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All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Greek

I donated an old beginning Greek text to my church library this Sunday and found a copy of this tucked away inside. It’s a little piece I wrote to inspire first-year Greek students lo these many years ago. Figured I’d share it with you:

1. When called on, give it your best try.

2. Ask questions.

3. The effort is worth it when you remember the goal.

4. There is always more to learn.

5. Help someone else when you can.

6. Rely on your partners when you can’t.

7. Look it up.

8. Come prepared.

9. Keep a positive attitude.

10. The aorist tense isn’t as mysterious as it sounds.

11. There is no substitute for a well trained memory.

12. Sometimes partial credit is enough to get by; sometimes it isn’t.

13. Jesus and Paul didn’t speak King James English.

14. Work hard every day—consistency is crucial.

15. If you don’t master the basics, you’re sunk.

16. Pay attention to the details.

17. If you stick with it, sooner or later it will make sense.

18. No amount of creativity can hide careless exegesis.

19. Make a chart.

20. If you can handle participles, you can handle anything.

21. Admit it when you don’t know.

22. You can’t always tell purpose from result.

23. Use scratch paper.

24. The liberals are usually wrong.

25. So are the fundamentalists.

26. If you don’t get it, say so.

27. Find the verb and work from there.

28. Natural talents are few and far between; most of us have to work.

29. The final exam will be comprehensive.

30. There is a difference between studying the Bible and meeting its Author.



  1. JHearne says:

    Very nice.

    I concur with nearly all of these statements in my experience.

    I have a couple to add:

    31) When you don’t know and you don’t want to answer: Look the professor in the eye with confidence.

    32) If you call the letter nu “N” then you WILL have trouble reading later.

    33) You will be confused by movable letter and contractions. Learn to go with your gut on figuring these out but don’t count on it.


  2. D. P. says:

    LOL! Number 31 works with just about any class, don’t you think?


  3. Chris says:

    I used to prepare one sentence of the NT text we were studying (usually about the thrid or fourth verse of the passage– dangerous to leave it too late) sit right on the front row, but slumped down in my seat, and sit bold upright looking enthusiastic when it got to my verse. It worked 98% of the time 🙂


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