New Testament Greek Reference Books

A List of N.T. Greek Helps, Study Aids, and Lexicons

For a proper perspective of the information presented here, please read the explanation that I give to this page in the page entitled "New Testament Greek Grammars". (Please note asterisk and the order in which the books are listed.)

I. Essential Greek Reference Books
These books would be for everyone, even if they know very little or no Greek. However, even an expert in Greek would find these books useful.

  1. An Interlinear Greek New Testament (or a Greek New Testament - non-interlinear - for advanced or ambitious students). There are many Interlinear New Testaments available, but one good one that I have found is "The New Greek English Interlinear New Testament" by Brown, Comfort and Douglas, Published by Tyndale.  One Greek Testament that I have recently started using and recommending for beginning students is the Nestle-Aland "Greek-English New Testament". It is a side-by-side English and Greek Bible; as you want to look at the Greek, you are not distracted with this English like in an interlinear, but you also have the English available on the same page if you want/need to see it.
        There are also numerous Greek New Testaments, but one should probably buy either the one by United Bible Societies (Fourth Edition or Third Edition (corrected)) or the one by Nestle/Aland (preferably the 26th Edition or later).
        Mounce just came out with a 'reverse' English-Greek Interlinear that has the English NIV version with the corresponding Greek word underneath, called the "NIV English-Greek New Testament." Whereas most interlinears are centered around the Greek text (with Greek word order), this book is centered around the English NIV translation (with English word order). It does include the Goodrick/Kohlenberger numbers and morphological tags under each word. I have not thoroughly looked at this book yet, but from my initial contact with it I make the following comments: If you are seriously setting out to learn Greek, I don't suggest this one; Greek word order is important and is somewhat lost in this work. In my opinion, this book would have limited usefulness to those only dabbling in Greek.
  2. * "Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words", by W.E. Vine. This is an excellent word study book; I highly recommend it. A person needs no knowledge of Greek to get great benefit from this book. As you learn Greek, this book helps to identify the use and meaning of different Greek words, starting from the English viewpoint. There may be other publishers, but the one put out by Thomas Nelson Publishers, which is keyed to Strong's reference numbers, is a very good edition.
  3. The meaning of a word is determined by how it is used (not just what the dictionary (lexicon) says that the word means). Therefore, when studying the meaning of a Greek word, it is critical to be able to see all the places where this word is used in the New Testament. A book like "Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible" lists every word according to how it is translated into English. What you really need is an "The New Englishman's Greek Concordance" by George V. Wigram. This lists every place each Greek word is used in the New Testament, regardless of how it is translated into English. This helps you to observe how the original authors used any particular word, and therefore get a better feel for what they were trying to convey when using that word. (You should consider getting the edition that is keyed to "Strong's" numbers if you feel you need it).
        If you know Greek well enough, you may want to instead get "The Exhaustive Concordance to the Greek New Testament' by John R. Kohlenberger III, which lists all N.T. verses containing occurrences of a particular Greek word 'in Greek'. (Whereas Wingram's "New Englishman's Greek Concordance" has the listing in English.)
        Please be aware that some computer programs (see below) already contain this 'Greek Concordance' ability.

II. Greek Study Aids

A. Study Aids for Readers of English

  1. "How to Use New Testament Greek Study Aids" by Walter Jerry Clark published by Loizeaux Brothers. This is an excellent little book showing how to use various study aids for the New Testament; such as different study Bibles, concordances, word studies, commentaries, and Greek grammars. It explains various features of Greek nouns and verbs without actually teaching the Greek language. A very helpful little book. Appendix C in this book has a wonderful explanation of many Greek study aids. It gives an explanation of all the books listed here plus many, many more. It also indicates how much Greek you need to know in order to utilize each book.

B. Lexicons (Greek to English Dictionaries)

  1. "Shorter Lexicon of the Greek New Testament by "F. Wilbur Gingrich". This is an abridged version of "Bauer, Arndt, and Gingrich" mentioned below. It is an excellent book for giving the meaning of Greek words, without citing a lot of other references or adding other supporting examples and documentation.
  2. * "A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature" by W.F.Arndt and F.W.Gingrich, translated from Walter Bauer (often referred to as "Bauer, Arndt, and Gingrich." This is considered the most scholarly, updated, and comprehensive lexicon of early Christian literature. Because it is such a complete work, it is sometimes cumbersome to use if you are just looking up a definition; this is where I prefer the "Abridged" version mentioned above. But it is very complete if you are doing in-depth word studies or reading Greek from the Church Fathers. If you owned one 'desk-copy' lexicon, this is the one to have. (Please note that as of Fall 2000, the third edition has been published.)
  3. "A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament" by Joseph Henry Thayer. This was considered the first real scholarly work done in English when it first came out in 1885. Many of these definitions have been updated in "Bauer, Arndt, and Gingrich" since they have used the more recent manuscript discoveries that were not available when this was published. However, this is still a useful volume, and I quite enjoy the definitions given. There are also some very good analyses of synonyms throughout.
  4. "Greek-English Lexicon" by Liddell & Scott. This is the work for Classical Greek and it includes some words with specialized uses in Koine (N.T.) Greek. There is "An Intermediate" size which is quite reasonably priced compared to the full, unabridged edition. To see the history of a New Testament word in the older Classical Greek is often important in understanding its real meaning.

C. Helps for Reading Through the N.T. in Greek.

  1. An excellent (and anointed) book that follows the New Testament verse by verse and gives a little explanation of many Greek words is "A Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament" by Fritz Rienecker and Cleon Rogers (often referred to as "Rienecker/Rogers"). This book assumes that you already know some Greek. It would probably only be real useful after studying through a beginning Greek grammar. (See this book review for a little more explanation.)
    ** There has been an updated and expanded version of this book that was published late in 1998. It is called "The New Linguistic and Exegetical Key to the Greek New Testament" by Cleon Rogers Jr. and Cleon Rogers III. Cleon Rogers Jr. was the 'Rogers' of the original 'Rienecker/Rogers' volume. It is no longer a handy little reference work to carry around, but quite a large volume, containing an even greater wealth of information. It includes material from Daniel Wallace's book "Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics", which is a book that I highly respect and recommend.
  2. "A Reader's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament" by Sakae Kubo". Once you go through a first year course and want to start reading through the Greek New Testament, this is a very helpful little book. Every word that is used less than 50 times in the New Testament is listed, verse by verse, with a simple definition. This saves the trouble of trying to determine the lexical (dictionary) form of every word and then having to look each one up in an alphabetical lexicon. (Although you still need to know the form of the words in the text as this does not actually give the translation of each sentence).
    Words occurring 50 times or more are listed in the Appendix. For each book, words occurring less than 50 times but more than 5 times are listed alphabetically at the beginning of the book. Memorizing these as you embark on reading through a book is an excellent way to increase your vocabulary knowledge.
  3. For other morphological help, see the Morphology section under the grammar book page.

D. Greek Word Studies

  1. "Wuest's Word Studies From the Greek New Testament for the English Reader (three or four volumes) by Kenneth S. Wuest.
  2. "Word Studies in the New Testament" by Marvin R. Vincent.
  3. "Little Kittel" ("Theological Dictionary of the New Testament - Abridged Version") by G. Kittel (and G. Friedrich), edited by G.W. Bromiley. This is a very welcome edition for those of us that don't want to wade through the full version of Kittel's work. A good start for getting a complete history and usage of N.T. words.
        A very important aspect of learning the meaning of a New Testament word is seeing how that word was used in classical Greek and in the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament). Three books that provide some of this history are "Little Kittel", New International Dictionary of NT Theology" (next number in this list), and the "Complete Biblical Library" (below).
  4. "New International Dictionary of NT Theology", by Colin Brown.
  5. "Synonyms of the New Testament" by Richard C. Trench
  6. "A Dictionary of New Testament Greek Synonyms" by George R. Berry.
    Knowing the different shades of meaning of similar words is important. Trench's and Berry's books do a good job at this, but they are somewhat outdated. A more comprehensive book in this arena is greatly needed.

E. Exegetical Commentaries

  1. "Alford's Greek Testament: An Exegetical and Critical Commentary" by Henry Alford (four volumes). Very good verse by commentary, using the Greek grammar to explain the meaning of every phrase. There is also a version of this book "For the English Reader", but it is a watered down version and I feel it loses a lot of the helpful details, explanations, and proofs that are based on the Greek grammar. Instead of getting the English version, study through a beginning or intermediate Greek grammar and get up to the level to benefit from the original "Greek" version.
  2. "New Testament Commentaries" by R.C.H. Lenski. In this recently re-published 12 volume set, Lenski provides his own literal translation of the Greek New Testament and gives in depth comments on the Greek. Even though I don't always agree with either Lenski or Alford, they will usually at least comment on different Greek constructions and thus help shed light on various passages. I appreciate the conservative yet scholarly nature of both of these commentary sets.
  3. "The New International Greek Testament Commentary" published by Eerdman's Publishing Co. Eerdman's has slowly been putting out commentaries on various N.T. books. (They are about half way done at this point.) I have not made as wide a use of these as I have of Lenski's or Alford's, but from what I have read, it makes extensive use of the Greek and is a good series.

G. Comprehensive Sets and Computer Programs
    It is helpful to have a book that "parses" every Greek word for you (see my "Introduction to Learning N.T. Greek" for an explanation of why this is important). The resources listed here do that and more. Due to expediency, in this section I will only list my absolute favorites.

  1. "The Complete Biblical Library" (referred to as the "CBL") published by World Library Press. This 16 volume work (for the New Testament) is truly "complete". It is worth contacting the publishers for a free video that tells about this set. Briefly, it has a Greek interlinear section in which it gives the Greek words, a transliteration (pronunciation), translation, the detailed form of every Greek word, and a number to use in looking up the word. From that number, you can look up the meaning and history of every Greek word in the New Testament. It is quite a unique work in that it is basically a summary of Strong's, Bauer's, Kittel's, Liddell-Scott, Colin Brown, and more. I enjoy being able to see how this word was used in Classical Greek and the Septuagint without having to wade through piles of other books.
        It also includes an "Englishman's Greek Concordance" (see above) and points out related Greek words and gives synonyms of each word.
        The CBL also includes a verse by verse commentary and a section that lists how each phrase is translated in various Bibles (drawing from up to 60 or so different translations). Worth looking into.
  2. "PC Study Bible (Complete Reference Library)" by Biblesoft. This is an excellent Bible software program. It is considered much easier to use than Logos 2.0 or other programs, and yet includes many helpful Reference works (such as Nave's Topical Bible, Nelson's and Unger's Bible Dictionaries, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE, 'Jamieson, Fausset & Brown', Matthew Henry and Adam Clarke's commentaries, Vine's Expository Dictionary, Englishman's Greek/Hebrew Concordances, Thayer's Greek Lexicon, Vincent's Word Studies, Robertson's Word Pictures, Barnes Notes, etc.). Besides seven or eight translations with complete concordances for each one, you can also view the Greek N.T. and Hebrew O.T. in an interlinear format. An excellent value and easy to use.
  3. "Logos Bible Software" by Logos Research Systems. Version 1.6 is very good for slower computers or if you lack a CDROM in your system. (Although I don't believe you can buy it any more.) I still use it for many things, even though I also own the newer version, 2.0. This software is great for complex word searches, includes "Englishman's Greek Concordance" functionality. It has many different translations. Version 2.0 also has various language tools (such as "Vine's Expository Dictionary", Liddell-Scott, little Kittel's, etc.), Bible Commentaries, Topical Bibles, and other Study Tools.

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