A beloved tune will echo through the halls of Tennessee Bible College this fall—but the words will sound foreign.

That’s because the students, a younger crowd than usual, will be singing “Jesus Loves Me” in Greek. They’ll also be learning words in the language from which the New Testament originates. It’s all part of a new class designed for local homeschooled students.

“This class will help students in their study of the Bible as we look at words for God, Christ, church and other important terms,” said TBC’s vice president, Kerry Duke, who will be teaching the class. “It will also help them to avoid common misuses of Greek.”

Duke has been teaching Greek to college students for almost 30 years. He has also taught it to homeschooled students—but not this many. Fourteen are enrolled so far, their grade levels ranging from first to ninth grade.

“We will have separate classes for different age groups, so this will be a challenge for me,” Duke said. “But I will try to make this class as fun as possible as well as educational. Students will learn to sing songs in Greek and learn the Greek form of names like John and Paul.”

All students will have a parent taking the class along with them.

Susan Reeder of Smith County—one of the founders of the local Three Sisters Homeschool Group and category IV homeschool umbrella school Tennessee Christian Academy (along with Jennifer Burkett and Jessica Reeder)—is one of those moms. She’ll be attending along with daughter Hannah, a second grader.

“We are both eager to learn Greek together,” Reeder said. “Hannah is most excited about learning to sing ‘Jesus Loves Me’ in Greek! It will also be fun to learn with her and hopefully hold on to snippets to teach to my two toddler-age children.”

Duke noted that many English words have Greek roots and that knowing the language will give them an advantage in almost any field of study.

“For instance, suppose students wanted to enter the medical field,” he said. “By taking Greek, they will recognize words like cardiac (from cardia, heart) or hematology (from haima, blood, and logos, a word or study).”

The Greek class for homeschoolers will meet starting Sept. 11 at the TBC campus on Mondays and online via Zoom meetings on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Participants are from all over the Upper Cumberland area, and most are part of the Three Sisters Homeschool Group or attend West End Church of Christ in Livingston.

“The children are excited to learn another language and to be able to use some phrases in Greek and get a glimpse into Greek culture,” Reeder said. “I think the moms are eager to have a deeper understanding of the Bible. It is really unique to be able to learn Greek right along with your children.”

Duke’s and Reeder’s hopes for the class is that it will continue to grow.

“At this point it is for a local group of homeschoolers,” Duke said. “Who knows what the future will hold?”

Reeder said, “Our goal is to offer more seats in the Greek class to families enrolled in Tennessee Christian Academy. TCA also wants to help promote Tennessee Bible College to our high school base as a valuable college opportunity, especially for those in the Upper Cumberland region.”

-Amy Davis, TBC Correspondent