Is reading Greek a habit for you? Do you struggle to use Greek in your everyday life? Have you ever felt frustrated that you feel so unmotivated to put into practice your knowledge of the language?
People who read their Greek every day don't have to think about it. They don't have to do much planning for it either. They just do it. Reading Greek has become a habit for them. It's like brushing your teeth or eating three meals a day or going to work. Sporadic readers, on the other hand, spend more time thinking about reading Greek than actually doing it. They conjure up a dozen different strategies to get back into the text. They haven't yet learned to make reading Greek into a habit, something that is second nature to them.
Running is a good analogy. How many of us began to run or do some other form of exercise but then quickly lost interest. Me? I can't not exercise. It's become a daily routine that I enjoy immensely. In an article in the British Journal of General Practice called Making Health Habitual: The Psychology of 'Habit Formation' and General Practice, the authors set forth the four steps they have found most successful in terms of healthy habit formation:
1. Decide on a goal.
2. Choose a daily action that will help you achieve that goal.
3. Plan a consistent time and place when you will complete your goal.
4. Do the action.
The most important thing is to get started. The next most important thing is to keep at it. If running isn't fun, then try walking or cycling or swimming or hiking. But if something isn't fun, the odds are you'll lose interest quickly. There is a big difference between those who read their Greek because
they enjoy it, and those who read their Greek because they feel it's a
duty. Everything changes when you fall in love with your Greek New
Testament. You just can't put it down. Anyone who is willing to carve
the time out of his or her life and commit to daily reading can
- Patience is your most important tool.
- Tenacity is as essential as talent.
- To do great things you have to be willing to fail.
- Nothing of value is ever achieved without sacrifice.
- Many prefer to read the Bible in the morning before the day gets too crazy. I know I do. But you need to set your own time.
Yeah, yeah, I know we can't all be at the level of a Don Carson or a Stan Porter. But we can give it our very best effort. No matter what anybody says, it's okay to use an interlinear Greek New Testament or a Greek-English diglot if that will get you back into the text. As a preacher once put it, "Halitosis is better than no breath at all." Besides, what other people think of you is none of your business. Be the best steward of your time and resources that you can be!