“Any man today can learn to read the Greek New Testament if he wants to do it.”
Archibald Thomas Robertson
Can you learn to read the New Testament in its original language? Yes! Still, many people feel that the task of acquiring the Greek language of the New Testament is too difficult. This is why I’ve developed a Foundations of New Testament Greek course. Laymen, homeschoolers, pre-seminary college students, busy pastors, or simply interested students of the New Testament are especially encouraged to consider enrolling into this course. Pending academic performance, completion of this course could enable one to test out of corresponding prerequisites (Elementary Greek/Greek 1). Tutoring in intermediate Greek is available as well.
The classes will be online (via skype), private, once a week, for one hour. The tuition rate is 100 per month (one hour+ lesson each week—group discounts are available). I’ve tried to make this as affordable as possible. If you want to study the New Testament at the level of the original language, but feel completely lost—this class is for you. I want students to take the Greek language seriously because they take the New Testament seriously.
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“I highly recommend taking Greek lessons with Travis. For a much more reasonable price than a seminary course, he will give you an education in the Greek of the New Testament that will be tailored to your learning style and aptitude. Travis’ knowledge of Greek is current and up to date, making him a reliable and informed educator. He will teach you not only to translate, but to truly love the Greek language.” —Evan
“Travis is a great teacher, he goes at your pace but consistently challenges you to grow in your understanding of Greek. I highly recommend him.” —Vanessa
“Learning New Testament Greek has given me more appreciation for the scriptures. Travis is a great instructor for a few reasons: 1) He is a well-versed guy who knows the subject, 2) he is passionate about learning and teaching and 3) he is accommodating to the needs of his students. I highly recommend him to people who have a desire to study New Testament Greek.” —Sam
How is This Class Taught?
The pedagogical approach advocated in these lessons is a usage-based/immersion approach. We will approach Greek grammar on the basis of its frequency of occurrence, emphasizing repetition of frequently occurring forms, while incorporating auditory aspects that seek to reproduce (in part) the immersion (or communicative) approach to language acquisition. We meet once a week, for an hour, and through a combination of guided reading and set instruction, complete the assigned textbook. You are encouraged to take notes as I will not teach exclusively from the assigned textbook.
What is the Most Difficult Part of Learning Greek?
Commitment. You will need to invest daily in your study of the language. Anyone can learn to read Greek (remember that children were once able to speak and write in this language), but not everyone is sufficiently self-disciplined. In my experience, the only thing that has prevented a student from completing this course is their own initiative. If you have initiative and a determination to not quit, you can absolutely learn to read Greek.
What are the Advantages of Having a Personal Tutor?
A tutor personalizes the process of language acquisition by providing custom instruction with the possibility of real-time interaction. You are not another face on the other side of a screen, watching a recorded video and asking questions that no one can hear. Your designated time with your tutor is your space to explore the language and to ask as many questions as you want. You control the pace of instruction and the content is itemized for your success. This is the best way of learning a language.
I Have a Good English Translation. Why Should I Take This Class?
Paul would answer that learning the languages is important, because you are to “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15) Learning the languages is my best. Is it yours? You should consider too that if God’s providence ordered his word into Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, then we have very few reasons to not invest the time to learn them.
The answer to this question also depends on your goals as a student. Are you pre-seminary? A great deal of seminaries require basic skills in biblical Greek before the first year. Are you a homeschooler? Greek is considered to be a critical component to classical education. Are you a lay person who wants to enrich your study? Original language instruction is enormously beneficial to Bible study. Are you a busy pastor/clergyman wanting to revisit the foundations of NT Greek, or explore a new opportunity to refine your exegetical depth? This class is definitely for you!
How Long is the Course?
The length of the course is dependent on the goals and aptitude of the student. My estimation (for those with a busy schedule) is that it would require approximately a year to finish the assigned coursework. If you work hard, however, the course can be completed in less time. Regardless of how long it takes, I want to encourage you to consider time spent in careful study of this language as an investment for which you will receive significant return in the future. If you’re planning to read your Bible for the next 40 years, why not invest this time in learning how to read it at the level of its original languages?
What is the Difference Between This Course and an Elementary Greek Course?
Nothing, if I’m doing my job! Moreover, this class is private, personal, and moves at a pace that is customized to each student. This invites many unique benefits into the learning experience that are otherwise unobtainable in a classroom. I’ve structured it this way so that each student can learn comfortably without feeling overwhelmed or unchallenged.
Am I Too Young? Am I Too Old?
No. Not if you can use the internet! I have taught students in grade school and I have taught students in their eighties.
What Will I Need?
Time: 1 hour+ classroom time (via skype), 4-6 hours weekly outside of the classroom (Twin Cities residents have the option to meet in-person). You should commit to 30 minutes a day outside of our regular time together, at the very least.
Tuition: 100 monthly (an hour+ lesson each week).
Books: I’ll be working through Rodney Decker’s “Reading Koine”. You may also choose Porter’s “Fundamentals of New Testament Greek“ if you prefer a more technical introduction. Each of these texts is an excellent introduction to the latest in New Testament Greek. You will also need a book like Bruce Metzger’s “Lexical Aids” or an equivalent Iphone app for vocabulary (there are plenty to choose from). We will discuss purchasing a good Greek New Testament during our first lesson. You may also consider purchasing a lexicon* and a Rahlfs-Hanhart Septuagint (an inexpensive critical edition of the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible). Learning to read the Septuagint (and thus, the Greek Bible) is an additional benefit of learning to read NT Greek.
Cambridge Greek Lexicon (2018!)
Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains. 2nd ed., edited by Johannes P. Louw and Eugene A. Nida
A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature. 3rd ed, by Walter Bauer and Frederick William Danker
Liddell and Scott Greek–English Lexicon. 9th ed.
What Can I Expect to Accomplish?
You’ll have a reading knowledge of the Septuagint (LXX) and the Greek New Testament, with the ability to comprehend, translate, and exposit large portions of the text—an invaluable asset to improve exegetical precision and enrich your insight into the Word of God. Depending on personal interest, you may also choose to study Hellenistic and patristic texts as well (the Greek translation of Josephus, the Didache, or Clement’s epistles to the Corinthians, for example).
I’ve Already Taken a Greek 1 Course. Do You Tutor in Intermediate Greek?
Yes. If you’ve taken a Greek 1 course, or an elementary Greek course, I would be both happy and willing to tutor you in advanced levels of NT Greek (intermediate syntax, discourse grammar, or introductory Greek linguistics, for example).
Will Learning Koine Greek Help Me Learn Any Other Languages?
Yes! Though considered to be a bit faddish, I’ve chosen to use the modern pronunciation of Greek (that is, those employed by Grecians today). Grecians enjoy poking fun at the ‘Erasmian’ pronunciations, saying that it sounds like “Plato in Cowboy Boots.” There is some truth in this. I can think of very few reasons to not learn the modern pronunciation of Greek. The arguments for employing the Erasmian pronunciation are not only weak, the modern (neo-hellenic) pronunciation is simply more beautiful. After this course, you will have a fun foundation from which to consider transitioning into modern Greek, which in no sense would conflict with your continued study of New Testament Greek.
What Are Your Credentials?
I am a student in biblical studies with a special focus in biblical linguistics. I have two and a half years experience teaching Greek. It is an amazing privilege to watch working moms, busy pastors, students, and children begin to read the Greek Bible.