assumes you have already completed a year of Greek.
I want to ask a question
I’d love to answer it! Click here and fill in the form.
How does it keep me motivated?
Master New Testament Greek is unique in that you’ll learn to read a new book of the Greek New Testament every 2 months on average, assuming you memorize new words every week. If you’d like to read a new book of the Greek New Testament every 2 months, you’ll love this solution.
Does it include a vocabulary app?
No. However, I do recommend an industrial grade vocabulary app that will scale with you. I’ll even give you video instructions to walk you through how to set it up.
Do you offer any kind of support?
Yes. If you run into problems, find typos or anything like that, let me know and I’ll sort it out. I’m here to serve you.
Is this a one off price or ongoing fee?
The product on this page is the Student edition of Master New Testament Greek. It is designed for students and those who just need the vocabulary, so it is a one-off price.
If you want a full membership program with linked readings in the Greek New Testament and video walk throughs of grammatical principles in the text, request an invitation to the Mastery Membership program.
P.S.: Everyone who learns to read the Greek New Testament started somewhere. Every one of them took a long period of serious effort to get there. You can do this… but it starts with that first step. When will you take that first step?
Copyright – Darryl Burling