Frequently Asked Questions

Note: This page is still under development

Learning Greek

Learning Hebrew

Teachers and Courses

 

 

How hard is Greek to learn?

Any language is hard to learn for people who are involved in everyday life and have jobs and/or children. The average learning time for a language which is a case-ending language like Spanish, German, Italian, French and Greek(!) is about 300-500 hours of study for the first year. There are about 32 weeks of instruction, so that means one would need to have about 10 hours of study a week to master a first year language, or about an hour and twenty minutes a day. Can you succeed with less time? Probably not. If you study a little every day, you can get by with a little less time.

Many of the Greek vocabulary words are similar to English words. If you have already had Spanish, French, German, Italian, Latin or another European language which has case endings (instead of word order like English), you will have a significant advantage over those who have had no language.

The hardest thing about Greek is that there is no set word order. One's mind has to be flexible and use the context as a guide for meaning -- often the most important word is at the end of the sentence, but until you get to it, you may be unsure of just what is being talked about. Also, the longer and more complicated the sentence, the more it is considered good Greek. Thucydides (a classical Greek historian) has a sentence that is one and one-half pages long! Some of Paul's sentences are almost a paragraph in length. But the language of the New Testament is much simpler than that of Classical Greek, and books like the gospel of John are very easy to read.


How hard is Hebrew to learn?

Hebrew has a very simple sentence structure. It is comprised of short sentences connected by "and". and...and...and. The hardest thing about Hebrew are four areas: 1) It uses a totally different script than the Latin characters we write with in English. 2) The language is written from right to left (backwards from English). (You open a book from the back to start reading!). 3) Hebrew has a number of consonants which dissapear in certain positions - those can be hard to figure out. 4) Hebrew is not related to English ; No Hebrew words sound/look like English words (unlike Greek where, for example, hippo-potamos means "river-horse", our modern-day hippotomus.


What are the Greek Textbooks?

The textbooks vary from class to class depending on the instructor. Usually, the cost of books for the entire school year is about $100. This includes a Greek New Testament, the beginning grammar book(s), and a few other books.

Let's Read Greek by Dr. Boyce

The Basics of Biblical Greek by Bill Mounce

The Basics of Biblca Greek Workbook by Bill Mounce

Living Koine by Randall Buth (Possible text)

USB Greek New Testament 4th edition

Introduction to New Testament Textual Criticism by J. Harold Greenlee

Pocket Dictionary for the Study of New Testament Greek by Matthew S. DeMoss

 

What are the Hebrew Textbooks?

The Basics of Biblical Hebrew by Portico

How long does it take to master Greek?

"Mastering" Greek is a skill that is acquired over a great period of time. A beginning class will allow you to be able to read commentaries that talk about the Greek words. You will be able to follow arguments and discussions about grammatical points. You can start reading simple books like the Gospel of John, John's epistles, and the Gospel of Mark.

To master any language at an intermediate level, it requires on average about 1200-1500 hours. Most people cannot do that in one year, but over a period of several years it is attainable. Many students who have attended the TCBLP classes over the years are able to read the text and follow along in church when the text is read out loud.


How long does it take to master Hebrew?

The same time constraints that apply to learning Greek apply to Hebrew (see above FAQ "How long does it take to master Greek"). Hebrew is a very simple language in structure. Once you get the vocabulary and endings and verb paradigms mastered, you can start reading the Old Testament with some aids. (It's not as easy as a Polyonesian language where, for example to say shoes (in the plural), you say it three times (shoe shoe shoe).

To master any language at an intermediate level, it requires on average about 1200-1500 hours. Most people cannot do that in one year, but over a period of several years it is attainable. Many students who have attended the TCBLP classes over the years are able to read the text and follow along in church when the text is read out loud.


Who is Dr. Boyce?


What is "Let's Study Greek" by Clarence Hale?


What's the difference between books?


I've been out of Greek for a while. Where should I start?

We are not having a refresher class this year. However, there are a number of different beginning classes. Three different books are used by the different teachers. Some use Mounce, the Basics of Biblical Greek. This is a very logical and form oriented course. There are a lot of support tools for Mounce. Some use the syllabus "Let's Read Greek" by Dr. Boyce. (This is an abridged version of Clarence Hale's popular "Let's Study Greek" which is a graded reader. This year, one class will be using active learning methods, audio visual materials and on-line learning tools.


Do you have an online class?

Not at this time.


How can I type Greek on my computer?

First. You must make sure you are using a unicode font. Most font's before 2002 are not unicode. For a list of unicode fonts, see here.

There are several utilities to type Greek and Hebrew in unicode. The simplest is the Unicorn notepad utility which can be found on the GreekStudy website (www.quasillum.com). Using the Control+G key switches the background to green and you can begin typing using betacode (English characters) for the Greek. Hit Control+G again, and you switch back to English. If you select Edit>Preferences>Windows (tab), you can select a Hebrew font and Hebrew Keyboard if you want to type in Hebrew.

An alternative to using Unicorn (or a more complicated utility such as Tavultesoft Keyman) is the use the TypeGreek.com web utility and a similar TypeHebrew utility. You can then copy and paste the text into your email. Be warned however, that some email clients will hash/mash the Greek or Hebrew Unicode characters.

A more expensive option is the Tavultesoft Keyman utilitiy hich costs about $45, Multikey is a similar free MS Windows based utility.

For those who want to experience Greek the way the Greeks experience it, add the Windows/Mac locale " Greek" and type as the Greeks do.


What are the best Greek websites for the NT?


Who are the teachers?

There are about eight different teachers that teach. Each person has had at least five years of study in the language. Many teachers have 10 years in their language, and a few have over thirty years each! Rev. Charles Gustafson has been teaching Greek in classes around the Twin Cities for twenty-five years. Many teachers also have a background in linguistics. You can look on the educator page to find out more about each of the instructors and their interests.


Why learn NT Greek?

To be added.


What can I expect knowledge of the original languages to help?

To be added.


Why add hearing/listening to my Greek education?

To be added.


How much do the courses cost?

The cost of the course varies from class to class depending upon the books the instructor would like you to purchase. We ask a $25 one time up front fee for copying and handouts. We also ask a dollar or two per week for instructor transportation costs.


Can I take two languages at once?

Yes. But this is not recommended. Hebrew and Greek are very different, so if you take both, you will not get them confused. But the time demands to learn a new language are about 10-15 hours of study a week. If you get behind on one, you may end up getting behind on the other and begin a never ending cycle of catch-up. It's best to pick one language and master it to an intermediate level before going on to another.

 

I want to sign up for a course, who do I contact?

Contact Rev. Chuck Gustafson about signing up for a class. His telephone number is 952-236-9578. You can also email him.

Do I have to purchase the books before I go to the first class?

This depends on the teacher. For most classes, just bring yourself, a pencil/pen, notebook, Bible and the money for the textbooks and class fee.

Who do I pay at the class?

This again depends on the Class. Contact the instructor or Rev. Charles Gustafson to find out the what you need.

Can I use email to contact the teacher? Where do I find their email address?

Currently, the

What is the first class date?

The Sunday classes start September 13 at Berean Baptist of Burnsville, Hope Lutheran of Minneapolis and River Valley Church of Apple Valley. Classes at Wooddale Church of Edina start on Wednesday September 16 and Thursday September 17.

Where can I find the class schedules?

The classes can be found on the MSBL website at http://www.letsreadgreek.com/msbl/classschedule.htm or at http://www.letsreadgreek.org/moodle2