Since the beginning of the “Greek like Violin” project, I have daily been assessing what is working and what is not. What is contributing to my goal of fluency in reading biblical Greek and Hebrew and what is detracting. What is most efficient and what slows me down. What feels good and what doesn’t. What makes me want to wake up before the sun and be the first customer at Starbucks.
This consistent reevaluation has resulted in one major change from when I started last week (although it feels like a month already). Instead of spending a balanced amount of time split between reading my BibSac on the one hand, and reading grammars on the other, I’ve decided to tip the scales much further towards the biblical readings.
Throughout the posts so far, I have distinguished between “devotional” reading and “practice.” Well, I’m going to eliminate that going forward. What I’m coming to realize is this:
There is simply no substitute for reading, reading, and reading again in the original languages.
All other activity is merely supplemental. That includes reading grammars, drilling vocab lists, running through paradigms, you name it. Those help, especially when it comes to exegesis. But reading is where you will pick up the most vocab naturally, where you will start to notice on your own the finer nuances of grammar that you skimmed when reading Wallace, and where the manifold declensions and conjugations will start to become real and meaningful. After all, you can’t very well read if you don’t know what the verbs and nouns are telling you.
Another method I’m implementing into my reading: skimming. Not going so fast as to miss anything, but instead of turning every Greek word into its English equivalent, I’m forcing my mind to stop trying to rearrange the word order and just take the Greek as it is. This has been a refreshing exercise, and one that has made my reading from being fun to quite enjoyable.
The vision in my head that keeps me going strong morning after morning is seeing myself sitting in a room at Durham surrounded by brilliant postgraduates and some of the top NT scholars in the world. And we are going to be reading Greek together. And I’m going to have to offer something of value. I want to be able to engage in dialogue with the many other students and faculty, who have various takes on theology, and make an argument from the actual Greek or Hebrew text itself. I believe this will honor the Lord, making every effort in studying to show myself approved, a workman who has no reason to be ashamed. Even if others disagree with me.