Writing the inaugural book on Colossians and Philemon for the Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament series, Murray J. Harris has recently written the next installment on John. This series has already made its mark as a standard Greek text commentary series for serious students of the Greek New Testament and Harris once again shows his ability and love for the text.
The commentary is solely based on the Greek of the New Testament primarily using the fifth edition of the United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament. Harris divides John into pericopes by its Greek text, block diagrams and then exegetes phrase-by-phrase. A good grasp of New Testament Greek is required to benefit from this book as well as an ability to understand the grammatical abbreviations used in the book.
As a guide, the reader is presented with a number of helps in their own study of the Greek text. The purpose of the book is not to do all of the work for the reader, but, rather, to “provide all the necessary information for understanding the Greek text.” Having a lot of the time consuming work done for you helps the reader to focus more on interpreting the information and developing the sermon. By breaking the book up into pericopes the reader already has a good idea as to how to lay out their sermons. There are suggested homiletical outlines (often giving more than one) as well as suggested further reading based on the subject matter of each verse or group of verses examined. When more than one suggestion is offered by commentators Harris presents them along with his reasons for which one seems to fit the text best.
What shines through in this volume is Harris’ love for and deep knowledge of John’s gospel. This was a labor of love for Harris and as such it is more than a mere academic and scholarly exercise. He is able to allow the simplicity of the Greek and John’s divinely inspired message to shine through while pointing the reader to the depths of John’s simple message, “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life through His name.” (Jn. 20:31)
I received this book for free from B&H Academic for this review. 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 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”