Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Review of Interpreting the General Letters: An Exegetical Handbook


 This work is written by Herbert W. Bateman IV, he earned his Ph. D from Dallas Theological Seminary and has taught Greek language and exegesis for over 20 years. Let me start off by saying that this work is not for the casual reader or someone who has no knowledge of Greek or exegesis. This book is very rich and full of some very good insights, but without some background in language studies you will feel very lost in this work. However, if you have some knowledge of these things then you will find this book to be extremely helpful in your study of the general letters. It is broken down into eight chapters and each chapter is made up of several different parts depending on the chapter.  We are told in the preface of the book that it is “…the third of a four-volume series….“(pg 13)
            He starts off by telling us how a letter is made up, by breaking down the different components of the letter. He also informs us as to the different types of letters that were being written back then whether they were ancient letters or general letters and did someone else other than the name barer write the letter. Another area of importance is found in the second chapter when he breaks down the background of the letters being written. Chapter three he lays the foundation for the theology of the General Letters, which he does a good job of breaking down into different sub-categories. After chapter three is where things become a little hairy. This is when Bateman IV really starts to delve into the meat and potatoes of the book and break things down grammatically and exegetically. I know the question you are asking yourselves is should I read/own this book and my answer is yes. Even if all you can understand is the first three chapters there is a lot of good information there. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a deeper understanding of the General Letters of the NT, but the person who will get the most out of is will be someone scholarly. If you are looking for a more casual work I would recommend Carson and Moo’s Introduction to the New Testament.
I did receive a review copy in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.