New Testament Greek Grammar Books
This list (along with the page entitled "Greek Reference Books") includes study aids, Greek grammars, and linguistic helps. I have included here a full range of books: ones that would be suitable for a person with no knowledge of Greek and ones that are considered some of the most scholarly and complete, advanced New Testament Greek grammars. This list will be updated periodically.
Please be aware that it is very difficult to put together a list of "Recommended Readings" when it comes to Greek Reference tools. There are so many books available and many of them are very good; which ones you use will depend upon what you are trying to accomplish. Below is a list of books that I have found useful and many of them I use regularly. All of them I have used, sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on my stage of learning Greek and what my current practice was in diving into the Greek New Testament. Obviously I have not listed all the Greek study books available. I have listed a couple of books that include lists like this of their own. These would be worthwhile getting to see other peoples' perspectives and draw from their experiences.
Please do NOT go out and purchase all of the books listed here. Just as David's sling and five smooth stones were more helpful to him than Saul's mighty armor, so you must find the tools that you are comfortable with and that enable you to benefit most from studying the Greek New Testament.
In each category I have tried to list the books in what I feel is the order of
importance (the first book mentioned being most useful). I have tried to do this from the
perspective of a first year Greek student. Books marked with an asterisk (*) are
books that are highly recommended for building a library of N.T. Greek resources
or learning Greek (depending on your goals).
Please consider reading (or at least looking closely at) the preface and introductions
of these books. You will often learn valuable information about the Greek language and
history, and get a helpful background about the books that you are reading (and insights
into future books to save your pennies for).
New Testament Greek Grammar Books
A. First Steps in Grammar and Biblical Greek
If you want some first steps toward learning Greek before attempting a full-blown cliff-jump, I suggest these helpful books that will take you more gently into this wilderness of Greek grammar. (If you are at this level, please see my page on "Preparing to Learn Elementary Greek" for more suggestions.)
- * One area that challenges many people during a beginning language course is what I will refer to as "technical terminology". Understanding the meaning of English grammatical terms (such as ‘noun’, "pronoun", "verb", "infinitive", and "participle") will greatly enhance your ability to comprehend the same (or corresponding) ideas in Greek. If you do not have a good grasp on English grammar (which you will need to know in order to understand Greek grammar) I highly recommend the small book entitled, "Essential English Grammar" (by Philip Gucker, ISBN 0-486-21649-7). It is a book that is directed toward the adult learner. The beauty of this book is its short and concise definitions, its "Dictionary of Grammatical Terms", the exercises (and corresponding answers) found at the back of each chapter, and its inexpensive price. (Last I checked, retail was about $5.) If you learn and understand Part 1 of this small book (through page 85), you will have a good basic understanding of English grammar and be well prepared for the grammar you will need to master in a beginning Greek class.
- * There is a fantastic little book entitled, "Greek for the Rest of Us" by William D. Mounce (subtitled, "Mastering Bible Study without Mastering Biblical Languages"). I highly recommend this book for anyone that wants to understand Greek so that they can understand the Bible. If you are planning on going on to study Greek (and want a great jumpstart) or just want to learn enough Greek to do word studies and understand biblical commentaries, then this book is a must. It will take you through all the basic Greek terminology, tell you about some great Bible study methods, help you choose appropriate Bible versions and commentaries, and help build a framework for understanding Biblical Greek.
B. Beginning Greek Grammars
There are many, many Greek grammar books for the beginning student (and more coming out
all the time). I have tried to look at many of them but without actually teaching from all
of them, I can only give my impression of a few.
- * "Basics of Biblical Greek" by William D.
Mounce (published by Zondervan). This book is highly recommended by many teachers of
beginning New Testament Greek that I have talked with. (Many claim that it is the best
first year book available). I have recently finished teaching from this book for the first
time. I agree that for learning the Greek verb and noun forms, this book is the
best I have ever seen. I have often referred to Dr. Mounce as the "Master of
Morphology." (See his books on Morphology
below.) He has some real insights on how words end up in their particular form
and makes learning easier by his helpful categorization. He encourages you to learn the
important 'rules' for forming words, and not get bogged down with all the details. He
points out that if you are only learning lists of words (rather than seeing the patterns),
chances are very likely that you will not be using Greek as you study the Bible for the
rest of your life. Dr. Mounce also has a very good (and encouraging) teaching style and
helps to keep a first year student motivated by his explanations.
The exercises normally found in a beginning
grammar book are instead placed in a separate book entitled * Workbook for Basics
of Biblical Greek by William D. Mounce. The pages are made to be
handed in, and subsequently placed in a three ring binder. The assignments are all
verses, vocabulary, and parsing exercises from the New Testament. An appropriate
level of help is given where needed for unlearned vocabulary and footnotes to explain
grammatical constructions that have not yet been covered in the book. (The cost of
purchasing two books may be a little more expensive, but the added value of the workbook
and the teaching tool it provides seems worth the extra expense.)
By going to Dr. Mounce's Web site, you can download supporting programs
and files for teaching/learning from his book. This site includes an Overview of the book,
a teacher's packet (which includes answers to exercises and quizzes), audio cassettes, and
computer programs to aid in learning vocabulary and parsing. Here is the URL to the
specific page of information on his book: http://www.teknia.com/resources/resources.html
If you are trying to learn NT Greek on your own, Dr. Mounce also now has an
audio cassette series in which he teaches through his entire book. This would be a good
alternative for someone who is not able to be in a classroom situation.
- * "Learn to Read New Testament Greek" by David Alan Black
(published by Broadman Press). This is a very good beginning book; I like it the best of
all I have found so far for teaching the meaning of the different grammatical
points. I appreciate this brother's teaching style, emphasis, and application (especially
chapter 26). What I feel would be ideal for a person first learning New Testament Greek
would be to use both this book and Dr. Mounce's book. Dr. Mounce best teaches the forms
and Dr. Black gives a more thorough explanation of the meanings of Greek grammar.
One of the areas that makes learning Greek so profitable comes from
having a proper understanding of Greek verbs and participles. In my first year of learning
Greek, I had a wrong concept of Greek tenses. I had to virtually re-learn Greek verbs in
my third year of study. This was partially due to a beginning book that tried to
over-simplify Greek for the beginning student. Professor Black has a very good overview of
the components of Greek verbs (chapter 2) and a very balanced emphasis of things like the
"tense" and "kind of action" of Greek verbs. Very good! Also, in his
"Epilogue" he has an excellent list of Greek reference books (like this list),
many of which I include here and many others that I have never read.
- A very popular first year book is "New Testament Greek for Beginners"
by J.Gresham Machen (published by Macmillan). Although this is a fine book and one
can surely learn Greek by studying it, it is pretty expensive and really outdated in its
teaching methods and emphasis. A very good book that is structured after Machen's book,
and yet with an updated view of Greek verbs and a better teaching style, is "An
Introductory Grammar of New Testament Greek" by Paul L. Kaufman (published
by "Ronald N. Haynes Publishers" out of Palm Springs, CA). Unfortunately, I
don't believe this book is being published anymore.
- Greek Tutor Multimedia CD-ROM by Parsons Technology is a good computer program
for MS Windows that teaches the basics of N.T. Greek. In their own words, "Greek
Tutor harnesses the interactive power of multimedia to simplify and enhance your studies.
You'll hear the pronunciations of letters and words as you see them to learn Greek by
sight and sound!" It is good on its own or as a supplement to a first year grammar
- Learning NT Greek on the Internet: (See my page on On-Line Resources)
C. Intermediate Greek Grammars
Traditionally there have not been many grammars which were directed toward the second year
Koine Greek student. Yet it is quite a task to jump from an introductory grammar book into
a scholarly work such as by Robertson or Moulton (mentioned below) without studying some
sort of intermediate grammar. However, in the last few years I have seen a number of
"intermediate" type Greek grammars published.
- ** Of all the intermediate Grammars available, the one I feel that is
by far the best is "Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics - An Exegetical Syntax of the
New Testament" by Daniel B. Wallace published by Zondervan. (This book is
meant to be somewhat of a continuation of Mounce's "Basics of Biblical Greek",
but it is an excellent book for anyone that has studied through a first year N.T. Greek
grammar.) Of all the intermediate and advanced Greek grammar books that I have read, I
have never seen one this thorough, and yet so easy to understand. It has really helped to
clarify some complicated subjects. The more I study this book, the more I feel that Dr.
Wallace should be considered a linguistic genius and that this work is setting a new
standard for simplifying and classifying Greek grammatical usages. It is excellent! What
an enjoyment to read and how enlightening! If you own any Greek grammar book beyond the
first year, this is the one to buy! (With the depth and wealth of material contained in this book, it could
also be considered an advanced grammar.)
There is also an abridged version of this book
called, "The Basics of New Testament Syntax" for those who are
intimidated by a thick book. I personally recommend the full version; if you
seriously want to study intermediate/advanced Greek grammar, it is helpful
to have the extra material available, even if you don't use it at first.
(Especially the wealth of examples and bibliographical information.) This abridged version was mainly created so this material could more easily
be used in a classroom setting; this version makes teaching/learning in a
College-level setting much easier than trying to define the appropriate
material from the unabridged version.
There is also a CD-ROM edition of the unabridged version,
published by Galaxie Software. (http://www.galaxie.com/).
(Please note that the first edition of the book lacked a subject index and a Greek word
index, if you happen to own this edition you can download both of these indices from Bill
Mounce's web site at http://www.teknia.com/resources/resources.html
- * "A Graded Reader of Biblical Greek" by William D. Mounce
is a great way to start reading through New Testament passages, receiving appropriate help
when needed by the intermediate student. I use this book when teaching second year Greek
courses (along with Daniel Wallace's book and the Vocabulary Guide by Warren
- * "It's Still Greek to Me" by David Alan Black
is a great 'overview' and reiteration of what a person would learn in a
first year class, as well as a great introduction into second year Greek
grammar. He has a wonderful writing style which makes this book very
readable and non-threatening. If Wallace's 'Beyond the Basics' book seems
like too much to bite off, please consider using this one to start with.
- * "The Student's Complete Vocabulary Guide to the Greek New Testament"
by Warren C. Trenchard is a good book for increasing your vocabulary skills for
increased reading ability.
This list should be adequate for most people (and most
people's needs). If you want to know about other intermediate Greek grammar
books available, please see this continued
D. Advanced Greek Grammars
- The information contained in Daniel Wallace's book (in the
Intermediate section above) would be considered the best of the Advanced Greek Grammars
- (Also see the section on Morphology below for
other advanced Greek books.)
- "A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research"
by A.T.Robertson. The preface to "Dana and Mantey" (above) says about
this book: "...in 1914 appeared that stupendous work, so far superior to every
preceding effort in the entire field... This book is, and is probably for a long time to
remain, the unrivaled standard in its realm." This is truly quite a phenomenal work,
but get ready for a LOT OF DETAIL. Because it is so exhaustive, it is usually not so
practical to use in a casual way.
- "Grammar of New Testament Greek" (four volumes) by J.H.Moulton,
(W.F.Howard, and N.Turner). Volume 4 (Style) provides a great comparison
of the Greek writing style of the different New Testament authors.
- "Idioms of the Greek New Testament" by Stanley E.
- "A Greek Grammar of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature"
by F.Blass and A.Debrunner, Translated and Edited by R.W.Funk.
- "An Idiom Book of New Testament Greek" by C.F.D. Moule.
- "Syntax of the Moods and Tenses in New Testament Greek" by Ernest De
E. Greek Morphology
for a definition of 'morphology')
- * "The Analytical Lexicon to the
Greek New Testament" by William D.
Mounce. This book is a great reference for finding the meaning and
lexical form of any Greek word that you may come across in reading the New
Testament. Look up the form you find; it will tell you what Greek word it
comes from. A great tool!
- "Morphology of Biblical Greek" by William D.
Mounce. If you have ever wanted to know WHY a certain Greek word is
formed the way it is, chances are that you will find it here. Mounce tries
to give all the patterns for forming Greek words. If you learn the patterns
for morphology, other forms won't look for foreign to you. A great advanced
Updated October 2006