Learn Hebrew Quickly

Biblical Hebrew through Modern Linguistic Pedagogy

A lecture series by Mario Melendez
In partnership with Oklahoma Baptist University

About the Course

Biblical Hebrew is often a daunting begrudged course of study. In this course Dr. Mario Melendez presents biblical Hebrew through this 14-part video lecture series recorded at Oklahoma Baptist University. In this course, Mario introduces biblical Hebrew and simple principles to grasp the language quickly. Where many Biblical Hebrew courses take several semesters to achieve reading capability, at Oklahoma Baptist University students achieve reading capability in one semester. Each lecture is an average of 20 minutes long, making it very usable for group or individual study. Be sure to purchase the grammar book before going into lesson one; Hebrew Grammar: Implicit Learning by Elaborative Encoding (College and Clayton, 2023). Enjoy the journey, for the Hebrew Language will captivate and help you to enjoy the Bible more!

About the Author

Mario Melendez (Ph.D., New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary) is assistant professor of Old Testament and the Auguie Henry Chair of Bible at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, OK. He is also an ordained Southern Baptist minister and has served in Hispanic, Asian, and English churches. You can find more on his website.


This book and course utilizes the learning theories known as Implicit Learning & Elaborative Encoding (also known as Elaborative Rehearsal). Mastery of grammar and vocabulary words is often accomplished by rote rehearsal. Rote memory, however, often fails to relate significance or to assign meaning to the new information. The value of ER theory is that it consciously and intentionally relates the significance and meaning of the new information to established or long-term memory. Like a child though, implicit learning is the natural unconscious act of  language learning. Truly, Implicit Learning comes with many errors but yields a quicker handling of the language. Implicit learning methods utilized in this course are: Interlinear Reading, Colored Marking, and Auditory Learning.

To learn Hebrew through our method devote yourself to:

  • Learn The 12 Principles
  • Learn all high frequency words (Any word utilized over 40x’s in the Hebrew Bible)
  • Read Hebrew every day!


Read “Reasons & Hamilton Method of Reading.”

While it may seem strange to provide interlinear translations, this is done on purpose for several reasons:

  • To maintain the one-to-one correspondence. Such a correspondence aids in learning vocabulary. After all, your aim is not to be a translator, but a reader!
  • To ensure use of the original language. If the English were “smoothed” then there would be great temptation to read the English text only.
  • To help learn syntax of the original language. Syntax and translation issues becomes obvious when the original language is the primary reading language.
  • To provide a fun means of reading. When you handle just the biblical text, then you waste so much time going back to a lexicon. By using an interlinear, reading can be more enjoyable, for frustration is much lower. As the weeks progress, earlier encountered high frequency words will be replaced with a “-“.
Hebrew Interlinear Setup Procedure
  1. Open the program in any web browser/window.
  2. Make certain that the “REF:” box is set to an Old Testament passage.
  3. To Open Interlinear Hebrew: Click on the “ESV” box, down arrow.
  4. Once the special box opens, simply notice that the ESV has already been selected for you as the “English” text. I recommend you use this version as it will work with the Hebrew interlinear.
  5. To find the link for the OHB, click on the word “Ancient” in the top right corner of the special box.
  6. Then, scroll down the list of ancient texts and click on the OHB.
  7. You will be offered a button to “Update Display Order”: click this button.
  8. When both the ESV and OHB show in blue boxes on the screen, simply click and drag the OHB box upwardly to place the OHB box above the ESV. This helps enable the morphology to be driven from the Hebrew.
  9. Click the “OK” when OHB is above the “ESV”
  10. Then, once that box closes, Click the “Gear” button just to the right of the “Thumbs Up” icon. From that selection box, click the “Interlinear” button.

Lesson 1: Aleph-Bet Principle

The most challenging aspect of learning Biblical Hebrew is mastering the alphabet. The script of the letters looks nothing like the Latin / Roman script as utilized by English, Spanish, French, among many other languages. Once the various letters and their corresponding sounds are mastered, the overall grammar of Hebrew proves to be remarkably straightforward.

  • Lesson 1 exercises : Sound out the Names
  • Exegetical Gems Chapter 1
  • 70 Hebrew Words chapter 1

Lesson 2: Components of the Biblical Text

The text of the Hebrew Bible text is known as a “pointed text.” A pointed text includes both vowel points and accent marks. Modern Israeli newspapers and books are unpointed texts; that is, the text consists only of printed consonants. The pointed text will yield three primary vowels: /a/, /i/, and /u/. Secondary vowels would be O and E. As you learn to read Hebrew and read often, you will learn to not read the vowel points but rather utilize the natural vowel sound that comes between the consonants. By not reading the points you will increase your reading speed. For now though, learn the vowel point sounds and practice reading them in the assignments.

  • Lesson 2 exercises : Practice Reading Vowels
  • Exegetical Gems Chapter 3

Lesson 3: Helpful Reminders for Reading

When learning the Hebrew aleph-bet you often find that בְּגַד כְּפַת (Begad Kefat) letters may have a “dot” called a dagesh (דָּגֵשׁ) in the letter. In three of the letters (בּ, פּ, תּ) a “hardening” or strengthening can occur in the sound of the letter. The Masoretes included a second type of דָּגֵשׁ known as the dagesh forte (strong dot). This דָּגֵשׁ doubles the consonant in which it appears.

In addition to the vowel pointing, the Masoretic pointing of the Hebrew Bible has, in addition to vowel pointing, included a symbol known as a sheva/שְׁוָא. The sheva/שְׁוָא appears as a colon (:) directly under a letter as in the word שְׁוָא itself. The sheva can either be an “e” or can designate a break for syllable pronunciation.

  • Lesson 3 exercises : Identify Syllables

Lesson 4: H-Abimelech and SUS Principles

H-Abimelech Principle

Hebrew is not only a consonantal language, but a contract language (linguistically we call this Synthetic). Thus, one word can have numerous letters added onto the word which results in multiple English words when translated. The most common contractions come from 6 letters that can be added as an affix to the primary word. Some of these are considered inseparable prepositions for they cannot stand alone. The name Abimelech is an acronym to aid in memorizing these prefixes.

SUS Principle

Hebrew nouns are identified by gender (masculine or feminine), number (singular or plural), and state (absolute and construct). The word form found in the dictionary is the masculine singular absolute, or feminine singular absolute. Biblical Hebrew has no neuter. Like the H-Abimelech letters added to the front of a word, a noun’s number and gender are determined by the suffix additions.

  • Lesson 4: modify words of choice
  • Exegetical Gems Chapter 22, 23, 7
  • 70 Hebrew Words chapter 2

Lesson 5: Hezekiah Parsing Principle

This chapter represents the hallmark of this Grammar. Never before has a grammar presented the entire strong verb, both perfect and imperfect forms, in all seven major stems in a single chapter. Most grammars cover the material presented in this lesson in ten to twenty chapters. This lesson utilizes Hezekiah’s name as an acronym to aid in deducing the proper parsing of Hebrew verbs.

  • Lesson 5: Parse the Verbs
  • Lesson 5: Find & Parse the verbs in the listed verses
  • Exegetical Gems Chapter 9
  • 70 Hebrew Words chapter 4
Parse Trainer

Select: All Stems, Perfect Tense, Qtil Root Strong (#2)

Select: All Stems, Imperfect Tense, Qtil Root Strong (#2)

We suggest doing these as two separate practices. Then Harmonize them once you’re finding success individually.

Lesson 6: Hallelujah Principle and Particles

Hallelujah Principle

Hallelujah [הַלְלוּיָה<]!” Hallelujah comes from the root הָלַל meaning “praise.” The word hallelujah הַלְלוּיָה means “praise the Lord.” In the English spelling of hallelujah appear three letter L’s. Three L’s in hallelujah will remind us that the letter ה, which of course is the first letter of the word הַלְלוּיָה, has 3 particular uses. For memory purposes, we will call this the “Hallelujah Principle.”

Also contained in this lesson is a conversation about Particles. Particles are function words that must be associated with another word or phrase in order to impart meaning. Such words typically signal a salient or prominent component of the sentence.

  • Lesson 6: Find the Hallelujah Principle Words
  • Exegetical Gems Chapter 24, 27
  • 70 Hebrew Words chapter 5

Lesson 7: Joseph Principle

The Joseph principle comes from the meaning of Joseph’s name “to add.” Pronouns (literally, “for a noun”) allow for the subject or object of a sentence to be referenced without repeating the actual name (proper noun). Pronouns are signaled either by independent pronouns (individual words) or by a suffixed remnant of the personal pronoun. Thus, the Name Joseph reminds us to consider what has been added to the word.

  • Lesson 7: Translate the Suffixes
  • Lesson 7: Find Words with Joseph Suffixes
  • 70 Hebrew Words chapter 6

Lesson 8: Jonah Principle for Weak Hebrew Verbs

In terms of frequency, the vast majority of verbs in the Hebrew Bible are weak verbs (irregular in form) as opposed to strong verbs. Weak verbs contain within their root a weak consonant. We call these the Jonah Letters for two reasons. First, the letters that run away are the very same letters used to spell Jonah יוֹנָה. The ה in Jonah’s name represents all the guttural letters (א, ה, ח, ע, plus ל). Second, this is called the Jonah principle because like Jonah, these letters often run away when something else shows up.

  • Lesson 8: Find Jonah verbs in the Verses
  • 70 Hebrew Words chapter 7
Parse Trainer

Select: All Stems, Perfect Tense, Any non Strong root (not biconsonantal)

Select: All Stems, Imperfect Tense, Any non Strong root (not biconsonantal)

We suggest doing these as two separate practices. Then Harmonize them once you’re finding success individually.

Lesson 9: Noah and Nimrod for Participles and Infinitives

The participle and infinitive are taken together due to both possessing related grammatical features. The most obvious feature of the participle and infinitive is that both share a characteristic /o/ vowel. The names of two antediluvian personalities found in early Genesis, namely (noah) נֹח and (Nimrod) נִמְרֹד, will remind us of the syllable in which the characteristic /o/ vowel appears. Participles characteristically have an /o/ vowel in the first syllable of the root, as in the name NOah נֹחַ; infinitives have the characteristic /o/ vowel in the second syllable of the root as in the name NimrOd נִמְרֹד.

  • Lesson 9: Find Noah & Nimrod Words
  • Exegetical Gems Chapter 14, 15, 16
  • 70 Hebrew Words chapter 8
Parse Trainer

Select: Qal Stem, Participle Tense, Qtil Root Strong (#2)

Select: Qal Stem, Infinitive Tense, Qtil Root Strong (#2)

Lesson 10: Jericho Principle for Jussive, Cohortative, Imperative

Hebrew grammarians have assigned three different names for each of the three-person categories of imperatives: a third-person imperative is called a jussive, while a second and first person is called an imperative and a cohortative respectively. The three syllables in the city name of Jericho יְרֵחוֹ (Jer-i-cho) will be used to remember the three categories of imperatives. The /J/ in Jericho reminds us of the jussive; the /i/ in Jericho recalls the second-person imperative and the final syllable /cho/ reminds us of the first-person cohortative.

  • Lesson 10: Find the Jericho Words
  • Exegetical Gems Chapter 11, 12, 13
Parse Trainer

Select: Qal Stem, Jussive Tense, Qtil Root Strong (#2)

Select: Qal Stem, Imperative Tense, Qtil Root. Strong (#2)

Select: Qal Stem, Cohortative Tense, Qtil Root Strong (#2)

Once you are comfortable with these, expand the Stem and consider selecting Jussive, Imperative, and cohortative at the same time.

Lesson 11: Nehemiah Principle for Hebrew Hermeneutics

To this point we have focused on reading the Hebrew text throughout this work. But now it is time to give sense to the text so that those we minister to may understand the text. This lesson is not intended to be an all-encompassing study, but a very short primer to the hermeneutics of the Hebrew text. The theme verse for the Biblical Interpretation PhD major at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary is Nehemiah 8:8. From this verse we derive 3 steps: Read the text clearly, get a sense of the text, help others understand the text. Within step 2, we consider Words, Syntax, and Discourse.

  • Exegetical Gems Chapter 2, 28, 29

Lesson 12: Understanding the Hebrew Lexicon

A necessary tool of the Hebrew trade is the Lexicon. Don’t fret, for with a few pointers you can understand the Lexicon! Within a Lexicon you can find a word entry much like a dictionary, but with much more data.

  • Lesson 12 Hebrew Reading Video: 1 Samuel 17:17-36
  • Lesson 12: Lexicon Drills
  • Exegetical Gems Chapter 25

Lesson 13: Understanding the BHS

The Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, BHS, is the most commonly used edition of the Hebrew Old Testament. Within the BHS are text-critical notes which aid the reader to see any variant or disputed texts. This lesson will help you understand these notes in the margins of the BHS.

  • Lesson 13 Hebrew Reading Video: 1 Samuel 17:37-50
  • Exercise chapter: 2 Samuel 7:1-29
  • Exercise chapter: 2 Samuel 22:1-7
  • Lesson 13: BHS Exercises

Bonus: Continued Readings (aka Hebrew 2)

Congratulations for making it to this point!

Hebrew 2 at Oklahoma Baptist University consists of reviewing the prior grammatical principles and much more reading. Students lead the grammatical review for about 15 minutes, then the remainder of the week’s class time is spent reading. The weekly readings are pulled from the below list (alternating between Torah, Writings, and Prophets). The list is increasing in difficulty of the vocabulary. The students are required to read these passages aloud to a classmate and explain the grammatical principles they find within the verses. At the end of Hebrew 2, the students are orally tested via drawing one of these passages from a cup. The student must be able to read the Hebrew, and give a basic literal sight translation of the text. For this bonus lesson, utilize your Hebrew Reader that we suggested at the beginning of this course.

  1. Genesis 1:1-5 – In the Beginning
  2. Genesis 2:1-3 – The Seventh Day
  3. Genesis 17:1-10 – God’s covenant with Abraham
  4. Genesis 26:1-6 – God’s Promises to Isaac
  5. Genesis 32:1-14 – the Golden calf
  6. Genesis 35:9-15 – God’s Promises to Jacob
  7. Genesis 43:1-8 – Jacob Sends Benjamin to Egypt
  8. Genesis 50:15-26 –
  9. Exodus 3:1-12 – The Burning Bush
  10. Exodus 6:1-8 – I am the LORD
  11. Exodus 34:1-6 – The LORD Proclaims His Name
  12. Leviticus 19:1-4 – The Demand for Holiness
  13. Leviticus 19:11-18 – Cultic and Ethical obligations
  14. Numbers 6:22-26 – Aaron’s Blessing
  15. Numbers 20:1-13 – Water from the rock
  16. Deuteronomy 5:1-21 – Ten Commandments
  17. Deuteronomy 6:1-15 – The Shema
  18. Deuteronomy 11:18-23 – Teach These Words to Your Children
  19. Deuteronomy 22:1-12
  20. Deuteronomy 31:1-8 – Be Strong and Courageous
  1. Joshua 24:14-18 – Joshua’s Challenge to Serve the LORD
  2. Judges 3:7-11 – The LORD Delivers Israel with Othniel
  3. Judges 10:10-15 – Cry to the Gods Whom You Have Chosen
  4. 1 Samuel 15:10-24 – To Obey is Better Than Sacrifice
  5. 2 Samuel 7:1-17 – David’s Desire to Build the Temple
  6. 2 Samuel 9:1-13 –
  7. 1 Kings 3:3-28 – Solomon’s wisdom
  8. 1 Kings 8:22-26 – Solomon’s Prayer
  9. 2 Kings 17:34-40 – You Shall Fear the LORD
  10. Isaiah 43:1-6 – You Are Precious in My Eyes
  11. Jeremiah 31:31-34 – A New Covenant
  12. Ezekiel 37:1-6 – The Valley of Dry Bones
  13. Jonah 1:1-2:2 – Jonah flees from God
  14. Joel 3:1-5 (2:28-32) – I Will Pour Out My Spirit
  15. Micah 4:1-5 – Micah’s vision of the future
  16. Micah 6:1-8
  1. Psalm 1 – Blessing of the Holy Walk
  2. Psalm 23 – The LORD is My Shepherd
  3. Psalm 29:1-11 God manifests his power in storms
  4. Psalm 67:1-8 – Psalmist asks god for help and praises God 29. Psalm 100 – Hymn of Praise
  5. Psalm 121:1-8 – The LORD Will Keep You
  6. Psalm 136: 1-26 – God’s work in creation
  7. Proverbs 28:1-16 –
  8. Ecclesiastes 1:1-9 – Kohlet proclaims life is futile
  9. Ecclesiastes 3:1-22 – Kohlet explains the fixed times for everything
  10. Songs 3:1-5 – Maiden dreams of her lover
  11. Ezra 7:6-10 – A Model for Generations to Come
  12. Nehemiah 1:1-11 –
  13. 2 Chronicles 1:1-10 – Solomon Asks for Wisdom
  14. 2 Chronicles 7:1-4 – The Glory of the LORD Fills the Temple