[This is a review I posted on my previous blog. I posted the review on Amazon today and thought that I’d re-post it here for those who might be interested}.
I was rather chuffed when I went to the mailbox and discovered my review/thank you copy of Constantine Campbell’s, Keeping Your Greek: Strategies for busy people. About a year ago Con posted a series on his blog, Read Better, Preach Betterentitled, Keeping Your Greek. Those posts were recently turned into the book of the same title. Con also included the comments from each post at the end of the chapter and to my amazement 5 of my comments made it into the final product!
“I’ve never met a Bible teacher who wished they had not learned Greek. It’s only the guys who have let it slip ad no longer use it for their sermon preparation who try to tell me that Greek doesn’t enhance their teaching. There’s something wrong with that picture , isn’t there? Of course it won’t enhance your teaching if you don’t use it!”
My original Ministry degree did not require any Biblical languages and as a result I always felt somewhat underdone in preparation for preaching (The seminary has since fixed this). As a result I took classes in both Hebrew and Greek as part of my post-graduate studies and although I found Hebrew hard, I passed and learnt a thing or two. Likewise, I found Greek difficult but I fell in love with this ancient language. Although some of it has slipped I have managed to keep up enough for some half decent translating for sermon prep. Con’s series of posts came along just as I was considering whether or not I should invest time in developing my language skills. At an important juncture the few tips he provided saved my Greek and even helped me develop it!
As for the book itself, it is very short (90 pages) and could easily be read in a an hour or so (or a few minutes each day over a week or two) and Con’s style is very easy to follow. He is tough without being unrealistic (although at times his passion for Greek does push him to expect a little more (in a good way) than one might be able to give.
Amongst Con’s tips are his advice about Bible software, his call to burn interlinears, tips for remembering parsing, reading slowly and a chapter on how to get your Greek back if you have lost it! Alongside Con’s practical advice the blog comments included give voice to the fears, questions and frustrations many people have with their Greek studies and bring a sense of humanity and warmth to what can be a very dry and boring field at times. All in all this is a great book. In my mind it would be a great gift for any first semester Greek student or even your own pastor who might need to brush up on his Greek (be careful what you say when you hand him the book though!).
Finally, I should mention that Con Campbell is a senior lecturer in Greek and New Testament at Moore Theological College in Sydney Australia and author of Basics of verbal aspect!
Greek is hard enough to maintain as a working seminarian. I imagine it to be very hard for pastors and others in the working world. This looks like a great resource.
In all honesty it is demoralising. Even harder with young kids. I just do what I can when I can.
I see you mentioned preaching along the lectionary. Do you think having the passage designated for you in manageable sizes would allow you to focus on paying attention to the ins and outs of the Greek text each passage at a time one week at a time?
I hadn’t thought of it that way. I am preaching the lectionary at the moment because it fits with what I want to preach on (Sermon on the mount).
I generally preach a gospel from Advent through to Easter and then after easter I might choose an epistle of OT book.
I have a hate/love relationship with the lectionary. As I become more confident in exegesis I feel more comfortable being told where to preach (as in the lectionary) but n the first few years I really liked the dea of digging my teeth into a whole book.
What is wrong with interlinears?!
@Mark: It just seems like it relieves the stress of having to determine what to preach each week. I guess there needs to be some nuance since the needs of the congregation ought to be addressed, but overall it may be helpful for things like maintaining Greek/Hebrew.
Yochanan: I don’t know what Mark will say, but I think most think interlinears don’t teach you to read Greek. They teach you to read English with a footnote to what Greek word was behind the said translation.
Yeah, great insights. I too commend it. 😉
@Yochanan: Basically what Brian said. If you want to keep your greek interlinears are not the way to go about it. He is firm on the subject but gracious…
Comments are closed.