Tag Archives: New Testament

Paul’s Graeco-Roman Context

9789042932715-1In recent decades, the figure of the Apostle Paul has gained the attention of scholars and researchers. New studies on personal issues as well as his ministry als the Apostle to the Gentile are being released almost every day.

Paul was a first century Jewish who held the Roman citizenship. The time and place he lived requires studying Paul within his cultural and political context. The book Paul’s Greco-Roman Context, (Peeters Publishers, 2015), by Cilliers Breytenbach (general editor) is, perhaps, one of the most complete resources for the study of the Apostle Paul’s context.

This volume is a collection of essays written by different and respectable scholars from different countries, predominantly from Europe and the USA. It contains thirty-four essays written in French (4), German (10), and English (20), in 751 pages. Those readers who can read these three languages could benefit from reading the thirty-four essays (this review is only focused on the essays written in English as this reviewer cannot read French or German languages). This book is the volume #277 of the reputable series Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium published by the aforementioned publishing house.

The topics addressed by the authors are varied, having in common the figure of the Apostle Paul. Paul and Popular Philosophy, Paul and Ancient Civic Ethics, Elements of the Graeco-Roman Context in the Christian Community of Philippi, are some of the themes readers will find in this thorough volume. Essays are twenty pages long (average) and transmit the sensation of reading the writings of serious scholars who have the ability to condense all their knowledge in twenty pages without leaving readers uninformed. Every essay will make readers feel as if they have read a hole book.

Reading a book written by different authors has many advantages, though some people see some disadvantages as well. One of the advantages of reading a multi-author book is that readers can get different point of views from different cultural backgrounds concerning a given topic (in this case, Paul and his context). In this volume, this factor is an element that contributes to make this book a must have resource for scholars, Bible students, pastors, and anyone interested in learning more about Paul as a prominent figure in the Bible.

If you live in Europe, you can buy this book directly from the publisher here.

For those living in the USA, you can buy this book from Amazon

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

A Syntax Guide for Readers of the Greek New Testament, by Charles Lee Irons

descargaThe study of the New Testament Greek has become an accessible area of study for both pastors and seminary students. There are multitude of NT Greek literature in the market, and many more to come. The book A Syntax Guide for Readers of the Greek New Testament written by Charles Lee Irons (Kregel, 2016) is one of the most recently released books for the study of the NT Greek. This volume has the purpose of helping NT Greek readers to have a better understanding of terms and clauses found in the NT Greek Text.

The author has produced a syntax guide that goes verse by verse covering the whole NT, though he does not follow a word by word method. The explanation for that can be found in the preface of the book. There, Irons states his main purpose in writing this guide was to provide readers with a syntax guide that can help them to read the NT Greek in a fluent manner. It can be said he accomplished his purpose. NT Greek readers can use this syntax guide without fearing to be interrupted when consulting this syntax guide.

Irons follows the critical editions of the Greek New Testament 27th and 28th Editions of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece, though he uses other textual variants. The most used English translations are the NASB, ESV, and the NIV.

Who can benefit from this syntax guide? Pastors, beginners or advanced students of NT Greek, and anyone interested in reading the NT Greek. This can be your perfect companion if you are part of any of the group aforementioned.

Buy it from Kregel or buy it from Amazon

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

Book Review: Revelation: A Handbook on the Greek Text. Baylor University Press, 2016.

imageMathewson, 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.

1−3 John: Reformed Expository Commentary


prpbooks-images-covers-md-9781596389878O’Donnell, Douglas S. 1−3 John. New Jersey: P&R Publishing, 2015.

Commentaries are the most used resources among pastors. We are always seeking for commentaries that are able to combine exegesis without being excessively technical. We love reading commentaries we can easily apply to our sermon preparation and commentaries that are almost written from a homiletical perspective. If you are planning to preach on the letters of John, then you need to consider buying 1−3 John, by Douglas Sean O’Donnell (2015).

O’Donnell begins his commentary assuming the Johannine authorship point of view of the three letters. He does not invest a single chapter to discuss authorship issues in exclusivity. However, the title of the first chapter of the books says it all: “Apostolic Fellowship.” In this chapter, O’Donnell deepens into the pronouns “which”, “we”, and “you” as pivotal words for an appropriate understanding of the rest of the letter. If you are looking for a book that will provide you with a bigger perspective on authorship, then this is not the book you are looking for. But if you have already adopted Johannine authorship, you will love this commentary.

The author does an excellent job regarding text dissemination. He goes pericope by pericope deepening into the most important terms without isolating them from the context. He also includes some convenient tables in order to go deeper into an idea or to show parallelisms between sentences. O’Donnell also uses some diagrams with the main purpose of underling antithetic clauses and ideas, repetitions, or synonyms used by John to express an idea. Thanks to these helpful tools, one can appreciate text peculiarities and details that would be difficult to explain through words, and O’Donnell does that strategically and in convenient texts.

The author writes in a very accessible and dynamic manner without abounding in Greek terms. That allows readers to focus on the text without losing the track O’Donnell traces. Illustrations from today and history are also a tool that the author uses to introduce new themes or to better explain a point.

Concluding, O’Donnell’s commentary on 1−3 John is a highly recommended book for pastors since this expository commentary is written from a homiletical-pastoral perspective. However, and due to its accessible language, I would recommend this book to any Bible student who would like to study Johannine epistles. You will not regret having obtained this book. You can buy this book here

More reviews about commentaries 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.

What the New Testament Authors Really Cared About: A Survey of Their Writings

descargaBerding, 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.


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