Learning Hebrew or Greek for Beginners

I am often asked about the best programs out there for learning Greek or Hebrew without a college course or tutor. Over the years I have explored a number of language software programs, and in my view the one with the very best method for the general student is Biblingo.

I majored in Greek in college and began with classical (Homer to Xenophon) and ended up specializing in New Testament and early Christian Literature. In graduate school at Chicago my Ph.D. was in the Humanities in a rare department independent of the Divinity School, by that very name: NT & ECL, with an emphasis on reading texts of the Hellenistic period. My first Greek exam was over Allen P. Wikgren’s, marvelous Hellenistic Greek Texts (Chicago, 1947)–out of print but still available at the link. Wikgren includes LXX, Philo, Josephus, New Testament, Apostolic fathers, various other Hellenistic authors, and papyri, with a wonderful vocabulary lexicon included in the book. We used the German classic Blass-Debrunner, Greek Grammar of the New Testament trans. Robert Funk (Chicago, 1961).

My Hebrew began with Weingreen, A Practical Grammar for Classical Hebrew Studies, 2nd edition (Oxford, 1959), which I still think is the best for the beginner. I then took reading courses with the late, great, Gustav Ahlstrom and read Dead Sea Scrolls with David Wilmot at the Oriental Institute–recently renamed “Institute for the Study of Ancient Cultures.”

These resources are great for college level courses with a qualified teacher, but for one who is beginning from scratch and has a primary interest in reading Hebrew Bible and the Greek New Testament and related literature, I think Biblingo is the place to start. It is important to combine the visual with hearing the language spoken–and Bibliolingo allows one to do just that, with a choice of pronunciations from ancient to modern. You can try it out for free. I have no endorsement connection with Bibliolingo–I just consider them the best for most general learners.

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