A Student’s Review of “Biblical Greek Made Simple” from Lexham Press
Anyone who has attempted biblical Greek on their own can attest to the uphill climb (frequently called, ominously, “the cloud”) in the initial phases of learning. The student is instantly bombarded with grammar rules and terminology they may or may not remember from grade school, and not infrequently, must relearn their native grammar simply to make sense of the Greek rules. None of this is particularly unique to Greek, though it does seem a bit more overwhelming with most introductory Greek grammars.
Enter Biblical Greek Made Simple: All the Basics in One Semester (BGMS). Where most grammars, if they make mention of software at all, either shy away from the use of software or outright deny its usefulness in parsing, BGMS fully embraces the time in which we now find ourselves. Instead of downplaying the use of parsing software, BGMS sets up a systematic way to not only utilize it (LOGOS), but interacts with Logos throughout, making it easier to be hands-on in learning Greek while actually applying it to materials I already own. This alone sets BGMS apart from the pack of known Greek grammars.
The appendices in the back of the grammar, though not unique to BMGS, are also helpful, with everything from paradigms and semantic help, to preaching aids for the pastor-student interested in Greek for the sake of teaching their local fellowship.
Many are already familiar with Danny Zacharias and his “singing grammarian” youtube videos, where Dr. Zacharias sings a silly song that helps lock each grammatical lesson in the mind of the hearer. (Yes, they’re ear worms, because they’re meant to be). One of the shining pieces of BGMS is its incorporation of the songs into each section, helping solidify the material in a fun and easy to remember manner. Here, and in its use of Logos Bible Software, BGMS has created a niche, and done so quite well.
Where I felt a bit of disconnect in the grammar is twofold. First, there are no examples of LXX usage, something lacking in a great many intro grammars. This is to be expected, however, the lack of examples of LXX grammar does create a small hindrance for the student interested in Greek for the various translations of the Hebrew Bible made in Koine. Second, there is no answer key for the many exercises in the workbook. For some exercises, this problem is minimal (one can simply check the paradigms for parsing answers), however, other exercises are more difficult to check one’s work without a teacher close-by. In this, the solo learner might find some frustration.
The times are a changing, and this is true in the world of Bible software as well. BGMS manages to incorporate what everyone is already using, without asserting that using software is a crutch, and here is where it will be most helpful for the introductory incursion into Greek for many. Paired with a decent lexicon (BGMS suggests Louw-Nida, but offers an appendix on using BDAG), BGMS is enough for the student interested in New Testament Greek for the sake of preaching and teaching.
(Author’s note – I was given a digital copy of BGMS by Lexham Press for review.)