After learning basic grammar, vocabulary, and syntax, the best way to improve skills in biblical Greek translation is simply by reading Greek texts. This book serves as a “reader” that builds on basic language knowledge (hence “intermediate”). In this reader, we wanted to offer the opportunity to focus at length on one text (Galatians) and also to introduce different kinds of Greek texts to help students to compare genres, styles, and vocabulary. Therefore, after Galatians, we have lessons on various related texts, including select Septuagint passages of which Paul has cited a portion in Galatians. We have another lesson on James 2:14–24, a text that is often studied alongside Galatians because of shared vocabulary and themes (e.g., works, faith, justification, Abraham). In terms of the history of interpretation of the Greek text of Galatians, we include a short selection from Chrysostom’s Greek commentary on Galatians, and we end with a lesson on Marcion’s use and redaction of Galatians (as preserved by the counter-arguments of some of the Church Fathers). Before beginning to use this reader, it is helpful to know the following:
NOTES. This reader utilizes a “helps” system for the reading lessons that is comprised of a series of notes. Notes are tagged so readers can get a sense of the kind of information offered in the note. Early on, readers may need to refer back to this abbreviation key.
[SN] = Syntactical Note (i.e., functions of words, e.g., dative, adverbial participle, type of infinitive, use of αὐτός, etc.). Syntax refers to the relationship between words and how a word functions in a phrase, clause, or sentence.
[GMN] = Grammatical/Morphological Note (e.g., unusual form of a word, reminder of complex grammatical issues such as liquid verbs, contract verbs, μι-verbs, mixed first/second aorist forms, plural neuter subject with singular verb). Readers are encouraged to have an introductory Greek textbook on hand to further consult on basic grammar and morphology matters. These notes will offer only brief reminders with simple explanations.
[LN] = Lexical Note. The most common vocabulary of the Greek New Testament will be assumed. LNs will offer meanings of less common words.
[TN] = Textual Note. TN is a catch-all label for information that is important or helpful to know, but does not fit into one of the above categories.
[#] = Indicates the term is listed in the Glossary
Within the translation notes, readers will frequently find parsing information. Below is the key to the parsing order and parsing abbreviations.
Nouns: [GNC] = Gender, Number, Case
Verbs (Indicative, Subjunctive, Optative): [TVMPN] = Tense, Voice, Mood, Person, Number
Verbs (Participles): [TVMGNC] = Tense, Voice, Mood/Form, Gender, Number, Case
Verbs (Infinitive): [TVM] = Tense, Voice, Mood/Form
M = Masculine, F = Feminine, N = Neuter, S = Singular, P = Plural, N = Nominative, G = Genitive, D = Dative, A = Accusative
Tenses: P = Present, A = Aorist, F = Future, I = Imperfect, R = PeRfect, L =PLuperfect
Voice: A = Active, M = Middle, P = Passive, D = Deponent
Mood: I = Indicative, S = Subjunctive, M = IMperative, O = Optative, P = Participle, N = INfinitive
Additional Textbook Features
Three other features of this textbook are noteworthy. First, readers will find periodic word studies that will offer additional depth in the study of Galatians. Second, there is a basic syntax glossary in the back of the book for quick reference. Third, there are MYON (“Make Your Own Note”) opportunities scattered through the textbook. The student is encouraged to produce their own note based on the given prompt.
Text Edition of Greek Readings
The Greek text used in this textbook for New Testament passages is from the Society of Biblical Literature Greek New Testament (http://sblgnt.com/). The text for the Septuagint readings is from A. Rahlfs’s Septuaginta (Stuttgart: Württembergische Bibelanstalt, 1935). The short selection from John Chrysostom comes from J.-P. Migne, Patrologiae cursus completus, seu, Bibliotheca universalis, integra, uniformis, commoda, oeconomica: omnium SS patrum, doctorum scriptorumque ecclesiasticorum . . . : series græca, in qua prodeunt patres, doctores scriptoresque Ecclesiae græcae, vol. 61 (162 vols. Paris: J. P. Migne, 1857–66).
Note for Instructors Using This Reader as an Intermediate Greek Textbook
The lessons were designed to allow students to work through one lesson per week for twenty-one weeks, which could serve students in a year-long course (for example). Another option is to fit the reading into one term by having students work through two lessons per week. There are two lessons that do not require translation work (lessons sixteen and twenty-one), which would serve as a reasonable point to have a quiz, test, homework break, or other type of assignment. It is encouraged that students pair this reader with a Greek syntax textbook to further strengthen translation and interpretation. The following are highly recommended:
Mathewson, D. L. and E. B. Emig. Intermediate Greek Grammar: Syntax for Students of the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2016.
Wallace, D. B. Greek Grammar beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1997.