Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament
When I teach or preach the Bible in church settings, I tend to avoid making too much of a distinction between original language texts and English translations. I’ve listened to plenty of preachers who like to show off their knowledge of Greek or Hebrew as if to occasionally remind their congregations of how much they know. On the other hand, in discussing this issue with a church member once, she told me, “If we don’t hear about the original languages from you, where will we hear it?” I suppose there has to be balance in such things.
Kenneth Wuest, former professor at New Testament Greek at the Moody Bible Institute in the mid-twentieth century and one of the New American Standard Bible translators, was absolutely gifted at being able to communicate the nuances of Koine Greek to audiences who had no knowledge of the ancient language. And Wuest was able to do so without talking down to his audience or creating mistrust for their English translations. In spite of his very popular teaching ministry to pastors in training, Wuest’s greatest ongoing contribution to the church—and specifically to the laity in the church—is his four-volume Word Studies from the Greek New Testament with Expanded NT.
Wuest’s Word Studies were published well over a half century ago, but they continue to reach those who hunger to know the New Testament better, even if they haven’t had the opportunity to study biblical languages. Wuest had the remarkable ability to discuss the Greek language, clearly and thoughtfully, to those who have never studied Greek. And in doing so, Wuest continues his teaching ministry long after his passing.
The first two volumes of Word Studies presents a running exposition on selected books from the New Testament: Mark, Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, Hebrews, 1-2 Timothy, Titus, 1-2 Peter, 1-3 John, and Jude. If you’ve ever read A. T. Robertson’s Word Pictures in the Greek New Testament, Wuest’s Word Studies are comparable, but Wuest may be slightly more accessible for the non-specialist.
The third volume is a collection of five previously published works containing essays that include word studies, the meaning of particular Greek phrases, as well as theological studies. There are over 160 of these essays all together, aimed at the serious student of the Bible who has never formally studied Greek.
Wuest bases his Greek expositions on the Nestle edition of the Greek New Testament that was current at his time of writing. When distinguishing the Greek text from the English, he primarily interacts with the King James Version, which was the Bible mostly used by English readers in the mid-twentieth century. However, Word Studies may be placed in parallel with any text or translation in Accordance.
The fourth volume is the well-known New Testament: An Expanded Translation by Wuest that attempts to follow the word order of the Greek New Testament as closely as possible. That doesn’t mean Wuest’s translation is yet another literal translation as he chose to use as many words as possible to properly communicate the Greek text into English.
Click on the image above for a larger view of Wuest's
Word Studies from the Greek New Testament.
The Accordance edition of Kenneth Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament comes in two separate modules. One contains the first three volumes together; and as mentioned earlier, these can be placed in parallel with the biblical text to act as a commentary. The second module contains Wuest’s Expanded Translation, so that it may be used in parallel as well.
Although Wuest was writing for the person who had never studied original languages, his insights into the Greek New Testament are valuable for the scholar as well. His understandable communication style and years of experience in the classroom make him a teacher across many levels of study.