Score: 7/10

pros: covers a huge range of Greek language use, structure, vocabulary & reading, all relevant to the NT, without rote memorization; really a series of well-organized notes that build on each other to allow you to clearly understand the text of Acts; explains & defines grammar & linguistic terms when used; great vocab & index references; avoids the pitfalls of modular (explanation-example-exercises-readings-vocabulary lists) courses

cons: recommended for a class led by a knowledgeable teacher who can answer questions (unless you’re a particularly strong self-guided learner); formatting is clear, but looks dated & typewritten; uses technical terms at every turn; recommended that you buy both books to succeed with this method; not widely available

In his Handbook of New Testament Greek: An Inductive Approach Based on the Greek Text of Acts, La Sor sets out a unique, challenging course for new students of the Ancient Greek language. The book is unique because it does not teach through modular lessons. Instead, the course is a series of notes composed in the form of short paragraphs that help you read through the text of the Book of Acts in the Greek Bible.

The organization of these notes is based on language use topics tied to Acts in the first book, then based on linguistic/grammar topics (phonology, morphology & syntax) in the second book. These books do explain and define new terms, but they also expect you to pick up technical concepts quickly and build on them. On top of this consistent reliance on grammatical and linguistic terms, the writer’s knowledge of the breadth of the Hellenic world, coupled with Semitic influences on the Greek New Testament, will sometimes manifest itself in the form of information that overwhelms less academic students.

Each note is short, to the point, somewhat technical, and, in extreme cases, not relevant to the preceding or following note. Examples include short quotes, phrases/words cited & paradigm tables. Examples are always brief, but occur regularly throughout the notes. Not all the Greek comes from Acts – the author cites the text of other New Testament books as well.

The second book focuses on grammar, pronunciation and sentence structure, explaining those using the same notes-based format. In the second book, there’s usually more flow between paragraphs, but the use of challenging terminology . Fortunately, if you can hang on to the terminology, the author manages to clearly explain the whole of beginner-intermediate Ancient Greek grammar with more clarity and precision than you’ll find in other lessons, leaving you with a productive base for evaluating any Greek word or sentence in the future without the need to rely on irregular tables or “because that’s the way it is”-type explanations.

This second book includes some extras, too, such as vocabulary word groups by lesson, a frequency vocabulary list, and a lookup index that references individual paragraph numbers. There’s even a cross-reference table that helps students compare the same entry in separate concordances and lexicons.

Its learn-as-you-read approach makes the Handbook of New Testament Greek ideal for dedicated and thoughtful students who can learn various pieces of the language while reading through the book and through Acts. The results will be considerably weaker if you can’t make it through the whole course. Even stopping halfway, which entails a lot of study, just won’t do. Recommended with minor reservations.