Handy Guide to New Testament Greek

A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. That’s how I felt before I took New Testament Greek 1 in seminary. And frankly, it’s how I felt when I finished Greek 1. As a Bible study leader and writer, I would use the English/Greek tools and hope I was getting it right. I thought Greek 1 would give me more confidence, but I soon realized there was a lot I didn’t know and a lot more I didn’t remember when the year was over. I’ve got my textbook and several other resources, but as a busy leader, who has time to figure it out?

That’s why I was delighted to have the opportunity to review The Handy Guide to New Testament Greek: Grammar, Syntax, and Diagramming by Douglass S. Huffman (Kregel Academic, 2012).  This book is intended for second year Greek students who don’t use their Greek every day. I’m not a second year Greek student, nor do I expect to be one, but I love this book. It is a handy size (5” x 7” and under ½ inch thick), so it doesn’t overwhelm me. Printed on glossy paper and in color, it gives a user-friendly impression. And it is user-friendly, sporting dozens of charts spelling out all the difficult declensions, tenses, moods, and much more. Get confused about the liquid verbs or mute ending or μι verbs? There’s a chart for that. Forgot endings for third declension? There’s a chart for that. Never really understood participles? Yep, there’s a chart for that. And that’s only the beginning.

I love the section on diagramming. I’m old enough to have learned this skill in junior high, but most of my classmates didn’t have a clue how to diagram a sentence – a skill that is almost essential in Greek. Huffman explains this well, and then goes on to show the reader how to diagram and outline sentences, paragraphs, and chapters.

No, you probably won’t use this book everyday. But if you’re leading a serious bible study and have a problem word or passage, sometimes checking the Greek can help a lot. And with this book, it won’t take all day. I like that!

Question: How often do you use the languages in your personal study or leading? Is it an occasional skill, or a go-to discipline to help you go deeper? Share with us what you’ve found effective, especially if you are a lay leader.



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2 Comments so far

  1. my blog on January 8, 2013 7:26 pm

    I always was interested in this topic and still am, thank you for posting.

  2. windows 7 key on January 9, 2013 9:28 pm

    Hi, just wanted to say, I enjoyed this blog post. It was practical. Keep on posting!

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