Brian Schultz, who teaches Biblical Hebrew communicately at Fresno Pacific University and is just an all-around nice guy, has posted some thoughts on what constitutes reading fluency and what helps or hinders its development. Check them out here. They dovetail rather nicely with our recent series of posts on the same subject.
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Daniel R. Streett, Ph.D.
Houston Baptist University.
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Thanks for the kind words Daniel. I just “discovered” your series of blog posts today and of course liked what I saw. Keep up the good work.
My method for reading Greek is to jump right in and start reading and keep reading until I’m done with the book, chapter, or major section. I don’t worry too much about getting everything right. It’s amazing how clearly the meaning comes across in most cases, regardless of whether or not I know each and every word or grammatical construct. Sometimes the meaning is lost (sometimes in embarrassing ways – thankfully no one is listening!) but I’m certainly not going to read the text only once.
My next step is to look up words and syntax that I just can’t figure out from context. I usually create a quick cheat sheet that I can have on hand for my next go-round in the text. After that I read and re-read the text until I am ‘fluent’ in it.
It’s slow going, but after each text is learned the next one requires substantially less work. This is especially true for texts that are part of a significant corpus written by the same author. The letters of Ignatius are perhaps the very best examples of this for Koine Greek. All 7 of them were written by the same author (unless you think they weren’t, which doesn’t change my point since the similarities remain undeniable), at roughly the same time, for just about the same reasons.
The most important piece of this method is that I never, ever, ever translate unless I absolutely have to (to preach it or teach it, for example.)
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