I’ve started recently taking the advice of several folks regarding Greek composition. I’ve known for a while that only way I’ll learn the language well is to express my own thought in it. As I’ve been reading through the Psalms, I’ve finally changed my strategy to include a small bit of Greek composition. I had been going through bit by bit, attempting to learn all of the words I didn’t know. This was quite tedious, since there are so many words I don’t know!
What I have discovered is that I know enough to get a gist of what’s going on by a few re-readings. For instance, I can usually pick out the transition in a Psalm. Today, I was in Psalm 10 (LXX, Psalm 11 in our English Bibles) and the contrast was between the ungodly, and the righteous Lord. By focusing on the bigger picture instead of the granular details, I’m able to keep the whole Psalm in view much better. I know I’m missing details, but it’s much less tiresome and much more rewarding this way.
After reading a few times, I start to summarize the Psalms in Greek. I’ll vary the wording so I don’t just end up copying out of the Psalms. Where I can, I’ll use synonyms. After some summary, the reflection into a prayer. The prayers aren’t terribly long (and a First Century kindergartener would no doubt put me to shame in terms of style and vocab!) , but I must say that they’re tremendously helpful, especially spiritually. Thankfully, God has turned these into wonderful devotional moments! I’m starting to appreciate the Psalms in a way I never have before. I’m both learning lots of Greek, and constantly seeing the God for whom I’m doing so.
Πιστος εστιν ὁ Κυριος!