A Practical & Concise Resource For Reviewing Greek Grammar (Merkle)

Exegetical Gems from Biblical Greek If you 1) have a few semesters of Greek under your belt and 2) want a concise resource to review the basics of Greek grammar, here’s a book to check out: Exegetical Gems from Biblical Greek by Benjamin Merkle.  It’s not a standard shortened Greek grammar.  However, it does contain the basics of Greek grammar such as a brief explanation of the cases (Genitive, Dative, etc.), verbs, participles, pronouns, and so forth.

How is it different than a standard Greek grammar? First, it’s shorter and more concise.  Second, it doesn’t get into all the grammatical details that longer grammars would explain. Third, and most significant, is how each chapter is structured.  Each chapter does deal with a different Greek grammar topic, but there’s more to each chapter than just grammatical notes.

For example, chapter 11 is the five-page chapter on adjectives.  Merkle starts by briefly discussing the adjective θεόπνευστος (God-breathed) in 2 Tim. 3:16 and asks if it is a predicate adjective or an attributive adjective.  He then spends two pages explaining different uses of Greek adjectives, including examples from the NT.  Finally, in the last two pages of the chapter, he comes back to the adjective θεόπνευστος (God-breathed).  Using grammar and syntax, Merkle explains why it is best to take θεόπνευστος (God-breathed) as a predicate adjective (“All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable…”) rather than an attributive adjective: “All God-breathed Scripture is profitable…).

Each chapter is structured like that: a note about the grammar of some phrase in the NT, a discussion of that grammatical topic, and a conclusion about the phrase under discussion.  As you read and study this book, you’ll learn more Greek phrases from the NT, you’ll review the basic Greek grammar rules, and you’ll learn how to use grammar for exegesis.  Grammar and exegesis: two for the price of one!  And it’s not just “geeky” Greek stuff – this structure helps the student exegete and understand the Word!

My final note: if your Greek is more advanced, some of these chapters will probably be too basic for you (although a grammar review is good for all!).  On the other hand, if you’ve only had one or two semesters of Greek or aren’t “getting” it, you’ll want a resource aimed more at beginners.  This one, Exegetical Gems from Biblical Greek, is for those somewhere in the middle who want a review.  And yes, I recommend it!

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015