The Biblical Greek Program
This two-year program consists of two interconnected components: immersion courses and online courses. 1) The immersion courses are intense, in-person classes designed to immerse participants in the target language. 2) The online courses are highly communicative video conference sessions that serve as a bridge between the immersion courses, and build fluency and interaction with the text.
The Immersion Component
The communicative language-learning approach is not only effective for the learning of modern languages but also for ancient languages such as Koine Greek. Through intentional “child’s play” and storytelling, the student interacts with the language on multiple fronts, including listening, reading, and speaking. Instead of laborious grammars and endless paradigms, “normal” interaction becomes the means of entering the language of the New Testament. This does not mean that the course does not have sessions dedicated to grammar points; rather, grammar is largely taught in the context of speaking Greek. This method makes the learning of Biblical Greek accessible to all, regardless of age, who are willing to engage in the rigors of language learning.
Immersion courses are 10 days long and are taught in an interactive classroom setting. The students act out commands and descriptions given in Biblical Greek without translation. This intense 40 hours of immersion allows students to learn Biblical Greek in a very similar way to how they learned language when they were children. The classroom interaction quickly progresses to complex action sequences and role-plays. Later immersion courses focus more on long portions of text from the New Testament.
Greek grammar is taught using highly communicative methods, such as TPR. In the same way that children learn to speak and understand English before they learn English grammar, so you also will learn Biblical Greek grammar as you are learning to understand and speak Biblical Greek. That is why grammar sessions are taught in Greek about 50% of the time and reinforced through drills and exercises — all in Greek.
The Online Component
I took a TPRS-style course online from Joseph Neill this year, which really helped me go deeper into Greek. Through the video hangout group we were able to all participate and interact with Joseph and with our other classmates. Joseph took short stories, mostly from Scripture, sometimes adapting them to be easier for us to understand at our level. He would tell these stories in shorter sections at a time, using props. He would then ask us questions about what he had just told. We would work our way through the stories in this manner. There were lots of humorous times and some serious times too as we dug deeper into speaking and understanding Biblical Greek, through studying these stories.
Online courses are taught using video conferencing via Zoom. Participants meet 3 hours every week online for 3 months. The students interact with the language (and each other!) through a question/answer format — all in Greek.
New vocabulary, grammar, and syntax are primarily introduced in context. Early on, most of the online sessions revolve around short stories and parables from the NT. Students even have the opportunity to write a short story themselves! Later on, the classes include longer narrative passages from scripture, and a parable from a 2nd century Early Christian document. Finally, we examined the entire Epistle to the Galatians and each student gives an oral report in Greek of this epistle.
So, what does Year 1 look like?
How is the Biblical Greek Program structured?
Can I sign up for just the first Immersion Course?