Book Review: “Greek for the Rest of Us” by William D. Mounce (2003)

“Using Greek Tools without Mastering Biblical Greek”

Having never studied a “tittle” of Greek in my life before, this book, basically a “Greek for Dummies,” was a great fit for me. Mounce focuses throughout his book not so much on Greek vocabulary as on Greek grammar and proper biblical exegesis.

I believe Mounce’s emphasis on exegesis is the most useful offering of his textbook. He teaches a very simple, practical method of breaking a passage down into clauses and modifiers that effectively targets the author’s main ideas in the passage, not matter how long the sentence might be (I think specifically of Paul and his propensity to write longer-than-normal sentences by English standards). Besides what assignments I used Mounce’s methods for, I also found it greatly beneficial in my own Bible study (I think specifically of my recent studies through Ephesians).

Mounce also adds great authority to his work by sharing personal examples from his team’s process of translating the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible. I love the readability of the ESV, and I found it extremely helpful to hear the transator’s side of the translation debate. So much insight into an argument can come by simply hearing from the differing perspectives. English translations differ, because Greek is not English. It’s as simple as that. I do not know why people cannot understand that very simple concept, and Mounce does a great job in relating this perspective.

If you are interested in knowing a little bit more about Greek, about English translations, or about biblical exegesis, then this would be a great book for you.

©2011 E.T.

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