3 Stars Out Of 5
Good Greek insights but not devotional enough nor helpful enough as intended
December 23, 2016
If the purpose or goal of the book is to demonstrate how to use Greek in understanding a verse or a section of verses, then this book is five stars. It has shown through bite size forms how Greek helps in understanding a passage. Having the verse or verses printed in the beginning of each reflection helps in encouraging reading and even translating that verse or verses before reading the explanations.
This book has 52 reflections written by various NT scholars. The back cover states that it can be used as a weekly devotional or as a supplemental resource throughout a semester or several courses. Each reflection has 2-3 pages (last page is usually less than half a page). The quality of helpfulness of these reflections (Greek insights) varies. Some are very helpful and some are harder to grasp the Greek significance but overall, Greek insights were great.
But for the purpose (or purposes) indicated, it needs improvement through additional information. The stated purpose is to strengthen ones walk with the Lord in the need to know the reason for studying Greek (p.11). The editors also hope to motivate students to endure Greek studies and will make them interested and motivated in this social media age (p.11-12). It is stated at the back cover that these devotions will inspire the reading and meditation of the Greek NT.
Connecting the insights in Greek in how it can be significant or apply to the reader needs improvement (about half or so has some form of connecting application/significance to readers). It is good to know that a participle could be causal or concessive. But what application could be derive from either interpretation specifically from the proposed meaning?
As for helping students endure and be interested and motivated in Greek studies, more help could have been provided. With many scholars in this project, several things could have been included. Scholars could have shared their suggestions how to keep up with Greek and use it for daily living. Maybe different reading plans, from few passages a day to reading through the NT a year. Maybe a suggestion of verses to memorize and an explanation of how to meditate on Greek insights (Do you try to interpret the meaning in English and dwell on that or do you reflect on the Greek itself?). With a collection of these many scholars, we can learn much besides the reflections, their habits and practices, wisdom and advice that are varied that it will help different students and pastors.
It would be also good to have a glossary of terms and select vocabulary (occurrence of 10 or less, maybe?). Intermediate students will understand the terms and may be able to translate but beginning students will grapple with the meaning of terms and translating some words (or even parsing). Having several resources open or at hand as suggested like first class grammars may make the process like an academic study than a reading that motivates students to keep on learning and use their Greek. It will also make this book less handy if it is too dependent on having other resources at hand.
I think Daily Dose of Greek videos and the weekly Monday with Mounce will help students and graduates keep up with Greek studies for free but these are not intended as devotionals (nor necessarily exegetical). So to make this volume distinct and profitable and worth its retail price of $16.99 as intended, the devotional aspect must be improved including selecting the appropriate verses (maybe shorter) or focus (maybe grammar or word meaning; finding the main verb or wordplays maybe good for study but not study with devotional flavor). Other helpful guidance to motivate and to assist students to endure in studying and keeping Greek must be added.
Whether I would recommend it to someone or not is dependent on what that person is looking for in a book. If that person just wants to learn Greek insights, then this book is good enough but if something more than that, then I will reluctantly say no.