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…

Curiosity and the Faithlife Study Bible

Good morning! Today I want to take a look at the NIV Faithlife Study Bible. Rather than spend the whole post on this particular Study Bible, I’m going to hit a couple of highlights and then draw you through a few questions that I think this format helps with.



First, the basics of the NIV Faithlife Study Bible (NIVFSB, please): the translation is the 2011 New International Version from Biblica. I’m not the biggest fan of that translation, but that’s for another day. It is a translation rather than a paraphrase, which is important for studying the Bible. Next, the NIVFSB is printed in color. Why does that matter? This version developed with Logos Bible Software’s technology and much of the “study” matter is transitioning from screen to typeface. The graphics, maps, timelines, and more work best with color. Finally, you’ve got the typical “below-the-line” running notes on the text. Most of these are explanations of context or highlights of parallels, drawing out the facts that we miss by …

Foolishness: 1 Corinthians 1

In Summary: 1 Corinthians opens with the standard greeting of a letter from the Apostle Paul. He tells who he is with (Sosthenes) and who he is writing to. In this case, that is the “church of God that is in Corinth.” He further specifies that this church is made up of those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be saints. 
He then expresses the blessing/greeting of “grace and peace” from God. From there, Paul reflects on his initial involvement with the Corinthian people and the beginning of the church. After that, though, there are problems to deal with and Paul is not hesitant to address them. He begins by addressing the division within the church. Apparently, the church had split into factions, some of which were drawn to various personalities who had led the church in times past. There is no firm evidence, or even a suggestion, that Paul, Cephas, Apollos, or anyone else had asked for a faction in their name. Further, the “I follow Christ” faction may not have been any le…