Skip to main content

Book: The Handy Guide to New Testament Greek

Face it: if you are not using your Koine Greek skills every day and twice on Sunday, they are getting rusty and you need help. The help you need is not a larger print NASB or ESV, either. It’s to get the Greek back. Or to learn it in the first place, especially if you are a Christian leader. After all, if one wants to know America’s Founding Documents, one still reads it in the swooped script of the Declaration of Independence and not just in text message-speak.

So, how do you get it back? How do you get it in the first place? If you are pounding through acquiring the Greek in the first place, you know that sometimes a textbook is just not as clear as you’d like. Or that one text explains material in one order, and another is different. Or just that Wallace’s Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics is so big that you cannot find what you need quickly.

Well, help is at hand, and it is in the form of The Handy Guide to New Testament Greek by Douglas S. Huffman. In 106 pages, Huffman runs through all of the basic principles of Koine Greek, from basic declensions through phrase diagramming. This work is short, to the point, and clear.

(picture links to the excerpt!)

How does Huffman accomplish this in so few pages? Simple: there is no vocabulary and little of the historical explanations found in a full-fledged textbook.  The Handy Guide to New Testament Greek is just that: a guide book. If you want in-depth knowledge, this is not for you. It is the Field Guide to Stars that goes in your pocket after reading Astrophysics, Constellations, and Quantum Mechanics.

Huffman provides concise definitions (2 lines) for terms that Wallace spends pages on, and boils all of the material down to its barebones. The Handy Guide to New Testament Greek is extremely helpful for quick reference, and will probably be easier to have tattooed on my arms before any upcoming exams.

Brevity is the soul of wit, however, and not the crux of learning. In the interest of covering everything briefly, Huffman is forced to cover everything briefly. That is, there are scant examples and few extended explanations. The text makes the point quickly and then moves on to the next point.

In all, The Handy Guide to New Testament Greek accomplishes Huffman’s purpose: he did not intend to be your only textbook, and his work should not be that. For those of us wrapping up formal study and working our Greek into day-to-day ministry, this text is quite handy. It is now my first grab when I hit a question. If it’s not here, I grab the booster-seat edition of Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, but generally, Huffman has it here.

I recommend The Handy Guide to New Testament Greek to any person with a beginning knowledge of Koine Greek who needs a little help with using that knowledge.

Disclosure: Ok, this is probably the most glowing book review I’ve done in a while, and it’s for a book I got free for the review. So, yes, it looks like I’m shilling for Kregel Academic who sent me the book. What you need to know is this: I had a pre-order in on Amazon for this text, and then got offered the review. What loon pays for a book he’s offered free? Only one who does not have other books to buy. So, free book for the review, but no demand that I like it. I just do like it.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Abraham Lincoln Quoted by Jesus! Mark 3

Mark records a curious event in his third chapter (link). If you look at Mark 3:25, you'll see that Jesus quotes the sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. After all, one of the highlights of the Lincoln years is his famous speech regarding slavery in the United States where he used the phrase that "a house divided against itself cannot stand." This speech was given in 1858 when he accepted the nomination to run against Stephen A. Douglas for Senate, but is still remembered as the defining speech regarding slaveholding in the United States. I recall being taught in school how brilliant and groundbreaking the speech was, how Lincoln had used such wise words to convey his thought. Yet the idea was not original to Lincoln. Rather, it was embedded in Lincoln from his time reading the Bible. Now, I have read varying reports about Lincoln's personal religious beliefs: some place him as a nearly completely committed Christian while others have him somewh…

Independence Day 2017

I don’t know if Thomas Paine will be aggrieved that I paste his thoughts from Common Sense here, from the electronic edition. It’s a Public Domain work at this point, so hopefully none will be bothered that I am not paying for it...I think there is value in seeing the underlying reasons of Independence. I find a couple of things noteworthy in his introduction:First, he speaks of those who disagree and, while calling those out, holds the strength of his affirmative argument will be enough to straighten them out. We could do well to think more like that.Second, his final sentence should be a required view: the influence of reason and principle. Not self-interest masquerading as principle. Not party propaganda disguised as reason.That being said, not everything Paine said is right. If he and I lived at the same time, we’d argue religion over a great deal. However, the idea of “natural rights of man” follows from the idea of humanity as a special creation—that all are created equal and en…