Easing Into Koine Greek For Kids

February 2, 2016 — Leave a comment

Jerusalem Cook BookPart of our teaching plan for this year is to introduce koine Greek to our kids. We’ve covered some basic “common” Greek words in the past, however, we’d like to dig a little deeper.

Being a Christian homeschooling family we read the Biblical texts together on a regular basis. For brevity we use the NLT life application bible for guys and girls. Every child has one. Each child gets to participate.

Contextual issues matter. Taking them into consideration helps us to focus more on how the text reads us and less about how we read it.This forms part of our overall approach to education where careful reading and critical thinking takes precedence over how we might feel about the subject.

For example, only after establishing what the biblical text says and in turn what it might be saying to us, do we discuss how we might feel about the text.

English translations of the bible have their limitations. Greek words and their definitions don’t always neatly match up with our English ones. Then there are cultural and historical differences.

By filling in the cultural and historical context, I can add some genuine flare to the events that are recounted to us on each page. There are many ways that this can be achieved such as, food. For this purpose, we purchased a Middle Eastern cookbook called, ‘Jerusalem[i]’ and are cooking our way slowly through it.

If you were considering introducing koine Greek, there are some helpful, low-cost, materials available:

1. Greek Alphabet PDF

2. Greek Lessons [Kids Greek – may require some payment for advanced lessons]

3. Fun,  koine Greek alphabet song for correct pronunciation.

4.N.T Greek Studies: Children’s Greek

By engaging on this level we allow God to speak for Himself about Himself. God proves His own existence (Psalm 18). Since He does this through His Word and deeds in Jesus Christ, it pays to pay attention to where He has chosen to reveal Himself. Humanity doesn’t get to determine when and where this happens or has happened. (John 3:8)

God is free and as such is not bound to a human determination of what, who and where we might be tempted to say that God is, or should be. Knowledge of God comes from God. The only requirement for men and women is to acknowledge the how, where and when.

The where and when are in how God reveals Himself in both His dealings with Israel {covenants} and in Jesus Christ. The biblical text is a testimony to this. With the aid of the Holy Spirit we hear and see His choice, His wanderings and His incarnation among us.

The bible is part of this testimony. Warts and all it’s a compilation of books that reflect a rule of faith. This rule is the consistency of God who communicates Himself in ways we can understand. He wills to be for us, with us, and to not be without us[ii].

Through studying the Biblical text we find ourselves learning important language and social skills.For a time homeschool becomes a “house” church; doing theology in community. From here our homeschoolers develop their own ability to think for themselves, trust God’s guidance, serve others and process information in a balanced way.

In addition, the Judeo-Christian ethic is Middle Eastern. Reading the biblical text takes us out of our cultural comfort zone. Through every preposition, verb, metaphor, figurative narrative, historical event and genre, we are presented with a challenge to our Western way of thinking, being and doing.

It moves us from an otherwise immovable position. It addresses the blind spot in the Jo-Hari window and moves us towards its remedy.

The Gospel is Good News. Through it God proclaims emancipation. It teaches us that our place in the world and in history is not all there is. In short, our focus is shifted from being entirely on ourselves and instead our focus is shifted onto God’s revelation in Jesus Christ; concrete evidence that God exists. In His Son, Jesus Christ we don’t just witness THE messenger, but see and hear THE Message itself.

This Message walks, talks, prays, commands, comforts and speaks. When we pick up the Biblical texts and read them in a deeper way, we encounter the one who wills to encounter us, the author of life.

 


Notes:

[i] We’ve cooked some of the recipes in this and can recommend it!

[ii] Karl Barth

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