Book Reviews New Testament

Book Review: Keep Up Your Biblical Greek in Two Minutes a Day: Vol 1 (Jonathan Kline)

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You spend time learning massive amounts of paradigms ad nauseum, learned the definitions of words that look the same (at least you did for the quiz), and you’ve even learned some syntax to boot. But now you’ve completed the course, and in order to keep going on, you have to actually read the text. Where does one start reading Greek? And how does one keep up with Greek? Or what if you have slipped? How do you get it back without scouring all of your notes in the time that you no longer have? 

A year and a half ago I reviewed Hendrickson Pub’s biblical Hebrew reader’s edition, which parses difficult words and gives you a gloss of the more uncommon vocabulary words. Now Hendrickson Pub has put out two volumes of Keep Up Your Biblical Hebrew in Two Minutes a Day and two volumes for Greek (and one for Aramaic). Written by Jonathan Kline, the academic editor at Hendrickson Pub, these volumes are almost like Daily Dose of Greek on paper. How does it work?

Let’s begin on Day 1. The verses here are not given in any particular order, but this first verse on Day 1 is Matthew 2:2 (Kline uses the MLB translation here):

saying, “Where is the (ὁ) newborn king of the (τῶν) Jews? For we saw His star [lit. the (τὸν) star of him] in the (τῇ) east and we have come to worship Him.”

Kline tells you that (and the other gender-related articles) means “the” and shows a word to be definite, and it occurs 19,761 times in the Greek text. Its corresponding Strong’s number is S3588. He also gives the transliteration to help you know how to pronounce the word (or conjunction/article/particle). Then he provides the Greek text so that you can read and parse it for yourself:

λέγοντες· Ποῦ ἐστιν τεχθεὶς βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων; εἴδομεν γὰρ αὐτοῦ τὸν ἀστέρα ἐν τῇ ἀνατολῇ καὶ ἤλθομεν προσκυνῆσαι αὐτῷ.

Kline then breaks the verse down word by word or sometimes with a few words at once depending on how the translation goes. On Day 2, Kline uses Mark 9:27, a verse that has the definite article you just learned (ὁ) and a new word, καὶ, which basically means “and,” “even,” or “also.”

But Jesus [lit., the (ὁ) Jesus] took him by the (τῆς) hand and lifted him up, and (καὶ) he arose.

δὲ Ἰησοῦς κρατήσας τῆς χειρὸς αὐτοῦ ἤγειρεν αὐτόν, καὶ ἀνέστη.

Day 3 adds something new, pronouns. Using Luke 3:15, you see how pronouns function while the articles and the καὶ are reinforced.

This is the pattern for the rest of the book, through Day 365, although at Day 40 Kline reinforces the words from Days 37 and 39, not from Day 38. You’ll see this more as you go along. On Day 250, the words from Days 75 and 249 are reinforced. You have to work more to memorize the vocabulary since they won’t always come from the previous two days you covered.

Recommended?

I think this book is a fantastic way to help reinforce or regain your Hebrew. It’s been a while since I’ve done much with Greek, and even though I know all of the bold Greek words in the beginning of the book, I don’t usually know all of the words in the rest of the verses (seriously). But on Day 30 I’m reading Luke 16:21. Luke’s Greek is not easy, and yet already I’m reading Luke. I don’t know most of the words in the verse, and I don’t have too. I only need to know three words, yet reading the rest of the verse makes me familiar with the Greek text. I can then take the time to look up those words or to pick up a grammar and see how each clause functions. I can do as much or as little as I want. But at least I have three words that I get to rehearse, and I have worked on my Greek habit one more day in a row.

Lagniappe

Buy it on Amazon or from Hendrickson Publishers!

Disclosure: I received this book free from Hendrickson Publishers. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html.

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