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Using and Enjoying Biblical Greek

Reading the New Testament with Fluency and Devotion

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Many who study biblical Greek despair of being able to use it routinely. Veteran instructor Rodney Whitacre shows that 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, this book helps students advance their knowledge of Greek and equips them to read the original texts with fluency and depth.

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1. Introduction
2. Building Vocabulary
3. Essential Parsing
4. Making Sense of Sentences
5. Gaining Familiarity and Fluency
6. Utilizing Greek in Meditation
7. Practice Passages
Appendix 1: Sentence Mapping
Appendix 2: Labels for Sentence Maps
Appendix 3: Reader's Notes for John 3:16-18
Appendix 4: Core Patterns for Greek Morphology
Appendix 5: Greek Verbs--Two Current Topics


"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, Trustees' Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Greek, 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. It also contains marvelous supplemental insights, especially simplified ways to diagram passages without analyzing every word. I am unaware of any resource like it."

Craig L. Blomberg, Distinguished Professor of New Testament, 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! The work is filled with helpful explanations of complex matters, useful examples, detailed application of the principles taught, and extensive footnotes with pathways to more advanced study. I will be using and recommending this pedagogical tour de force for years to come!"

Scott Hafemann, reader in New Testament, 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

The Author

  1. Rodney A. Whitacre

    Rodney A. Whitacre

    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. Visit...

    Continue reading about Rodney A. Whitacre


"Here is a fine textbook on biblical Greek specifically designed for those who in the past had taken a course in Greek but did not keep up with the language. It will also be of use to those who are currently taking an introductory course but want to accelerate their grasp of the language, going deeper and faster. Whitacre . . . draws on his love for the language and his long experience in teaching to design a series of lessons that help the student reach a level of fluency in reading and understanding biblical Greek."

Donald Senior, CP,

The Bible Today

"One distinctive aspect of the book is Whitacre's inclusion of meditation as a way of deeply inhabiting the text (Lectio Divina). This pairing with reading for fluency is very helpful and would be an excellent approach to reading texts regardless of one's proficiency. The ideal reader of this book is someone who has at least some training in Greek, but would like to improve upon it. Teachers of Greek could also benefit from using it as a supplementary text or by adopting good reading practices. Overall, the goal of the book is noble, and Whitacre has done an admirable job in bringing a new and innovative Greek resource to the field."

Sean A. Adams,

Expository Times

"This is no grammar, no workbook; it is a book of techniques to better one's Greek by reading, and it is an excellent one. Self-motivated students will benefit greatly; those looking to get back into Greek will also be helped. . . . Instructors will also find Whitacre's pedagogical wisdom informative for their own teaching. This volume is definitely recommended."

James B. Prothro,

Religious Studies Review

"Too many theological students spend countless hours toiling in introductory courses on Greek only to let it slip away in the years that follow. Having taught for many years, Rod Whitacre has produced a unique resource to help those masses of the miserable to regain and build upon their initial understanding of the language. This is not an introductory text, but a supplementary one that can be used by individuals or by groups. . . . The book is clearly written, up-to-date, accurate and well informed, with many biblical examples employing a very readable Greek font. Teachers will gain useful insights, and students are introduced to a host of software and printed helps."

Michael B. Thompson,

Journal for the Study of the New Testament

"Whitacre ably demonstrates that reading fluency is an attainable goal. It is possible that many students do not keep up with their Greek because they do not have this goal firmly fixed in front of them. The book is too technical for students who have completely lost their Greek but it would be perfect for students within a few years of their study or those who have made some effort to maintain their Greek over the years."

Alexander E. Stewart,

Biblical Theology Bulletin

"Whitacre's book is a helpful and welcome addition to the range of resources that is available to students and others who wish to strengthen (or revive) their Greek skills. . . . For those that need, first of all, some motivation and encouragement to tackle Greek again, it may prove to be invaluable."

Alistair I. Wilson,

Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology

"Written in a very encouraging and inspiring way, Rodney Whitacre's Using and Enjoying Biblical Greek is a very good book for those who have had some Greek and want either to revive or maintain it. Whitacre nicely summarizes key aspects of grammar and introduces information like word order and means for tracing the flow of argument. His discussions of the value of reading quickly and of reading slowing are worth the price of the book."

Ray Van Neste,


"Learning Greek happens when people use it. Knowing everything about a language is not a prerequisite to using it. And a Greek course will only get students so far. Whitacre encourages Greek students to get into the Greek text and pursue fluency 'one sentence at a time and one passage at a time.' And every book that encourages students to pick up their Greek New Testament and start using it should be commended."

Thomas W. Hudgins,

Southeastern Theological Review