Kenneth Samuel Wuest (1893–1962), a noted New Testament Greek scholar of the mid-twentieth century, was a beloved professor of New Testament Greek at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and published over a dozen books on the New Testament. His Expanded Translation of the New Testament is treasured by those who appreciate the nuances of the Hellenistic Greek language (or Koine Greek), a language which its author knew and loved so well.
Intended as a companion to and a commentary on the standard translations of the Greek New Testament, Wuest’s version complements them by attempting, where possible, to capture the implications of the Greek language in several important aspects: word order, word meaning, distinctions between Greek synonyms, the special force of the Greek negative, the type of action expressed by the Greek verbs, the presence or absence of the Greek article, the distinctions between hypothetical and fulfilled conditions, and the precise meaning of commonly transliterated words. All of these are aspects of the original language that Greek scholars realize are difficult to render in English.
To accomplish his goal of making the intention of the Greek-speaking authors accessible to non-Greek readers, Wuest uses as many English words as necessary to bring out the richness, force, and clarity of the original text. He allows the emphasis of the Greek to shine through by stretching the limits of appropriate English word order, usage, and style. While at times abrupt or repetitive, he adeptly achieves his goal of forcibly drawing your attention to what you are reading.
Although conceived to help non-Greek readers appreciate the original language, Wuest’s Expanded Translation also greatly aids students of the Greek language in their understanding of its force and beauty.
One of the most lovely examples I can think of is from the First Epistle of John, which typically reads something like this: “That which is from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have looked upon and our hands have handled concerning the Word of life…(1 John 1:1, NKJV). Notice how Wuest’s translation brings out the meaning and force of the perfect and aorist tense verbs in this passage: “That which was from the beginning, that which we have heard with the present result that it is still ringing in our ears, that which we have discerningly seen with our eyes with the present result that it is in our mind’s eye, that which we gazed upon as a spectacle, and our hands handled with a view to investigation, that which is concerning the Word of life—.”
Now you know what we mean when we say that this translation brings out the nuances of the Greek, perhaps like no other.