Going Deeper With New Testament Greek – A Review
A guest review from Nathan Hohulin on B&H Academic’s “Going Deeper With New Testament Greek.”
First, I want to express my gratitude to Jason and the Reformed Collective for inviting me to write this guest review of Going Deeper with New Testament Greek (henceforth referred to as “GDNTG”) by Köstenberger, Merkle, and Plummer. It’s truly an honor!
Also, I think it’s only fair that I preface this piece with the caveat that I’m writing this review as a student of Greek, not an expert in the field. I’ve had 21 hours of Greek in college and seminary, worked through a handful of intermediate grammars, and truly enjoy learning the language. But I’m certainly no expert. Nevertheless, I hope that my perspective as a fairly informed student will prove valuable, because this book is primarily written not for scholars, but for those of us in the classroom who are seeking to gain a better grasp of NT Greek and the theological and exegetical riches its mastery offers.
GDNTG is a new and exciting resource that helps bridge the gap between “baby Greek” and basic syntax. What’s unique about this volume is its approach as an “all-in-one” textbook. Along with its treatment of syntax, GDNTG includes practice sentences, additional vocabulary lists, a built-in reader, and a unit on textual criticism. Also included are some really helpful chapters on sentence diagramming, discourse analysis, word studies, and tips on maintaining one’s Greek.
Köstenberger et al offer textbook that is more readable than Young’s intermediate grammar, more thorough than Black’s, and more approachable than Wallace’s (and his 30+ uses of the genitive!). This Greek syntax offers an approachable introduction to Greek syntax with up-to-date scholarship (particularly in the areas of textual criticism and verbal aspect).
Perhaps my only complaint is the section on textual criticism—It would have been nice to see a list (or at least an appendix) that introduces students to important manuscripts, versions etc. (a student might want to supplement this section with Metzger and Ehrman, or at the very least Black’s intro to NTTC).
The last three chapters (Sentences, diagramming, and discourse analysis; word studies; continuing with NT Greek) were exceptionally well done, and are the best I’ve read in an intermediate grammar on those topics. The chapter on verbal aspect was also a highlight of this volume, since it is an extremely readable introduction to a fairly technical issue that has changed the landscape of NT Greek scholarship.
One of the biggest hindrances to students learning biblical languages is the perpetual question: “Is this really worth it?” This question has a tendency to loom over the long hours of muddling through new linguistic terms and concepts, diagrams, and vocab. No doubt, this can put a real damper on the student’s learning experience.
Each chapter in this volume begins with examples from the NT that show the importance of the material at hand, and specific ways that understanding NT Greek offers valuable insights in exegesis. At the end of each chapter is a built-in reader that immediately offers the student an opportunity to delve into a section the NT with his/her newly acquired syntactical knowledge. These sections contain several pages (each) of really helpful reading notes.
All in all, GDNTG is an excellent volume that includes an exceptional breadth of information to acclimate the student to NT Greek exegesis. It offers a hands-on, all-inclusive approach that consistently reminds the student of the immense value of New Testament Greek syntax.