“Is Chautona ever going to go to college?”
My cousin and I are the same age. While she was at Fresno State getting her degree, I was home raising babies. Three of them at the time she asked my mom that question. Mom said, “No… she’s just learning what she wants to when she wants to.”
Said cousin didn’t get it. “Like what? What’s she learning?”
“Right now,” Mom said, “she’s learning Greek.”
Okay, so my cousin didn’t say, “What crazy idiot would ever want to learn Greek?” but I can almost hear the words in her tone as she asked, “Why?”
Fast-forward about twenty-five years. I had a new friend. From Greece. When she found out that my father read the Bible in Greek as much as possible–compared it with English–she asked the same question with a totally different perspective. “Why?”
I pointed out that the original manuscripts were written in Greek, so we like to understand it as originally… well, written. As I spoke, a big smile formed. “You read Greek?”
Although I don’t actually remember what I did there, I suspect I laughed. After explaining that I try to learn Greek words for things in the Bible but do not know Greek, I was pleased to tell her I could remember the Greek alphabet. Only then did I realize that maybe I don’t know it. I mean, is the alphabet the same today as it was in Koine Greek? I don’t know!
Seriously, the highlight of my year last year? When she came to our Bible study and read to us from a Greek Bible we had here in the store. Extra special.
With that background, are you surprised that I requested a review copy of a book called Greek Word Study?
What Crazy Idiot Would Ever Want to Learn Greek?
This one. And I was eager to see what I’d learn from this book.
Greek Word Study offers an interesting look into the meanings of not only specific Greek words in the New Testament but also the words that those words were derived from.
In a casual, conversational style, the author offers a simple introduction to many of the words we think we’re familiar with and shows the origins of those words.
First off, this book isn’t really what I expected from the title or synopsis, but it really is exactly what he said it is. Inside, you find an easy to read and simple look at some of the Greek words that pack a punch and will enrich your understanding of the Bible.
Some of the things he said didn’t make sense to me. Ip front he says that commentaries are difficult to read. I always go to commentaries to make sense of some otherwise unclear Bible passage to make it clear! So, I started off not quite understanding what he was talking about. Still, that’s probably just my weirdness showing through. I wouldn’t be surprised.
I do have one strong objection to parts of the book.
An overall feeling that the author was trying to make the Greek of the Bible “relevant” to today instead of trying to remind us that we need to make our lives relevant to the Word permeated most of the examples.
For instance: Meme. That was what he used to show what the word for “Be imitators of God” means. He went into a lot of explanation for where “meme” came from and then tried to apply it to the lesson. In that same section, he talked about actors and Hollywood, and actually, that analogy clicked more and felt less frivolous to me. That feels really weird to write.
Then there was the “Whole armor of God” bit. Hockey helmets. The history of their use and when they weren’t–same for soccer and some sort of padding. The whole time I thought, “Because we don’t know what a sword or shield is? No one has seen Captain America or Gladiator? What?
Several of the word analogies and explanations really stuck with me, though.
The one for “unsearchable” was probably my favorite, but then I think of “parresia” (diacritic over the E). Seriously, the way he described that combined with prayer made it all just come alive. THAT I loved.
As a whole, I’m liking the book. It is taking much longer to read through it than I expected. I keep rereading and rereading, trying to really get out of it what is in there. That plus readjusting my expectation of what he means by a “Greek Word Study” (we don’t agree on that) is what bumped this book to a 4-star rating.
Greek Word Study is on tour with Celebrate Lit
Book: Greek Word Study
Author: Chris Palmer
Genre: Christian Non-fiction, Educational
Release Date: July 17, 2020
“Flour. Sheep. Coins. Wheat. Jesus never abandoned the familiarity of His time because what He had to say was so celestial or deep. Instead, He took advantage of what people already understood. In doing so, He didn’t just leave a way of salvation for us, but also a pattern of teaching to follow. This alone was my inspiration for how I chose to write Greek Word Study.”—author Chris Palmer
In a follow-up to his highly acclaimed book Letters from Jesus: Studies from the Seven Churches of Revelation, the Rev. Chris Palmer has written Greek Word Study: 90 Ancient Words That Unlock Scripture. With wit, humor, grace, and scholarship, Chris offers biblical insights while teaching Koine Greek words and phrases one delightful bite at a time. Unlike other books that overwhelm readers with Greek grammar, word formation, tenses, and the like, Chris makes the language accessible to anyone, using modern stories and analogies that engage readers and draw them into the Scriptures. Learning some Greek words and phrases helps you read the Bible in high definition!
“You don’t need to be scholar to read this book and you don’t need to know an ounce of Greek either.
In fact, you don’t even have to really know much about the Bible at all,” Chris says. “All you need to do is just kick back and enjoy.”
About the Author
The Rev. Chris Palmer is the founder and pastor of Light of Today Church in Novi, Michigan, and founder of Chris Palmer Ministries. He is host of the popular podcast, Greek for the Week, seen on several Internet platforms. His first book with Whitaker House, Letters from Jesus: Studies from the Seven Churches of Revelation, has received dozens of five-star reviews from readers.
Chris began in full-time ministry in 2006 and began to preach internationally in 2009, helping many congregations grow, flourish, and expand. His desire for missions is to train and educate pastors, encourage congregations, support the vision of local church, and show the love of God to the culture. He has done this successfully for a decade in over forty nations of the world in Europe, Africa, South America, Asia, and the Caribbean, working with both traditional churches and the underground and persecuted church.
Chris earned a B.A. in Pastoral Studies from North Central University and an M.A. in Exegetical Theology, magna cum laude, from Moody Theological Seminary.
He is a sought-after Greek scholar for his ability to make God’s Word come alive from the Greek in a unique way. Chris is often invited to present Greek and hermeneutics workshops at Bible and ministry schools. He recently began working on his Ph.D. at the University of Wales, Bangor, in the area of Johannine literature, particularly the book of Revelation.
His previous books include the self-published Living as a Spirit: Hearing the Voice of God on Purpose, The 85 Questions You Ask When You Begin a Relationship with God, The Believer’s Journey, and Escaping the Haunting Past: A Handbook for Deliverance.
Read an Excerpt
Study 12: Immeasurable: Hyperball?; ?????????)
And what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might. (Ephesians 1:19)
Over the years, I’ve been privileged to travel to many lands and countries to preach the gospel. One of the best parts about this is experiencing the different cultures, particularly their food and cuisines. Meals are times of joy and jubilee, when the hosts go all out to make me feel at home.
This is especially true in Sicily. I’ve often joked with my Sicilian friends that eating is a full-time job there. Sicilians take pride in making sure you are well-fed, and you’ll often hear them say, “Mangia” (eat) or “Mangia qualcosa” (eat something), even right after you’ve just eaten. Food is of the utmost importance there and the answer to many of life’s problems.
I understand this because my grandparents were of Sicilian descent.
There’s a joke in Sicily about a young man with a guilty conscience who tells his mother, “Mama, I’ve robbed a bank.” She says, “Well, that’s not good.” Then, he says, “And I’ve stolen a car.” His mama says, “I see. That’s not good either.” Then he says, “And I haven’t eaten today.” And she jumps up from her seat and screams, “What! You haven’t eaten? What’s wrong with you!?”
I once invented a joke of my own that the Sicilians found funny. I said, “After studying God’s Word, I’ve discovered the disciples of Jesus were Sicilian.” They looked perplexed. While they were still scratching their heads, I had them turn to John 4:31, which says, “Meanwhile the disciples were urging him [Jesus], saying, ‘Rabbi, eat.’”
I think that joke has been making its way around Italy ever since.
Needless to say, there’s never been a time when I’ve been disappointed with mealtimes. I’ve been to Sicily twelve times and I can’t think of one instance when I didn’t have more than enough food placed before my eyes. I will never forget the first meal I had in Sicily. It was on a Sunday afternoon after church. I was told we were going to have “a little something” before dinner that evening. They brought out course after course after course. I was stuffed to the gills before the main course even arrived¾and this wasn’t even dinner.
My translator told me later, “Chris, the Sicilians go all out for every meal. You are never going to survive if you try eating everything.” If I’ve learned anything about the wonderful Sicilian people over the years, it’s that they don’t mess around when it comes to food: it’s always going to be over and above, more than enough, and plenty left afterwards.
The apostle Paul talks about God’s power this way in Ephesians 1:19.
Here, Paul was sharing with his church in Ephesus what he prays for them. He tells them that he prays they will know the hope that God has called them to and the riches of God’s “glorious inheritance in the saints” (verse 18).
The hope that God called us to represents the beginning of the Christian life. While we did call upon God to be saved (see Romans 10:13), He first called us. He called us to belong to Christ and have a new life free from sin, to be holy and separate from the world, and be part of God’s celestial family.
The riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints alludes to the end of the Christian life.
It is our total inheritance, which we will receive when the fullness of time comes. Until then, we are waiting for it with patience. In short, verse 18 speaks about the beginning and end of the Christian life.
At present, we find ourselves in the middle. Our Christian life has taken off, but we have yet to receive the totality of God’s promises. As we make our way toward receiving this final inheritance, we find our path strewn with all sorts of challenges, difficulties, and suffering. To push us past these and over the goal line, God has given us His power—“what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe.”
The Greek word for “immeasurable” is hyperball?. It is a two-part Greek word that comes from: hyper (above, over, beyond, more than) and ball? (to throw or cast). It literally meant to “throw beyond” or “surpass.” Over time, it came to express other means of excessiveness such as outbidding someone at an auction, extreme heat from a fire, unbearable pain, and the intense brightness of stars. Hence, it was a word used for something that stood out, excelled the norms, and went beyond the standard amount.
The idea in this Scripture is that God supplies an over-and-above ration of His power to help us overcome the obstacles and challenges we face so we can receive the full inheritance promised to us.
Not just a little, just enough, or even more than enough, but an over-and-above, highly excessive amount, like a meal in Sicily. We can stuff ourselves with God’s power and never come close to exhausting it. It’s all around us and is ours for the taking. And we aren’t to be stingy with it because there is enough to go around and plenty to take home.
Perhaps you are wondering how you can tap into this smorgasbord of power. The way Paul tapped into it: through prayer. When you come into prayer, you stand before a banquet table that is heaped with everything you could possibly need to overcome your troubles. And you are free to take.
Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, August 13
Through the Lens of Scripture, August 13
For the Love of Literature, August 14
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 15
deb’s Book Review, August 15
Texas Book-aholic, August 16
Just Your Average reviews, August 16
Inklings and notions, August 17
Just the Write Escape, August 18
CarpeDiem, August 18
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 19
For Him and My Family, August 20
Quiet Workings, August 21
Batya’s Bits, August 22
Mary Hake, August 22
Godly Book Reviews, August 23
KarenSueHadley, August 24
Captive Dreams Window, August 24
Lis Loves Reading, August 25
Artistic Nobody, August 26 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)
As He Leads is Joy, August 26
To celebrate his tour, Chris is giving away the grand prize package of a $20 Starbucks gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.