(This is a message I shared this summer with our Hebrew students at RTS Jackson enrolled in the Summer Institute of Biblical Languages.)

I love helping students learn Hebrew. Here are a few rules that can help you do well in the class this summer.

  1. Never walk alone. Find a couple friends to study with every day. You are likely to die if you try to cross this rubicon alone. The amount of motivation and discipline that a study group gives students cannot be overestimated. Do not be afraid to ask students around you when & where they study, then just show up & join them. Everybody is supposed to be doing the same things every day, you might as well do it together.

  2. Ask for help early, ask for help often. Show up to tutoring. Every year there are people that don’t start coming to tutoring until they are about to fall off the cliff, don’t be that guy. Ask TAs for help, we will gladly do all we can. Do not be intimidated by students in the class who seem to be ahead, come talk to us.

  3. When you get things wrong in the homework or on the quiz, make sure you go back and fix it! Keep a list of things you are not great at, then plan to review them as soon as possible. Use your Saturdays and other study days to cover that material.

  4. You will soon start learning vocabulary words. Write this on your heart: Hebrew is a vocab game. You need to work on your vocab every day. Always have at least three piles of cards (words you know in your sleep, words you struggle with, new words you are learning). The further you get into Hebrew, the more of your success will be decided by your mastering of the vocabulary. Killing Hebrew I & II is a vocabulary game, Hebrew III is all about vocabulary, and guess what else?! You will need to know the words on the page if you want to one day read your Hebrew Bible! So know your vocabulary.