Over the past ten weeks, my New Testament Greek students and I have taken an amazing journey. We’ve been holding class Monday evenings from 6:30-8:30 and have one or two more sessions to go. These students work full time, have families, and ministries (yes, a life!) yet they have been able to work on learning a new language: Koine Greek. Now, this is not your everyday speaking Greek, but what I call the most alive dead language, the language used to write the Gospels and Letters of our New Testament.These students have been able to learn enough to spend two hours this past Monday translating sentences from Greek to English. They worked on sentences straight from the New Testament, such as:
Ἴδε ἡ μήτηρ μου καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοί μου. ὃς γὰρ ἂν ποιήσῃ τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ, οὗτος ἀδελφός μου καὶ ἀδελφὴ καὶ μήτηρ ἐστίν.
Our students correctly translated this as:
Behold, my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother (Mark 3:34b-35)
Yes they have to memorize, learn declensions, and discover how pronouns are used. When we spend time working on sentences from the New Testament itself, we often have “mini-studies”, learning not only how to translate but seeing and knowing the how Greek helps us interpret the text. In the last couple of weeks we will be learning the basic idea of verbs and how they are used in the New Testament.
In February, the New England School of Theology will offer a follow-up course in I John, using the Greek text. The first semester students will use what they learned this fall and continue learning the Greek language through actual translation of the text of I John. The I John course is also set up as a refresher course for those among us who had Greek long, long ago. I hope some of you will join us. We will translate and discuss the text of I John and seek to apply what we hear from the text.
Come visit – Open house (free class and coffee!) this Monday evening, Dec. 5 at 6:30 at our Fairfield, CT campus (Trinity Church, 300 North Benson Road, Fairfield CT 06824). Hope to see you there!
By: Chip M. Anderson (Dec 1, 2011)