I’ve been pondering for the past few days about how I might incorporate the Greek New Testament into my Bible reading next year. Part of me thought that next year’s probably too soon, given that I’ve only had one semester of Greek (albeit, it was an exegesis course since I taught myself beginning Greek and tested out of it). The reason why I wanted to systematically read through the GNT next year and not wait until my Greek is better is because the overwhelming constant piece of advice I’ve gotten from my Greek Geek friends (as early as when I was soliciting final studying advice a few weeks before I took the Greek placement exam to try to test into exegesis) is to read the GNT. The rationale seems to be that even if you don’t understand it and even if it’s beyond your current abilities, keep reading the GNT because it over time it will give you an innate sense for how Koine Greek works, in a way that complements your atomistic translation/exegetical work.
So, how am I going to go about it, as a Koine Greek baby? Well, while there are many appealing elements to Wallace’s suggestion, at this point translating three chapters of the GNT a day (albeit with only one new chapter a day) seems a bit unrealistic – I feel like it would take me hours. But for those of you who’ve been at this for a few years, I highly recommend taking a look at Wallace’s plan (although, interestingly to me, he suggests the plan primarily for those coming out of first year Greek and says that it may also be helpful for more advanced students). I’ve clipped it for the future (maybe I’ll do it in 2017!) because translating each chapter three days in a row seems like a fantastic way to really get to know the Greek text.
So, while I’m not going to use Wallace’s plan this year, I am going to use his ordering (roughly from easiest to hardest). Then I had to decide whether to try to read the GNT in one year or two, and I ended up deciding to read it in one because the whole point is to read larger chunks of text. That means 22 verses a day. So the way I’m going to read the Bible in 2016 is to read 3 OT chapters (in English) and roughly 22 GNT verses per day (I say roughly because I don’t like stopping in the middle of main ideas, so I will probably follow the paragraph breaks). For the Greek part I anticipate reading each text a few times, the first time straight through, the second time roughly translating in my mind, and if time permits, one more time looking up words as necessary and analyzing what’s going on syntactically. But the main point is to just read the text. I also plan to finish my time by reading the text in English.
Of course, the main difficulty with doing a mishmash plan like this is keeping track of progress, especially if you miss a day. At this point I don’t think it would be worth the time to create an actual one-year Bible reading record, but I might do it if I feel like this is a plan I would follow many years over. If I do end up making one I will share it here for others who might want to try it. For now I will probably just find a one-year Bible reading plan that only has you reading from one place in the OT and one place in the NT daily; I’ll have to hop around to keep track for the NT because I want to go in order of increasing difficulty, but it shouldn’t be too annoying.
For those who are reading through the GNT next year or have done it in the past, I would love to know how you’re doing it or what you’ve done in the past that’s worked well. Since I’m a newbie I’m eager to learn from those more seasoned!