“When I’m stumped . . . I go to Henry Alford.”

Dan Phillips, who blogs at Biblical Christianity and Pyromaniacs, emailed me about a month ago and asked me about making Henry Alford’s The Greek Testament: With a Critically Revised Text; a Digest of Various Readings; Marginal References to Verbal and Idiomatic Usage; Prolegomena; and a Critical and Exegetical Commentary available for Libronix. In that email he told me that “John Piper names it as the one he always consults.” Recently I asked him if he knew the source for Piper’s statement. He didn’t, but said he’d do some hunting. He asked his blog readers for help, and it was Pilgrim Mommy to the rescue.

I think it might be . . . during the Q&A at the end of Piper’s talk on John Owen.

I just listened to the end of Piper’s biographical lecture on Owen, and here’s what he says in the Q&A in response to a question about commentaries that he finds helpful:

When I’m stumped with a . . . grammatical or syntactical or logical flow [question] in Paul, I go to Henry Alford. Henry Alford . . . comes closer more consistently than any other human commentator to asking my kinds of questions. (John Piper, “John Owen: The Chief Design of My Life—Mortification and Universal Holiness,” 1:30:11–1:30:31.)1

Mystery solved. Thanks, Pilgrim Mommy.

If you like Alford and would like to have it in the best digital format, you can pre-order it for only $129.95. It’s out of print, hard to obtain, and will cost you 2 to 3 times that much for the print volumes.

Also, his The New Testament for English Readers is available on Community Pricing and with enough bids could go for $16 or less.

Read Dan’s post at the Pyromaniacs blog for more on Alford.


  1. I actually have three different versions of this audio, all of which are different lengths. The time above is from the latest version of the audio on the Desiring God website.

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