Saturday, December 08, 2012

Devotions on the Greek New Testament

Given the nature of this blog, I was excited when I saw that Zondervan published a scholarly version of what I had been trying to do. Devotions on the Greek New Testament is a collection of 52 short devotions each written about a passage in Greek. Unlike my blog, the contributors to this book are all scholars. What's refreshing is that not only are they scholars, but they also write from the perspective of a believer in Christ. Some names you might recognize include William D. Mounce, Scot McKnight, Craig L. Blomberg, Ben Witherington III, and Darrell L. Bock. There are others, but these are some of the more famous authors.

Each devotional begins with the Greek text. The author then keys in on something from the text to help the reader further understand the meaning. For example, in the passage on Ephesians 5:18-22 (be filled with the Spirit), David L. Matthewson emphasizes how the five adverbial participles modify πληροῦσθε. It doesn't necessarily come off as well in English, but this passage shows us that addressing one another in psalms and hymns, etc., is what being filled with the Spirit looks like. Matthewson bases this on the way the participles work together.

There are also devotionals that will look at the structure of a passage. For example, David M. Morgan illustrates the chiastic structure of Colossians 1:26-28 and explains how Paul's suffering relates to Christ's suffering. He then connects this to Epaphroditus' ministry described in Philippians 2:20 to show how this is normative for a Christian. He also connects this passage to the general message of Colossians to explain how this is part of bringing the gospel to the world. 

I did not read the whole book as I do want to use it as a devotional and didn't want to plow through it all right away. However, out of the dozen or so sections I did read what I found was solid exegesis based on the text. The whole point of studying Greek and Hebrew is to get closer to the text. This devotional will help you to do that.

Of course, this book is not for everyone. It does presuppose that you've had at least a year of Koine Greek. I would have found reading each passage difficult after only one year, but I could have muddled through most of them. Looking back, I wish I had a resource like this after I finished my first year of Greek. It feeds the brain by giving examples of good exegesis and it fills the soul with the Word of God. Anyone who can read Greek should own a copy of this book.

Note that I received a copy from the publisher for review.