Studying for Nationals: Greek

9:57 PM

We've finally arrived at Greek!  Greek is very easy to study and memorize once you learn how to.  It can take some time to figure out how to look up and pick the best keywords, but just keep practicing, and it will become very easy.  Because Greek is comparatively easy to learn, I don't really try to learn any until a few weeks before Nationals.  If you use the Bible Bee study doc, take practice tests, and are just generally involved in the Bible Bee cyber world, then you'll probably pick up lots of Greek without even trying.  By the time Nationals comes, you really won't have to learn much Greek because you'll have already heard a lot of it, and you'll also be better able to choose which words are truly key.

Be sure to use for all your Greek studies!  It will be your most valuable resource for Greek.  Not only is it easy to use, but judging from the Discovery Journal, it should be the authority for any spellings of Greek words.  I don't really have time to talk about how to use Blue Letter Bible today, but you can look in the front of your Discovery Journal for instructions, or if you need more help, watch some Blue Letter Bible tutorials.

At the beginning of Nationals, I mark a lot of the key words.  Of course, as I go, I'll add more, but this helps me to get a good foundation in Greek, and in what are the key themes of 1 John.  I used to find marking words to be a very boring and cumbersome task.  I had to read through the text so many times, and then I would miss words, accidentally mark the wrong words, or find out after I had carefully finished marking the word that the English word actually had different Greek words.  It really bothered me to put so much time into it, only to find out that I had messed up, so I pretty much stopped doing it.  But then I discovered that I could speed things up a lot by using Blue Letter Bible to search for Greek words.  By using it, I can be sure that I am marking the right words (although I still occasionally make mistakes), and I can do it very quickly.  I can also better decide if a word is really key, because I can easily find out how many times it is used in 1 John.  

Sometimes, when I'm marking a keyword, I'll come across a word that has different Greek words for the same English word.  When this happens, it's helpful to understand why there are different words, and where these different words are used.  You can use BlueLetterBible for all of this, though I do use BibleGateway a bit, too, to make sure I'm counting the right number of usages of the word.  Be sure to look at the different definitions.  You don't have to memorize them or anything, but this will help you to understand what John is really saying.  

To help you learn where each of these words are used, write out all the verses that use this word, and mark each of the different Greek words in different colors.  This is something that probably isn't very important competition wise, but can be very important in understanding the text -- and hey, it's a fun opportunity to use your highlighters!

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

So now, let's say we're three weeks away from Nationals, and you are ready to really buckle down and learn those Greek words.  How do you learn them quickly?  Well, first of all, make a list of the key words that you would like to know.  You don't have to put the words on there that you already know, but it's probably a good idea to put the ones on there that you're familiar with, but haven't really nailed.  

Now, it would be fine if you wanted to sit down and use rote memorization to learn these words, but my guess is that your brain is already pretty stuffed, and you may not want to use that much storage space for Greek.  You can make Greek posters and post them around your house to help you effortlessly learn the words (see this post for details).  You can also think of how that word could relate to it's English counterpart in a crazy sentence.  One of my brothers (who will probably wish to remain anonymous) is great at this!  Here are a few examples: When you have a slave, you do less (doulos). The pair of cleats (parakletoshelp you.  When you wash your feet, the water nips at your toes (nipto).  Deiknyo is an actor in the show.  These are fun, and they really stick once you can come up with something. 

Once you've mostly learned your Greek without trying, throw it all on a Quizlet set, and go through it using Learn.  After you've gone through Learn and are ready for a challenge, use Gravity.  This will help you to quickly recall Greek words.  

Now that I've talked about how to study Greek, you're probably thinking that it doesn't sound like I really do much to learn it.  So did I know every Greek word question last year at Nationals?  No, I actually did not.  There was one question that I didn't know the first time I went through the test.  I finally went with the option that made the most sense logically compared to the spellings of the other options.  But when I came to this question again a few minutes before the time ran out, the Lord graciously reminded me that I had seen one of the words before on a practice test.  I wasn't certain that it was the right word, but because it looked familiar and the others didn't, I changed my answer.  You can imagine my relief when I found out after the test that I had guessed correctly!  This is why I would recommend familiarizing yourself with many Greek words, but not using a lot of your brain to really learn them.  However, it's up to you to decide how much Greek you want to learn.  I just think it's more worthwhile to spend that time studying something else.  

I hope that these posts have been helpful to you.  I haven't decided yet if I'll do any more posts in this'll just have to wait and see! :)  I always appreciate tips very much, so if you have any, please share them.

  • Share:

You Might Also Like


  1. Ooh, this one is good, Anna! QUIZLET is the BOMB for learning Greek! By the way I've made VERY extensive(probably overly so) sets through Chapter 3 if your interested=)

    1. Thanks! I agree -- Quizlet is a great fit for Greek! The screenshot in this post is actually from one of your sets :).


Please make sure that your comment is in accordance with Colossians 4:6: "Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person." I will not reply to every comment, but if you have a question or concern, I will try to get back with you.
Thanks for making my day!