Beginning the study of New Testament Greek during my first year of college was a life-changing experience that brought God’s word alive in so many new and exciting ways. Some seventeen years later, I’m a bit rusty, but am for the most part still functionally literate. For me, studying Greek has always been more of an academic exercise. I’ve long wanted to take my Greek studies to new heights that might impact my devotions and enrich me spiritually. For whatever reason this has been rather elusive to me, keeping my Greek studies firmly planted in their long-standing academic “box.”
I was filled with great anticipation when I came across Devotions on the Greek New Testament in the Zondervan Academic Resources catalog earlier this year. The subtitle promises “52 Reflections to Inspire & Instruct,” so I was hopeful that Devotions on the Greek New Testament would be the resource I’d been looking for to help bridge the gap between the academic and the spiritual/devotional aspect of my Greek studies. Duvall and Verbrugge did not disappoint.
Devotions on the Greek New Testament is composed of fifty-two, two to two and a half page devotional readings, each focused on a particular passage from the Greek New Testament. The Greek text is at the top of the first page of each devotional reading, followed by an explanation of how understanding the day’s passage in Greek matters for your life and ministry. For the purposes of this review I read through devotional entries by Ben Witherington III, Constantine R. Campbell, and Lynn H. Cohick. Here’s a bit from each of those chapters to give you an idea of what you’ll find in the book:
“Understanding the cultural background of the first century is often critical in learning to understand some of the idioms and imagery of the Greek New Testament. These idioms sometimes get lost in translation.”
-Ben Witherington III on Acts 26:14 (p. 57)
“Thus in 1 Peter 1:7 we witness a Greek wordplay that draws both a contrast and a parallel between faith and gold. Genuine faith is more valuable than gold, but like gold, faith is made pure by passing through fire”
-Constantine R. Campbell 1 Peter 1:7 (p. 132)
“That Paul uses a verb rather than a noun becomes especially important in interpreting 2:5, which can be translated literally, “this think among yourselves which also in Christ Jesus.” Generally speaking, the reader inserts the verb of the first clause (“think”) into the second clause.”
-Lynn H. Cohick on Philippians 2:5 (p. 92)
The list of contributors for Devotions on the Greek New Testament is rather impressive. In addition to those mentioned earlier, I was glad to see contributions from Craig L. Blomberg, Darrell L. Bock, William D. Mounce, and many others, all experts in New Testament Greek exegesis. I also wanted to make mention that the chapters follow in canonical order. Here’s a breakdown of the number of chapters per New Testament Book:
- Matthew – 4
- Mark – 3
- Luke – 3
- John – 5
- Acts – 3
- Romans – 3
- 1 Corinthians – 3
- 2 Corinthians – 1
- Galatians – 2
- Ephesians – 2
- Philippians – 4
- Colossians – 2
- 1 Thessalonians – 1
- 2 Thessalonians – 1
- 1 Timothy – 1
- 2 Timothy – 2
- Titus – 1
- Philemon – 1
- Hebrews – 2
- James – 1
- 1 Peter – 1
- 2 Peter – 1
- 1 John – 1
- Jude – 1
- Revelation – 3
Devotions on the Greek New Testament is a resource I wish I’d been introduced to during my first two years of Greek study. Professors would do well to introduce this book to their students in either the second semester of Greek 1 or the first semester of Greek 2. Once students are several chapters in to the book, it’d be a good exercise to challenge them to put what they’re learning into practice and produce their own devotional reading based on a Greek New Testament passage. As for me, I’m well past my Greek 1 and 2 days, so my plan is to add Devotions on the Greek New Testament to the stack of devotional resources I’ll be working through in 2013, finishing one chapter each week.
I wholeheartedly recommend Devotions on the Greek New Testament for students, professors, and pastors. Not only will you learn from some of the best minds in New Testament exegesis, you’ll also be encouraged to strengthen your walk with the Lord at the same time.
My overall rating is 5 out of 5 stars.
This product was provided by Academic PS and Zondervan for review. The reviewer was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.
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