Mark S. Melton
A Preparatory Grammar for New Testament Greek, by Sid Dyer. Greenville, SC: Ambassador International, 2008, 257 pages, $24.99.
Well did Solomon declare, "Of making many books there is no end" (Eccles. 12:12). Of late, this can surely be said of "Greek grammars." This year alone I have purchased three texts within that genre. Why, then, is there any need for yet another introductory Greek grammar? Are there not enough such texts presently available?
To be sure, there are numerous excellent grammars on the market. But what sets this particular text apart is the simplicity of its style and arrangement.
That simplicity begins with an explanation of basic grammar (chapter 2), something that can no longer be assumed to be part of the curricula of most undergraduate students. As the author observes, "Many students struggle in their study of Greek because they have never learned or have forgotten the essential elements of English grammar" (11). Later chapters give clear explanations for other important parts of grammar (e.g., infinitives and participles).
Another very practical and beneficial feature of this particular Greek grammar is the layout of the declensions and conjugations. They are quite conducive to creating "flash cards," which every Greek student quickly discovers is crucial for learning the language.
A third very helpful element of this grammar is its emphasis on sentence diagramminga lost art today. And while it is highly unlikely that one will learn enough from these few chapters to accurately diagram Ephesians 1:3-14, the student will certainly be able to identify the main verb of a sentence, a crucial step in exegesis.
Having personally made use of this text in teaching (beginning) Greek to some in my congregation I can attest to its functional and practical composition. What makes this book eminently usable for instruction is the availability of a teacher's edition. That added feature of this grammar "includes keys for parsing exercises and translations for both the Greek to English and English to Greek translation exercises" (copyright page).
A further bonus of Dr. Dyer's introductory grammar is the inclusion of the course syllabus, quizzes, and tests. Thus, it is suitable for independent study as well as for private school or home school environments.
While collecting Greek grammars is a bit of a "hobby" of mine, it is this particular grammar that I will regularly pick up for quick reference.
Dyer has provided a very handy tool for the busy pastor who desires to teach the rudimentary elements of Greek to those in his congregation who have an interest in the original language of the New Testament Scriptures. But beyond that, it is a very practicable resource for anyone desiring a textbook for teaching and/or learning the basics of Greek.
Mark S. Melton
Christ Covenant OPC