J. Scott Duvall & Verlyn Verbrugge have done Bible geeks everywhere a favor. They managed to get scholars like Scot McKnight, Craig Blomberg, Bill Mounce, Darrell Bock, Ben Witherington III, Mark Strauss, Constantine Campbell, and several others to write devotionals on 52 short passages from the Greek New Testament. Not just that, but these devotionals draw on the grammar and syntax of the passages to make theological points. So, you not only get the opportunity to read a brief devotional from the New Testament, you can brush up on your Greek and be reminded of how rewarding the study of the original languages can be.
Each devotional starts with a few verses from the Greek text. Then, the respective scholar draws out the meaning of the text while taking note of important aspects of the Greek grammar, syntax, or particular vocabulary. They do so in a way that is not overly technical (so keeping with the devotional feel) but in a way that will be best appreciated by someone who knows Greek (i.e. has had a couple of semesters of it in seminary at some point). The result is not only an edifying devotional text, but a brush up on your Greek.
The only real complaint I have about this book is that there is only 52 devotionals. Clearly it’s meant to be a weekly devotional, but I would have liked something like this to be daily. The devotionals that are included are great, which is probably why I wish there were more of them. A companion Hebrew Old Testament devotional wouldn’t be too bad either!
Although I’m not the biggest fan of devotionals (a point I’ve mentioned before), this would probably make a nice Christmas gift for a first year seminary student that you know. Really anyone that you know who knows Greek and tries to stay sharp would probably enjoy having this on their shelf. I particularly enjoyed whenever my professors in seminary would do short devotionals like this in class. It would remind that ultimately our study of the Greek language was so that we could know God better through his Word. These devotionals have that same effect and the added benefit of enjoying them in a comfy Starbucks chair near you!
J. Scott Duvall & Verlyn Verbrugge eds., Devotions On The Greek New Testament: 52 Reflections To Inspire and Instruct. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Academic, October, 2012. 160 pp. Paperback, $16.99.
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Thanks to Zondervan Academic for the electronic review copy!