Mathewson, David L. Revelation: A Handbook on the Greek Text. Waco: Baylor University Press, 2016. 337 pp.
The book of Revelation is one of the most intriguing books in the Bible and the one that arises more curiosity among Christians. Many exegetical commentaries have been written on this book varying from technical to application commentaries. The book we have in front of us today is not a commentary but rather a handbook. Revelation: A Handbook on the Greek Text is a detailed study of the grammar and “problematic issues” (Mathewson, 2016, p. 11) the book of revelation presents. This volume is part of the Baylor Handbook on the New Testament Greek (BHNTG), an initiative promoted by Baylor University Press.
The first thing readers will find inside this book is an introduction to the BHNTG series and the approach adopted in this series, which is deponency. Then the author introduces readers to the book of Revelation by addressing basic issues such as literary genre and style of Revelation, the language and Semitic influence, verbal aspects, and participles. Readers will not find discussions on authorship, audience, date of writing and other elements that are commonly found in commentaries. Mathewson stated, “I have tried as much as possible to avoid commentary on this or that verse or issue” (p. 11). This book does not offer eschatological interpretations on the book of Revelation since that is not the purpose of the book.
The main body of the book offers the text translated into modern English as the result of the analysis and exegesis of the Greek text. The English translation is divided into sections, as if they were pericopes. After the English translation, the author proceeds to disseminate the Greek text by verses in a word-by-word approach. Mathewson does not spend too much time in presenting personal or secondary interpretations on the text. Instead he presents a grammatical and syntactical exposition of the Greek text. That requires readers to have a basic knowledge of Greek and grammar.
Many scholars argue against the study of the Bible in a word-by-word basis. They claim that studying words by isolating them leads interpreters and students to decontextualize the passage. That is totally true. However, the word-by-word approach is justifiable in this work since the nature of this handbook on the Greek text is to help students and interpreters in their personal interpretation. It must be said that neither the editor not the author advocate in favor of this method as if it should be used as the general rule in studying the Bible.
In this handbook, Mathewson demonstrates his knowledge as a seminary professor at Denver Seminary and as an author of many volumes on the book of Revelation. He barely gives his voice so readers can feel they are reading and disseminating the Greek text by themselves. It can be said Mathewson accomplishes the goal as a writer of a handbook on the Greek text; to disseminate the text and inform the reader the place of each word within the text.
Conclusion: This volume is an invaluable resource for Bible students and interpreters as it offers insights on textual problems and their different interpretations. Students who are initiating their journey in the study of the Greek New Testament will find this book an excellent companion, as will do seasoned scholars. Pastors may benefit from this volume as well as expository sermons require a careful study of the biblical text and the interpretation of the passage. This book will help preachers to carefully present the text to their audience, as this handbook will help them understand the role words play within the verse, and the role verses play within the chapter. Highly recommended for the public mentioned above.I anticipate this book will be in the hands of scholars and students for many decades.
I received a copy of this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
Berding, Kenneth, and Williams, Matt, ed. What the New Testament Authors Really Cared About: A Survey of Their Writings. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2015.
There are many introductory books to the New Testament in the market and many more are being published and reedited. That is the case of the book What the New Testament Authors Really Cared About: A Survey of Their Writings (2nd ed).
This book could be cataloged as an introduction to the New Testament because that is the purpose of this book. The book is structured and divided by biblical authors and the books they wrote. Its main focus is to provide readers with a better understanding about the main purpose that moved every New Testament writer to write the book or letter they wrote.
Every chapter opens by answering the questions Who? When? Where? and Why? These are the basic questions that every Bible student should seek to answer in order to be able to understand the basic of every book. Then the authors include carefully crafted verses from the book under study. The authors do not engage in theological, exegetical discussions, or textual issues. Instead they provide an overview of the context of each book and the author’s main purpose.
The book includes an introductory chapter entitled “Walking in the Sands of a First-Century Jew.” This chapter summarizes the Assyrian and the Babylonian exiles, the Persian and Greek periods, and how these events affected the nation of Israel. It also covers the transition from intertestamental times to the Roman Empire as the New Testament authors knew it. The chapter provides a solid base for the study of the following chapters.
A noteworthy characteristic from this book is the maps, charts, graphics, tables, and pictures it includes. That is a very helpful aid for students who are in the process of getting familiar to the New Testament, its times and custom. The hardcover and format make this book resistant to manipulation without the inconvenient of heaviness.
In summary, its structure and content make this book an excellent resource for seminary students, pastors, Bible students, and Christians in general. If you are planning to teach introduction to the New Testament in your church or to a group of students who have never study the New Testament before, this could be one of the most helpful books you can use for that purpose. Highly recommended.
I encourage every Christian from the English speaking world to buy this book. You can buy it here
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.