"To develop one’s skills in a given language, there is no substitute for lengthy exposure to that language itself. If a pastor wants to get better at handling New Testament Greek, the most important thing he can do is spend time working with New Testament Greek. However, as you read the Greek NT, your familiarity with the NT in translation tends to interfere with your ability to fully engage with the Greek itself. Since you already largely know what it’s going to say, the benefit to growing your language skills is significancy undermined. But what if there were other Greek texts written at a time and in a dialect close to that of the NT that you could read to sharpen Greek skills that you could then take back to your study of the NT?
That’s where the Apostolic Fathers Greek Reader comes in. It contains a group of early Christian writings composed during the first and second centuries AD. They represent some of the writings closest in languages and style to what we find in the NT. What makes this volume stand out as especially beneficial for developing Greek skills is that it is a reader—the bottom of every page gives you a gloss for every vocabulary item appearing less than thirty times in the NT, keeping you from getting bogged down and allowing you to work through larger amount of text for maximum growth in the language.
Besides the language benefits, the Apostolic Fathers are worth the read in their own right. While they do have their warts, as do all uninspired church writers, there are devotional thoughts in their writings that still benefit modern readers. In addition, as there is always the temptation to think that church history jumps from Patmos to Nicaea to Rome to Wittenberg to Milwaukee with nothing in between, it can be good to remember, learn about, and learn from less famous historical periods and church fathers, including the Apostolic Fathers, the generation temporally closest to the NT.
For growing your skills in NT Greek, as well as for its devotional and historical benefit, the Apostolic Fathers Greek Reader is a valuable resource worth picking up. The many people involved in its production have done us a service."
Aaron M. Jensen
Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, Vol. 117, Number 3, Summer 2020