Dr. Miles Van Pelt, an Old Testament and Hebrew Bible Professor at Reformed Theological Seminary, has been producing a number of very helpful Biblical Hebrew grammars, workbooks and study guides over the past several years. Zondervan should be commended for their efforts in publishing great tools for the study of Biblical languages at affordable prices. The Lord has blessed the body of Christ with Dr. Van Pelt’s able scholarship and efforts in providing students of Biblical Hebrew with user friendly tools. His “Biblical Hebrew -A Compact Guide” makes studying or maintaining competence in the often times difficult language of Biblical Hebrew both managable and attainable.
In reading through Dr. Van Pelt’s little grammar, the size (210 pages) and organization of the material immediately revealed just how wonderful of a tool it really is. Priced at less than $20.00 and small enough to fit into one’s shirt pocket, truly any student of the language can study Hebrew on the go without having to lug unwieldy grammars, lexicons and workbooks.
The little book itself is arranged into five sections: Phonology (pronounciation); Nominal system (including nouns, adjectives, suffixes, construct chains and all the various pronouns); Verbal system and then two appendices featuring every conceivable noun and verb chart, with the book ending with the Hebrew to English Lexicon.
Each section includes numerous examples from scripture were given and how each grammatical point was demonstrated and explained. Dr. Van Pelt’s unique system of putting verbal roots and diagnostic letters in red ink aids the student greatly in keeping up with what could be an otherwise dizzying task of trying to master Hebrew morphology (i.e how the verbs themselves are formed and why).
The final two appendices are invaluable in their complete treatment of the paradigms and the lexicon. Retaining vocabulary is usually the most challenging part of keeping up with Biblical Hebrew. There are over 700 vocabulary words in the appendix, which means that if one can master all of the vocabulary supplied by Dr. Van Pelt, they should be able to read through texts such as Ruth, Jonah, Genesis 37-50 and some of the Psalms with little or no consultation of a lexicon. Overall this book is highly recommended for anyone, at any level who desires or loves to study Biblical Hebrew to the glory of God.