Saturday, June 11, 2011

My Voelz Greek Vocab Project

Here is the link to the Voelz Vocab Guide:

You're in Summer Greek at the seminary. It's toward the end of class and your professor is introducing you to the new vocabulary words at the end of the chapter. You come across the word "teknon" which means child. Someone asks, "Oh, is that the word used in Matthew 19 'Let the little children come to me...'?" to which the professor replies, "No, the Greek word for child in that verse is paidion, not teknon."

There are a number of ways to approach memorizing foreign language vocabulary, but one method I like to use (sometimes) is a substitution from Scripture. For example, to remember agape (love), you could connect it to John 3:16 like this: "For God so agape'd the world..." Having a Scriptural context for a vocab word can give you "something to hang onto" so to speak, something for your mind to grab a hold of. And it could be helpful later on if you associate Bible verses with the 400+ words you will be held accountable for over the next ten weeks.

But unless you have Bibleworks, Logos Original Languages, or the BDAG Lexicon (don't buy it until Greek Readings), it's no small chore to start with a Greek word and find where that word is actually used in the New Testament (if the only concordances you have are in English). It's a lot of time and effort to do this the old school way.

The good news is that there are easy (and free) internet resources at your disposal. is associated with Bill Mounce (whose Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar is also in its third edition). What I like about this one is the Greek-English concordance in every entry throughout the dictionary. Any Greek word you look up, it gives every verse in the New Testament where that word is used (Bible verses in English, then the Greek word as it is found in the verse, like if it's a plural noun in the dative case, the word will look different than the way you'd find it in the dictionary).

So if you are in Greek this summer, you could just surf through Mounce's Greek Dictionary website every day and search for all the words. But even this is still time consuming (but it will take less time than shuffling back and forth between three or four books), so here's what I, and hopefully some others, are working on.

I've created a Google doc called Voelz Vocab Guide. If you can read this blog entry, you can read the google doc. We're going through Voelz's Fundamental Greek Grammar (3rd edition) chapter by chapter, and providing the links to the entry for each word.

Here is what we have for Chapter 3:

You go through Voelz about a chapter a day, so we just need to stay at least a day ahead of you. And as you can see, this is a pretty simple procedure: type a transliteration of the vocab word, find it on the website, and then paste the URL for that word into the Google document. For the time being, anyone who can view the document can also edit it. So even if you are a Summer Greek student this summer, feel free to plug away at this project, too.

My hope is that this Google doc will be a helpful (and time-saving) resource for many students this Summer at both seminaries, and even for the guys who won't be taking Greek until the Fall Quarter (like I did in Saint Louis back in 2009).