A Recommended Bibliography for Beginning Greek Students

“I have firmly decided to study Greek, nobody except God can prevent it. It is not a matter of personal ambition but one of understanding the most Sacred Writings.” – Ulrich Zwingli 

If you do not enjoy the blessing of a seminary training from a school that offers you 3 years of Greek, I would encourage you to get comfortable with the tools up through the level you have, then press on to subsequent columns in the tools listed here and teaching yourself how to use them.

Category First Year Second Year Third Year
Gk. txts UBS 4th ed., ISBN: 1598561715 (the 3d ed. is actually much easier to read; the 4th ed. has a horrible typeface, so if you find a used 3d ed., buy it!) NA 27th ed., ISBN: 1598561723 (The 28th ed. was released fall 2012.

There is a nice Greek-English diaglot edition of NA27 now available with the NET Bible on facing pages, including a select subset of NET notes. )

Synopsis of the Four Gospels Greek/English, 9th edition, 1989; 2006 pub. (may still be 9th ed., but new publisher?): ISBN, 1598561774.
Lexicons Danker, Frederick W., ed. A Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (U/Chicago, 2009). ISBN 13: 978-0-226-13615-8
This is the best of the small lexicons, in part because it includes actual definitions, not just glosses.
Second rank choices include: Trenchard, A Concise Dictionary of NT Greek (Cambridge, 2003) or: Abbott-Smith, Manual Greek Lexicon of the NT)
BDAG* (= A Greek-English Lexicon of the NT & Other Early Christian Literature, Bauer; ed. Arndt, Gingrich, Danker) —the standard reference tool for NT studies; 3d edition was published late fall 2000. See my review. 

Louw & Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the NT Based on Semantic Domains(United Bible Societies; a good complement to BAGD) 

Mounce, Analytical Lexicon***

Moulton & Milligan, The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament (new Hendrickson reprint) 

Liddell & Scott (the standard lexicon for classical Greek; it does include NT material). “Liddell,” BTW, is pronounced “little” (not “li-dell”). 

For LXX work: Lust, Eynikel, & Hauspie (2d ed., 2003 by German Bible Society); or T. Muraoka, A Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint (Peeters, 2009).

Concord. Greek-English Concordance, ed. Kohlenberger (Zond)
Exhausive Concordance to the Greek NT, ed. Kohlenberger (Zond) (unless you have a computerized tool that makes it unnecessary–see below)
Grammar a first-year text (Mounce’s Basics of Biblical Greek is the most widely used.) Of course you will want to use Learning Koine Greek (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, forthcoming [May 2014?] when it is released! 🙂 But then, I wrote it!
Bowne, Paradigms & Principal Parts for the Greek NT (Univ. Press of Am.); Porter, Idioms of the Greek NT (Sheffield); Young, Intermediate NT Greek (Broadman-Holman); Black, It’s Still Greek to Me (Baker) Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the BasicsAn Exegetical Syntax of the NT (Zondervan) – This one is accessible at the 2d year level, but it’s too large for a textbook. For those who want to get into the  technical grammars (not for the faint of heart!) consider A. T. Robertson and Smyth (BDF and MHT are even more technical)
Word Std. Mounce, Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words (Zond.); Robertson, Word Pictures in the NT (I recom. that you do not use Vincent [due to age and method] or Wuest [due to methodological issues].) New International Dictionary of NT Theology, ed. Colin Brown (DNTT; Zondervan) Theological Dictionary of the NT, ed. Kittel (TDNT, 10 vol; 1-vol. abridgement avail.; Eerdmans). I’m not convinced that the 10-vol. set is worth the money for purposes of pastoral ministry.
Comms.** New International Commentary on the NT (NICNT) vols.; Pillar NT Comm. (both of these series from Eerdmans); these series are based on Greek text, but it is not usually explicit in the text (the notes often do address Greek questions explicitly) —accessible to the first year student. Baker Exegetical Commentary series (originally Wycliffe Exeg. Comm. from Moody Press, later sold to Baker); Baylor Handbook on the Greek NT, ed. Culy (Acts & Johannine eps. avail now, entire NT in progress; disclaimer! I am doing the vol. on Mark.) This is a grammatical handbook, not a full commentary—but it deals explicitly with the Greek text in terms of grammar and syntax. The Greek student will find it very helpful. There is also a new series just beginning to appear from Zondervan that deals explicitly with the Greek text.
New International Greek Testament Commentary (NIGTC); Word Biblical Commentaries (WBC); Int’l. Critical Comm. (ICC)
Textual Crit. Carson, KJV Debate (Baker) Aland, Text of the NT (2d ed., Eerdmans); Metzger, Text of the NT (3d ed., Oxford)–I’m not very impressed with the 4th ed. as revised by Ehrman who reads some radical ideas into the book (though not as extreme here as some of his popular works); Finegan, Encountering NT Manuscripts (Eerdmans; once again available, though only through “Print on Demand” from the publisher. The major book sellers on the web do list it.)UBS Textual Commentary (ed. Metzger) Epp & Fee, Studies in the Theory and Method of NT Textual Criticism (Eerdmans); White, The King James Only Controversy (Bethany)—if you encounter some of the rabid, KJV-only crowd.
Computer Software .

Accordance (Mac)–is an incredible tool! It’s worth the price of a Mac to run it—and a Windows version is coming in 2013. BibleWorks was the first Windows-based program that began to approach the language tools of Accordance, though with a much more cumbersome interface; there is a beta for Mac as of early 2013.) Some think that Libronix/Logos is the way to go, but I’m not impressed with this big, sluggish program for Windows (and now a similar program for Mac).

Misc. Silva, God, Language & Scripture: Reading the Bible in Light of General Linguistics (Zondervan; also avail. as part of the combined volume: Foundations of Contemporary Interpretation) Carson, Exegetical Fallacies (2d ed.; Baker); Fee, NT Exegesis (Westminster); Silva, Explorations in Exegetical Method (Baker; 2d ed.: Interpreting Galatians: Explorations in Exegetical Method  (2001). The Face of NT Studies, ed. McKnight & Osborne (Baker); Black & Dockery, NT Criticism & Interpretation (Zondervan); 2d ed. now from Broadman/Holman: Interpreting the NT: Essays on Methods and Issues (advertised as a “sequel,” but it’s just a 2d ed. with a diff. publisher; many of the same essays)

See also my  Supplement/update (pdf file) to ch. 2 (“Off the Shelf and into Yourself: Selecting the Right Tools for Greek Exegesis”) of David Alan Black’s Using New Testament Greek in Ministry.


*If you can afford it, get BDAG sooner. You will need it sooner or later anyway. You cannot do serious exegesis without it.

***I hesitate to recommend an analytical lexicon, but eventually you will need one for those odd forms that you just can’t remember or figure out (unless you have a computer-based program that will do the same thing for you). Just don’t allow it to become a crutch— and never buy one before you have mastered a first year grammar.

**Commentaries listed above are general recommendations for sets that are generally helpful. Individual comms. of special note on specific books are as follows:

Matt.: Carson (EBC, part of v. 8); Mark: Edwards, France, Gundry, Lane; LukeBock (BEC); John: Carson, Köstengerger; Acts: Bruce on the Gk text, & NICNT vol.

Rom.: Cranfield (ICC), Moo (NICNT), Schreiner (ECNT)–an abundance of riches on Romans!; 1 Cor.: Fee (NICNT); 2 Cor.: Barnett (NICNT); Eph.: Lincoln (WBC), O’Brien (Pillar), Best (ICC); Phil.: Silva (2d ed., BEC), O’Brien (NIGTC); Col.: O’Brien, Harris, Arnold (The Colossian Syncretism); Pastorals: Fee, W. Mounce in WBC (There is also a new ICC vol. by Marshall that I haven’t used yet that’s prob. worth checking.)

Heb.: Lane (WBC); James: Moo (Pillar series, not Tyndale); Eps./John: Kruse; watch for D. A. Carson’s forthcoming vol. (I think in the NIGTC series?); Rev.: R. Mounce (NICNT), Thomas (WEC).

Not all NT books are listed—which implies that some do not have “outstanding” commentaries available, esp. those that deal with the Greek text; “good” ones, yes, but these are a cut above good—at least in my opinion! This list also reflects my own reading, so it will probably appear to some that I have some very obvious oversights. That is undoubtedly true. (It certainly is of the other bibliographies listed below.) Also note that I’ve only listed contemporary volumes that are (for the most part) still in print. I have not included classic commentaries here.

I recommend that before you invest money in commentaries that you also read carefully D. A. Carson, New Testament Commentary Survey, 6th ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2006—or the most recent ed. available; it is revised periodically). For perceptive reviews of NT commentaries, there’s no better place to find an assessment than this book. It is not a “candy-coated,” sales brochure (far from it!), but a sagacious, “tell it as you see it” survey—one of the few such bibliographies that will make you laugh as you read (or cry if you happen to be one of those authors who receives Carson’s chastening stick!). Highly recommended.

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