[B-Greek] I need help!!!

Mike Noel mike at vnoel.com
Tue Jun 9 10:54:48 EDT 2009

On Tue, Jun 9, 2009 at 6:37 AM, Mark Lightman<lightmanmark at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Yes if you are a visual or audio learner check out Buth or
> the new book by Christophe Rico, but if you are an analytical
> learner I still think Machen's New Testament Greek for
> Beginners is the best.  Get the revised edition if you can

I have spent the last year working through Machen on my own.  I'm
2/3's of the way through it.  To be honest, I haven't spent as much
time as I could have on it.  Outside of a classroom it is sometimes
hard to maintain motivation.  Here are a few points that I've picked
up from my experience (which is ongoing).

1) Do ALL of the exercises at the end of each chapter.  The end of
each chapter contains 20 Greek->English exercises and 16
English->Greek exercises.  Many of the sentences are contrived and not
a little bit archaic but they are valuable none-the-less.  Don't
succumb to the temptation to gloss over the exercises.  Without a
classroom this is your only feedback.

2) Find an answer key for all of the exercises.  I have two different
published keys for all of the Machen exercises.  This is extremely
useful.  I only allow myself to look at the answer key after I have
completed each sentence.  Even if I am totally lost on a particular
phrase I will make my absolute best guess before consulting the key.

3) Vocab, vocab, vocab!  When doing self-study it is easy to say "Oh
yeah, I know enough of those words to continue".  Not so!  For several
months I started each morning with a worksheet that had about 75
English words from the Machen chapters I had done so far.  I had to
provide the Greek word -- with correct spelling and accent  I forced
myself to write each word that I got wrong 10 times in my notebook.
This helped me immensely when I started moving onto more complex and
varied verb forms.  You will find that a lot of your success involves
being able to recognize segments of a word form to figure out what
word you are dealing with.

4) Look at other texts.  I try to read portions of the Greek New
Testament on a regular basis.  Emphasis on "try".  At this point I am
able to pick out about every third word (cause they are usually
articles, pronouns, conjunctions, or prepositions) and get a very very
very rough idea of what is being said.  Usually I try a single section
and then compare against an English version.  I also have been trying
to read every post that is sent to the DIALOGOS email list.  I still
can't understand what is said but I'm starting to get there.

5) Make charts and worksheets.  This is somewhat related to #3.  The
worksheet I used every morning is something that I made for myself.
When learning the different forms of the article ("the" -- there are
24 different forms -- 4 cases x 3 genders x 2 numbers) I created a
worksheet that I added to my morning packet of work to do.  Same thing
for the personal pronouns and demonstrative pronouns ("this","that").
I also created a chart showing the different verb forms for the tenses
and voices in the indicative mood.  Creating the chart helped me
solidify the information.  I am now able to work without that chart
for 80% of what I'm doing.

6) Don't use the pronunciation in Machen, use Buth's.  Buth's
pronunciation sounds so much better and it is easier to internalize
(at least for me).

There are probably many other things that I could add but this is a
good starting point.  I haven't used, or even looked at, Mounce so I
can't compare his text with Machen.


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