Confessions of a Struggling Greek Student

I’ll admit it. I don’t know Greek incredibly well.

Now I can do the analysis. I can do the parsing.

I can do the syntax.

I know the clause structure.

I know the phrase structure.

I can smell errors and over-interpretations in commentaries from a mile away.

All that analytic stuff, all the analysis.

I can do that (with silly mistakes from time to time as many of you already know).

But I don’t know the language.

I don’t have the vocabulary.

Its been four years of Greek and I still don’t have the vocabulary.

Yeah, yeah, four years isn’t the long, not for language learning, but even still. I should be farther than I am.

I can can count on one hand the books of the New Testament that I can just sit down and read without having to turn to the lexicon or simply relying on a reader’s edition: John’s letters, Ephesians and Colossians. I’ve got their vocabulary pretty well down. Philippians is close too, but not quite.

But even with the vocabulary that I do have, I don’t know it. I’ve got an English gloss hiding in the background. The relationship between sign and signified isn’t quite there for the vast majority of words I know. Its: Greek sign-English sign-signified. And those don’t always connect very well. That’s not knowing the language. When you know the language, the words are just there, ready to be used. I can order coffee and cake in Russian without an English word crossing my mind. Greek? Well, I’d take ten minutes trying to figure out the correct verb form before I even began to even think about saying anything…

I’ve started something new. I want to know Koine Greek. I want to know it well. I want to know it internally.

I’ll tell you about it tomorrow…