Books for Beginners

Eric S. Weiss eweiss at
Fri May 17 09:50:35 EDT 2002

A few comments from my own personal, but limited, experience:

Mounce is good. I learned from it. I am using Story & Story GREEK TO ME to
teach my daughter because, with a little bit more weekly effort, you learn
2x the vocabulary (approx. 625 words -- every word that occurs 25x or more
vs. Mounce's 315 words of those that occur 50x or more), and the basic
grammar is covered in 2/3 the time (24 chapters vs. 35 or 36). Dr. Dale
Wheeler of Multnomah Bible College has sworn by it for years. Mounce has
some strengths in terms of word morphology, though, over GREEK TO ME. And,
Mounce is part of a whole curriculum/system that, including Wallace, will
take you through Intermediate Greek.

(My personal recommendation is pick one grammar and also buy a second one
for supplementary explanations. I used David Alan Black's 1st-year Greek
grammar to supplement and clarify for me things that Mounce explained, and
would still recommend Black's book for this. His explanations are good and
also contribute some information and terms related to discourse analysis,
which you will want to become familiar with somewhere in your Greek
studies. I recall that Wallace states that he deliberately does NOT deal
with discourse analysis. For intermediate Greek, Richard Young's grammar
-- Broadman/Holman -- uses a discourse analysis approach and though I
would pick Wallace if I had to pick just one, I think Young says some
things that will aid your learning of intermediate Greek, so you should
buy his book, too, when the time comes. You can never have too many Greek
grammar books!!)

There is an abridged version of Wallace's grammar -- in a violet cover,
vs. the green cover of GGBB. It's approx. 1/3 the size/contents of GGBB
and may be more ideal for a semester's work than the huge GGBB. It covers
the MAJORS of what's important in the larger work and omits many of the
Scriptural examples. I only recently acquired it for the purpose of
reviewing it for using it to possibly teach my daughter intermediate Greek
and for possibly teaching 1st-year (or more) Greek at church. For the
money, the larger book is a better value, but I think the abridged edition
is less intimidating and easier to carry and probably very practical for a
3rd-semester Greek course, which is its purpose.

There is a new book in the Zondervan/Mounce series, a yellowish softbound
workbook, designed for students to carry them through the summer between
1st year and 2nd year Greek. It says it's designed to address one failing
of the Mounce/Wallace series, which is that when you finish Mounce, you've
learned every Greek NT word that occurs 50x or more, but when you start
2nd-year Greek and use Wallace and the Graded Greek Reader, you will be
encountering words that occur 20x - 49x as well. The summer reader is
designed to help you acquire, over a period of 12 weeks with 6-per-week
20-minute translation exercises, memorized knowledge of the vocabulary of
all words that occur 20x - 49x in the Greek NT. If you learn 1st-year
Greek from GREEK TO ME, however, you will have already learned nearly all
these words, and so you'll be better prepared vocabulary-wise to jump into
2nd year Greek. Hence, for someone who DOES NOT have a summer break, GREEK
TO ME might be a better option -- or just get the vocabulary list book
that's part of the Zondervan/Mounce series and make it a point to add to
your chapter lists of words the words that occur 20x - 49x in the NT in
addition to the 315 or so you'll learn using Mounce. That's probably an
additional 10 words per chapter you'll have to learn on your own.

Best wishes!

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