Training in Righteousness
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Entries in Greek (1)


My kind of problem solving

I always hated word problems in math. I was never good at them. I suspect my underlying dislike arose out of an inability to do them, and that arose from a third grade teacher, who when I had struggles and questions, sent me to the library to organize the card catalogue. For anyone reading who does not know what a card catalogue is, Google it.

When I took calculus in university, I was engaged to my math major hubby, and I had excellent tutoring. I had a glimpse into what fun math problems could be. However, it wasn't until I met Koine Greek that I realized that there are other kinds of problems to solve which are a whole lot more fun. Translating Greek sentences feels like problem solving to me.

I dragged out my Basics of Biblical Greek recently and began re-acquainting myself with what I studied so many years ago. I have also been listening to Bill Mounce's lectures. When I studied Koine Greek, we began with verbs, and Mounce begins with nouns. I don't know why, but in any case, I find myself remembering quite a lot, and realizing that I didn't understand a lot, either. 

Yesterday, I did some exercises in the study guide to his book. I've just finished the unit on adjectives. If you want to learn English grammar, study another language. Being forced to evaluate the grammatical structure of one language means you have to understand it in your own language. When you translate a Greek sentence, you must account for every word. The article (or its absence) is crucial for determining meaning in many cases, as well as indicating when you must rely on context. As I go through these exercises, I am forced to slow down and concentrate; that can only be good in the long run.

The teacher I had in university for Koine Greek, Dr. Kooistra, was a lovely old gentleman, and he loved the language. The fact that I can remember so much now is a testimony to his teaching. However, he was not a translator; he was a professor and a pastor. What I like about Bill Mounce's material is that he speaks as a translator as well and addresses translation issues, which makes learning more interesting.

This is my kind of problem solving, and it almost makes up for being a mathematical dunce. Almost.