I used to teach New Testament Greek at churches I attended, and I periodically come across people asking online or in person which NT Greek textbook or curriculum to use.
I personally learned first-year NT Greek with William Mounce's first edition of Basics of Biblical Greek (using David Alan Black's Learn to Read New Testament Greek for help with questions I had from reading Mounce), and I've also taught NT Greek using Mounce, as well as John H. Dobson's (Learn New Testament Greek) and N. Clayton Croy's (A Primer of Biblical Greek) grammars.
But my recommended textbook and curriculum for first-year NT Greek is Greek To Me by J. Lyle Story and Cullen I. K. Story. This is based on my and others' experiences with using it, as illustrated in the following discussion at the B-Greek list from Dale Wheeler and Charles Bradley (I've corrected a few typos). Though more than 20 years old, it is still relevant.
Information on where to order Greek To Me is at the bottom of this blog post.
Re: Greek textbook
Re: Greek textbook
From: Charles Bradley (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed Oct 23 1996 - 06:49:21 EDT
The following is my $.02 worth on the question; and is my opinion and perspective (please don't read this as a put down of any other person or text; this is just I've found works for my students).
As regulars already know (and are no doubt tired of hearing about), I use a textbook and vocab card system called "Greek To Me". My philosophy of teaching Greek is a bit different from many people (you can see the difference in Multnomah's program, where we devote the entire second year to translation of Koine materials). I think the reason there is a 90% drop out rate by people who have taken Greek is that they can't open the text and read/translate what's in front of them; they know the grammar in the abstract, but don't know enough words and have not had sufficient exposure to texts. Consequently, my focus is on vocabulary acquisition and reading, and for that, IMHO, Greek to Me stands alone.
The first thing is the vocabulary acquisition; the GTM vocab cards make it possible for my students to learn on average 30+ words a week, which means that in 20 weeks we finish Greek to Me and they know all the words 25+ times. The last 10 weeks of the second semester we read the entire Gospel of Mark, which they find easier than the last 5 chapters of Greek to Me, and they have no problem with it. I give them review exams over ALL the forms as well, with the final being 20 pages of vocabulary and EVERY SINGLE FORM; 1/2 to 2/3 of the class gets 90%+ on the final and the rest get 80%+. The reason the vocab cards (as well as the pictures in the book which go with verb, etc., forms) work so well is because they use visual associations based on the sound of the Greek word. The pictures are deliberately goofy--for lack of a better term--and the goofier the picture is the faster they learn it (I think it has something to do with the Fall and Sin Nature...)
But, it's not just the vocab cards and pictures which makes Greek to Me so good, its also the graduated Koine stories. Each chapter of the book ends with a story written in Koine style using the vocab and grammar they have learned up to that point. By translating these stories they get to see grammar in action and reinforce the vocab. I personally think Greek grammars which teach students to translate nonsense sentences from Greek to English and from English to Greek don't serve the students well. People don't learn languages that way; they learn to deal with the complexities of grammar and lexical issues in the context of sentences within paragraphs within stories. All nonsense translation does is teach the student to think of Greek as some sort of mathematical formula, in which the reader plugs in this term for that one (no wonder generations of Machen users exegete in such wooden manners; witness root fallacy and illegitimate totality transfer, which many folks still think is just fine). My students will never time travel back to 1st cent Palestine and converse with anyone; the only skill they need is to be able to translate into contemporary English the Greek that's on the page (going the other way just makes them think that Greek is English using different words, whether they consciously realize it or not.). I'd rather have students spend their time on translation of Greek that's at their level than filling in the blanks in a workbook or creating nonsense Greek. They accomplish so much more this way AND have a greater sense of accomplishment. In general I like the inductive type approaches taken by some of the newer grammars because they emphasize this same contextual learning, but I think that no matter where you start students out in the NT they are in over their heads and it can become discouraging for them when they see the mountain they think they have to climb. The graduated GTM stories eventually get to median NT level of difficulty and then beyond.
It's really amazing how many other Greek teachers simply won't use the book because of the pictures; the typical conversation at SBL goes something like (when they ask me what I use), "Yeh, I looked at that, but the pictures turned me off; it just didn't look like a serious (or scholarly or.....) book." To which I reply that my students cover it AND read the entire Gospel of Mark in 2 semesters, and have memorized all the words down to @22x. Most say, "You mean 2 years, don't you ?" And I tell them No, I mean 2 semesters. I've had half a dozen come back a year or two later and say they tried Greek to Me as an experiment and couldn't believe the success they've had; so they've swallowed their scholarly pride, accepted the cartoons, and are having great fun seeing their students learn to read the text.
Well, that's my $.02 worth...
Please allow me to heartily second the above recommendation of the Greek to Me text.
I am using it with 9th-11th grade high school students. I will venture to put them up against any seminary class, not using GTM, for rapidity in learning the vocabulary. They are also learning grammar, something some of them have not done so well with in English up to this point. I am confident that these high school students will be able to ACTUALLY USE, and want to use their Greek after the class is over for the simple reason that GTM makes it accessible by virtue of the mnemonics. It goes without saying that this text is fun to teach! Climbing the "mountain of learning" that discourages many students is not so burdensome with the likes of Con-Text and A.D. Detective to help along the way.
Greek to Me, in my opinion, must be used as a total system: the text, the vocabulary cards, and the overheads.
I have posted this before, but will mention again that I have keyed the vocabulary into Memorization Technology's Memcards flashcard program, making it customized to follow the chapter divisions in Greek to Me. I will e-mail a copy to any licensed user of Memcards who requests it. [I am also working on the forms...slow going!]
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FAX (615) 840-0679
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WHERE/HOW TO ORDER GREEK TO ME (per emails from the publisher):
• Website: https://greektome.biz/curriculum-resources/ NOTE: The current website is undergoing revision pending the rollout of the online learning platform (planned for August 2018), so the old products (like the first edition of the textbook) can no longer be purchased.
• The new 2nd edition textbook is now available for purchase. It includes all the practice/translation answer keys that used to be in a separate book. It can be purchased directly via the Xulonpress link below for $44.99, but subscribers to the upcoming online learning platform (planned rollout August 2018 - see below) will get the textbook for free, so you may want to wait until the online learning platform goes live, as those who purchase the new textbook now will NOT get a credit for the cost if they later enroll in the online learning platform:
• The mobile app for iPhone is out now. You can find it by searching for "Biblical Greek Flashcards" (Master Biblical Greek Vocab) in the app store. The app has a cartoon of a boy with “L U” on his jacket (see image below). An Android version is currently being developed.
The basic app is free, and includes the vocabulary cards for Chapters 1 and 2. For $14.99 you can upgrade it to get all the vocabulary flashcards for all the chapters (there are an additional 550+ cards for Chapters 3-21), as well as flashcards for 29 irregular verbs. (It's $12.99 for just the vocabulary flashcards for Chapters 3-21, or $4.99 for just the irregular verbs flashcards, so you save $2.99 by selecting the "Buy All" option.) Any upgrade purchase removes the ads from the free basic app.
(Note: They have a few sets of the physical flashcards, but those will eventually be replaced 100% with the mobile app. The physical flashcards have the memory mnemonic and translation gloss on the same side as the silly picture. With the flashcard app you have to tap on the picture to read both the mnemonic phrase and the translation gloss.)
• The GreekToMe website is being totally transformed to feature 105 videos, which is over 30 hours of instruction from Lyle himself. It also has online quizzes in grammar and vocabulary. This content is equivalent to 2 full semesters of seminary-level Greek. The rollout of the new website is planned for August 2018. These videos replace the former audiovisual CD.
The online learning platform subscription prices (likely monthly and annual options) are not yet available. Also, the videos do not have subtitles/captions for the hearing-impaired, but it's something they may explore in the future.
When anyone enrolls in the online learning platform on the upcoming revamped GreekToMe.biz website, they will get a complimentary copy of the textbook. So from a value perspective it may be more ideal to enroll in the online learning platform vs. just buying the textbook online.