Skip to content ↓

Greek for the Rest of Us

Book Reviews Collection cover image

I do not know too many serious students of the Bible who do not wish, at one time or another, that they were proficient at Greek (or more proficient at Greek). But few of us have had time or opportunity to study the language in a formal, academic setting. Basic Greek and Exegesis by Richard B. Ramsay and published by P&R Publishing is a newly-published attempt to increase the accessibility of the Greek language. It is “A practical manual that teaches the fundamentals of Greek and exegesis, including the use of linguistic software.” For those who are not familiar with the word, exegesis simply refers to the work of drawing out the meaning of a text. It is indispensable for a pastor or Bible study leader or serious student of the Bible who wishes to be faithful to what the Bible teaches (and stands in contrast to eisegesis, in which a person inserts his or her own meaning into a text—a practice that is far too common). Because some meaning is always and inevitably lost in translation, exegesis can best be done by looking to and understanding the original language. This book attempts to span the gap between the desire to do serious exegesis and the necessity of having some knowledge of the Greek language.

“This practical workbook fills a void in biblical and theological studies, because it prepares the student to do New Testament exegesis, using Greek, but without an extensive knowledge of the language. It integrates the study of Greek with every aspect of exegesis. As the student learns a new step, he also learns the corresponding fundamentals of Greek that enable him to do the exegesis properly. He becomes aware of the importance of using Greek to do serious Bible study, and learns how to use linguistic tools, including recent software. The student studies a biblical text of his or her own choice and prepares a written report on it. He will be surprised at the results of his own research!”

Ramsay offers three goals for the book and its fifteen lessons:

  1. The student will learn the steps of New Testament exegesis.
  2. The student will learn enough fundamentals of New Testament Greek to be able to use linguistic tools and do a serious exegesis.
  3. The student will gain confidence in doing exegesis in the Greek New Testament, and will grow in his or her desire to do serious exegetical study in the preparation of sermons or Bible studies.

The course has two objectives:

  1. The student will demonstrate he or she has reached these goals by writing a report of his or her own exegesis of a brief text selected from the New Testament and…
  2. …pass an exam on the fundamentals of New Testament Greek, writing the meaning of a list of vocabulary, explaining the meaning of important grammatical terms, identifying noun and verb forms, identifying the function of certain works within their sentences, and translating some Greek sentences into English.

While I have not had opportunity to make my way through the book’s lessons, I’ll definitely be giving it a good look. With the book retailing for only $22, the only real expense would be your time. If learning some Greek is on your list of things to do, or on the list of things you wish you could do, you might like to give it a try. Don’t expect to be able to begin a career in Bible translation, but do expect that it will give you tools you need to do better and more sound exegesis.


  • We All Have To Do With God

    We All Have To Do With God

    Every one of us must deal with God. Every one of us must, at some time, face God. Every one of us must be prepared to give an account to God. For, as Scripture says, “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    Weekend A La Carte (February 24)

    A La Carte: Wherever he leads, he’ll go / Britain’s loneliest sheep / Helping your teen with porn / How do the Arminian and Calvinist views of election differ? / Exposing the good in digital distractions / Kindle deals / and more.

  • Free Stuff Fridays (Coram Deo Pastors Conference)

    This week the blog and this giveaway are sponsored by the Coram Deo Pastors Conference. Dear brother pastor, In a spirit of prayerful expectation, I want to invite you to the Coram Deo Pastors Conference. This new event is hosted by Clearly Reformed (a new ministry I help to lead) and Christ Covenant Church (where…

  • The Kindness of God

    God’s Goodness in a Cruel World

    There is much to love and appreciate about our God, much for which we ought to give him praise and thanks. One of the attributes we may consider too seldom is his goodness, and as an aspect or component of his goodness, his kindness. And that is the subject of

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (February 23)

    A La Carte: Order, preparation, and the Spirit’s leading / Desecration at St. Patrick’s Cathedral / Why did God stigmatize the disabled? / Who would I be if I was happy? / 7 parenting errors that can influence adult children to leave the faith / and more.

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (February 22)

    A La Carte: Ice, wind, and unanswered prayers / Was it all a waste? / Prepping for the impending apocalypse / The best analogy for the Trinity / Getting to stop by woods on a snowy evening / Bible translation and AI / and more.