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Monday, September 26, 2016

"The Biblical Greek Companion for Bible Software Users" (Mark L. Strauss)

TITLE: The Biblical Greek Companion for Bible Software Users: Grammatical Terms Explained for Exegesis
AUTHOR: Mark L. Strauss
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2016, (112 pages).

Studying the original biblical languages can be a very challenging discipline. Students often have to memorize as much vocabulary as possible, the alphabets, the numbers, the case endings, and the various grammar associated with genders, moods, aspect, voice, and to note the nuances of each word and phrase. Even the punctuation marks can be important expressions of biblical communications. With the invention of Bible software, many of these things are memories of the past. As the power of the software increases, the costs of owning Bible software decreases, making it more affordable to study the ancient languages without struggling through the tough work of memorization. Unfortunately, this often leads to a lack of foundation in grammatical basics. What are the differences between verbs and participles? What is the meaning of aorist? What about the dative and vocative cases? Is there a way to derive exegetical insights from the grammar? This book anticipates such questions and poses even more for those of us who had done some introductory Greek or knows a little bit of New Testament Greek. Arranging each grammatical term in alphabetical order, the book is an easy reference for readers to understand the definitions, the meaning, the case endings, and how to see the difference between the various nuances of the grammar. We learn about what the word and grammar looks like. We understand what it does and how it is used in the Bible. The exegetical insights in every chapter brings out the beauty and relevance of biblical exegesis.

As more students are moving away from traditional rote learning of the ancient languages, books like this are going to be more important with the use of Bible software. One can also see this book as the flash cards that students used to have. Meant as a companion to Bible software users, it provides a very quick and precise reference to clarify lingering questions about what the grammar means and how it is used. The Greek language is powerful because it is able to express important ideas merely from the language itself. Those of us in the English speaking world will often have to use more words and phrases just to express the same thought, and even then, the transmission relatively inferior. That is why the Greek remains the defacto standard for interpretation. With the use of Bible software, plus this companion book, while we may lose out in terms of diluting our natural memorization skills, we gain in terms of speed in getting to the meaning with the help of computers. Moreover, we would make lesser mistakes when we misread certain endings. At the end of it all, while the computers and software can provide the science of reading and analyzing, we will still need to do the hard work of interpretation and application. Hopefully, as the software helps take care of the grammatical meanings, we can spend more time connecting the grammar, the ancient contexts, and the opportunities for modern applications.

Mark Strauss is Professor of New Testament at Bethel Seminary in San Diego California. He has authored many books on Bible study methods, interpretation, and all things New Testament. He holds a PhD from the University of Aberdeen and is a member of the Bible translation committee for the New International Version.

Rating: 5 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of Zondervan Academic and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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