You say you would like to learn Hebrew or Greek to help your study of the Bible, but you just can’t memorize thousands of words? Take heart! The necessary vocabulary is smaller than you might imagine.
A student who knows the 1,000 most frequently used words in Greek and the 1,500 most frequently used words in Hebrew, along with the basic elements of grammar, will be able to read at sight almost any page in the Bible. The total vocabulary of the Greek New Testament is about 5,400 words, of which 1,934 occur only once in the entire New Testament. Only 533 (10%) occur 25 times or more, and 1,134 (21%) occur ten times or more. Why learn the words you will rarely see? A few of these will be theologically significant, and you should learn them as you come across them. For example, Hilasterion, which translates as “a means of propitiation,” occurs only twice—once in Romans, once in Hebrews. When you do come across it, you may want to explore its implications, because it is a key term in theories of the Atonement.
The Hebrew Bible is not dissimilar in this respect. Out of a total vocabulary of about 8,600 words, 1,500 (17%) occur 15 times or more, and about 1,100 (13%) occur at least 25 times. It’s possible to learn the Old Testament in Hebrew or the New Testament in Greek in less than two years of classroom study for each language! (Some universities and schools give two years of language instruction in one concentrated summer course of 30 semester hours.) Even by self study—given due diligence—you can expect noticeable rewards in a reasonable length of time.
What methods are used in teaching language?
When I was in seminary (1931–1934), the standard works for beginning Hebrew and Greek were An Introductory Hebrew Grammar by A. B. Davidson, revised by J. E. McFadyen, and New Testament Greek for Beginners by J. Gresham Machen. There were other books for beginners, of course, and the choice seemed sometimes to be related to the denomination or the seminary concerned. All of them were fashioned on the “classical” or “deductive” method, in which the student learned paradigms, translated sentences from English and into English, memorized vocabulary words and acquired a smattering of syntax. At the end of the first year, very few of the students could read simple texts from either of the Testaments.
We know there is a better way—the inductive method. It’s not new. It first came into use, both for Hebrew and for Greek, in the late 1800s,a but it has generally fallen into disfavor. In my opinion, its unpopularity is due to two major causes: the unwillingness of students to work the system, and the disinclination of many teachers to try a system with which they are not familiar.
Using the inductive method, the student works entirely from the Biblical text. He or she learns the language by being totally immersed in its words and sentences, just as a child is, rather than by memorizing its grammatical rules. In this manner, the meaning of a word, for example, will be learned from context. I am not suggesting that you burn all lexicons, but having a context for a word provides a more memorable and better understanding of its meaning than what a dictionary offers. Similarly, 051the features of grammar (phonology, morphology, syntax) are most easily learned if the student is made aware of them from the start in the text. Likewise, learning to discern the key elements in inflected forms, for example, allows the student to recognize these forms in all words much faster than learning each inflected word one at a time. The student will learn the most common features, not by memorization, but through constant exposure to them.
But the exposure must be meaningful. The teacher (or the textbook, if self-teaching) must explain, analyze and illustrate each point as it arises. Repetition is the name of the game. It is true, as many have pointed out when criticizing this method, that the student often feels overwhelmed at the start, so there should be some selective use of material for the first 20 lessons or so.
The best part of this method is this: Once you have mastered it—learned how to ask yourself the right questions and how to find the answers—you will be teaching yourself, any subject you try, for the rest of your life!
Can’t I study the Bible without knowing Hebrew and Greek?
Of course you can! Some of the books reviewed in this article will show you the steps to use for what one author calls “the low road.” With a Bible, a concordance, an analytical lexicon and a good Hebrew or Greek lexicon, you can work from the English back to the original language, and go from that to a study of other texts in which the same words or expressions are used. But keep this in mind: Simply learning the Greek word for the English is of little value.
Suppose I don’t yet know Greek, but I want to study Ephesians 2:8. I come across the word “grace.” By looking up “grace” in the concordance, I find that the Greek is charis. What have I learned? So far, nothing. I have simply substituted one word about which I know nothing for another about which I know little. Then I take a simple Greek dictionary (they are cheaper than large lexicons), or perhaps the word-list in the back of the book I am using, and I find that charis means “favor, gift.” That is a step in the process. Next, I must study the context of Ephesians 2:8. What is the author talking about? What does the author say in the rest of the verse? There seems to be a contrast among “by grace,” “through faith,” and “because of works.” Now I am into a theological question, which I cannot hope to solve in a few minutes. But I take it a step at a time. Where else does the author use charis, and what does it mean in those contexts? I use the Greek concordance, or a good English concordance (Strong, Young) for this; I do not simply look up passages where the word “grace” appears—I study them. Since “faith” (pistis) is involved, I might do a similar study of this word—in Greek, as well as in English. So far, I have not used a Bible dictionary; if I had used it first, it would have stopped my thinking process by supplying ready-made answers. After I have come to some conclusions on my own, I look at the conclusions to which others have come. I do that not to criticize or to argue, but to learn. What did they discover from their studies that I did not discover? Why? Well, let’s try it again. And so the process continues.
How do I begin learning to read the Bible in Hebrew and Greek?
Thirteen recently published or reprinted books (including one supplemental reader) are reviewed here. Additional titles, with brief annotations, are listed at the end. After reading the descriptions, pick a book you think you would like to work with and plunge in.
Keep in mind a couple hints that will ease your learning of the alphabet. Don’t worry at first about the names of the letters or their order. Try instead to recognize the letter and the sound it represents. When you are ready to look up words in a lexicon or word list, then you will need to know the order of the letters. Also, learn to write the letters (don’t draw them; use the script, not the printed form) easily and clearly, so you can tell later which letters you intended; it will come in handy later, when you are making notes.
You can learn sufficient Greek and Hebrew to read the Bible by studying conscientiously on your own. The enrichment of your understanding of the text will spur you on.
Criteria for Judgement
Few of the books reviewed here employ the teaching method that I prefer, the inductive method. However, having studied and taught using both methods, I have judged these books on their own terms and on the basis of standards that should apply to any textbook. I ask whether they are well organized and clearly written. Do they help the student to learn? Do they provide a vocabulary that is sufficient and practical for Bible study? Such a vocabulary should comprise at least 500 words that are frequently used in the Bible. Furthermore, the vocabulary should be presented in readings of Biblical passages in Hebrew or Greek, rather than in artificially constructed, non-Biblical sentences. Most important, the book must contain enough repetition to impart the lessons it wishes to teach, for repetition is the principal means by which language is learned. Sadly, this last point is a lesson that many textbook authors have never learned.
Biblical Hebrew Step-by-Step
(Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, Vol. I, 2nd ed., 1980) 253 pp., $12.95; (Vol. II, 3rd ed., 1984) 178 pp., $13.95; paperback
Volume one, the teaching half of this set, is now in its second edition, with a sixth printing in 1986—in itself a commendation of this work. (The second volume consists largely of passages from Genesis, with explanatory notes and study hints, which provide extra reading practice.) The course in volume one is divided into 40 lessons, with the first five devoted to reading and writing the alphabet. Each of the other lessons includes a vocabulary, grammar and notes, study hints, and exercises. From lesson 10 on, word lists of the most frequent Biblical words are presented; however, additional words are given in the lessons. The first volume also includes some readings, drawn from Genesis and from the medieval poetry of Ibn Ezra. Sephardic pronunciation (the variety of pronunciation used in modern Israel) is taught.
The number of Biblical words seems to be very low, even somewhat inadequate, and in the exercises, some words that are used repeatedly—such as keleb (dog), tappûah (apple) and sûs (horse)—are of little value in reading the Hebrew Bible. But with self-discipline (as always), this work can be used for self-teaching.
Do It Yourself Hebrew and Greek; Everybody’s Guide to the Language Tools
Edward W. Goodrick
(Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House; Portland, OR: Multnomah Press, 2nd ed., 1980) 240 pp., $11.95, paperback, with a cassette for pronunciation (one side for Hebrew, the other for Greek)
This book aims in nine lessons to enable the student to work with the Hebrew Old Testament (using Ashkenazi pronunciation, the variety used by Jews in eastern Europe), and in eleven lessons to do the same with the Greek New Testament. But the author warns, “Under no circumstances should this course be thought of as a substitute for the diligent study of grammar, vocabulary and exegesis.” The student is further cautioned not to attempt to memorize the data in this book. The reason is that this work is largely 052a guide for those who wish to take the “low road,” that is, to make little or no attempt to learn the languages, but simply to use them as supplemental to English Bible study.
Nevertheless, all students will find the lesson on “How to Find the Greek Word” to be very useful. Likewise, the lesson on “Identifying the Form” is helpful, and even experienced teachers of Greek exegesis should carefully read “How to Do a Word Study.” Two chapters discuss rules for interpretation and the use of commentaries, and several pages reproduce photocopies of important commentaries on 1 Peter. Goodrick also makes superb suggestions for building a cultural anthropology from the Bible itself. This is an excellent work for those taking the “low road,” and is highly recommended for that purpose.
The First Hebrew Primer for Adults; Biblical and Prayerbook Hebrew
Ethelyn Simon, Nanette Stahl, Linda Motzkin and Joseph Anderson
(Oakland, CA: EKS Publishing, 2nd ed., 1983) 316 pp., $17.95, paperback
One great virtue of this primer is that it gives the student lots of practice reading Hebrew, with the guided-reading texts taken from Ruth and from the Jewish Prayerbook. A supplemental volume, Tall Tales Told and Retold in Biblical Hebrew, reviewed below, provides additional practice. (Sephardic pronunciation is taught.) One drawback, however, is that the practice sentences are not drawn from the Bible; instead they are artificial constructions such as, “We sent a pair of shoes from Moab” (p. 42). Some students may find the book’s organization, which revolves around grammatical forms and structures, to be daunting, but the extensive use of practical examples and exercises greatly facilitates the presentation of the material.
By my count, there are only 250 words in the Hebrew-English vocabulary, which is far too few for easy Hebrew reading. However, many more words are used in the lessons, with considerable repetition, so they will be learned readily. This book also has the advantages of being easy to read and enjoyable. I commend it to you.
Tall Tales Told & Retold in Biblical Hebrew
Joseph Anderson and Devora Lipshitz
(Oakland, CA: EKS Publishing, 1983) 90 pp., $9.95, paperback
This volume of non-Biblical, children’s stories is designed to be used as supplementary reading to The First Hebrew Primer for Adults (reviewed above). The 16 stories are adapted from such familiar tales as “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” “Hansel and Gretel,” etc., with modifications as necessary to put the stories into Biblical Hebrew. The total vocabulary used in the tales is 278 words, most of them of high frequency in the Bible. A word bank of 83 common words gives the words the reader will need to know at the beginning, and the page preceding each tale gives a vocabulary list of new words, idioms and proper names needed for that story. A grammatical index refers the reader to The First Hebrew Primer for Adults for further discussion of the relevant points, and a glossary lists every word used in every tale. Reading the tales is a delight that should interest adults as well as children.
Handbook of Biblical Hebrew; An Inductive Approach Based on the Hebrew Text of Esther
William Sanford La Sor
(Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1978) Vol. I, Reading Lessons Keyed to the Grammar, 195 pp.; Vol. II, Grammar, Synoptic Paradigms, Basic Vocabulary, 283 pp.; Vol. III, Esther, 18 pp.; $14.95 for the set, paperback
Using the text of Esther and other selections from the Hebrew Bible, this work presents the elements of Hebrew. Each of the 80 lessons is presented on two facing pages, so the student does not have to turn pages while working on that lesson. Constant repetition is mechanically built into the work, and a basic vocabulary of 700 words is provided in word-lists that, so far as practical, are keyed to the lessons. There are no sentence “exercises” and no memorization of paradigms. Instead, the emphasis is placed on learning the recognition elements of word forms. Volume III is the Hebrew text of Esther. The student should use volumes I and II for preparation, but use volume III by itself (without any notes written in). You should learn to force your memory to work!
New Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies
(Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, revised ed., 1987) 583 pp., $27.95
Touted as a work “for use in gaining a more correct understanding of the original Old Testament Scriptures,” this is a new printing of a 19th-century volume, to which have been added marginal references keyed to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance and to the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Despite being photocopied from the original edition, the print is clear. This book is useful for someone who is working from the King James Version and who wants to get back to the Hebrew word for which the English is a translation. If used with the referenced works and with other, more modern, Bible translations, this book will be quite helpful. It will certainly be easier to work with than simply using Strong’s (or Young’s) concordance alone. For instance, Wilson gives 23 examples of the word “grow” with different Hebrew words and then appends an exhaustive list of other passages where the word is used. Strong or Young will help you to find a passage from an English word; Wilson will help you to study that word in several contexts in the original language.
Basic Greek in 30 Minutes a Day
Jim Found (with Bruce Olson, ed.)
(Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, revised ed. 1983) 336 pp., $9.95, paperback
As the author states, “This book will not make you into a Greek ‘scholar,’ but you will reap the benefits of understanding the Bible better from learning the basic Greek presented here.” The author notes that “his knowledge of Greek is derived from personal study of the textbook by J. Gresham Machen”—hardly a compelling qualification—but further reading of the work indicates that Jim Found did more than simply study Machen.
The opening lessons on the alphabet are extremely simple—a child could learn them readily. Word meanings are learned mainly by English cognates, with much use of matching the words to drawings and of exercises in sentence completion. Sentences are drawn largely from the New Testament Greek to English only; the student is not expected to translate from English to Greek, a process that produces more errors than good Greek. New words and forms appear with sufficient repetition and often in the context of important scriptural passages. Despite being reproduced from typescript, the volume has clear typefaces; the sigma, however, when written before certain other letters, looks much like an omicron. The book’s methodology is excellent, and the author gives very good, practical suggestions for word-study and for the proper use of concordances, lexicons and commentaries.
Essentials of New Testament Greek
(Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1950) 171 pp., $11.95
This book has little to recommend it. Its 33 lessons are each divided into “Lexical Study,” “Grammatical Study,” and “Practical Application.” The last-named provides exercises in writing sentences (Greek-English and English-Greek) that are not taken from the New Testament, and so are of little future usefulness. There is also a stress on paradigms with little or no explanation of how the forms (phonetic rules, morphology, etc.) came to be. Worst of all, the vocabulary of approximately 300 words is not nearly enough to read the New Testament easily.
A Greek Grammar of the New Testament; A Workbook Approach to Intermediate Grammar
Curtis Vaughan and Virtus E. Gideon
(Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1979) 236 pp., $11.95
Intended for students who have completed one year of Greek, the six units in this workbook cover (1) a review of the parts of speech; (2) interpretation of cases (the beginning of syntax); and (3–6) lessons on the article, verb, participles/infinitives and clauses/sentences. The authors make good use of sentence diagrams to illustrate syntax but the book would have benefited from more use of Greek text and less use of empty pages for the writing out of translations. I do not consider it useful for a beginner in Greek.
Handbook of New Testament Greek; An Inductive Approach Based on the Greek Text of Acts
William Sanford La Sor
(Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973) Vol. I, Reading Lessons Keyed to the Grammar, 260 pp., Vol. II, Grammar, Synoptic Paradigms, Basic Vocabulary, 310 pp.; $24.95 for the set, paperback
Following the inductive approach, this handbook teaches New Testament Greek using the text of Acts 1–17. Elements of the language are introduced gradually, with stress on syntax and basic vocabulary. Sentence diagrams help to present syntax, while vocabulary is, as far as practical, keyed to the lessons. Since 35% of the New Testament vocabulary is composed of words that occur only once, and another 30% is composed of words that occur two to four times, the student is advised not to attempt to memorize these words, bur rather to learn the 700 high-frequency words given in the lessons. There are no translations from English to Greek, and no artificial sentences: All is from the New Testament.
A New Short Grammar of the Greek Testament
A. T. Robertson and W. Hersey Davis
(Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 10th ed., 1985) 454 pp., $12.95, paperback
A venerable Greek grammar—first published in 1908—this text is for students “familiar with the elements of Greek.” As could be expected from such an old work, which has had little revision since 1933, it contains some material that is now either disputed or rejected. The nine-page bibliography in particular should have been updated, for it contains nothing since 1931. Although the long and labored section on “Consonant Change” uses antiquated terminology, it does hold much information that seems to have been lost in more recent grammars. This book’s emphasis on accents is still followed by many teachers, although there were no accents in the earliest New Testament manuscripts, and, except for a few instances where words that are spelled the same are differentiated by the accent, accents are of no use to the student of the New Testament.
The presentation of the third declension requires much needless memorization that could be avoided by teaching phonetic rules to students. Similarly, the principal parts of some important verbs are useful for reference, but by no means should the student be forced 054to learn them. Rather, the student should be taught to recognize the indicators within words by repeated exposure to them, just as a child comes to recognize them. I fail to understand why this work was reprinted without significant revision, especially in its methodology.
Learn to Read the Greek New Testament
(Sydney, Australia: Anzea Publishers; Exeter, U.K.: The Paternoster Press; Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 4th ed., 1983) 336 pp., $19.95
Presented as a new approach based on the natural method of language acquisition aided by modern linguistic science, this text is quite similar to the inductive method. Powers first presents minimal basic foundations, which should require about a fortnight’s study, and then expects the student to work from Mark or John. According to the author, the Greek text itself is more important than the manual. The detailed appendices on conjugation, declension, phonemics and morphology, as well as the bibliography, Greek vocabulary and indexes fill more than a third of the book. An excellent presentation of basic principles for teachers will be found in appendix B. Using this book will take a lot of effort by the student, but the results should be most rewarding.
Mastering New Testament Greek; A Beginning Greek Grammar, Including Lesson Plans for Intermediate and Advanced Greek Students
W. Harold Mare
(Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1979) 253 pp., $14.95
The dust jacket of this book claims that both “the inductive and deductive approaches to language study are utilized,” but this is questionable. More accurate is Mare’s statement that it “is not intended to be an exhaustive grammar of the Greek New Testament, but in it are compiled the necessary essentials needed by the beginning Greek student.” One of the book’s most serious failures is the readings given in “A Simplified Greek Reader on the Gospel of John.” These greatly alter the sentences of John, amounting to a virtual rewriting of John. Why? John is simple enough to begin with. Although Mare gives examples of diagramming of Greek sentences and provides a Greek syntax chart, the book really does not contain much on syntax. I cannot recommend it for self-teaching; with a teacher, a real tough teacher, it might work.
(An additional self-study guide for Greek is reviewed on p. 51.)
Annotated Bibliography of Additional Works to Help You Study Hebrew and Greek
Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1972). This is reprinted from the Bagster edition, long in use. Every form in the Old Testament appears, in alphabetical order, and is parsed for you. If you don’t work the Analytical, you won’t learn much. Try parsing the word first; after you look it up, ask yourself what you should have noted to help you identify it.
Andersen, Frances I. The Sentence in Biblical Hebrew (The Hague, Netherlands: Mouton, 1974). Based on “discourse grammar” as opposed to “traditional grammar,” with use of linguistic terms frequently understood only by those working in modern linguistics.
Brown, Francis, Samuel R. Driver and Charles A. Briggs (eds.). A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, with an Appendix Containing the Biblical Aramaic, based on the lexicon of W. Gesenius as translated by Edward Robinson (Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press, 1907, printed with corrections 1953 and more recently in 1962). The best lexicon for careful study of words in context.
Cowley, A. E. (ed.). Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar, as Edited and Enlarged by the Late E. Kautsch, Second English Edition Revised in Accordance with the Twenty-eighth German Edition (1909) (Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press, 1946 ). The most thorough Hebrew grammar in English.
Driver, Godfrey R. Problems of the Hebrew Verbal System (Old Testament Studies, 2) (Edinburgh, UK: T. & T. Clark, 1936). The work of a scholar with wide knowledge and great imagination. As a result, there is much stimulation and, at the same time, much need for discernment.
Driver, Samuel R. A Treatise on the Use of the Tenses in Hebrew (Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press, 3d ed., revised and improved, 1892). Worth studying and using, in spite of its date.
Einspahr, Bruce. Index to Brown, Driver, and Briggs Hebrew Lexicon (Chicago: Moody Press, 1976). This has every word as it appears in Biblical sequence, the Hebrew, the basic English meaning, and reference to the page in BDB.
Even-Shoshan, A. A New Concordance of the Bible (Jerusalem: Kiryat Sefer Publishing House, 1981). This is a concordance of the Hebrew Bible, with the contexts in Hebrew, printed in a small but very clear typeface. I find it much easier to use than the well-known Mandelkern. All words appearing in the Bible are listed by root, and then in single alphabetical order by the form of that root in which they occur. The main meanings are given and frequently synonyms also. All quotations from the Bible are fully vocalized. The user will need to know the Hebrew names of the books of the Bible and the numerical values of the letters. Definitely for the student taking the “high road”—and I hope some of you will.
Green, Jay (ed.). The Interlinear Hebrew/Greek English Bible: Four Volume Edition (Wilmington, DE: Associated Publishers and Authors, 1976). When I first studied Latin (Caesar’s Gallic Wars) and was about to flunk out, my teacher told me to “get a pony” (an interlinear) and use it properly. I did, and I became an A-student in Latin. The important words are use it properly. Be sure you learn the forms, the grammatical elements, the syntax, and not just the meanings of words.
The New Englishman’s Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance (Wilmington, DE: Associated Publishers and Authors, 1975). This is a reproduction of The Englishman’s Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance, first published in 1843, which has been keyed to the numbers in Strong’s Concordance. Every occurrence of each Hebrew word is given, and a few words of the context for each reference.
Nida, Eugene A., and C. R. Taber. The Theory and Practice of Translation (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1974 ). This discusses “a new concept of translating” in which the response of the “receptor” (reader, hearer) is more important than the form. “The Scriptures must be intelligible to non-Christians, and if they are, they will be intelligible to Christians” (p. 31). You will need to learn some of the jargon used by modern linguists.
Williams, R. J. Hebrew Syntax: An Outline (Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press, 1967). This is, as the title suggests, an outline, but quite useful.
Aland, Kurt, M. Black, Bruce M. Metzger and A. Wikgren (eds.). The New Testament in Greek and English: The Greek Text of the United Bible Societies and Today’s English Version (New York: American Bible Society, 1966). Greek text and English (TEV) side-by-side with indices of quotations, subjects, and glossary. For those who want to use a modern translation, yet compare it with the Greek text. Beautifully printed and bound.
Alsop, John R. Index to the Arndt and Gingrich Greek Lexicon (Santa Ana, CA: Wycliffe Bible Translators, 1964). Each Greek word as it appears in the New Testament is listed in sequence, with its meaning, and with its page and location in 055Arndt and Gingrich given. Useful when working through a passage.
Analytical Greek Lexicon Revised (New York: Harper and Row, n.d.). Even one experienced in the language needs this once in a while, because of the way Greek and Hebrew lexicons are constructed. (You have to know the language in order to find a word in them!)
Arndt, William F., and F. W. Gingrich. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature: A Translation and Adaptation of Walter Bauer’s Griechisch-Deutsches Worterbuch … (Fourth Revised and Augmented Edition, 1952) (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1957). Absolutely indispensible for serious study; learn how to use it!
Blass, Friedrich, and Albert Debrunner. A Greek Grammar of the New Testament, and Other Early Christian Literature, translated and revised from the 9th–10th German edition by R. W. Funk (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1961). This work will be valuable to those who already know the essentials of Greek.
Burton, Ernest de W. Syntax of the Moods and Tenses in New Testament Greek (Edinburgh, UK: T. & T. Clark, 1955 ). A classic on the subject. To be used only by those who have considerable experience in Greek studies.
Dana, Harvey E., and Julius R. Mantey. A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament (New York: Macmillan, 1960 ). Like Machen’s work, this was much used in seminaries. It should be used in connection with a beginner’s work. Strong on syntax, it is deficient in phonology and in phonetics.
Goetchius, Eugene van Ness. The Language of the New Testament (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1965). Presented in the traditional manner, but using New Testament Greek words and texts, instead of artificially constructed examples. Illustrations of how to write the Greek alphabet are correct (many grammars use incorrect forms). Emphasis on syntax from earliest lessons onward.
Goodwin, William W. Greek Grammar, revised by C. B. Gulick (New York: Ginn and Company, 1958 ). Very thorough.
Kittel, Gerhard, and G. Friedrich (eds.). Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, tr. and ed. G. W. Bromiley (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 10 vols., 1964–1976). Work on the German original was begun in 1928 and completed in 1973. Obviously much in the earlier volumes must be used carefully in the light of more recent research, but this is still the work to use for careful word study.
Marshall, A. The Interlinear Greek-English New Testament: The Nestle Greek Text with a Literal English Translation (London: Samuel Bagster and Sons, 1967 ). Based on the 21st edition of the Nestle text; KJV in the side margins. See the annotation on the Interlinear Hebrew/Greek-English Bible above.
Metzger, Bruce M. Lexical Aids for Students of New Testament Greek (London: Allenson & Co., 1955). A very helpful work. Use it!
Morgenthaler, Robert. Statistik des neutestamentlichen Wortschatzes (Zurich, Austria: Gotthelf-Verlag, 1958). Don’t let the German title frighten you! The frequency and distribution of every word in the Greek New Testament are given: the words in Greek and the figures in customary Arabic numerals. Essential for word-study in individual books of the New Testament.
Moule, Charles F. D. An Idiom-Book of New Testament Greek (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1960 [1952, 1958]). A standard work of high value for the study of idioms.
Moulton, Harold K. (ed.). The Analytical Greek Lexicon (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishering House, n.d.). This appears to be a reprint of the original work by Bagster. Useful for identifying forms, but don’t use it as a crutch.
Moulton, James H. A Grammar of New Testament Greek, Vol. I, Prolegomena (Edinburgh, UK: T. & T. Clark, 1906, 3d. ed. 1908); Vol II, Accidence and Word-Formation (finished by W. F. Howard, 1929); Vol. III, Syntax (by N. Turner, 1963). The third volume is particularly recommended.
Moulton, William F., and Alfred S. Geden. A Concordance to the Greek Testament (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1926 ). The best in English.
Robertson, Archibald T. A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1931 ). Too complicated and prolix for the average student.
Smyth, Herbert W. Greek Grammar, revised by G. M. Messing (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 1963 [1920, 1956]). Very thorough, well arranged. The List of Verbs is helpful unless you are wedded to an Analytical.
Stegenga, J. The Greek English Analytical Concordance of the Greek-English New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1963). Easier on the eyes than the Analytical Greek Lexicon.
You say you would like to learn Hebrew or Greek to help your study of the Bible, but you just can’t memorize thousands of words? Take heart! The necessary vocabulary is smaller than you might imagine.