Learning Koine Greek With Exegetical Tools

A. Greek Primer

B. Basic Greek Videos – (Greek 1 &2) – these videos do not cover everything in the Primer, and some videos aren’t listed here either, such as the one for the Aorist Passive Indicative

C. Basic Greek for the Week E-Mail

D. 5 Free Advanced Greek Lessons

E. Greek Reading Videos (Greek 3 & 4) – Advanced


Learning Greek Vocab: learn every Greek word that occurs 10x or more in the NT by studying for 20 minutes a day for about half a year.

July 20, 2015 – Keep Your Greek: Choose the Right Bible

August 5, 2015 – Keep Your Greek: Don’t Lose Your Vocabulary

August 16, 2015 – Keep Your Greek: Taking Greek Electives

October 8, 2015 – Keep Your Greek: Reading Greek Devotionally

January 15, 2017 – Keep Your Greek: Get the Best Resources

On Mastering Diachronic Greek: Three Recent Items of Interest

As someone who has become convinced that to even attempt mastery of any period of the Greek language, one must also study the period before and after, I have been following the recent discussion on the internet about Koine Greek closely. I obviously do not agree with any of the one articles totally, but at least there is a dialogue happening.

For the above reason, I figured I would post the links here, just in case any current readers are unaware of them, and for future readers to check them out. To elaborate on what I wrote above, I’m convinced that the best path of Greek study for Orthodox Christians is found below, and using the pronunciation that Greeks use—since it is their language and all (imagine if Western scholars told Native Americans how to pronounce Cree?).

Mycenaean Greek







Four Reasons to Master Koine (and to Leave Attic Alone)

Dethroning Grammar for Mastering Greek: A Rejoinder

On Mastering Koine Greek: A Response to Bohlinger and Nguyen

How to Read Greek (and What to Read)

A funny thing is that Evangelicals, Protestants, and Catholics who actually know some Greek (as opposed to the “codebreaker types within those religions) answer the question of how to improve one’s Greek with something along the lines of “Read, read, read; and then read some more.”

The Greek Orthodox Church in North America, on the other hand, will teach Neohellenic Greek in their Greek schools (to be fair, I’ve found three Greek parishes in all of North America that teach “New Testament Greek”) to keep the culture alive while the Orthodox Church in Greece commends ignorance of Koine as “Koine has contributed to the “mystery” of the liturgy” The Fathers of the Church would be livid, as anyone familiar with St. Basil can assure you.

Lets us of the Greek Orthodox tradition remember that all Greek—from Homeric to Attic to Hellenistic/Koine to Medæval/Byzantine to Katharevousa to Demotic to Neohellenic—are all very much and absolutely an inextricable part of our Modern Hellenic culture, but more importantly, a part of our Eastern Roman religious heritage.

With that said, here are some suggestions on how to improve one’s Greek that I’ve found helpful and of which I implement:

9 October 2012 – N.T. Wright on learning Greek, and a review of A Reader’s Hebrew and Greek Bible by Zondervan

24 November 2012 – Do You Need to Speak Greek in Order to Read it?

1853? – The Greek of Homer a Living Language

11 December 2013 – Daily Greek Reading Setup

5 August 2015 – Keep Your Greek: Don’t Lose Your Vocabulary

17 September 2015 – 5 Ways to Improve Your Greek Speaking Skills

27 June 2017 – A Strategic Approach to Reading Background Texts of the New Testament (tangent to this is Increase Your Brain Power with Classics)

4 July 2017 – This Is Why You Should Study the Apocrypha Alongside the New Testament

6 July 2017 – Practice Greek Like a Master Violinist

Reading in 3s

This is excellent advice, and after reading this, I suggest reading this from The Patrologist as well. The comments especially, where it is asked of him, “Having finished elementary Greek, would you suggest any particular Greek grammars/authors? Just start reading Greek? Where should I begin in moving out to classical Greek?” To which he responds with,

“I’d say just get on with reading a lot of Greek, as much as possible. If you’ve finished elementary (NT) Greek, then start working at reading the New Testament, as much as possible. Start easy – John, Mark, and get to harder texts later. Try out Reading in Threes (https://thepatrologist.com/2017/05/22/reading-in-3s/). Then branch out to the Apostolic Fathers, they are a good bridge out of New Testament Greek.

At some point, depending on your goals, it’s worth branching into some Classical. In terms of texts, anything on Geoffrey Steadman’s site (geoffreysteadman.com) is great. A grammar is not a terrible idea, but for now I’d just say read, read, read.”


The Patrologist

This was mentioned to me by a student recently in a small group class that I am kind-of mentoring, and I think it’s worth adapting and sharing. The original idea, or at least where the student got it from, is Daniel Wallace, here. It’s the idea that you should translate each chapter of the New Testament three times, and rotate chapters in and out of rotation.

Now, I don’t really think you should be translating, I think you should be reading passages at a level you can comprehend with just a little bit of help. But I do think this idea has a lot of merit. Here’s how I’m implementing it in my own readings: the rule of 3s (see also Where Are Your Keys technique: Three Times)

So, say I’m reading a text, like Ørberg’s Roma Aeterna (which I happen to be. Everyone raves about the first book, Familia…

View original post 278 more words

Review: Greek for Life: Strategies for Learning, Retaining, and Reviving New Testament Greek

Greek for Life: Strategies for Learning, Retaining, and Reviving New Testament GreekGreek for Life: Strategies for Learning, Retaining, and Reviving New Testament Greek by Benjamin L Merkle

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is an excellent book to own for those who are either beginning their journey in Greek, have completed formal Greek schooling, and even for those who have lost what they once knew. For those who don’t know, one of the authors is Dr. Robert Plummer, the man behind The Daily Dose of Greek (which I suggest highly (except for the Erasmian pronunciation)).

Full of ideas, strategies, and anecdotes, one can’t help but be encouraged in one’s quest for Koine Greek acquisition. The book also has little boxed-quotes scattered along the text, and though these are Protestants, as far as what is quoted is related to the Greek texts of Scripture, the quotes are great and if anything that is said should make those Orthodox who decry the study of original languages blush with embarrassment.

I reccomend this book to all who thirst for the words of God and wish to meet them face-to-face rather than via “kissing the bride through a veil,” as I read recently; and especially for those few Orthodox Christians who love Koine Greek. The Church in modern times has placed such an emphasis on the vernacular. At the same time instead of translating from the Orthodox Greek New Testament into the speech of the people, we’ve been using Protestant English translations. Translated from the non-Orthodox critical text(s) of the Greek New Testament and Jewish Old Testament (the Orthodox Old Testament, for all Orthodox, is the Greek LXX, not the Jewish religion’s Hebrew text), these are inappropriate for Orthodox Christians.

I’ll conclude this review in two ways:

1.) For all: if you fall into any of the categories above, get this book.

2.) For Orthodox Christians: Keep in mind Question 1 from the “Confession of Dositheus” (Synod of Jerusalem, 1672), “Ought the Divine Scriptures to be read in the vulgar tongue by all Christians? No. For that all Scripture is divinely-inspired and profitable {cf. 2 Timothy 3:16} we know, and is of such necessity, that without the same it is impossible to be Orthodox at all. Nevertheless they should not be read by all, but only by those who with fitting research have inquired into the deep things of the Spirit, and who know in what manner the Divine Scriptures ought to be searched, and taught, and in fine read. But to such as are not so exercised, or who cannot distinguish, or who understand only literally, or in any other way contrary to Orthodoxy what is contained in the Scriptures, the Catholic Church, as knowing by experience the mischief arising therefrom, forbiddeth the reading of the same. So that it is permitted to every Orthodox to hear indeed the Scriptures, that he may believe with the heart unto righteousness, and confess with the mouth unto salvation; {Romans 10:10} but to read some parts of the Scriptures, and especially of the Old [Testament], is forbidden for the aforesaid reasons and others of the like sort. For it is the same thing thus to prohibit persons not exercised thereto reading all the Sacred Scriptures, as to require infants to abstain from strong meats.” Keeping the aforementioned in mind, now recall Josephus’ struggle, “…I have also taken a great deal of pains to obtain the learning of the Greeks, and understand the elements of the Greek language, although I have so long accustomed myself to speak our own tongue, that I cannot pronounce Greek with sufficient exactness; for our nation does not encourage those that learn the languages of many nations….” (Antiquities of the Jews 20,11.2). Unfortunately, our “nation” doesn’t as well.

View all my reviews

Non-Lectionary Greek New Testament Reading Plans

4 Years – Master New Testament Greek Mastery Membership Program – Daryl Burling – Reader’s GNT

2 Years – Greek NT Two Year Calendar – Charles Lee Irons – UBS GNT: A Reader’s Edition, A Syntax Guide For Readers of the Greek New Testament by Charles Lee Irons, & BDAG

2 Years – Two Year Greek New Testament Reading Plan – Facebook Group – Any GNT (follows Charles Lee Irons’ 2 Year Plan)

1 Year – Greek New Testament Reading Plan – NT Greek Studies – UBS GNT: A Reader’s Edition & The New Linguistic and Exegetical Key to the Greek New Testament by Cleon Rogers Jr. & Cleon Rogers III

1 Year – Greek NT One Year Calendar – Charles Lee Irons – UBS GNT: A Reader’s Edition, A Syntax Guide For Readers of the Greek New Testament by Charles Lee Irons, & BDAG

1 Year – Read through the Greek Gospels in 2018! – Accordance, a GNT, and Rod Decker’s Reading Koine Greek

260 Days – Reading through the Greek New Testament – Daniel Wallace – NA28 & A New Reader’s Lexicon of the Greek New Testament by Michael H. Burer and Jeffrey E. Miller

6 Months – 6-Month New Testament Reading Plan – From ESV.org, the new THGNT available there with many neat tools

28 Days – Reading through the Greek New Testament – Daniel Wallace – NA28 & A New Reader’s Lexicon of the Greek New Testament by Michael H. Burer and Jeffrey E. Miller

If any of my readers know of any plans I missed, send them my way. Thanks.

Greek Passage Guide Lessons

[I am truly sorry for the Erasmian pronunciations, but the good these people provide via the rest of their work outweighs the bad they do with their various North American Anglo-centric un-Greek Erasmian pronunciations.]



1:1-3 – 1:4-5 – 1:6-8 – 1:9-10 – 1:11-12 – 1:13-15 – 1:16-19 – 1:20-21 – 1:22-23 – 1:24-25 – 1:24-25 – 1:26-27 – 1: 28 – 1:29-30 – 1:31 – [Unfortunately, that is all LPD is doing for now.] – [in 1 Clement 4:1-4:6 St. Clement of Rome quotes Genesis 4:3-8] 4:3-4a – 4:4b-5a – 4:5b-7a – 4:7b-8 – 





14:6 – 14:7 – 14:8 – 14:9 – 14:10 – 14:11 – 14:12 – 14:13 – 14:14 – 14:15 – 14:16 – 14:17 – 14:8 – 14:19 – 14:20 – 14:21 – 14:22 – 14:23 – 14:24 (In the video here for 14:24 Dr. Plummer mentions Jeremiah 31:31, which is the Jewish Masoretic Text (sometimes listed as 31:30). The older Christian Greek Text is Ieremias 38:31.) – 14:25 – 14:26 – 14:27 (In the video here Dr. Plummer mentions Zachariah 13:7; I believe here St. Mark quotes, in Greek, Jesus quoting from the Jewish proto-Masoretic Text, as the LXX of Zacharias 13:7 reads slightly different.) – 14:28 – 14:29 – 14:30 – 14:31 – 14:32 – 14:33 – 14:34 – 14:35 – 14:36 – 14:37 – 14:38 – 14:39 – 14:40 – 14:41 (Apollonios Dyskolos) – 14:42 – 14:43 – 14:44 – 14:45 – 14:46 – 14:47 – 14:48 – 14:49 (Zerwick’s Biblical Greek & diachronic Greek) – 14:50 – 14:51 – 14:52 – 14:53 – 14:54 – 14:55 – 14:56 – 14:57 – 14:58 – 14:59 – 14:60 – 14:61 – 14:62 – 14:63 – 14:64 – 14:65 – 14:66 – 14:67 – 14:68 – 14:69 – 14:70 – 14:71 – 14:72 – 15:1 – 15:2 – 15:3 – 15:4 – 15:5 – 15:6 – 15:7 – 15:8 – 15:9 – 15:10 – 15:11 – 5:12 – 5:13 – 15:14 – 15:15 – 15:16 – 15:17 – 15:18 – 15:19 – 15:20 – 15:21 – 



1:1 (In the video here, “Baptist-type” Dr. Varner is incorrect, as the 2000 year witness of the Greek Orthodox Church testifies that the correct understanding here is with the English words “bishops” and “deacons;” this is even attested by Presbyterian minister Marvin R. Vincent:

Bishops (ἐπισκόποις). Lit., overseers. See on visitation, 1 Peter 2:12. The word was originally a secular title, designating commissioners appointed to regulate a newly-acquired territory or a colony. It was also applied to magistrates who regulated the sale of provisions under the Romans. In the Septuagint it signifies inspectors, superintendents, taskmasters, see 2 Kings 11:19; 2 Chronicles 34:12, 17; or captains, presidents, Nehemiah 11:9, 14, 22. In the apostolic writings it is synonymous with presbyter or elder; and no official distinction of the episcopate as a distinct order of the ministry is recognized. Rev. has overseers in margin.

Deacons (διακόνοις). The word means servant, and is a general term covering both slaves and hired servants. It is thus distinct from δοῦλος bond-servant. It represents a servant, not in his relation, but in his activity. In the epistles it is often used specifically for a minister of the Gospel, 1 Corinthians 3:5; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Ephesians 3:7. Here it refers to a distinct class of officers in the apostolic church. The origin of this office is recorded Acts 6:1–6. It grew out of a complaint of the Hellenistic or Graeco-Jewish members of the Church, that their widows were neglected in the daily distribution of food and alms. The Palestinian Jews prided themselves on their pure nationality and looked upon the Greek Jews as their inferiors. Seven men were chosen to superintend this matter, and generally to care for the bodily wants of the poor. Their function was described by the phrase to serve tables, Acts 6:2, and their appointment left the apostles free to devote themselves to prayer and the ministry of the word. The men selected for the office are supposed to have been Hellenists, from the fact that all their names are Greek, and one is especially described as a proselyte, Acts 6:5; but this cannot be positively asserted, since it was not uncommon for Jews to assume Greek names. See on Romans 16:5. The work of the deacons was, primarily, the relief of the sick and poor; but spiritual ministrations naturally developed in connection with their office. The latter are referred to by the term helps, 1 Corinthians 12:28. Stephen and Philip especially appear in this capacity, Acts 8:5–40; 6:8–11. Such may also be the meaning of ministering, Romans 12:7. Hence men of faith, piety, and sound judgment were recommended for the office by the apostles, Acts 6:3; 1 Timothy 3:8–13. Women were also chosen as deaconesses, and Phoebe, the bearer of the epistle to the Romans, is commonly supposed to have been one of these. See on Romans 16:1.

Ignatius says of deacons: “They are not ministers of food and drink, but servants (ὑπηρέται, See on Matthew 5:25) of the Church of God” (“Epistle to Tralles,” 2.). “Let all pay respect to the deacons as to Jesus Christ” (“Tralles,” 3.). “Respect the deacons as the voice of God enjoins you” (“Epistle to Smyrna,” 8.). In “The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles” the local churches or individual congregations are ruled by bishops and deacons. “Elect therefore for yourselves bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord; men meek and not lovers of money, and truthful and approved; for they too minister to you the ministry of the prophets and teachers. Therefore despise them not, for they are those that are the honored among you with the prophets and teachers” (15:1, 2). Deaconesses are not mentioned.

Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, Accordance electronic ed. 4 vols.; 2004), paragraph 15298.


or from the great Greek grammarian and Southern Baptist A.T. Robertson:

With the bishops (sun episkopois). “Together with bishops,” thus singled out from “all the saints.” See Acts 20:17, 28 for the use of this most interesting word as equivalent to presbuteros (elder). It is an old word from episkeptomai, to look upon or after, to inspect, so the overseer or superintendent. In the second century episcopos (Ignatius) came to mean one superior to elders, but not so in the N.T. The two New Testament church officers are here mentioned (bishops or elders and deacons). The plural is here employed because there was usually one church in a city with several pastors (bishops, elders). And deacons (kai diakonois). Technical sense here of the other church officers as in 1 Tim. 3:8-13, not the general use as in Matt. 22:13. The origin of the office is probably seen in Acts 6:1-6. The term is often applied to preachers (1 Cor. 3:5; 2 Cor. 3:6). The etymology (dia, konis) suggests raising a dust by hastening.

A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, Accordance electronic ed. (Altamonte Springs: OakTree Software, 2001), paragraph 5021.


or from the so-called “paleo-orthodox” Protestant compilation of Patristic comments, edited by United Methodist Thomas C. Owen:

WITH THEIR BISHOPS AND DEACONS. THEODORET: He applies the term bishops to presbyters, for at that time they had both names.6 … And it is clear that he makes this assumption here also. For he joins the deacons to the bishops, making no mention of the presbyters. Furthermore, it was not possible for many bishops to be shepherds to one city. So it is clear that he is calling the presbyters bishops; yet in this same letter he calls the blessed Epaphroditus their apostle,7 … and thus he indicates plainly that he was entrusted with an episcopal function because he had the name of an apostle. EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS 1.1–2.8

WHY HE ADDRESSES THE CLERGY IN PHILIPPI AND NOT ELSEWHERE. CHRYSOSTOM: Nowhere else does Paul write specifically to the clergy—not in Rome, in Corinth, in Ephesus or anywhere. Rather he typically writes jointly to all who are holy, faithful and beloved. But in this case he addresses specifically the bishops and deacons. Why? Because it was they who had borne fruit and they who had sent Epaphroditus to him. HOMILY ON PHILIPPIANS 2.1.1–2.9

M. J. Edwards and Thomas C. Oden, eds., Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, ACCS 8; ICCS/Accordance electronic ed. (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 218.


and to give more of the quote from St. Chrysostom:

“To the fellow-Bishops and Deacons.” What is this? were there several Bishops of one city? Certainly not; but he called the Presbyters so. For then they still interchanged the titles, and the Bishop was called a Deacon. For this cause in writing to Timothy, he said, “Fulfil thy ministry,” when he was a Bishop. For that he was a Bishop appears by his saying to him, “Lay hands hastily on no man.” (1 Tim. 5:22) And again, “Which was given thee with the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery.” (1 Tim. 4:14) Yet Presbyters would not have laid hands on a Bishop. And again, in writing to Titus, he says, “For this cause I left thee in Crete, that thou shouldest appoint elders in every city, as I gave thee charge. If any man is blameless, the husband of one wife” (Tit. 1:5, 6); which he says of the Bishop. And after saying this, he adds immediately, “For the Bishop must be blameless, as God’s steward, not self willed:” (Tit. 1:7) So then, as I said, both the Presbyters were of old called Bishops and Deacons of Christ, and the Bishops Presbyters; and hence even now many Bishops write, “To my fellow-Presbyter,” and, “To my fellow-Deacon.” But otherwise the specific name is distinctly appropriated to each, the Bishop and the Presbyter. “To the fellow-Bishops,” he says, “and Deacons,

Ver. 2. “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

How is it that though he nowhere else writes to the Clergy, not in Rome, nor in Corinth, nor in Ephesus, nor anywhere, but in general, to “all the saints, the believers, the beloved,” yet here he writes to the Clergy? Because it was they that sent, and bare fruit, and it was they that dispatched Epaphroditus to him.


as I said, in my opinion, Dr. Verner is mistaken here.) –

1 john

1:1 (see Wallace GGBB, pp. 239-240) – 2:2 (see “Expiation” Rather Than “Propitiation” by Fr. John Breck) –


0:8-9 –


Clement of Rome, ΠΡΟΣ ΚΟΡΙΝΘΙΟΥΣ Α’ (First Letter to the Corinthians)

1:0  1:1  1:1 (continued)  1:2 – 1:2 (continued) – 1:3 – 1:3 (continued) – 2:1 – 2:1 (continued) – 2:2 – 2:3 – 2:4 – 2:5-6 – 2:7-8 – 3:1 – 3:2 – 3:3 – 3:4 – 4:1 – 4:2 – 4:3-4 – 4:5-6 –