Book Review: William D. Mounce’s “Biblical Greek – A Compact Guide”

In the last post I did a book review of Dr. Miles Van Pelt’s book: “Biblical Hebrew – A Compact Guide”.  In today’s post I will be reviewing another similar type book that is written by an equally reputable scholar of the Greek New Testament – Dr. William D. Mounce.

For many years Dr. Mounce has been prolific in his output of New Testament Greek materials.  His “Basics of Biblical Greek” has become a standard textbook for studying first year Greek in Bible colleges and seminaries and his accompanying workbooks and advanced volumes (such as his work on New Testament Greek Morphology) are equally excellent in guiding the student through intermediate and advanced Greek.

One thing that can be noted about Dr. Mounce’s approach is in how he gets the student immediately into the New Testament Greek text in his examples – a trade mark that prior generations of grammarians chose not to do until well into the student’s second and third year studies. Combined with attention to detail and clarity of illustrations, Dr. Mounce’s trademark approaches are now available in his “Biblical Greek – A Compact Guide”.

Published by Zondervan in 2011, the book can easily fit into one’s shirt pocket, is 212 pages in length and much like its Hebrew counterpart is reasonably priced (under $20). Mounce divides the work up into nine sections: the first three dedicated to various issues concerning Greek nouns; the next three dedicated to issue regarding Greek verbs; the seventh and eight sections dealing with noun and verb morphology (i.e how nouns and verbs are formed when placed in relationships with other words) and the final section containing a lexicon (Greek to English dictionary).

As this reviewer read through the book, it is very clear that Mounce is chiefly concerned in making sure the reader understands all they can about the verbs, sentence structure (syntax) and morphology.  The first 30 pages covered in a relatively quick fashion the noun cases, rules and parts of speech.  In comparing Mounce’s more thorough treatment of the verbs and morphology, it seems that the noun section was streamlined – perhaps to keep down the size.

The final section of the Greek Lexicon is perhaps the most useful feature of the little book.  Mounce lists how many times each vocabulary work occurs in the Greek New Testament, color coding those words which occur 50 times or more in blue ink. The remaining entries go all the way down to 10 word occurences.  If a reader were to consistently study through Mounce’s work, fluent reading of 1 John, sections of Paul’s epistles and the Gospel of John could be done without consulting a lexicon.

Judging the content and amount of material covered in this book, any beginning or Intermediate Greek student ought to benefit.  For those who are desiring to keep up with their Greek, or even to advance in their acquisition of vocabulary, Mounce’s “Biblical Greek – A Compact Guide” is the right book for you.


About pastormahlon

By the grace of God I was converted to saving faith in Jesus Christ at the age of 10 and called into the Gospel ministry by age 17. Through the Lord's grace I completed a Bachelors in Bible at Lancaster Bible College in 1996 and have been married to my beautiful wife since that same year. We have been blessed with four children, ranging from 7-18 years of age. In 2002 the Lord enabled me to complete a Master of Arts in Christian Thought at Biblical Theological Seminary, Hatfield PA. For nearly 25 years I have been preaching and teaching God's Word and have been studying the original languages since 1994. In 2016 God called my family and me to move to begin a pastorate at a wonderful Southern Baptist Congregation here in Northern New York.
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