Should I buy the Tyndale House Edition of the Greek New Testament?
A question that is asked frequently about the Tyndale House Greek New Testament is, ‘I already have X, should I also buy this one?’ In order to answer this question, we suggest the following considerations:
- The THGNT is designed for reading. ‘Of course,’ you would say, ‘every book is.’ True, but a good old-fashioned encyclopedia does not invite the reader to keep on reading. Form is part of the message, and the THGNT is not an encyclopaedia and it does not present encyclopedic knowledge of the Greek textual transmission, even though there is a lot of knowledge behind it. The THGNT presents the text with as few interruptions as possible, helping you concentrate on what the text is about – to be read and to be understood. And it does so without ignoring the textual transmission, on the contrary.
- The THGNT is beautiful. To a large degree this is due to the publisher’s effort and their final designs. But simple beauty in printing does something: you get that moment of pleasure when you pick it up. It attracts rather than radiates functionalism. Tolle lege.
- The THGNT surprises. This is what Scripture does in general, yet it is remarkable how details such as a different paragraphing allows us to see things in a new light. I have seen comments where a non-standard spelling led someone on a fruitful train of thought. And instead of ‘switching off’ when any NT author is citing the OT, we actually read what is quoted since there is no visual separation between citation and the story or the argument. And this brings us to the next point.
- The THGNT is a tool, just as the ‘X’ you already have. Every tool is designed for a particular job (have you ever seen a carpenter with only a single hammer?) We all know that Swiss Army knives are a great idea and at times quite handy when travelling, but despite their name, you could not defend the country with them. For many students, teachers, and scholars, the printed text of Scripture is one of the basic ‘tools’; is it asking too much asking to invest in a good set of tools? Or is this the one area where we are reluctant to put our money where our mouth is?
- The THGNT is gentle (yes, a very bad pun on the text of 1 Thes 2:7). There is an educational benefit in reading the text on a page where almost all of the information on display can be understood with just a little effort. We want to take people by the hand and rediscover the joy of reading the NT in its original language. Too often students give up their Greek at about the point when it becomes fun and beneficial. Why? Perhaps in part because they are intimidated by their editions which tell them implicitly, ‘There is too much here for you to understand’. Sometimes less is more, and this is a case in point.
We want to take people by the hand and rediscover the joy of reading the NT in its original language.