Beginning Greek Grammar Guide

What's On This Page

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Introduction

Each month, I review a beginning Greek Grammar on the Master New Testament Greek YouTube channel.

After I review each grammar, I assign it a spot on “the leaderboard” below. This page lists the grammars I’ve reviewed ranked in order.  

For each grammar you’ll find:

  • Publication information and purchase links
  • Video review
  • Use case
  • Distinctives
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses

If you have anything you’d like me to add to this list, let me know. Similarly, if you’d like me to add a specific grammar to this list, also, let me know. However, note that there are a lot of grammars on the market and more coming out every year, so I may not get to every grammar in a timely manner. I tend to prioritize more recent grammars over older ones. 

To find out when new reviews are published, subscribe on YouTube and download the 3 free language-learning bonuses to join the mailing list. 

1. Harris, Introduction to Greek Grammar

Dana Harris, An Introduction to Biblical Greek Grammar: Elementary Syntax and Linguistics (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Academic, 2020), 471 pages.

Video Review

Click the thumbnail to watch my review of this grammar.

Use Case

Classroom grammar, reference grammar

Distinctives

This grammar provides a strongly aspectual understanding of verbs, provides a larger vocabulary than the average grammar, and has excellent explanations throughout. Between 

Strengths

  • Best in class discussion of morphology
  • Excellent explanations of English grammar help with learning Greek
  • Consolidated paradigms
  • Clear guidance on what needs to be learned.
  • Helpful summaries
  • Revisits concepts expanding on them later

Weaknesses

  • Some chapters are a little overwhelming for students
  • Verbal aspect seems confused with aktionsart
  • Doesn’t mention liquid aorists (but covers liquid futures well)
  • Still refers to deponency
  • Requires an additional purchase for exercises, making this an expensive option
Pair with Decker for different explanations, or perhaps with Mounce or Schwandt for additional morphorlogy.

2. Merkle and Plummer, Beginning with New Testament Greek

  • Benjamin L. Merkle and Robert L. Plummer, Beginning with New Testament Greek: An Introductory Study of the Grammar and Syntax of the New Testament (Nashville: B&H Academic, 2020), 281 pages

Video Review

Click the thumbnail to watch my review of this grammar.

Use Case

Best all-round grammar, ideal for self-study, but also great as a classroom grammar or to help refresh.

Distinctives

Very good balance of pedagogy and quantity of content, includes exercises and answer key, lots of free resources available online.

Strengths

  • Strong morphology and guidance
  • Streamlined approach
  • Good treatment of liquid verbs
  • Clear guidance for what to memorize
  • Built in workbook with several types of exercises
  • Logs of online resources available

Weaknesses

  • Possibly introduces too many exegetical categories
  • Minor: Holds to 3 aspect view of verbs
  • Minor: Uses helper verbs for present tense form translation.
Pair with Mounce for more detail and morphology. Mounce is referred to frequently in this grammar

3. Decker, Reading Koine Greek

  • Rodney J. Decker, Reading Koine Greek: An Introduction and Integrated Workbook (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2014), 564 pages

Video Review

Click the thumbnail to watch my review of this grammar.

Use Case

Great for self-study or classroom use. Also an ideal reference grammar or for reviving your Greek. Intended to be used into second year and exegesis classes.

Distinctives

Very thorough, great treatment of verbs, outstanding descriptions and explanations, revisits previous concepts deepening knowledge without overwhelming.

Strengths

  • Best in class treatment of verbs
  • Up to date and linguistically based understanding of verbs
  • Revisits concepts, building them out
  • Excellent relation to English grammar
  • Built in workbook with several types of exercises
  • Provides larger vocabulary and utilizes broader texts in exercises

Weaknesses

  • Minor: Holds to 3 aspect view of verbs
  • Minor: Uses helper verbs for present tense form translation
  • Content may be overwhelming for some first-time learners

 Pair with Croy for simplified explanations or with Mounce’s Basics of Biblical Greek for more on morphology.

4. Dobson, Learn New Testament Greek

  • John H. Dobson, Learn New Testament Greek (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005), 333 pages.

Video Review

Click the thumbnail to watch my review of this grammar.

Use Case

Designed for and ideal for self-study.

Distinctives

Very different approach to learning the language, almost eliminating memory work and paradigms, delaying grammatical instruction until much later in the students study. Moves quickly and is intended to help keep students moving.

Strengths

  • Focused on reading and reinforcement through repetition.
  • Eliminates technical grammar discussion
  • Minimal memory work
  • Short, simple exercises
  • Learn by doing

Weaknesses

  • Weak indexing
  • No discussion of verbal aspect, holds to time in the inidicative
  • Minimal vocabulary or guidance for vocabulary acquisition
  • Delayed grammar later may lose students prematurely

5. Mounce, Basics of Biblical Greek

Video Review

Click the thumbnail to watch my review of this grammar.

Use Case

Ideal as a classroom grammar, but great for reviving Greek or as a reference grammar. 

Distinctives

Mounce’s grammar is strong in morphology, clear in what the student needs to learn and provides two learning paths for professors

Strengths

  • Best in class discussion of morphology
  • Excellent explanations of English grammar help with learning Greek
  • Consolidated paradigms
  • Clear guidance on what needs to be learned.
  • Helpful summaries
  • Revisits concepts expanding on them later

Weaknesses

  • Some chapters are a little overwhelming for students
  • Verbal aspect seems confused with aktionsart
  • Could provide more coverage of liquid aorists (but covers liquid futures well)
  • Still refers to deponency, even in the 4th edition
  • Most expensive grammar (if you buy the workbook too)
Pair with Beginning with New Testament Greek (Merkle and Plummer) for clear explanations or Reading Koine Greek (Decker) for more detail and a better approach to verbs.

6. Gibson and Campbell, Reading Biblical Greek

Video Review

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Watch Video Review

Use Case

Designed for and ideal for self-study.

Distinctives

Very different approach to learning the language, almost eliminating memory work and paradigms, delaying grammatical instruction until much later in the students study. Moves quickly and is intended to help keep students moving.

Strengths

  • Focused on reading and reinforcement through repetition.
  • Eliminates technical grammar discussion
  • Minimal memory work
  • Short, simple exercises
  • Learn by doing

Weaknesses

  • Weak indexing
  • No discussion of verbal aspect, holds to time in the inidicative
  • Minimal vocabulary or guidance for vocabulary acquisition
  • Delayed grammar later may lose students prematurely

7. Zacharias, Biblical Greek Made Simple

Video Review

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Use Case

Classroom or self-study (see distinctives)

Distinctives

Designed to be completed in a single semester with the option of a second semester. Lower vocabulary requirements reflecting a less burdensome outcome for the student. 

Strengths

  • Very good descriptions and explanations
  • Excellent formatting and use of color
  • Helpful “The least you need to know” sections at the end of each chapter
  • Fully embraces technology, and includes video links
  • Learn Logos at the same time as Greek

Weaknesses

  • Very dense information, and significant per-chapter homework requirements offset by “the least you need to know” sections for each chapter
  • Could do with more interaction with how English works to clarify how Greek is similar or different
Pair with Reading Koine Greek (Decker) for more detailed explanations. Decker has the much the same approach to verbs. 

8. Croy, A Primer for Biblical Greek

Video Review

Click the button to watch my review of this grammar.

Watch Video Review

Use Case

Classroom grammar.

Distinctives

Well-written grammar with lots of exercises and organized to introduce quite a few concepts in the early chapters to expand exercise options. Dated. 

Strengths

  • Very good descriptions and explanations
  • Lots of exercises drawn from the NT and LXX as well as author-created

Weaknesses

  • Dated – teaches deponency and largely doesn’t deal with verbal aspect at all
  • No answer key for exercises
  • Quirk: emphasizes inclusive language
Pair with the 4th edition Mounce’s Basics of Biblical Greek for explanations, and a slight update to deponency and verbs. 

9. Schwandt, An Introduction to Biblical Greek

Video Review

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Use Case

Reviving Greek or possibly solo learning. 

Distinctives

This is a rewrite of Nunn’s 1913 grammar that provides significant updates, while also retaining Nunn’s classical approach to learning through translating from English to Greek, focusing an accents and understanding morphology

Strengths

  • Excellent discussion of morphology
  • Excellent formatting and use of color
  • Helpful “The least you need to know” sections at the end of each chapter
  • Built in workbook with excellent variety of exercises to help students learn
  • Includes answer key
  • Difficult subjects are introduced gradually 

Weaknesses

  • Participles in one chapter may be a little brief for this difficult component of biblical Greek
  • Holds to time in the indicative mood
  • Light discussion of moods
  • Treats cases in a different order to most grammars
Pair with Croy for simplified explanations using the same approach to deponency and verbs. Decker is a good foil for these against Schwandt.

10. Black, Learn to Read New Testament Greek

  • David Alan Black, Learn to Read New Testament Greek (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2009), 215 pages.

Video Review

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Watch Video Review

Use Case

Classroom grammar

Distinctives

This is a popular, linguistically oriented grammar that presents well. It is a little dated now, but still holds up well in the classroom. 

Strengths

  • Strong exercises including English to Greek
  • Doesn’t focus on extraneous grammatical concepts

Weaknesses

  • Dated: Teaches deponency
  • Some chapters might be overwhelming to students
  • Doesn’t provide enough guidance for what students should learn
Pair with Mounce for morphological explanations and more detail. Mounce’s 4th Edition also updates verbs and the middle voice.

11. Summers, Essentials of New Testament Greek, Revised Edition

  • Ray Summers, Essentials of New Testament Greek, revised ed. (Nashville: B&H Academic, 2019), 156 pages.

Video Review

Click the button to watch my review of this grammar.

Watch Video Review

Use Case

Classroom Grammar

Distinctives

Very brief, perhaps the least expensive beginning Greek Grammar being commercially published today.

Strengths

  • Clear Descriptions
  • Short chapters
  • Great approach to third declension
  • Exercises at the end of each chapter (workbook included)
  • Order of content leaves more difficult concepts until the end

Weaknesses

  • No answer key and no additional downloadable content
  • Syntactically dated (teaches 8 cases)
  • Often over-emphasizes meaning over form
Pair with a more comprehensive grammar (e.g. Decker or Mounce). Decker might be too much of an update. You might wonder why you’d teach using this!