Tag Archives: daniel wallace

Book Review: A Reader’s Lexicon of the Apostolic Fathers

Many of you will be familiar with Michael Burer’s A New Reader’s Lexicon of the Greek New Testament. Covering all words that occur 50x or less in canonical order, it has assisted many students of the Greek New Testament.

Following in the same vein, Daniel B. Wallace along with Brittany C. Burnette and Terri Darby Moore, have produced an extremely helpful work in the Reader’s Lexicon of the Apostolic Father’s. The Apostolic Fathers (AF) are seeing a new wave of interest among scholar’s today. Larry Hurtado notes in a recent article that many scholar’s are releasing new publications concerning the AF, including Wallace’s new work. This area of study is fruitful both for students of the New Testament and students of Early Christianity. Hurtado continues by saying these texts “include some of the earliest most important and fascinating texts from ancient Christian circle.” The corpus provides insights into the first interpretations of Holy Scripture, use of other early writings, agrapha, and customs and practices of the earliest Christians.

The Reader

A Reader’s Lexicon of the Apostolic Fathers covers all words that occur 30x or less in the Greek New Testament (GNT). By choosing to compare the frequency to the GNT and not the AF corpus it allows students of the New Testament an easier transition to begin reading the AF in the original Greek. This is arguably the most important aspect of the reader’s lexicon. Students will be able to approach the original text immediately with their current vocabularly set in confidence.

The ordering of the words follows Michael Holmes’s third edition of the Apostolic Fathers. The lexical form of the word along with a definition and frequence of occurences (within the AF corpus, individual author, and individual verse). The glosses are determined in the following order: BDAG, Lampe’s Patristic Greek Lexicon, LSJ, J.B. Lightfoot’s translation of the Apostolic Fathers, and Michael Holmes’s text[1] .

Example from Reader
Taken from p. 12

Related Works

The importance of this work cannot be overstated. Currently, there is no other work that fills this need. The most comparable works are the diglots by Erhman (Vol 1. and Vol. 2) and Holmes. These are helpful but do not assist students in reading the orginal in a natural manner. With a diglot one is dependent on a complete English translation for vocabularly, which hinders students from making exegetical and translational decisions for themselves. Other works that are similar are Rodney Decker’s Koine Greek Reader and Rodney Whitaker’s A Patristic Reader. Both are these resources are helpful in what they are trying to accomplish, an aid to assist students in learning Greek other than that at the New Testament. They cover a selection of the AF corpus but are not meant to be comprehensive.


I highly recommend this to any student of the New Testament or Early Christianity. The AF is an enriching corpus that will be serve as an aid for students. Greek students will also be able to improve their Greek knowledge by working through unfamiliar territory with different vocabularly and syntax. Daniel Wallace, Brittany C. Burnette, and Terri Darby Moore are to be commended on this excellent volume.

Thanks to Kregel Academic for this free review copy.

  1. Note that this only covers the Greek text. There are parts of some text that are only extant in other various languages such as Latin.  ↩

Greek Reading List

I have been trying to do more Greek reading of late and I came across this list over at the Dunelm Road blog. The list is by Daniel Wallace and was originally posted by Ben Blackwell[1] here.. The order of the list is supposed to go form easiest to hardest while being grouped in about 10 chapter increments.

Theoretically one could read the whole New Testament in a month but for my studies right now that seems a little too ambitious. I do think I will try to start with a chapter a day and increase over time.

I find it best to use the Zondervan Greek Reader for when I am just reading Greek. I find by using the reader it forces me to think through words I should know but have forgotten. For example, if you come across a word that occurs more than 30x it will not be listed in the footnotes. If I were not using a reader I would have a much quicker trigger looking up a word that I already know. I prefer this reader over UBS Greek NT Reader’s Edition for a couple reasons:

  1. No parsing. I find this to be an advantage because it forces me to work on my parsing on vocabulary I do not know. In the UBS reader it parses both difficult words and every word that occurs 30x or less.
  2. Size. The Zondervan reader is roughly over half the size of the UBS Reader, which makes it much easier to carry around from place to place.

If anyone is interested in forming a Greek reading plan with me just contact me via twitter (@renshaw330) or email (brenshaw833@gmail.com). This would mostly be for accountability purposes because it is so easy to stray from reading the original languages daily.

Here is the list:

  1. John 1–11
  2. John 12–21
  3. 1 John; 2 John; 3 John; Philemon
  4. Mark 1–8
  5. Mark 9–16
  6. Matthew 1–10
  7. Matthew 11–20
  8. Matthew 21–28
  9. Revelation 1–11
  10. Revelation 12–22
  11. 1 Thessalonians; 2 Thessalonians
  12. Ephesians; Colossians
  13. Philippians; Romans 1–8
  14. Romans 9–16
  15. 1 Corinthians 1–10
  16. 1 Corinthians 11–16
  17. Galatians; James
  18. 1 Peter; 1 Timothy
  19. 2 Timothy; Titus
  20. Jude; 2 Peter
  21. 2 Corinthians 1–7
  22. 2 Corinthians 8–13
  23. Luke 1–8
  24. Luke 9–16
  25. Luke 17–24
  26. Acts 1–10
  27. Acts 11–19
  28. Acts 20–28
  29. Hebrews 1–7
  30. Hebrews 8–13

Download the PDF of the list here.

Tavis Bohlinger has several good posts on practicing greek like a violin player. You can find his introductory post here.

  1. You can follow him on twitter at @bencblackwell  ↩

Blogging Through James: James 1:12-15


This semester I am taking Greek Exegesis of James with Dr. Plummer. Our final exam is coming up at the beginning of May. In preparation for this I am creating a short, running commentary on the text. For the reader of this blog it may seem that there is no rhyme or reason to what I choose to include but it is primarily covering aspects that I think will be pertinent for my final exam and what I want documented. Also see my post about the Greek vocabulary of James in formatted PDF and a flashcard app for mobile devices. Feel free to post any comments or questions or email me. The translation and notes are my own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Dr. Plummer.

James 1:12-15

NA28 Text
Parsing of Key Words
Definitions of Key Words (BDAG)

NA28 Text

12 Μακάριος ἀνὴρ ὃς ὑπομένει πειρασμόν, ὅτι δόκιμος γενόμενος λήμψεται τὸν στέφανον τῆς ζωῆς ὃν ἐπηγγείλατο τοῖς ἀγαπῶσιν αὐτόν. 13 μηδεὶς πειραζόμενος λεγέτω ὅτι ἀπὸ θεοῦ πειράζομαι· ὁ γὰρ θεὸς ἀπείραστός ἐστιν κακῶν, πειράζει δὲ αὐτὸς οὐδένα. 14 ἕκαστος δὲ πειράζεται ὑπὸ τῆς ἰδίας ἐπιθυμίας ἐξελκόμενος καὶ δελεαζόμενος· 15 εἶτα ἡ ἐπιθυμία συλλαβοῦσα τίκτει ἁμαρτίαν, ἡ δὲ ἁμαρτία ἀποτελεσθεῖσα ἀποκύει θάνατον.

Parsing of Key Words

The parsing in this passage is straightforward

Definitions of Key Words (BDAG)

  • δόκιμος – pertaining to being genuine on the basis of testing, approved (by test), tried and true, genuine
  • γίνομαι – has the sense to experience a change in nature and so indicate entry into a new condition . The one who is endures trials becomes approved and…
  • ἐπιθυμία – in a negative sense – a desire for something forbidden or simply inordinate, craving, lust
  • ἐξέλκω – to drag away, with connotation of initial reluctance, drag away
  • δελεάζω – to arouse someone’s interest in something. by adroit measures, lure, entice
  • συλλαβοῦσα τίκτει – together means to give birth
  • ἀποτελέω – to bring an activity to an end, bring to completion, finish


  • ΜακάριοςWallace – (Anarthrous) First Predicate Position: When, however, the same construction has been determined from the context to express a predicate relation, the adjective is in the first (anarthrous) predicate position to the noun (e.g., ἀγαθὸς βασιλεύς = a king is good). Though much less common than the attributive relation, in equative clauses (viz., a clause in which an equative verb is stated or implied), this is not too uncommon.1
  • ὅτι – introduces a causal clausal stating the reason for the testing
  • γενόμενος – could be a causal participle (because he is approved) or adverbial (when/after he is approved). Either way the result is the same. Varner opts for a sense of both saying, “This causal/temporal clause complex points to the testing nuance of the πειρα – word group rather than the tempting aspect, which is its nuance in Jas. 1:13. Saying that one has stood the test or that he has been approved is actually another way of saying that he endures and does not become a further condition of receiving the crown.”2
  • τῆς ζωῆς – epexegetical (appositive) genitive; BDF – The use of the appositive genitive, i.e. of the genitive used in the sense of an appositive, conforms in the NT to classical usage3
  • κακῶν – genitive of means (by)
  • ἀπείραστόςVarner – The force of the verbal adjective ending in -τος is to express possibility. Coupled with the alpha privative prefix the form then connotes the idea of impossibility4
  • τίκτει and ἀποκύει are synonyms just saying “to give birth”. James is not embedding any difference by using two different words.


12 Blessed is the man who endures trials because when he is approved he will receive the crown of life, which is promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say, “I am tempted from God” because God is not tempted by evil and he tempts no one. 14 Each person is tempted when he is dragged and lured by his own desires. 15 Then when the desire is conceived it gives birth to sin and when sin runs its course it gives birth to death.


Enduring trials helps bring about the whole and complete Christian. When the believer endures these trials he will receive eternal life. This continues to show James’ idea of τέλειος. Faith and works are essential, saying one just has faith but doesn’t endures trials is disproving his faith. The believer who is who endures trials because of his faith. The wholeness of God is also present here in that later we will see that God is the giver of ever good and complete gift and here we are told that God is not tempted by evil. God is not divided therefore it is impossible for him to tempt the believer with evil. James shows the double natured aspect of the person because the believer is dragged away by his own evil desires.

  1. Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics – Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament, 310 (Zondervan Publishing House and Galaxie Software, 1999). ↩

  2. William Varner, James, ed. H. Wayne House, W. Hall Harris, III and Andrew W. Pitts, Evangelical Exegetical Commentary, Jas 1:12 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2012). ↩

  3. Friedrich Blass, Albert Debrunner and Robert Walter Funk, A Greek Grammar of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 92 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961). ↩

  4. William Varner, James, ed. H. Wayne House, W. Hall Harris, III and Andrew W. Pitts, Evangelical Exegetical Commentary, Jas 1:13 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2012). ↩

Download the PDF here