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The First and Second Letters to the Thessalonians (The New International Commentary on the New Testament)

4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0802863621
ISBN-10: 0802863620
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Christianity TodayAward of Merit, Biblical Studies (2010)

About the Author

Gordon D. Fee is professor emeritus of New Testament studies at Regent College, Vancouver, and general editor of the New International Commentary on the New Testament series.
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Product Details

  • Series: The New International Commentary on the New Testament
  • Hardcover: 404 pages
  • Publisher: Eerdmans (July 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802863620
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802863621
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #677,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Bill Muehlenberg VINE VOICE on September 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Gordon Fee has long been one of our finest New Testament scholars. His numerous works in the field, including some fine commentaries along the way, have made him a much-respected expert in the area. Thus any new work by Fee is always worth obtaining.

He does not disappoint here, with another fine commentary in the NICNT series, of which he is currently the editor. He had already penned an outstanding work in the series, his 1987 commentary on 1 Corinthians. At the time it was the largest and most substantial English-speaking commentary available on the book. Also in this series he penned the commentary on Philippians (1995).

The NICNT series was started in the late 1940s, and is near completion. All that remains is the 2 Peter/Jude volume. The two Thessalonian epistles were actually covered way back in 1959 by another great NT scholar, Australian Leon Morris. But a number of these volumes are now being replaced by more up-to-date commentaries. Thus Fee's replacement volume.

It joins several other recent conservative/evangelical commentaries on the letters, including Green (PNTC, 2002) and Witherington (2006). He is sparing on introductory matters (utilising only six pages on each epistle), and assumes Pauline authorship from around 49-50 CE. for both letters.

As to the commentary itself, it of course follows the format of the series, using an English text with more technical matters relegated to footnotes. Controversial sections, such as 1 Thess. 4:13-18 are dealt with in a careful and gracious manner. Fee argues that this passage is not about a secret rapture, as Paul was not concerned about "eschatological speculation" here.

In Paul's discussion of election in 1 Thess. 1:4-7, a corporate view is in mind, not an individual one, argues Fee.
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Format: Hardcover
Gordon Fee is always interesting, especially when he's cranky and dogmatic. That holds true in this commentary. Fee takes aim at end times weather forecasters whenever he can, and in his footnotes, he'll accuse other scholars of taking of positions without any evidence. So the guy is fun to read.

Fee steadfastly maintains that Paul wrote both 1 and 2 Thessalonians, in that order. He sagely notes that Paul introduces the theme of hard work and labor and perseverance early on in 1 Thessalonians 1:4-6 because these are themes that will be amplified later on in this epistle, and as it turns out, in 2 Thessalonians as well. Fee for some reason thinks that the emphasis in 1 Thessalonians 1:10 is on the wrath that will come upon the idolaters, when to me, the emphasis is ont eh coming of Christ to rescue those who have turned from idols.

In 1 Thessalonians 2, Fee strongly and (to me, successfully), defends the translation "infants" rather than "gentle" in 1 Thessalonians 2:7, and he wards off those who accuse Paul of anti-Jewishness in 2:14-16.

In 1 Thessalonians 3:11-12, he sees Paul rewriting the Shema of Deuteronomy 6:4, though this to me is uncertain. He also contends that the holy ones of 3:13 refer to angels, noting that it reflects the language of Zechariah 14:5 and is made clear by his identification of the accompanying angels in 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9.

In 1 Thessalonians 4:4: Fee translates skeuos as "vessel," meaning the male sex organs. Although Fee argues strenuously and is joined by I.H Marshall, this will not command assent amongst all interpreters.
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I think this is now the best overall commentary on Thessalonians. I'm probably biased since I am a fan of Fee's work, but I found this to be the most insightful as I prepared to preach from various passages in Thessalonians. Fee is great reader of texts, and so I always feel like I'm getting an insiders view of what Paul is saying. He is sensitive to the nuances of Paul's thought as reflected in the grammar and syntax of the text and brings these out for the reader. Besides his close reading of the text, Fee writes with zest and is interesting, challenging, enlightening, and sometimes frustrating. You will not agree with everything Fee says, but this book will not bore you, and you in turn will probably not bore your congregation. While Fee excels in details, he also sprinkles some profound reflections or applications throughout, some of which are almost alone worth the price of the book. I also very much like Green and Malherbe, which are both outstanding in their own ways, but Fee's work seems to me to have the best combination of attributes in one volume.
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The NICNT in my opinion are some of the very best evangelical commentaries out there. Along with the BECNT and the Guardians of Truth all of which are indispensable to me when digging into the Holy Scriptures.
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