Lately, I have had a pretty big desire to dive more into the original languages that the Bible was written in – specifically the Koine Greek of the New Testament. I’ve tried looking online at some sites, but most of the ones that I was able to find were geared toward someone who already had some general knowledge and understanding or just didn’t do a great job conveying the information. If you know of a good online resource, please leave me a comment to this post.
I then came across a book that B&H Academic published in 2009 for David Alan Black which is more of an introduction to the New Testament Greek. I was very happy when I received a copy of B&H Academic’s “Learn to Read New Testament Greek” in the mail at my house. If you have watched any of my videos of the classes we did for teaching how to do Inductive Bible Studies, you may recall that being able to look at the original languages and understanding better what we are reading can really help you in your studies. In the preface to this third edition, the authors states that his hope is that people, whether in seminary, or a homeschooler, or a self-learner will be able to read and study the New Testament in its original language.
I received a copy of this book from B&H Academic for me to do a review on it. In full disclosure, I was not required or requested by B&H Academic to write a positive review.
The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
<http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
ALSO check out the Workbook that accompanies and supplements your learning of Koine Greek. To see my review for that, click HERE.
**See all sections below for full detailed review**
As a person who does training quite often in my professional IT career, I am usually paying very close attention to the style in which someone does any kind of training. When I am training or teaching certain things, I gear my training to start with the basics and make sure it is very clear as to definitions and understanding of the core concepts. Then slowly adding in more and more complexity until the trainee has the full picture. I tip my hat to B&H Academic and David Alan Black on the Learn to Read New Testament Greek Third Edition. The style in which this book is written is clearly done from someone who can take a pretty complex thing such as learning a new language and breaking it down to the basics and then building upon that. Much like how you slowly build an intricate construction by adding one Lego at a time. Excellent examples and exercises flow into each other building your understanding more strong as you progress through each of the lessons. Excellent resource and highly recommended for anyone that wants to learn Biblical Greek. Please note, that this will take time to accomplish – it is NOT something for you if you aren’t willing or want to put some effort into this.
DESCRIPTION OF THIS BOOK
Type of Book: Biblical Reference
Publisher: B&H Academic / Lifeway
Publication Date: March 1, 2009
ISBN-13 of Book Reviewed: 978-0-8054-4493-3
Price: At the time of writing this review, the cheapest place to get this Bible Survey Reference book from is Christianbook.com. They have it for $19.99 – suggested retail from the publisher is $29.99 but they do not sell directly from their website. See below for a breakout and links to the different prices from some major re-sellers. Please note that these prices do not include any potential shipping charges.
Binding: Hardcover / Square back
Color: Black text – gray-scale charts
Dimensions: 6″ x 9″ x .9″
Number of Pages: 272
Authors: David Alan Black
Typeface and Print:
The ease of reading this book was very good. This book is not in color, but it has many chars that have a gray-scale background. Normally, I like a full-color book, but there really is no reason for this particular book to be done in color. Good printing and a pretty opaque paper make this easy to read the text on every page.
OK, this is the part where I get to tell you about how I like or dislike this book in a detailed manner.
Ease of Use:
This reference book is very easy to use, but with that said, it will take some effort on your part. If you are like me and are a self-learning type, then just go at your own pace, but be diligent to stick with it. I do agree with the author’s comment in the preface that he hopes that this book will help those in seminary, homeschoolers and self-learners to be able to be able to read the New Testament in its original language. I can easily see that this book will do that and that you don’t need to be a seminary student to be able to do this. You just have to be willing to put some effort into the process.
Study Tools Helpful & Informative:
The book is broken up into 26 main chapters. Below, is the listing of the contents, but before I get there, I do want to express how much I appreciated the approach that the author took with this book. Each chapter has multiple sections to it – starting off with an explanation of the particular topic (most chapters have multiple sub topics) and also vocabulary and ultimately ending in exercises that help solidify the lesson to the student. Very nicely done. NOTE: Don’t let the “technical-sounding” titles of the chapters discourage you – the author does a great job explaining each of these items in the book.
About This Book
From Author to Reader
Preface to Expanded Edition
Preface to Third Edition
Chapter 1 – The Letters and Sounds of Greek
Chapter 2 – The Greek Verb System
Chapter 3 – Present and Future Active Indicative
Chapter 4 – Nouns of the Second Declension
Chapter 5 – Nouns of the First Declension
Chapter 6 – Adjectives of the first and Second Declensions
Chapter 7 – Imperfect and Aorist Active Indicative
Chapter 8 – Additional Prepositions
Chapter 9 – Personal Pronouns
Chapter 10 – Perfect and Pluperfect Active Indicative
Chapter 11 – Demonstrative Pronouns
Chapter 12 – Present Middle and Passive Indicative
Chapter 13 – Perfect Middle and Passive, Future Middle Indicative
Chapter 14 – Imperfect Middle and Passive, Aorist Middle, and Pluperfect Middle and Passive Indicative
Chapter 15 – Aorist and Future Passive Indicative
Chapter 16 – Review of the Indicative Mood
Chapter 17 – Nouns of the Third Declension
Chapter 18 – Adjectives, Pronouns, and Numerals of the First and Third Declensions
Chapter 19 – Contract and Liquid Verbs
Chapter 20 – Participles (Verbal Adjectives)
Chapter 21 – Infinitives (Verbal Nouns)
Chapter 22 – Additional Pronouns
Chapter 23 – The Subjective Mood
Chapter 24 – The Imperative and Optative Moods
Chapter 25 – The Conjugation of μι (Mu Iota) Verbs
Chapter 26 – Reading Your Greek New Testament
Epilogue: The Next Step
Appendix 1 – The Greek Accents
Appendix 2 – The Greek Alphabet Song
Appendix 3 – Key to the Exercises
Appendix 4 – Noun Paradigms
Appendix 5 – Case-Number Suffixes
Appendix 6 – Person-Number Suffixes
Appendix 7 – Summary of Prepositions
Appendix 8 – Words Differing in Accentuation or Breathing
Appendix 9 – Principal Parts of Selected Verbs
Durability of Book:
This book is made as you would expect a decent quality textbook to be produced and is printed on nice paper so it feels very nice and solid in your hands. It is not Smyth sewn, but then again, since I would classify this as a reference book, I wouldn’t be reading this every day like I would my Bible. Based on that and what I would anticipate most people’s use of this book, I would classify it as sufficiently durable for expected / normal to extended use. The hardcover is a very typical feel of nicer text books.
MY CHRISTIAN REVIEWER RATINGS:
Below, we have the overall ratings that I would give to this particular book with a 1 to 10 range.
Quality: 9.5 – I would say that this book should endure pretty well with the use of a typical reference or text-book.
Appearance: 9.6 – I have to admit that I really like the appearance of this book. The layout of the charts used throughout the book are done very clean. Overall, the flow of the content with the use of these charts throughout really help the reader to understand the concepts very clearly.
Value: 9.4 – For the suggested retail price and what you get from a quality and content for this book, I would say that this is a very good value if you are honestly interested in learning New Testament Greek.
Innovation: 9.7 – The teaching style that this book was written in is very solid and does a great job for anyone that wants to get an introduction into New Testament Greek to the point where they can fairly proficiently read and translate it. The brick-by-brick approach is very helpful for beginning students and progresses in complexity very nicely. The first 25 chapters are geared toward grammar and vocabulary. Then it culminates in chapter 26 where it helps you to understand how to take what you have learned and apply it to where you can read the New Testament in Greek and perform proper exegesis (explanation or interpretation) on it.
Other/Wildcard: 9.6 – There is a very helpful 8-page fold out chart that is tipped into the inside back cover. It is a Greek Verb Chart prepared by L.R. Elliott, Th.D. and includes the Omega Conjugation and MI Conjugation. Very helpful tool. You can also purchase a copy of the supplemental workbook that goes with this textbook to get more exercises in practicing what you are learning from the textbook. Click HERE to see my review of the workbook.
Overall Rating: 9.6 out of 10
Please leave a comment or question and I will try to respond a.s.a.p.