Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Book Review: Greek for Everyone

A. Chadwick Thornhill, Greek for Everyone: Introductory Greek for Bible Study and Application. Baker Books. 2016. 252 Pages.

In Elementary Greek, we were told that being able to read the New Testament in its original language,  Koine Greek, would be like going from watching TV in black and white to color. While I loved the idea of studying New Testament Greek, I soon discovered how little equipped I was to engage. Greek was extraordinarily difficult. I struggled. Reading a book like Greek for Everyone before I formally studied would have tremendously helpful.

A. Chadwick Thornhill has written Greek for Everyone to meet a real need not only for college students, but for every student of the New Testament who wants to enrich their study--a introductory volume to Koine Greek.  The book is written at a popular level. It is comprised of 18 short, readable chapters, two appendices and a glossary of key Greek Terms: 

1. Language, Learning, Koine Greek, and the Greek Alphabet
2. The Big Picture of Language
3. Phrases, Clauses, and Conjunctions
4. Resources for Navigating the Greek New Testament
5. Introduction to Greek Verbs and Nominals
6. Nominative, Accusative, and Vocative Cases
7. Genitive and Dative Cases
8. Articles, Pronouns, Adjectives, and Prepositions
9. (Independent) Indicative-Mood Verbs
10. (Independent) Imperative-Mood Verbs
11. (Dependent) Subjunctive-Mood Verbs
12. (Dependent) Greek Infinitives
13. (Dependent) Greek Participles
14. Back to the Big Picture
15. Comparing English Translations
16. Bridging Context
17. Word Studies
18. The Grammar of Theology (Putting it All Together)

Appendix 1: "Your Turn" Answers
Appendix 2: Greek Paradigms
Glossary of Select Greek Terms

Each chapter ends with vocabulary words to memorize. This makes learning key Greek words manageable--by the end of the book the reader may be surprised with how much vocabulary he has under his belt! As well as vocabulary, Thornhill includes a "Your Turn" section where he has the reader apply what he has learned, which is a very helpful exercise. 

Reading through Greek for Everyone, I was impressed with Thornhill's ability to clearly instruct his readers in the basics of the language. I was also surprised to see the wide range of material covered in such a concise volume. Thornhill not only offers us suggestions as to how to study Greek, teaches us the mechanics of the language, but also show us how it applies with a discussion of English translation philosophies, interpretation, and exercises like word studies which help in the understanding of a text. 

A Chadwick Thornhil wrote Greek for Everyone for the purpose of teaching his readers how Greek works and how to use it for better Bible study. He has thoroughly succeeded. Greek for Everyone is a solid one volume introduction to Koine Greek. This work will not make someone a Greek expert but it will orient them to the language enough to understand Greek at a basic level. It lays a solid foundation for further study. Greek for Everyone is a volume I would recommend to anyone looking to further their biblical study skills by getting a taste of Greek. This volume would be especially helpful for undergraduate Greek students to read before formal study. Additionally, reading through it has helpfully freshened up my Greek. I highly recommend this fine work. 

Rating: Five Hatch Green Chiles out of Five 

Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books Bloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255