Lesson 41 — Fluency Development:
Words Used 900+ Times in the NT

Extensive Reading

What we have done up to now in Acts has been intensive reading:  seeking to understand each and every word, and to go deep into the meaning of one verse.

This is not the only kind of reading that is important, however.  In terms of language learning, it is also important to do extensive reading:  reading longer passages at one sitting.  Words that you don't recognize, you guess at their meaning and keep going.

This is the same kind of reading I do when I read a novel.  Here is an excerpt from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, with words highlighted where I am not entirely sure of the meaning.

 "Yes, yes, my dear sir - and I do know your name, Mr. Bilbo Baggins. And you do know my name, though you don't remember that I belong to it. I am Gandalf, and Gandalf means me! To think that I should have lived to be good-morninged by Belladonna Took's son, as if I was selling buttons at the door!"

"Gandalf, Gandalf! Good gracious me! Not the wandering wizard that gave Old Took a pair of magic diamond
studs that fastened themselves and never came undone till ordered? Not the fellow who used to tell such wonderful tales at parties, about dragons and goblins and giants and the rescue of princesses and the unexpected luck of widows' sons? Not the man that used to make such particularly excellent fireworks! I remember those! Old Took used to have them on Midsummer's Eve. Splendid! They used to go up like great lilies and snapdragons and laburnums of fire and hang in the twilight all evening!" You will notice already that Mr. Baggins was not quite so prosy as he liked to believe, also that he was very fond of flowers.

When I read a novel, I am reading for fun.  I don't stop to look up every word I run into that I don't know.  I just make a guess.  For instance, looking at the context of the words in blue above, I am moderately certain that "studs" refer to cufflinks.  It has been decades since I wore a shirt at had cufflinks, and even then I didn't call them "studs".  And I am pretty sure I never, ever owned a set of cufflinks that came undone inadvertenly.  The design of cufflinks I always used had a little bar that you rotated through 90°.  With this design, no cufflink ever gets lost.

On the other hand, "studs" could potentially be something you attach to the collar of your shirt, to hold down the tips of the collar.  In any case, I am not quite sure what Tolkien (or Bilbo) had in mind.  While I'm pretty sure that "laburnums" refer to a type of flower, I have no idea at all exactly what sort of flower. 

After reading (and rereading) The Hobbit over and over again for the last 50 years, I don't think I have ever picked up a dictionary to check these two words.  I just enjoy the book so much, that I press ahead after making my guess about the meaning as I go.

Research in language acquisition suggests that this sort of reading can be hugely helpful for us in learning Greek better.  This is part of the idea with having a "Reader's Edition" of the Greek New Testament.

However, your published reader's edition only lists words used less than 31 times.  At this point in your career as a Greek student, there are still quite a number of common words that you have not yet learned that don't make it into the footnotes.  So I shall be producing a series of "student-reader editions" of passages from the New Testament. 

Today, it will be John 1, where Jesus meets several of his disciples for the first time. 



But before you head into the passage, review flashcards for the words that are used 900+ times in the NT.  Believe it or not, there are only 20 words in this stack of cards...but together they comprise 46.7% of the contents of the whole New Testament!!

Click here to review them in random order. 

This is a genuinely random mix.  This means you could see one word twice in a row one time through, and then not again for a long time.

Click here to review them sequentially, from (within this group of 20 words) the most common to the least common.


Read John 1 To Yourself and Understand What is Being Said

If you want to print John 1, with all the vocabulary helps below the verses, you can open this PDF file.  It is 20 pages long.

If you prefer to read this chapter on screen, click here to read in your browser.


Listen to John 1

Once you have read the chapter, then follow along in your hard copy GNT, and listen to John Schwandt read it aloud.


Read John 1 Aloud

Now that you have translated the chapter, and listened to the chapter being read, please take the time to read this chapter aloud yourself.