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The Second Epistle to the Corinthians (The New International Commentary on the New Testament) Hardcover – April 17, 1997
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2 Corinthians is a NT book that has many purple (oft-quoted) passages but is rarely studied as a whole. A lengthy defence of Paul's apostleship (marked not so much by success as by suffering, which Paul considers the true mark of apostleship), the letter and commentary make for essential reading for pastors, who often find their pastorships often under attack for the same reasons Paul had his apostleship under attack.
Barnett is a true and wise guide into this must debated letter.
My main disappointment with this commentary is that it seems to gloss over exegetical questions to get to the so-called "theology." The commentary on individual verses seemed to consist less of actual discussions on the text, and more of springboard discussions into broader theological topics. I found myself frequently thinking, "That might make for a moving sermon, but what does that have to do with 2 Corinthians?"
Coupled with this, when Barnett does make exegetical comments, he sometimes tends to give conclusions without giving reasons. Some examples:
- 3:6--"The letter kills but the Spirit gives life." Barnett states three views in the footnotes, as well as giving his preference. However, he didn't really give any reasons why one option is to be preferred over the others.
- 5:1-10 is apparently about the intervening time between death and resurrection, and the state of the dead during that time. He doesn't really appear to give convincing reasons for why this is the case.
- 5:14--"One died for all, therefore all died." Barnett states his conclusion, but again doesn't really give reasons for why this option is to be preferred over the others.
I could go on, but the point is made.
This is not to say that Barnett's work is a bad commentary. However, there were many places where it could have been much much more than it was. If you looking for a book that specifically focuses on the broad "theology" of 2 Corinthians, then this commentary will probably suit your needs. If you are looking for a book that actually wrestles with the difficult questions, I suggest you look elsewhere.
Paul's opening benediction to God (1:3-7) regarding the twin realities of suffering and divine deliverance from life-threatening perils in Asia produced a hard-won experiential knowledge of godly comfort deep within the soul of the apostle. Through the repetition of the word 'comfort' the apostle 'writes of the faithfulness of God to His promises and to His people.' p 66 Paul tied "the God of all comfort" (1:3) in to the blessing of the gift of the Spirit (1:21-22), completing the trinitarian unity by way of a subtle reminder to the Corinthians that the Holy Spirit's major occupation is to comfort God's people in Christ (1:4-5).
Citing Barnett, Sinclair B Ferguson attaches great importance to preserving the integrity of all ministers called by God: 'No more poignant or instructive description of the work of the minister of the gospel exists than Paul's 'defensive excursus' in 2 Cor 2:14-7:4.' Feed My Sheep ed. Don Kistler p 101 'As such,' Barnett continues, '2 Cor 2:14-7:4 may be included with Paul's other 'pastoral letters' in their applicability to ministers of the gospel.Read more ›