Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Basics of Biblical Greek - By William Mounce

I took Spanish in high school (a correspondence course) and I must say that I wish that the textbook and workbooks for that class were produced in the same format as this Greek Grammar. Mounce  teaches in a compare/contrast style.  Throughout the book he teaches, or reminds you of, English grammar and then gives you the Greek grammar.  It is at times quite different  from the English equivalent but the contrast actually helps one understand it more.  He will also give you examples of things you will learn later on in the book and tell you not to try to learn them yet since, "They are given just to expose you to the concepts."  I like that as repetition helps things stick in my mind. 

Mounce has a little character called 'the professor' who appears throughout the book giving you fun facts about what you are learning, summaries of what you have just learned and more information as well.  Though a bit weird, it proves to be quite helpful and interesting.  I love the incentives given for studying each chapter by means of written examples by preachers and teachers showing the importance of each grammatical point for exegetical study.   For instance, at the beginning of his chapter about infinitives, Mounce has an exegetical insight from Darrell Bock demonstrating how infinitives often "complete important ideas".   He uses the example of 1 Corinthians 15:25 which reads, "For he must reign, till he hath put all his enemies under his feet." (ASV)  The tense of the  word for 'reign',βασιλευειν,is  an infinitive in the present tense, describing a continuous action.  "this present infinitive explains what is necessary about what God is in the process of doing through Jesus…Paul stresses that Jesus is in the process of ruling until the job of subjecting everything under his feet is complete." So, in order to properly interpret passages like this, one needs to understand Greek infinitives.

Mounce has come up with many ways, including what I have mentioned above, to encourage your persevering in learning Greek. At the end of some chapters he has 'exegesis' sections that show you how what you have learned is used in exegesis.  And at the end of every chapter he has a section showing you the percentage of what you have learned of the total words in the New Testament.  By the time you finish chapter 6 you'll have learned 36.79%of the total word count in the New Testament.  And before I forget, I must also mention that Mounce has many free resources online that compliment this grammar, including a program called "FlashWorks" which exercises  your memory of the Greek words you have been learning.  You may tell it what chapter you are on and it will drill you accordingly.

I highly recommend this Grammar, it is deliberately geared towards keeping you focused on the many benefits of learning Greek because of its great value as a tool in the proper exegesis of the Word of God.

Many thanks to Zondervan for sending me a free review copy of this book!(my review did not have to be favorable)

This book may also be purchased  at Amazon.com

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