Learning Greek is cheap; relatively speaking

My daughter is a biology major and will be a junior in college this fall. She just gave me the list of books she needs for class, and as usual, I was stunned. She gave me the titles and links for finding the cheapest prices for each book, prices that are for used books. Here are the basic textbooks:

Cell Biology: 2 books; $116 and $46

Biomedical Ethics: 2 books; $ 89 and $60

Physics: 1 book; $164

Literature: 2 books; $75 and $ 9

Total cost for 4 courses (14 credits) for USED textbooks in an undergraduate program: $557.00.

The total for all books on the list she’ll have to read: $703.25. I cringe to think of paying list price.

If a student takes 3 years of Greek, the most expensive book they are likely to buy is BDAG at around $125.00, but they can use the resource for all of their Greek classes and for years in ministry. Fortunately, unlike college textbooks, they don’t publish new editions of it every year! My point is that learning Greek is cheap. My daughter has 14 credits of class which is about the same amount of credits required for most good Greek programs. If you buy Mounce for first year elements including the workbook, a Koine Greek Reader from Decker, a hefty grammar like Wallace’s, and even throw in a few weighty exegetical commentaries like Kostenberger on John, Hoehner on Ephesians, and Moo on Romans, you are only talking about 350 bucks including BDAG. I know, there are books on textual criticism to buy, a commentary library to build, multi volume theological dictionaries enticing us, and so forth. But buying the basic tools for course work in New Testament Greek is relatively inexpensive, when compared to other disciplines. My daughter is considering medical school! Those of you who studied engineering know very well how expensive textbooks can be. So if you are considering studying Greek, be encouraged: learning Greek is cheap, relatively speaking.

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Categories: Greek

11 replies

  1. Maybe adding a Greek Testament would be a good idea! 😉 But your point is well taken.

  2. Try Chegg.com you can rent books for about 85% list price and 50% used price. Amy did it and we saved about $200

  3. James,

    If you take your time and a little craftiness you can get all your Greek resources for free via download on the internet. It is all out there you just have to be willing to take the time and find it. Tell your readers that Youtube is a good place to start. Go to http://www.youtube.come and type the question you want to ask and I can almost gaurantee some type of video answer will pop up on where to find what you are looking for. I have also found various websites that you can access that have video instructors for free that you can watch.

    John

  4. I just spent $256 for three seminary classes: Hebrew, Expository Preaching, and an upper Systematic class called Salvation. Granted, I haven’t bought HeALOT or Brown/Driver/Briggs, but it’s still a bit cheaper.

  5. And the awesome thing is, is that I downloaded a free copy of Moo’s Roman’s commentary on google books. I guess that’s about as cheap as you can get. You are right, though. There should be no more excuses why people can’t study the original languages for themselves.

  6. Alan,

    It’s not the cost it’s the TIME! Books may be inexpensive but time is very “expensive” when you are in pastorial ministry.

  7. Doug,

    I agree that time is a commodity. But I would argue that pastors don’t have time _not_ to study the original languages! Imagine all the time wasted on using secondary sources preparing for sermons 🙂

  8. Time wasted studying secondary sources? 😦

  9. correction meant to write; time wasted using secondary sources? 😦

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