How to Prepare for Second Semester Greek

Second semester Greek is done different ways in different places. Some places take two semesters to go through a grammar like Mounce’s, other places go through the elements of the language in one semester and jump into Syntax and Exegesis in the second semester. Here at SBTS, we do the latter, but before I address those who have been through all the elements of the language and are ready to move forward, let me address those who may need a basic review of the language. 

A Basic Review of Greek

Ted Hildebrandt of Gordon College has put a whole set of videos online that will take you through the entire language. There are worse things you could do with your time than watch these videos. Seriously, these are a treasure trove! We should all thank Ted Hildebrandt for putting these videos online for free! Whatever basic Greek Grammar you have, you’ll be able to match one of Hildebrandt’s videos with the chapters in the book you have. 

All you need is the discipline to do this every day until you have watched all the videos. Hildebrandt has 28 units online, each with a number of different videos. 

Hildebrandt has also made available mp3 files both for Vocabulary words and for the whole book of 1 John–and this stuff is all free! If you don’t remember your vocabulary, get these onto CD’s or your iPod and listen to them while you’re in the car or on the treadmill, while you mow the lawn or do the dishes. 

In my opinion, Hildebrandt’s site is the best place to go to review first semester or first year Greek. If you’re looking to get your Greek back, look no further. Get after it. Make it an appointment. Put it in your calendar. Don’t be late and don’t play hookey. 

Moving Forward after Review

I really have nothing to say here other than this: get your Greek New Testament out and read it. Every day. Start small, say, with one to four verses. Read. Understand all the vocab and all the parsings (using whatever you need to use–BibleWorks, Kubo or Burer and Miller, and or the Analytical Greek New Testament, or some free software), then read and re-read that one to four verse section until you don’t have to look at the parsing tool or the vocab list to understand the meaning of the words, their grammatical function in this context, and how they work together to communicate meaning. Read the passage again and again until you can put everything together. If this has taken all the time you’ve alloted to yourself for this task for the day, go on to whatever is next. If you have more time, read the next verse.

The important thing is that you stay with it. Read every day for 15 to 30 minutes at least. If you have more time, give it more time.

I can remember Dr. John Hannah relating in class one day that he was once at the photo-copier at the same time that S. Lewis Johnson was there. Dr. Hannah said that Dr. Johnson, who was older than Hannah, looked at him and said, “John, if I had everything to do over again I would spend a lot more time reading the Bible.” 

When we come to the end of our days there are many things we will regret. Assuming we don’t ignore the wife and kids to do it (which will be regretted–don’t do that!), we will not regret the time we spent studying to show ourselves approved. 

PS: If you’re in my Greek Syntax and Exegesis class here at SBTS in the spring, I suggest you get the syllabus from ecampus and make the biblical texts we’ll cover in class the texts you’re working through over the break. 

Enjoy! And may the Lord bless the reading and the hearing of his most holy word.

Join the Conversation


  1. Jim,

    Great advice. I am still working with the method you taught us in the second year: a little bit each day with just our GNT and Kubo. If we really get stuck, then turn to BibleWorks. Thanks!

    Miss you guys here in Houston 🙁

  2. I hope your SBTS students gain as much from your class as we did here in Houston. I’m starting the yearly reading plan 1/1/09 you posted on earlier. My wife has been going through Mounce’s book to relearn Greek again so we can read and study together. Thanks again for the valuable teaching–dirk

  3. I read this when you first posted this, Dr. Hamilton. It comes at a great time now as I begin to prepare for my Greek Syntax & Exegesis class next semester with Schreiner. Thanks again!

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