Codex Harleianus 5790 (448 on list of NT manuscripts of Gregory-Aland, Folio 4, The Beginning of the Gospel of Matthew
1478, Written by Joannes Rhosos of Crete, Public Domain
Let’s just get this out of the way right up front. Why in the world would the typical family study Koine Greek? I mean, it’s not like we’re going to be using “street Greek” in business, travel, or really anything else in life, right?
We study Greek because a great deal of the New Testament was written in it. If we’re sincere about Bible study and scholarship, Koine is the way to go…..
We study Greek because — according to Joshua Project — of the more than 7.1 Billion people on earth, nearly 3 Billion are unreached for Christ. 260 Million people in the world don’t have access to either any portion of Scripture or the Jesus film in their own language.
Will our kids translate Scripture? Will they be in missions? Will yours? I don’t know. But I do hope all our children are serious students of the Bible. It’s so much easier to learn a language as a child, and Greek can be fun… like a code. But it’s also really complicated. I’m guessing I’m not the only mom who thinks learning Koine is a great idea, but doesn’t have the background to teach it.
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That’s where these spectacular resources come in! If you want to study Greek with your family, I’m going to tell you how to do so from elementary school to high school. After that, you’re on your own. A word of advice: Think of Greek as a marathon, not a sprint. Take it slow and make sure kids “get” the building blocks like the alphabet before moving on. Also, learn along with them. You won’t be able to help if you haven’t studied too!
Lower Elementary School Greek
Song School Greek, Book and CD
We never used this ~ but I wish we had! I think it would have been a fun way to create the foundation to learn on, and a more natural way to learn a language. In fact, if my sister and brother-in-law are amenable to the idea of Koine studies, we’ll be using this in a year or so. Song School Greek consists of a book and a CD and includes 30 weeks of songs, vocabulary, handwriting, stories, games, activities and music for grades K-2. My advice? Take it slow, and stretch it over 2 years if your kids need extra time.
Amazon:Song School Greek (Student Book and CD) (Greek Edition)
Christian Book: Song School Greek, Book and CD
Greek Alphabet Code Cracker
For me, the hardest part of Greek has been the alphabet. The Cyrillic letters are sort of similar to Latin-based languages, but they’re foreign enough that I struggled a lot. My kids? They didn’t struggle at all. That’s because the year before we started Greek, I purchased one of these consumable books for each of them and encouraged them to have fun. It’s a 91-page illustrated, full-color coded mystery with a little decoder spinner, and they loved it! I would highly recommend the Greek Alphabet Code Cracker for anyone beginning Greek. This is recommended for ages 9-12, but my youngest did it at age 7. I think I would have benefitted from it as well (But, you know, I was too mature for that. I had to go the boring rote memorization route…).
Upper Elementary School Greek / Middle School Greek
It’s Not Greek to Me & Intro to Biblical Greek Parent Lesson Planner
It’s Not Greek to Meis a wonderful DVD covering all the basics of Greek. It’s like a roadmap to the language, and I think any serious Greek student should begin with this. Todd Friel (of Wretched TV) is an excellent and amusing teacher. He promises that anyone studying faithfully through all 10 lessons will have the skills to read the Greek New Testament and use a lexicon. After viewing the video, I think he’s right. I can hardly wait to start this program in the fall. You can read my complete review here. I highly suggest that you purchase Master Books’ Intro to Biblical Greek Lesson Planner to go along with the DVD. It includes a weekly lesson schedule, student worksheets, quizzes and tests, and an answer key. By using the lesson planner (and Master Books’ lesson planners are very organized and well done), the It’s Not Greek To Me DVD becomes a semester language course for 7th – 12th grade, earning a 1/2 credit in language for high school.
Amazon: It’s Not Greek To Me and Intro to Biblical Greek Parent Lesson Planner
Christian Book: It’s Not Greek to Me: 10 Lessons in Greek–DVD and Intro to Biblical Greek Parent Lesson Planner
Greek / English Interlinear Bible
I think it’s important to have an interlinear Bible to be able to practice new Greek reading skills.
This one from Amazon is compact and affordable: The New Greek-English Interlinear NT (Personal Size) I think we’re going to spend a few extra dollars and get The Zondervan Interlinear New Testament (NIV / NASB) by William D. Mounce and Robert H. Mounce. We plan to use William Mounce’s curriculum in high school (it comes highly recommended by a number of sources), and I like the fact that it has a thought-for-thought English translation along with a literal translation included.
Elementary Greek by Christine Gatchell
I highly recommend these sets! I love how Elementary Greek takes you through biblical Greek slowly and methodically. In this set, you’ll learn about casings, vocabulary and declensions (that’s different from It’s Not Greek to Me). I highly recommend purchasing all the resources available for the curriculum. You’ll need the textbook, a workbook for each person studying (you, too, right?) and the flashcards and CD are really helpful! I included a link to Amazon for this, but I could only find the workbook and flashcards there. I suggest just getting the set and any extra workbooks through Christian Book. I also suggest doing It’s Not Greek to Me (See Above) prior to beginning this curriculum, as it will really help you understand what you’re learning.
High School Greek
Basics of Biblical Greek by William D. Mounce
This is the program we’ll be using in high school. I haven’t used this set yet (as we’re still wending our way through my suggestions for middle school), however it comes highly recommended by my friends in the know, and it has excellent ratings on the web. I’m excited about it. And I understand that Bill Mounce is the best as far as Koine Greek goes. This set contains Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar, third edition, Basics of Biblical Greek Workbook, Biblical Greek: A Compact Guide, a 6-DVD set of 36 video lectures, 1,000 vocabulary flash cards, a pronunciation CD, and laminated study sheets for quick reference.
If you get really ambitious about biblical languages, Zondervan has a similar Basics of Biblical Hebrew Pack available for study. It looks great, I’m just not certain how we’ll handle additional languages at the high school level. I suspect that will depend greatly on the ambitions of our children at the time.
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Well, friends, that’s it. This constitutes the best of my suggestions based on 3 years of researching Koine Greek resources and actually using most of them. I hope it helps. I’d love to hear your feedback!
More Resources for 8-12 Year Olds Reviewed at Thinking Kids
- Jonathan Park Adventure Audiobooks by Pat Roy
- Bugs: Big and Small God Made Them All by William Zinke
- 44 Animals of the Bible by Nancy Pelander Johnson
- Growing Up God’s Way for Girls by Dr. Chris Richards and Dr. Liz Jones
- Growing Up God’s Way for Boys by Dr. Chris Richards and Dr. Liz Jones
Or just check out the Thinking Kids book review indexes for:
Thinking Kids Pinterest Book Boards
- Christian Books for Preschoolers
- Christian Books for 4-7 Year Olds
- Christian Books for the Middle Grades
- Christian Books for Middle School
- Christian Books for High School
- Christian Books for Kids’ Devotions
- Christian Books about Parenting
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~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is the author of When Lightning Struck! The Story of Martin Luther (Fortress Press, 2015), Wonderfully Made (CF4K, 2016), and Bible Road Trip. Her work has been featured in internationally-recognized children's magazines over 150 times.