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Posted January 17, 2013
Summary: A supplement tool-book of Greek aids to those who have already received some training in the language, The Handy Guide to New Testament Greek: Grammar, Syntax, and Diagramming by Douglas S. Huffman is filled with charts, diagrams and short explanations to aid students and pastors in further understanding the biblical language.
Review: I was not a perfect Greek student (B-, C+, B+, A-, A, B+), but I tried to learn and apply the language as best as I could during my time in seminary. As a pastor now, I try to come back to the Greek often, but find that there are definite holes in my knowledge of the language. The Handy Guide is a rather short read, but I found that it has already reminded me of some of the things I’ve forgotten, and filled in the gaps of my Greek memory.
The book is divided into three sections: Grammar, Syntax and Diagramming. The Grammar and Syntax section I found to be the most useful. I personally have never found anything but the most basic of diagrams to be terribly helpful as a pastor, but more in depth exegetes will undoubtedly find the diagram section to serve them well.
My criticisms are short, but significant. Some of the orderings in the charts are different than the grammars I used (Mounce and Wallace). For example, in Huffman’s “case endings by declension” chart, he lists the feminine endings first, then the masculine for the first declension, but then switches back to the more traditional order (Masc., Fem., Neu.) for the other two declensions. Additionally, there is a diagram included to help the student better visualize how prepositions work, but it confuses more than helps. Finally, I would have found it more helpful if the first and second sections were combined. As the book is now, in the first section I can see the morphology of nouns, verbs, and participles, but then learn about their functions in the second section. I would have found it more useful to have these sections combined.
Overall, though, this is an excellent aid for students, pastors and Greek enthusiasts alike. It is a quick read that offers easy to digest information and reinforces a person’s understanding of the language.
Posted January 3, 2013
Practical. Helpful. Encouraging.
All these describe how I found Douglas Huffman's The Handy Guide to New Testament Greek: Grammar, Syntax, and Diagramming. It's been a long time since I sat in a Greek class, either learning New Testament Greek for the first time, cramming a year's worth into 'suicide Greek' the summer before seminary classes began, or working through the various levels of Greek exegesis classes at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Oh how I wish Huffman's book would have been available then! It would have been a worn-out tool in my kit for all those classes.
Huffman makes Greek fun again. From humorous comments about learning first declension noun forms & rules all the way to diagramming Greek sentence structure, the author engages you. You're not intimidated or scared. The book is full of charts: noun charts, verb charts, participle charts. You name it, there's a chart for it! How easy is that?
This proves to be a great review aid, whether you're a second year student or a pastor who's quite rusty when it comes to NT Greek grammar. Huffman's guide is comprehensive (I'm not sure what he might have left out) yet concise (he's not wordy, nor does he need to be).
Perhaps, for this reviewer, the most helpful section was on the diagramming of sentences. I didn't ever get much of this in my training; nor did we do much with it, so therefore, I never really 'got it.' I would love to take a Greek course with Dr. Huffman and learn this method more thoroughly.
If you're taking Greek, entering second year Greek studies or a pastor in need of a quick review, this is your book. Get it and use it right away.