Book Review: The Handy Guide to New Testament Greek

the-handy-guide-to-new-testament-greekThe Handy Guide to New Testament Greek Grammar, Syntax, and Diagramming by Douglas S. Huffman

I am a Greek student who is nearing the end of what would typically be a year of beginning Greek. This handbook is geared for “second-year Greek students (and beyond), pastors, teachers and preachers.” It’s a handbook of helpful tools as opposed to “explanatory tales”, and supplements the Greek grammars well. It does go more in-depth when it comes to diagramming however. The three large categories it covers are Greek Grammar Reminders, Greek Syntax Summaries and the previously mentioned Phrase Diagramming, in addition to a bibliography. There are many helpful tips along the way like the AAA rule. Adjective preceded by an Article is Attributive.

This is a quality handbook in every respect. The writing is clever at times but serious. The paper is thick, and although it’s paperback, it should hold up decently if well traveled. Color is used well throughout. You can see a PDF excerpt starting at page 13. Two small complaints I would have are sometimes medium/dark orange is used with a lighter orange background and is a little hard to read. This may be difficult for those who are color blind, so be sure to see the PDF file. There is also some text that’s very small, even for younger eyes. There is a quote on page 79 that’s sitting in the middle of a page with plenty of white space around it with text that’s much smaller than necessary.

From my level of learning, this looks like an excellent guide for all of the subjects mentioned. This small sized book is only 112 pages including the bibliography, but seems longer. Tables and text explanation are interspersed and are very easy to understand and decipher. The layout of the tables is excellent.

I especially like the phrase diagramming portion. They use 1 Peter 1:3-9, which I happened to do in English (PDF file) a few years ago. As mentioned, there is much more explanatory text here, although it’s somewhat between a guide/handbook and something that would be a section in a textbook on exegesis. I’m not sure if this guide is the place for it, but I especially like it because I like to look at as many methods and descriptions of diagramming as I can. Four methods are briefly explained, Technical, Phrase and Semantic Diagramming, with Arcing mentioned. “An adaptation of phrase diagramming that incorporates some of the broader concerns of semantic diagramming is favored here.” The reader is taken step by step through the passage, building on what needs to be identified, divided and connected.

There is also an extensive six page bibliography at the end for all sorts of Greek and New Testament Tools. The section on the dreaded Greek-English Interlinears has four entries. I would have added a fifth, being the Mounce/Mounce Greek and English Interlinear New Testament (NASB/NIV) which also has Mounce Sr.’s English translation along with the Greek. (Don’t worry, I never use it to cheat.)

I would highly recommend this handbook. I have a Greek grammar with a lot of Post-it® Flags in it for various tables and declensions, but this guide can replace that and would lighten up many peoples’ load on the go if they don’t need a grammar on paper just to look these types of things up. I’m certain I will be using it a lot in the coming years.

The author, Douglas S. Huffman, serves as Professor and Associate Dean of Biblical and Theological Studies at Biola University in La Mirada, California.

You can buy it at Amazon.com

I received this book at no charge as a review copy from Kregel Publications in exchange for an unbiased review.

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