BA Books & Authors on the Web – February 5, 2016

Cover ArtUsing and Enjoying Biblical Greek, by Rodney Whitacre, was reviewed at Exegetical Tools.

“A valuable tool for anyone who has taken one year of Greek or one who is a little rusty and wants to return to one’s first love. The format is easy to follow and the examples are good at illustrating points discussed in the book. For someone who has kept their Greek and uses it on a daily basis, I find chapter six alone is worth the price of the book…If you are learning Greek or use Greek daily, this is a book worth having on your shelf and working through.”

Also at Exegetical Tools, a series on D. A. Carson’s classic Exegetical Fallacies.

RJS, at Jesus Creed, explored J. Richard Middleton’s critique of rapture theology in A New Heaven and a New Earth.

Cover ArtIntroducing Biblical Hermeneutics, by Craig Bartholomew, was reviewed at Sojourner Theology.

“An excellent introduction to the task of biblical interpretation….Bartholomew has produced a volume that is both comprehensive and readable, and his hermeneutical vision captures the essence of biblical revelation well….This is a monumental achievement in the field of biblical interpretation and the pastor, teacher or student would do well in referring to it often.”

Andrew Root’s Bonhoeffer as Youth Worker was reviewed at Resistance & Renewal.

At Scriptorium Daily, Fred Sanders discussed a section on Trinitarianism in Stanley Porter’s Linguistic Analysis of the Greek New Testament.


Why Study Greek? – an Excerpt from Using and Enjoying Biblical Greek

The following is an excerpt from Using and Enjoying Biblical Greek, by Rodney Whitacre.


A knowledge of the basics of Greek opens to you the greatest mental and spiritual adventure, the most edifying study. With Greek you have unique access to some of the world’s greatest literature and, most significantly, the power and beauty of God’s Scriptures, the very oracles of God (τὰ λόγια τοῦ θεοῦ, Rom. 3:2).

Cover ArtThe question “Why study Greek?” was raised some years ago in an internet discussion group devoted to Greek. The six reasons given by a woman who had studied Greek in a class at her church sum it up very nicely:

1. I love the language. I did not anticipate this when I started it. 2. I do get nuances out of the text that I don’t get in English. 3. Reading from the Greek slows me down and makes me think. 4. I now know enough to recognize faulty arguments made by other speakers. 5. I find reading from the Greek more moving. I was gripped by reading the Passion passages in the Gospels, something I don’t think I get from reading English. 6. I am a resource for the Bible study I am in. I don’t answer a question every week, but there’s an interpretation question I can answer, or get the answer to, with some frequency. Sometimes it’s as simple as whether “you” is in the singular or plural.

Would that all students of Greek had such an experience! I want to help you engage Greek texts in ways that will bring such benefits. In this introduction I will give you an overview of what I have in mind.

“Before we sip the Scriptures, we should guzzle them.” This is great advice for how all Christians should approach the Scriptures. Augustine spends most of his time in On Christian Doctrine explaining how to interpret Scripture, and his first step is to “read them all and become familiar with their contents” (II.12 [chap. 8]). He encourages believers “to read them so as to commit them to memory, or at least so as not to remain wholly ignorant of them” (II.14 [chap. 9]).

Such extensive reading is all the more important for teachers and preachers. I remember Harold John Ockenga, when he was president of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, saying that before he began to preach through a book of the Bible he read it forty times. He guzzled the book before sipping individual passages and preaching them to others.

In this book I want to encourage you to guzzle and sip the text in Greek. The methods I share in this book for gaining an ability to engage the text in these ways are neither complex nor difficult. You can use these two approaches right from the outset in basic Greek and then continue them throughout your life. It certainly takes time to become fluent, but there are ways to move toward fluency that are very enjoyable and valuable. I will not focus on exegesis, though these approaches complement exegetical study of texts and can deepen your ability to do exegesis. As we will see, fluency and meditation have their own values.

©2015 by Rodney A. Whitacre. Published by Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.


For more information on Using and Enjoying Biblical Greek, click here.

New Release: Using and Enjoying Biblical Greek

Cover ArtMany who study biblical Greek despair of being able to use it routinely, but veteran instructor Rodney Whitacre says there is hope! By learning to read Greek slowly, students can become fluent one passage at a time and grasp the New Testament in its original language.

Whitacre explains how to practice meditation on Scripture (lectio divina) in Greek, presenting a workable way to make Greek useful in life and ministry. Ideal for classroom use and for group or individual study, this book helps students advance their knowledge of Greek and equips them to read the original texts with fluency and depth.


“This is a book of strategies—strategies for increasing one’s working vocabulary, strategies for developing fluency and even immediacy in reading the Greek text, strategies for analyzing sentences to understand their constituent parts and internal relations, strategies for overcoming (at last!) the divide between academic study of the Greek text and devotional appropriation. The person who employs these strategies, even selectively, will assuredly drink more deeply of what the biblical text has to offer those who read it in its own mother tongue.”—David A. deSilva, Ashland Theological Seminary

“I have watched numerous seminary graduates let their Greek slip and then resolve to get back into it. They usually start, needlessly so, with lesson 1 of their first-year Greek grammar and never make it to the really useful material they ought to be reviewing. Whitacre’s book is the perfect one-stop shop for the kind of review they need…. I am unaware of any resource like it.”—Craig L. Blomberg, Denver Seminary

“Long known as a master in the essential profession of teaching Koine Greek, Whitacre has done what very few can. Here is a primer for reading Greek fluently that takes one from a review of the basic elements of the language; through the most up-to-date linguistic analysis of sentence and discourse structure, verbal aspect, and the art of ‘mapping’ complex sentences; to the life-changing practice of meditating on the Greek text!….I will be using and recommending this pedagogical tour de force for years to come!”—Scott Hafemann, University of St. Andrews

“Rodney Whitacre has put students of Greek in his debt once again! This uniquely useful text will not only help folks improve their knowledge of and pleasure in reading the New Testament in Greek but will also help them to see how it can enrich their devotional life as they learn how to meditate on the Scriptures as the church has done through the centuries. Highly recommended!”—Roy E. Ciampa, Nida Institute for Biblical Scholarship


Rodney A. Whitacre (PhD, University of Cambridge) is professor emeritus of biblical studies at Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pennsylvania. He is the author of A Patristic Greek Reader and John in the IVP New Testament Commentary.

For more information on Using and Enjoying Biblical Greek, click here.

BA Books & Authors on the Web – June 12, 2015

Cover ArtBrian Walsh, at Empire Remixed, reviewed J. Richard Middleton’s A New Heaven and a New Earth, and used James K. A. Smith’s Imagining the Kingdom to work out how Middleton’s reimagining of eschatology might reshape Christian practice.

For Smith, the most foundational concrete practice is worship. The true story will only shape our perception of the world and transform our character if we learn it “by heart,” at “a gut level.”…And here we see the most powerful contribution of A New Heaven and a New Earth. In this exercise in biblical theology, Richard has powerfully, comprehensively and convincingly opened up the normative shape of the Christian story.

Mike Kibbe, at For Christ and His Kingdom, reviewed The World of the New Testament, edited by Joel Green and Lee McDonald.

Also, The World of the New Testament was reviewed John J. Pilch by and Kathleen E. Mills at RBL.

The World of the New Testament is a comprehensive resource for understanding the various contexts of the New Testament writings, especially for those who may be less familiar with the context of the New Testament. Particularly noteworthy is the breadth of subject matter covered and the annotated bibliography at the end of each essay.

The forthcoming Using and Enjoying Biblical Greek, by Rodney Whitacre, was highlighted by Matthew Montonini at New Testament Perspectives.