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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"Devotions from the Greek New Testament"

TITLE: Devotions on the Greek New Testament: 52 Reflections to Inspire and Instruct
AUTHOR:J. Scott Duvall and Verlyn D. Verbrugge (editors).
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2012, (160 pages).

This book will be a great incentive for students studying Greek to see truths come alive as they study the Greek New Testament. As someone who has studied Koine Greek, or biblical Greek, I attest to the hard work and sometimes mundane process of digging through the various inflections and memorizing tail endings, and to determine the multiple nuances of the language. The scientific aspect can be easily mastered, just like memorizing formulas and steps. The artistic aspect is not so easy to see. It takes someone not only with a strong understanding of the Greek language, able to deconstruct the small details of the Greek, but also to reconstruct and make sense of both the ancient meanings and the contemporary applications. This book attempts to do both.

With 52 devotions drawn from a pool of 31 top language scholars, the editors have compiled devotional writings from exegeses of selected texts from nearly every New Testament book. The main purpose is to bring some meaning and purpose so as to encourage anyone aiming to study the Greek of the New Testament. It is a reminder that it is a living Word that leads to real life applications. This also helps to keep interest and motivation high. Hopefully, by showing the way, students will also learn to do their own devotions on the Greek text. Designed with a devotion a week in mind, each chapter begins with a title and a corresponding New Testament verse. Only the Greek text is used, possibly to challenge the Greek student to try and exegete the text first. The contributor of the article then brings out some interesting nuances of the Greek, and compares it to the normal English understanding. It also compares and contrasts the ancient contexts with contemporary times. We can see biblical theology coming alive before our eyes. We begin to notice the subtle meanings in the text. We see the importance of the verbs, nouns, participles, and the basic tenses of the grammar. The brevity of each chapter is also an advantage because it prevents any reader from rushing through the book. Instead, one learns more with less. One is able to still the hurried soul in order to sip, to contemplate, and to let the Word take root in our hearts.

When I was doing Greek, I remember looking forward to the introduction of the class where my professor will tell a story and the background of the texts concerned. The Greek textbook I use also contains a small application story which I appreciate, as it illuminates how the dry texts can come alive with real applications. I have longed for a book that gives more of such stories. This book fills the gap. It is full of such applications and will be a great encouragement to students of Greek who may be going through a dry process of Greek studies. If only, I had this book when I was a seminary student.

Rating: 4.75 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me free by Zondervan and NetGalley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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