The General Epistles (Hebrews, James, 1 and 2 Peter, 1-3 John and Jude) are often under-emphasized in favor of the Pauline epistles. Yet they are part of the Word of God and as such are profitable for rebuke, correction and our training in His righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). A new book Interpreting The General Letters An Exegetical Handbook has come out by Herbert W. Bateman IV that aims to provide a guide to how Christians can interpret the eight letters known as the General letters. As it does this it seeks to provide background material that will help readers understand the backdrop of the Greco-Roman world. As he does this, the author seeks to show the theology of the general letters while explaining redemptive-historical context in the canon of Scripture.
The author has a goal in mind namely to show the reader how to interpret the general epistles. To this end the author provides in steps for moving from interpretation to communication: three steps for preparing to interpret the letters, three for interpreting and finally three for communicating the letters. All explanations include examples in order to develop the reader’s skills for the purpose of helping them accurately interpret the Scriptures and communicate the truth of God’s Word.
I really like Interpreting the General Letters an Exegetical Handbook. At first I was going to use it in my study of 1 John and I still may but as I continued reading past that section I dove into his thoughts on Hebrews. What I found there I mostly enjoyed. While this is not a verse by verse treatment like I thought it would be—what the author does is provide a framework that will help the readers to understand the purpose for the general letters and their part in the Word of God. I recommend this resource and think it will be helpful for seminary students, pastors or serious lay people.
I received this book for free from Kregel 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.”
Dave Jenkins is happily married to his wife, Sarah. He is a writer, editor, and speaker living in beautiful Southern Oregon. Dave is a lover of Christ, His people, the Church, and sound theology. He serves as the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, the Host and Producer of Equipping You in Grace Podcast, and is a contributor to and producer of Contending for the Word. He is the author of The Word Explored: The Problem of Biblical Illiteracy and What To Do About It (House to House, 2021), The Word Matters: Defending Biblical Authority Against the Spirit of the Age (G3 Press, 2022), and Contentment: The Journey of a Lifetime (Theology for Life, 2024). You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, or read his newsletter. Dave loves to spend time with his wife, going to movies, eating at a nice restaurant, or going out for a round of golf with a good friend. He is also a voracious reader, in particular of Reformed theology, and the Puritans. You will often find him when he’s not busy with ministry reading a pile of the latest books from a wide variety of Christian publishers. Dave received his M.A.R. and M.Div through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.