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This page provides a review of a reference work that was consulted while working on the Analytical-Literal Translation of the New Testament (ALT). To purchase a copy of the third edition, click here.

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Word Studies in the Greek New Testament

By Kenneth S. Wuest

Interesting set of works

This is an interesting set of different works by the author. Volume One contains a verse by verse commentary on Mark, Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, and Colossians. Volume Two does the same for Philippians, Hebrews, 1,2Timothy, Titus, 1,2Peter, 1,2,3 John, and Jude. Volume Three is a collection of various essays, and the last volume is Wuest’s Expanded Translation.

The commentary of the first two volumes is mainly an elaboration of Wuest’s translation. It details the reasoning behind his translations. In doing so, he presents word studies on important words and provides abbreviated parsing of words. Also provided are longer exegetical comments. Al of this information can be helpful in studying the NT.

The essays in Volume Three look to be helpful. But to be honest, I have only read a couple of them. It is the last volume that is the most interesting. Wuest’s Expanded Translation attempts to bring out nuances of the Greek text that are often missed in traditional translations. And such expanded renderings can often be eye-openers to the meanings of passages. However, it can also be overly tedious to read.

For instance, consider 1John 2:6. In the NKJV, it reads, “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” But in Wuest, it reads, “He who is constantly saying that he as a habit of life is living in close fellowship with and dependence upon Him is morally obligated just as that One conducted Himself, also himself in the manner spoken of to be conducting himself.”

In Volume Two, Wuest explains the reasons for his “expansions.” But most of them in this verse have to do with the verbs being in the present tense, which Wuest is taking as indicating linear or ongoing action. And in this evaluation, Wuest is probably correct.

However, note how awkward the verse is to read. For comparing one verse to a standard translation this is not problematic, but to read the entire Wuest NT would be s tedious. And making it hard to compare just one verse is that Wuest does not number each verse; he just gives the verse number range for each paragraph in the margin.

Moreover, Wuest is using the Critical Text as his Greek textual base. I explain in detail why I prefer the Majority Text to thr Critical Text in my book Differences Between Bible Versions. Wuest is also one of the versions I evaluate in my book.

All that said, when I first got Wuest, I found his “expanded” idea to be intriguing. It is similar to the idea behind the Amplified Bible. However, I think his translation is superior to the Amplified Bible for accuracy, but still, not ideal for the reason indicated.

So that is part of the reason I believed God was leading me to produce my own “expanded” type of translation, but one based on the Majority Text, and thus my Analytical-Literal Translation of the New Testament (ALT) came to be.

For comparison, 1John 2:6 in my ALT reads, “The one saying [or, claiming] to be abiding in Him just as that [One] walked ought also in the same manner himself to be walking.”

Note that my version brings out the ongoing sense of the present tense with the English participle (…ing). This and other ways of bringing out nuances of the Greek tense in my versions is explained in my book Companion Volume to the ALT.

All of that said, Wuest’s 4 Volume set is helpful for it translation explanations and explanations and for the translation itself. And my ALT and Companion Volume will provide similar information.

Review of Word Studies in the Greek New Testament. Copyright (c) 2008 by Gary F. Zeolla.


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