Review: Learn to Read New Testament Greek

6882444David Alan Black is Professor of New Testament and Greek and Dr. M. O. Owens, Jr. Chair of New Testament at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. He received a D. Theol. from the University of Basel, Switzerland, under the advisement of Bo Reicke and has taught in numerous seminaries around the world. Black is author, editor, and contributor to numerous influential publications, but most notably known for the present volume.

Learn to Read New Testament Greek (3rd edition) is a user-friendly introductory Greek grammar which aims to streamline the learning process and usher readers into the New Testament with ease. There are several excellent Greek grammars available for teachers and students of New Testament Greek, but few are as pedagogically balanced and linguistically informed as Black’s Learn to Read New Testament Greek. Black has a unique way of presenting the material in a targeted and simplified manner that speaks to the concept with precision and clarity. Additionally, Black includes a number of helpful exercises throughout that are designed to prepare the reader for work ahead, as well as several useful charts and grammatical examples to aid memorization.

Learning Greek can be an intimidating endeavor on its own. Some Greek grammars actually cultivate a type user-intimidation by overwhelming readers with an overabundance of material. Black has detached much of the perceived grammatical pressure in Learn to Read New Testament Greek and created space for readers to enjoy (once again?) the process of learning the language of the New Testament. I’ve been reading and recommending Basics of Biblical Greek by Bill Mounce for years. BBG is the introductory grammar that I used in first-year Greek, and there is still much to be praised about Mounce’s approach. But, now having worked through Learn to Read New Testament Greek, alongside BBG, I can confidently say that Black is a strong contender. In fact, while I think the two complement each other well overall, I found myself appreciating Black over Mounce at a number of points—most of which had to do with the brevity of his discussion and its applicability in the classroom.

Learn to Read New Testament Greek (3rd edition) by David Alan Black is an outstanding introductory grammar. Its usability is almost unparalleled and the clarity of discussion provides immediate room for application. There are ample charts and paradigms, and excellent appendix material for reference and review. Of course, there are limitations to the depth of an introductory grammar (i.e. Black could have spent more time on verbal aspect, etc.), but there is no doubt that Learn to Read New Testament Greek will confidently position the reader for intermediate Greek and allow them to read the New Testament in its original language with aid (i.e. A Reader’s Greek New Testament). If you have BBG and you’re looking for a supplementary textbook, I couldn’t recommend Black more strongly. If you don’t have BBG and you’re looking for an introductory grammar to get you started, then Learn to Read New Testament Greek (3rd edition) by David Alan Black is an excellent option. It comes highly recommended!

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