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1-2 Thessalonians (The Ivp New Testament Commentary Series) Paperback – March 17, 2010
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About the Author
G. K. Beale (PhD, University of Cambridge) holds the J. Gresham Machen Chair of New Testament and is professor of New Testament and biblical theology at Westminster Theological Seminary. His books include The Book of Revelation (New International Greek Testament Commentary), 1-2 Thessalonians (The IVP New Testament Commentary Series), The Right Doctrine from the Wrong Texts? Essays on the Use of the Old Testament in the New, John's Use of the Old Testament in Revelation, The Temple and the Church's Mission and We Become What We Worship.
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Top Customer Reviews
There is not much information about Thessalonica and Macedonia in the introduction, and on occasion, the amount of application oriented material outweighs the exegetical and expositional.
But generally speaking, Beale's applications are more on target and accurate than many other application oriented commentaries. That was very impressive to me.
Not everyone will subscribe to all of Beale's views, some of which are novel (The temple in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 is a spiritual image for the church, the restrainer in verses 6-7 is an angel, the rapture is posstrib).
But these points aside, I found the commentary to be very helpful for preaching preparation.
Dispensationalists will probably want to pass on this book, since its perspective is amillennial. Beale offers a very brief defense of his views but is really more concerned with explaining and guiding than arguing with dispensationalists. For a dispensational take on 1 and 2 Thessalonians, see John Macarthur's commentary or the Expositor's Bible Commentary. For a general defense of the amil view, see Kim Riddlebarger's Case for Amillennialism.
I have been preaching a series on Thessalonians and I ordered Beal's IVP Commentary to Suppliment the books by Marshall, Morris, Bruce, and Mallerbe. I expected to have a good treatment of the text, background, and eschatology but I thought, with the limitations of the IVP series, I would get brief but important comments. I was totally impressed with Beale's work. I guess I should not be surprised, he is an excellent scholar and his work shows what my Seminary professor used to call "Humiliation to the Text." By this I mean that Beale is always putting himself and his ideas underneath the Text. He is more concerned to present what the text actually says than his assumptions. He follows the text where it leads.
The introduction is not long but excellent in presenting the basic issues. His outlines and pericope divisions are well thought-out and presented. His cultural and historical background explanations are excellent. What I find in this commentary that is so different from others are the exegetical meat and practical applications that Beale presents. The book is not too expensive for this goldmine of exegetical insight and practical information. In my studies and sermons from Thessalonians so far Beale has become my "go to book" right after my own exegesis. If you do your exegesis the way I do then commentaries are far down the list of books you use. But when you get to them you want them to be good advisors regarding the text and background. Gregory Beale is one of the best. I highly recommend this commentary for Pastors, students and teachers. If you just want a good commentary to use in your own personal bible study you will be greatly helped in learning about God's Word from this book.
In his Introduction of the Thessalonian letters he explains the historical context of Paul establishing churches at Thessalonica around A.D. 49 or 50. While he feels it’s hard to explain “the exact composition of the Thessalonian congregation”, he is much more certain about why he feels Paul wrote the epistle. Paul defends his apostleship in order that they may follow the Christian teaching he shares. With that apostleship defended, he can branch out into other areas where they are struggling as Christians.
He explains in a few paragraphs the scholarly debate on the sequence of First and Second Thessalonians. He even provides what strikes me as the silly arguments of scholars who think Second Thessalonians should come first. He follows the traditional viewpoint. When he discusses the theological context of these letters, he rightly sees the eschatological emphasis that is given. Both here and in the commentary proper, your evaluation of this commentary will likely be influenced by your own prophetic viewpoint. Frankly, I do not subscribe to Mr. Beale’s viewpoint, but I don’t want to review the work based on agreement with myself. The truth is, there was still much insight to be gained by reading here. His opinion that the “last days” encompasses all the New Testament age, and not only the last few years of it, is one that I agree with. Beale loves to write on the prophetic parts of New Testament and I always gain something from him even if I find much to disagree with.
The commentary itself is quite helpful. Before I received my copy for review, I had read where some other reviewers said this work didn’t live up to other volumes in the series, but I personally don’t see how that could be true. Again, you may disagree with him on the prophetic passages, but at least he will give me something to think about and you will be a better Bible student for it. This book is worth having.
I received this book free from the publisher. 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.