Here’s a proven method for vocabulary card creation, study and mastery. It’s based on the principle, familiar to some, called “conditioning” (“conditioned reflex”). In the 1890s Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov demonstrated a repetitive occurrence in the behavior of dogs when presented with food accompanied by an additional stimulus (e.g., ringing a bell). Each time the dogs were presented with food, evoking salivation, a bell was rung simultaneously. After numerous trials of food presentation, accompanied by a ringing bell, with consistent occurrences of salivation by the dogs, the trials were run the ringing without food being presented—yet the dogs continued to salivate in successive trials.
This same “conditioning” principle is very effective in producing consistent memory results when studying Greek vocabulary. Since most pre-printed vocabulary cards only include the Greek word on the front of the card with the corresponding definition on the back, it’s important to create your own vocabulary cards with an important addition. Even if you use pre-printed cards, adding this additional information is critically important. “What is the additional information?” you may ask. It is simply this: Write the Greek vocabulary word (learning occurs here, too) not only on the front of the vocabulary card, but also on the back of the card—with the definition immediately under it. In this way, you are associating the original Greek word (i.e., the “bell”) with its definition (i.e., the “food”), so that, when you turn the card over to the front side, even though it’s not really there, after repetitive viewings you will actually “see” the definition under the Greek word on the front side of the card as well! In a sense, you can “salivate” all the way through your study of frequently used New Testament Greek vocabulary in gaining a mastery of those words. Try it; it really does work!!