Greek Exegesis

In Fall 2009, I took an Intro to New Testament Exegesis class that I very much enjoyed.  I have previously posted a paper on 1 Thessalonians and Luke as well as a resource list for each ( 1 Thes. / Luke ).  Here I will post information from my professor on questions to ask when “exegeting” a paper as well as some recommendations for general exegesis tools.  The list of questions was actually designed for the shorter assignments I reference in my post about the class in general but can definitely be helpful in general.  While it probably would have made more sense to post these earlier, alas, it only now they are going up.  The I hope it is helpful to some!

Questions to Ask When Exegeting

A. What does this text say?
Are there significant textual or translational difficulties to be taken into account? What are they, and how might you address them?
B. What is this text?
  1. Literarily, identify the structural unit(s) represented in the passage. Where does it begin and end?
  2. Contextually, examine the place of the pericope in its literary context.
  3. Form-critically, identify the genre(s) represented in the pericope.
  4. Does the passage contain citations of Scripture? If so, how do they function in the passage?
C. What does this text mean?
  1. Trace the “movement” of the pericope. If it is a narrative, how does the “plot” unfold? If non-narrative,
  2. what line of thought is developed? What argument is being advanced?
  3. What (if any) are the key term(s) or significant images in this pericope?
  4. What do you need to know about the writer’s religious heritage or cultural environment in order to understand this passage better?
  5. How do the concerns of the text function within its literary context? What might they suggest about the occasion and purpose of the writing?
D. How does this text contribute to Christian thought and life?
  1. How do the concerns of this pericope compare or contrast with those in relevant, parallel texts (whether by the same or another biblical author)?
  2. As you presently understand this passage, what questions does this text present for you as a Christian theologian?

Exegetical Tools

Texts and Reference Tools

Aland, Kurt, and Barbara Aland. The Text of the New Testament: An Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism. Translated by E. F. Rhodes.  Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989.

Brenton, L. C. L.  The Septuagint with Apocrypha:  Greek and English. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1987.

Epp, Eldon J.  “Textual Criticism (NT),” Anchor Bible Dictionary 6: 412-35.

Metzger, Bruce M.  The Text of the New Testament:  Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration. 3d ed. New York:  Oxford University Press, 1992.

______. A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament. 3d ed. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1994.

Nestle-Aland. Novum Testamentum Graece. Edited by Barbara Aland and Kurt Aland.  27th ed. Stuttgart:  Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1997.

Novum Testamentum Graecum: Editio Critica Maior. Edited by the Institute for New Testament Textual Research.  Stuttgart:  Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1997.

Rahlfs, A. Septuaginta. Stuttgart:  Deutsche Bibelstifung, 1935.

Swanson, R. J.  New Testament Greek Manuscripts:  Variant Readings Arranged in Horizontal Lines Against Codex Vaticanus. 4 vols.  Sheffield:  Sheffield Academic Press, 1994-99.

United Bible Societies. Greek New Testament. 4th ed.  Stuttgart:  Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1994.

Vaganay, Léon and Christian-Bernard Amphoux, An Introduction to New Testament Textual Criticism. Rev. and enl. ed.  Translated by J. Heimerdinger. Cambridge 1991 (French 1986).


Danker, F. W., et al. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. 3d ed.  Chicago:  University of Chicago Press, 2000.

Kittel, G., and G. Friedrich, eds.  Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. 10 vols.  Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964-76.

Lampe, G. W. H.  Patristic Greek Lexicon. Oxford:  Clarendon, 1961.

Liddell, H. G., R. Scott, and S. Jones.  A Greek-English Lexicon with a Supplement. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1968.

Lust, J., et al.  A Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint. 2 vols. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1992-96.

Moulton, J. H., and G. Milligan.  The Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1985.

Van Voorst, Robert E. Building Your New Testament Greek Vocabulary. 3d ed. Atlanta:  Society of Biblical Literature, 2001.


Computer Concordance to the Novum Testamentum Graece of Nestle-Aland 26th edition. Berlin: de Gruyter, 1985.

Hatch, E., and H. A. Redpath. A Concordance to the Septuagint and the Other Greek Versions of the Old Testament (Including the Apocryphal Books). Grand Rapids:  Baker, 1998.

Moulton, W. F., A. S. Geden, and H. K. Moulton.  A Concordance to the Greek New Testament. Edinburgh:  T&T Clark, 1963.


Blass, F., et al.  A Greek Grammar of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961.

Moule, C. F. D.  An Idiom Book of New Testament Greek. 2d ed. Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 1959.

Moulton, J. H., et al.  A Grammar of New Testament Greek. 4 vols.  Edinburgh:  T&T Clark, 1908-65.

Olsen, M. B.  A Semantic and Pragmatic Model of Lexical and Grammatical Aspect. New York:  Garland, 1997.

Owings, T.  A Cumulative Index to New Testament Greek Grammars. Grand Rapids:  Baker, 1983.

Porter, S. E.  Idioms of the Greek New Testament. Biblical Languages: Greek 2.  Sheffield:  JSOT Press, 1992.

_____. Verbal Aspect in the Greek of the New Testament. New York:  Peter Lang, 1989.

Robertson, A. T.  A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research. Nashville: Broadman Press, 1934.

Smyth, H. W.  Greek Grammar. Cambridge:  Harvard University Press, 1920.

Wallace, Daniel B.  Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics:  An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament with Scripture, Subject, and Greek Word Indexes. Grand Rapids:  Zondervan, 1996.

Young, Richard A.  Intermediate New Testament Greek:  A Linguistic and Exegetical Approach. Nashville:  Broadman & Holman, 1994.


ATLA Religion Database (formerly Religion Indexes).  Reference CD-ROM and Online (For those at PTSEM look for “ATLA Religion Index,” then “ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials” after you click the following link:

Elenchus Bibliographicus Biblicus.

Elenchus of Biblica.

Fitzmyer, Joseph A.  An Introductory Bibliography for the Study of Scripture. 3d ed.  Rome:  Pontifical Biblical Institute Press, 1990.

New Testament Abstracts. (NTA is also available via the ATLA Religion Database noted above)


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11 Responses to “Greek Exegesis”

  1. efjfigueroa Says:

    Should I have some of this books?

  2. Sara J. Green Says:

    I would wait to see what books your professors want you to have and what they recommend first. Many of these books are available at the library here as well.

  3. c. stirling bartholomew Says:

    You might want to add this to your list.

    Levinsohn, Stephen Discourse Features of New Testament Greek,2nd Ed.

  4. Sara J. Green Says:

    Thanks! : )

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