A Book Review
Mark Jeong’s A Greek Reader: A Companion to A Primer of Biblical Greek is a great new book for beginning Greek students, those who want to sharpen their reading skills, and those who enjoy Greek and want something fun to try. Designed to complement N. Clayton Croy’s 32-lesson A Primer of Biblical Greek, this new book offers 32 lessons filled with simple narrative stories composed in Koine Greek. A typical lesson includes several stories accompanied by vocabulary and select explanatory notes to aid readers.
What are the stories like? Many depict Paul, Philemon, and Onesimus in different situations that make no claim of historical accuracy. In other words, Jeong did not copy and paste narratives out of the Greek New Testament. Other characters readers will encounter include Moses and Aaron, Euodia and Syntyche, Mary and Martha, Jesus, and others. There is repetition and variety, and the stories are fun. Some have clever twists and surprise endings.
The grammatical and vocabulary demands progress on pace with Croy’s textbook. So, for example, when someone is in Lesson 12 of Croy and learning about the future active and middle indicatives, they will encounter words like πιστεύσω (“I will believe”) and πορεύσομαι (“I will go”) in Jeong’s Reader. And when they’re in Lesson 20 of Croy, learning words like θύρα (“door”) and φυλακη (prison), they will read a story by Jeong about Onesimus, who ends up in prison until God intercedes and opens the doors.
I wish Mark Jeong’s A Greek Reader: A Companion to A Primer of Biblical Greek was available when I was in seminary. The introduction cites recent research arguing that successful second-language acquisition requires “comprehensible” and “compelling” input. This book is a successful attempt to help meet that requirement. Students using Croy’s Primer to learn Greek will be right on track to advance through the lessons of A Greek Reader. Professors using other textbooks should have no problem adapting this resource for their students’ use. Mark Jeong and Eerdmans have produced an excellent tool that makes studying biblical Greek even more enjoyable.
Special thanks to Eerdmans for a free review copy of this book. This did not affect my thoughts in any way so far as I know.