William Mounce, author of the Basics of Biblical Greek program, identifies two kinds of Greek grammar courses—"deductive" and "inductive." Deductive courses focus on rote memorization and charts; they are highly organized, but often seem stilted and unnatural. Inductive courses get students into the Greek text as soon as possible; this is much closer to the way people actually learn a language, but it can be confusing and discouraging. Mounce has tried to design his course using elements of both approaches.
How Does This Work?
A student book is at the core of the program. It is divided into 35 manageable lessons to be taught over two semesters, and includes extensive appendices and indices in the back. The author begins with an explanation of the history of Koine Greek (this is not a classical Greek course), introduces the alphabet, then gives a brief re-introduction of English grammar before jumping into Greek noun declensions.
In the back of the book is a CD-ROM that contains lectures for each of the book's chapters. Each vocabulary word is pronounced aloud and there are suggested mnemonic memory aids included. FlashWorks is an interactive flashcard program that tags vocab words, identifying the chapter location, category, and difficulty level of each one. ParseWorks is an interactive parsing tool that offers specific help when needed. There are a number of other electronic teacher and student materials available through the author's website (www.teknia.com).
The workbook includes a number of standard activities (identifying parts of speech, handwriting practice) as well as several sentences for translation in each lesson. It is a consumable workbook, and because many of the activities involve charts, tables, etc., don't plan on writing out your answers on a separate sheet of paper. The flashcards are simple and used to build vocabulary—the basic form of the word appears on the front, with its meaning (or meanings) on the back. The flashcards are numbered for easy reference to the text.
Students are plunged into the Greek text at the same time they are taught the rules of speech and grammar. Mounce begins with a short reinforcement of English grammar so those who don't remember English class won't be completely confused by the language. From there, the course is fairly fast-paced, though with enough review to ease students through some of the more difficult concepts.
This book is a revision of a text that was already the standard in many Christian universities and colleges. Substantial portions have been rewritten for the sake of clarity, and the author considered the input of professors and students who had used the text while making his revisions. His intention was to write a course that taught Greek specifically within its New Testament context so that those who learned it would be prepared for ministry. This makes it ideal not only for the serious student, but also for those who simply want more out of their personal Bible study.
Our Honest Opinion:
This is an excellent course, and one that has stood the test of time. It is now in its third edition, and it is as popular now as when it first came out. The integrated approach (using deductive and inductive teaching methods hand-in-hand) may be more difficult at times, but the rewards are much greater. Students come away with a sense of confidence and of actually knowing the language, not just that they can translate a few verses when they need to.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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