Friday, October 17, 2008

Using the Greek New Testament for devotions part 13: John Piper's warning, and a possible solution

Having just started a new blog series, I am aware that I never got round to posting one final post on my Greek devotions series, or my exegesis series. So here is a post I have been wanting to write since T4G last easter!

In Kentucky I went to a John Piper Table talk session. Some of you know about my Keswick moment there! At this session, John Piper said that he used both a Greek and Hebrew text for his devotions. He did however warn that the downside of doing that is that you can get hung up on a grammatical question, and get sidetracked with that (that's how I interpreted what he said anyway).

Since, then I have been thinking about ways to deal with this potential problem, and experimenting with solutions. So far, here is my possible solution, one that I am still testing.

1) I'm using the McCheyne reading plan with an English translation (I tend to alternate between the NET, and the ESV for this). I don't do the full 4 chapters at the moment, instead I make sure I'm following at least one of the books, and maybe two.

2) I also read Don Carson's "For the Love of God" alongside it. This ensures I can have a quiet time reading an English text, without the distraction of grammatical issues.

3) When I'm reading a New Testament book as part of the McCheyne plan, I use my Net Bible / NA27 Diglot. This way, I can read the English on one page, and glance across to the Greek page when I am curious as to what it says in Greek.

4) Then, I read from a NT book in Greek, with a Greek reader - I prefer the UBS reader. I do this at my own pace - one day I might read a few verses without thinking much about grammatical issues, another day I might stop and think about a particular word, and do a word study in it, or an analysis of the grammar. I'll do this through a book, until I've finished the book.

5) Then I read a psalm (or part of a psalm) in the Septuagint - but I do this with a diglot, so I have an English translation in the margin, and can quickly refer to it to, rather than looking up a lexicon or a grammar.

This method gives me a balance of straight English reading, fast Greek reading, and slow Greek reading. I'm still testing this method at the moment, I may modify it in the future.

Hopefully there might be something in the above 5 points that may be of use to other Greek readers.

Here endeth the series on using the Greek New Testament for devotions.