be able to understand what I write (I think that’s important, and I’m quite sure
Finally, I know that you’ve already looked at the DDT Rating, so you already know
the conclusion: this is a good resource.
OK - now let us commence with the Review!
Kenneth Wuest was a long time Greek teacher at Moody Bible Institute back in 1920’s,
‘30’s, 40’s, and 50’s. (Yeah - he taught almost 30 years). At that time, Moody was
one of the leaders in both dispensationalism and fundamentalism.
When he started writing, it was his intent to bring the nuance of the Greek language
out for the non-Greek speaking English reader. This reviewer thinks that he hits
that mark pretty well.
His first book was entitled Treasures from the Greek New Testament for the English
Reader. This was a collection of twelve essays (which became twelve chapters - imagine
that!) that are topical. His second book was a commentary on 1Peter entitled First
Peter in the Greek New Testament for the English Reader (do you see a common theme?).
It is pleasantly verse by verse.
Over the course of his writing career, he wrote commentaries on Mark, Romans, Galatians,
Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1Timothy, 2Timothy, Hebrews, 1Peter, 2Peter,
1John, 2John, 3John, & Jude. [If you’re keeping score at home, that means he missed
Matthew, Luke, John, Acts, 1Corinthians, 2Corinthians, 1Thessalonians, 2Thessalonians,
Titus, Philemon, James, and Revelation.]
In addition to his commentaries, he also wrote six topical books - all revolving
around word studies in the Greek New Testament.
I’ve already noted that Wuest is both dispensational and evangelical in his doctrinal
outlook. I also mentioned that in the era he wrote, Moody was considered a fundamentalist
institution. That’s good.
I would like to point out that Wuest was not a KJV lover. He served on the translation
team that produced the NASB. He actually published an entire expanded translation
of the New Testament. But as you might think with his NASB background, his own translation
is based on the Nestle Greek text, and not the Textus Receptus (which is the text
behind the KJV). Personal kudos for rejecting the ASV; but he was one of the early
proponents within the fundamentalist movement to depart from the KJV. He makes no
apologies for correcting “error” in the KJV. For this reason alone, I don’t recommend
this resource to anyone not grounded in bibliology.
Again, please note that his NT commentary covers only 15 books of the NT (of 27 total
books); but because he left off four of the five longest books in the NT, his commentary
actually covers far less than 50% of it. However, where he does have comments - they
are more than sufficient. For me, they are right in the sweet spot between “just
long enough” and “verbose” (I guess I like ‘em a little longer than sufficient...).
I like to provide an example from Rom 3:24 in these reviews. So here is Wuest on
Rom 3:24 –
"Freely" is dōrean [δωρεαν], "freely, for naught, gratis, gratuitously, without just
cause." "Grace" is Charis [Χαρις] which signified in classical authors a favor done
out of the spontaneous generosity of the heart without any expectation of return.
Of course, this favor was always done to one's friend, never to an enemy. But when
Charis [Χαρις] comes into the New Testament, it takes an infinite leap forward, for
the favor God did at Calvary was for those who hated Him. It was a favor clone out
of the spontaneous generosity of God's heart of love with no expectation of return.
There are no strings attached to grace. It is given dōrean [δωρεαν], gratuitously.
Of course, grace in the form of salvation is so adjusted that the one who receives
it, turns from sin to serve the living God and live a holy life, for grace includes
not only the bestowal of a righteousness, but the inward transformation consisting
of the power of indwelling sin broken and the divine nature implanted, which liberates
the believer from the compelling power of sin and makes him hate sin, love holiness,
and gives him the power to obey the Word of God.
This grace shown the believing sinner is made possible, Paul says through the redemption
which is in Christ Jesus. "Redemption" is apolutrōseōs [ἀπολυτρωσεως], the verbal
form of which is apolutroō [ἀπολυτροω], "to redeem by paying the lutron [λυτρον]
price." There are three words translated "redeem," agorazō [ἀγοραζω], "to buy in
the slave market" (1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23, 2 Pet. 2:1), Christ bought us in this slave
market of sin by His own blood; believers are His bondslaves; exagorazō [ἐξαγοραζω],
"to buy out of the slave market" (Gal. 3:13; 4:5), the redeemed are never to be put
up for sale in any slave market again; and litroō [λιτροω], "to set free by paying
a price" (Tit. 2:14, 1 Pet. 1:18): the believer is set free from sin and free to
live a life pleasing to God in the power of the Holy Spirit. The redemption price,
the precious blood of Jesus, makes it possible for a righteous God to justify a believing
sinner on the basis of justice satisfied. This Paul proceeds to explain in the next
This might be a little longer than his typical comment, but you get the flavor here
of how he writes.
Language Skills Needed
Did you remember the ending phrase in his titles? “...for the English Reader.” While
a little bit of Greek is helpful (he does use words like “aorist,” “imperfect,” “middle
voice,” and even “pluperfect,”), he actually does a pretty good job of explaining
the importance of each of those words in his exposition. So Greek is helpful, yes,
but not essential in profiting from this work. HOWEVER: keep reading for more info
on the necessity of language skills.
Wuest and I are going to disagree on this. His work; my review. Wuest would tell
you that his target was the Bible disciple who wanted to know more about his English
Bible by expanding all of the nuances of the Greek into English. Fair enough. I would
tell you that Wuest does not like the KJV, believes there to be translation errors
in it, and those errors are due to the KJV coming from a corrupt Greek text. Hmmm.
I have a problem with that.
Some of his comments are based on the Nestle text, which differs regularly from the
TR. A knowledge of Greek will be very helpful - especially to those expositors who,
like me, use the KJV/TR. When he makes an argument based on the Nestle text, it will
be very helpful to know what the TR instead says. So due to his theological bias,
I don’t recommend this resource to anyone who is not clear in his stance on bibliology.
I have it tagged above as “Pastoral” for this reason.
And Then There’s All This Topical Content
Let’s not forget that he wrote six topical books, totaling almost another 100 chapters.
From a personal perspective, this will be a harder tool to use (how are you going
to find his interesting comments on “crowns” in a topical presentation?). But the
writing is just as good, even though it may be hard to find.
I like Wuest very much, as a matter of fact. It is too bad he did not finish all
of the NT Books. I wish he had. And with the above mentioned foibles in mind, I recommend
the use of his writing to you. This is a DDT approved Good Resource.
Google gives this set a 4.0 star (out of 5) rating, with several reviews you can
Amazon.com offers 95 reviews (as of Februrary, 2023). Average rating: 4.5 stars.
Read them here.
While recent publication of NT exposition has exploded (due to the personal computer),
Wuest’s work on the New Testament has survived and thrived in this climate. Although
not for everyone, those looking for deeper explanation will be satisfied.