I received this question:

I am a student of Henle First year latin, and I’m wondering how on earth will I ever be able to read the New Testament at the end of this book! All we ever learn about is the Romans and the Gauls killing each other, and the vocabulary seems  totally different that what would be in the Bible. Will this course really prepare me to read the New Testament?

Thank you for all your hard work teaching Latin. I went from being the worst Latin student in my class to being one of the best thanks to you. Also in lesson 9 (I think it was lesson 9) of Henle 1st year latin, you were loosing your voice, and you quoted Lego Batman: “I can only look you in the eyes right now” HAHAHA I laughed aloud– I love that movie! Your jokes and practical advice make Latin so much more enjoyable.


Here is my reply:

To be honest, First Year Latin by Robert Henle isn’t going to do much to prepare you to read the New Testament in Latin.   It WILL teach you the grammar you need, and that’s good. 

But, you are correct, the words you learn in First Year Latin are generally worthless when you open the New Testament.  First Year Latin is designed to get you ready to read Caesar’s Gallic Wars, which is the focus of Second Year Latin by Robert Henle.  Sadly, it doesn’t even really prepare you for that. 

The first book teaches you 497 words.  That just isn’t enough when you show up ready to read a real book like one of the gospels… or, Caesar’s Gallic Wars, for that matter.

The solution?  Read Lingua Latina.  It’s as simple as that.  First Year Latin by Robert Henle teaches you the grammar of Latin (Lingua Latina does, too), but leaves students woefully underprepared in vocabulary. 

Lingua Latina, on the other hand, teaches students almost 2,000 words… in the first book.  Students who finish Lingua Latina find they can read the New Testament gospels in Latin with relative ease.


If you are learning Latin, I have written a book with all of my best tips and strategies.  It’s available as a free download here: https://dwanethomas.com/via/

If you are interested in learning Latin, you can go through the classes on my site 24/7.  I recommend the book Lingua Latina by Hans Ørberg.  If you tackle the book and find yourself bogged down, you may find the classes on my site helpful.  To join, just click here: https://dwanethomas.com/join/

If you want a more professionally filmed experience, check out the best-selling DVD series: Visual Latin.

Or, if you want to skip Latin, and just jump right into learning English words from Latin and Greek roots, you may enjoy the series Word up!  Warning.   Word up! is a bit wacky.  You will learn a lot… but, you may find yourself rolling your eyes, too.

By the way, some of the links in this post are affiliate links. Not trying to pull a fast one on you. I only promote what I believe in.