2021 Biblical Studies and Theology Challenge

by | Dec 21, 2020 | Uncategorized | 2 comments

Are you more of a Westcott or a Hort? We know Hort had a thirst for bold ambitions and undertakings while Westcott was more of a realist. (Check out Peter Gurry’s excellent treatment of their collaboration here in pre-pub form.)  I’m an unabashed member of Team Hort. There is plenty on my to-do list and if you pitch me a good idea, I’ll happily add it to my list. What else can I accomplish? What do you want to accomplish? To help you with some suggestions, I’ve curated a list of six potential accomplishments for you to consider adding to your 2021 todo list. 

Potential Accomplishment #1

Index a Manuscript for the Institute for New Testament Textual Research

Did you know there are hundreds of New Testament manuscripts that have not been indexed? There are pages and pages waiting for someone to look at and label with the Bible verses they contain. Doing a full blown transcription might be more than you can handle, but you can offer a helping hand by just indexing a manuscript. This will make the job of transcription a little easier for someone else. Create an account at the NTVMR and claim a manuscript. Okay, now it’s yours. Index the thing. They give you everything you need: images and a Greek text. You get to spend a little time with a really old copy of God’s Word. Here’s a fifteenth-century minuscule I’ve been working on. Go here to get started: http://ntvmr.uni-muenster.de/indexing

Potential Accomplishment #2

Read the Entire Greek New Testament 

It’s Scripture. It’s Greek. You need to know God’s Word better. You need to know Greek better. The better you know Greek, the better you can know Scripture. There are 260 chapters in the New Testament and right around the same number of working days in 2021. Hook yourself up a reader’s edition. The Greek New Testament, Produced at Tyndale House, Cambridge is my favourite in this department. There’s even a Facebook group you could join for some help and encouragement called Greek & Hebrew One-Year Bible Reading Group

Potential Accomplishment #3

Read 1 and 2 Maccabees

A knowledge of intertestamental literature can only help you form a better understanding of the New Testament’s context. And 1 Maccabees is just interesting history. It’s filled with battles, bravery, and treachery. If you’re a student of Scripture, you need to read these non-inspired books. Read it in translation first. You can freely access The New English Translation of the Septuagint online and there are helpful book introductions. (Click here for 1 Maccabees and here for 2 Maccabees.) Then why not consider tackling these two books in Greek? 

Potential Accomplishment #4

Read a Book on Greek

Stay on top of your Greek. Don’t stop learning just because a professor isn’t telling you to learn something. A grammar might be fun, but here are a few more recommendations.

The Syntax and Semantics of the Verb in Classical Greek: An Introduction

Exegetical Gems from Biblical Greek (Click here for my review.)

The Greek of the Pentateuch (Click here for my review.)

A History of New Testament Lexicography 

Advances in the Study of Greek

Linguistics and New Testament Greek (Click here for my review.)

Potential Accomplishment #5

Review a Book

Do you like new books? Do you like free books? Sounds like you should write a book review. Reading a book for review forces critical engagement and deeper thought than what you might invest in your average read. And there are always publications in need of reviewers. The first review I ever wrote was for Reading Religion: A Publication of the American Academy of Religion. See their website for instructions and requirements to write a review for them. There are probably many other possibilities. 

Potential Accomplishment #6

Read a Theology Book

You probably don’t even need any recommendations from me. Maybe you already have a good one sitting unread on your shelf. Just get yourself a good strong dose of heavy theology. 


What accomplishments are you hoping to check off your list? Anything you would add for students of biblical studies and theology?


Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels



Brent Niedergall

Pastor, Grammarian, Runner

Brent Niedergall, MDiv, is Chief Editor at Positive Action for Christ in Whitakers, North Carolina. He’s gone to war in Afghanistan, felled towering trees, and parsed Greek verbs.


  1. Timothy Joseph

    Thanks for this post. I am going to try to add all six to my 2021 list. I am also going to give Hebrew a whirl.


    • Brent Niedergall

      Thanks for reading, Tim! Goad you found some helpful ideas. Let me know how it goes!

Brent Niedergall