Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary

Syllabus Greek I

Meeting times:  online

Credit hours:  three

Lecturer:  Prof. G. Bilkes; jerry.bilkes@prts.edu

Instructor:  Chris Engelsma; chris.engelsma@prts.edu, (616) 259-0172

Mission Statement:  Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary is an educational institution whose mission is to prepare students to serve Christ, His church, and the academy worldwide through biblical, Reformed, experiential, and practical ministry.

Student Learning Outcomes:  Our Master of Divinity (MDiv) student learning outcomes (SLOs) are for graduates to:

  1. Exegete Scripture accurately, employing understanding of the original languages, historical contexts, and literary genres.
  2. Articulate the system and history of doctrine of confessional Reformed theology and integrate it into the disciplines of biblical, systematic, and practical theology, as well as into life and ministry of the church.
  3. Apply a sound Christian worldview and biblical principles to both life in the church and the contemporary cultures of our changing world.
  4. Cultivate and demonstrate spiritual and personal qualities that evidence the biblical principles of leadership necessary for church ministry.

Our Master of Arts SLOs are for graduates to:

  1. Exegete Scripture accurately, employing understanding of the original languages, historical contexts, and literary genres.
  2. Articulate the system and history of doctrine of confessional Reformed theology.
  3. Evidence foundational knowledge in the principal theological disciplines of Biblical Studies, Systematic Theology, and Church History.
  4. Articulate a proficient understanding in the student’s focused discipline.

Course Purpose:  Learning Greek is requisite to achieving principal goals in your entire seminary training. Each of degrees offered in PRTS has the goals of teaching students to “exegete individual passages of Scripture accurately, employing understanding of the original languages, historical circumstances, and literary and theological relationships,” and to “articulate confessional Reformed theology on exegetical, biblical, and theological grounds.”

Using Greek for exegesis requires knowing Greek, which in turn requires learning Greek. So even though the study of elementary grammar may not provide the same level of “internal satisfaction” you may experience in many of your other courses, it is a foundational study that is integral to almost every other course you will take.

The two courses of elementary Greek will prepare the student for the Greek exegesis courses. If you finish your elementary Greek courses well, you will find that the proceeding courses will come much easier to you!

Course Description:  The course will entail the study of the foundations of Greek grammar (orthography, morphology,and basic syntax patterns). Attention will also be given to common vocabulary used throughout the NT. Selected readings from both biblical and non- biblical sentences will reinforce and illustrate the basic grammatical principles.

Had you been born in the first century in a home where Greek was spoken, learning Greek wouldhave come naturally as you listened to those around you. But here you are now doing something “unnatural,” so our approach will be somewhat artificial but necessary. The nature of learning a new language requires some necessary memorization rather than just assimilation. This is especially true when learning a dead language. Since Greek is a highly inflected language, both in terms of the verb and noun systems, so much of understanding the syntax (the way the words are put together to communicate) depends on recognizing forms.

In this course, you will be required to memorize much. Memorization requires time and repetition. This may seem overwhelming at first, but it will benefit you on the road ahead. Repetition is the key in this course.

Course Objectives:  The ultimate objective of the course is to provide students the foundation for using Greek as a tool in the exegetical process. Since PRTS desires to train students for ministry in various forms, the ultimate goal of language study is to gain a tool that can be used over and again in Bible study and sermon preparation and your own spiritual advance. This course is the first step to that ultimate objective. So by the end of this course you will have:

  1. Learned common Greek words that occur in the NT. (Supports SLOs MDiv 1; MA 1).
  2. Learned to recognize and distinguish the basic morphology of nouns and verbs. (Supports SLOs MDiv 1; MA 1).
  3. Become familiar with the basic patterns of Greek syntax. (Supports SLOs MDiv 1; MA 1).
  4. Began learning to read Greek with a view to developing exegetical skills. (Supports SLOs MDiv 2; MA 2, 3).
  5. Trained to use technical commentaries and other literature as aids for exegesis. (Supports SLOs MDiv 2; MA 2, 3).
  6. Developed a sense of awe for being able to read the NT in the language in which it was first written. (Supports SLOs MDiv

Course Assignments: 

  1. Quizzes – Each class will contain a quiz, testing the knowledge of the lecture material. This quiz is due at the beginning of each next lesson. Each quiz is closed book.
  2. Midterm Exam – There is a midterm exam that covers the lectures until that point. Each exam is closed book.
  3. Final Exam – A final exam will cover all the lecture content of the course. The final exam is like each other assignment closed book

Course Required Reading:  Distance students are encouraged to ask the librarian regarding eBooks and access to other digital databases of the library. Other resources and New Testament editions are allowed for this course, but might vary from the one used in the videos.

There are multiple beginning Greek grammars out there. You may use them to reinforce or to find other examples or illustrations of the material in the videos. However, when explanations or definitions may differ from those given in the videos, you will be accountable for what is taught in the videos.

Though there are many online tools to help you read Greek, do without them for now as it will impede your understanding of the language. We will use these tools in your exegesis classes down the road.

Rodney J. Decker, Reading Koine Greek: An Introduction and Integrated Workbook (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2014).

Greek edition of the Bible, preferably the Scrivener text. Logos, TheWord, and other Bible software have this available digitally. So as not to get distracted with textual issues or discrepancies in this class, we will work in this class on the basis of one text, namely the Scrivener text.

F. Danker, W. Bauer, et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago).  Digital versions are acceptable.

Course Policies and Writing Assistance:  Do note the policies for drop/addattendancewithdrawingplagiarismgrade scalelate work/extensions, and incompletes.

In this course, you do very little writing.  Do know, however, that writing support is available at writingcenter@prts.edu.