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Romans (Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament) Paperback – May 1, 2017
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—Ann Jervis, professor of New Testament and advanced degree director, Wycliffe College, and senior fellow, Massey College
“The EGGNT series is a must-have addition to the library of pastors, faculty, and students. These volumes present the reader with excellent exegesis of each particular New Testament book. The work on Romans is provided by John D. Harvey, whose highly competent exegetical skills are well-known in evangelical circles. Harvey’s analysis of the Greek text of Romans is superb, contemporary, and clear. He discusses the sacred text word by word, phrase by phrase, and sentence by sentence, producing an illuminating outline of the Greek passage under consideration. The exegesis is all there at the fingertips of the reader: vocabulary, syntax, grammatical outline, as well as further resources for advanced study on that particular passage in Romans. Add to this a very practical section on homiletics in terms of possible outlines for sermons, and the reader has at his or her disposal an invaluable commentary. At the same time, Harvey’s objective exegesis grants readers the opportunity to develop their own respective theological messages and applications to today’s world. John Harvey’s work is a masterful study of Romans that will endear itself to readers for years to come!”
—C. Marvin Pate, chair of the department of Christian theology and the Elma Cobb Professor of Christian Theology, Ouachita Baptist University
“In this volume on the Greek text of Romans, John Harvey provides an excellent guide for anyone wishing to work their way through Paul's epic epistle. Harvey strikes just the right balance between giving readers insights and information on Greek forms, grammar, and syntax and leaving ample space for readers to consider interpretive options for themselves. For students ready to take the next step in Greek exegesis, pastors who want to make good use of the Greek text for sermon preparation, and scholars needing a compendium of the major issues in the Greek text of Romans, this book is a must-have.”
—Brian Vickers, professor of New Testament interpretation and biblical theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
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This volume on Romans, much like the existing EGGNT volumes, is structured to optimize the reader’s understanding of the Greek text and facilitate a deeper recognition of the grammatical nuances therein. Harvey begins with a very brief introduction, only about 2 pages of content not including the outline. This was a bit disappointing. It’s sizably smaller than the other volumes and contains less introductory material than some of the worst Study Bibles on the market today. That said, and it goes without saying, but those interested in a fuller treatment of the various introductory issues will need to look elsewhere.
The organization of the volume is arranged around a phrase-by-phrase analysis of the Greek text. Harvey provides extensive discussion about grammar, syntax, word usage, textual variants, and anything else exegetically significant to the text. The content does require a working knowledge of New Testament Greek, but Harvey is clear and careful when articulating technical concepts. A useful feature of this volume is discovered in the Greek sentence diagraming that is offered at the opening of each major section. This is helpful for quickly visualizing how the text comes together to establish Paul’s main point. Like the other volumes in the series, each major unit of text concludes with a “For Further Study” section that takes various themes unearthed in the section and provides the reader with a bibliography for additional investigation. Lastly, Harvey offers recommended preaching outlines that allow the reader to work from the text to the sermon.
There is so much to be praised about this volume. First, and probably foremost, Harvey appears well-acquainted with Romans and his sensitivity to the broader academic conversation regarding textual issues and grammatical debate is noticeable. This is to be expected after spending five years working on this volume (p. xix). Second, I found Harvey to be extremely thoughtful in his explanation of difficult concepts. Harvey tends to steer away from theological speculation and remains focused on the task of the volume. He knows his primary audience and knows that a variegated knowledge of the Greek language is found therein. This is beneficial for the pastors or students who are less frequently working out of the Greek text but have some formal training or exposure. Lastly, the scope of this volume’s content is impressive given its small size (only 429 pages). Harvey has packed a lot of relevant and useful information into a small package. If you pair this volume with any of the recommended commentaries (especially Moo), you will be well-equipped to preach or teach through Romans with excellence.
Romans: Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament by John D. Harvey is a welcomed and worthy addition to an already tremendous series. Harvey’s contribution fits extremely well aside the quality and caliber that the EGGNT series has already produced, and I think that any serious student of the Bible would be ill-equipped without it. If you have been looking for a resource that will guide you through the depths of the Greek text of Paul’s letter to the Romans, then look no further, because this will continually be your first stop on that journey.
This is a good Greek exegetical guide for the following reasons.
1) The grammatical and syntactical notes are very helpful in understanding the Greek text (in detail & structure) though as before, Greek knowledge beyond the basics is needed to make the most out of this guide.
2) Each section has a brief but helpful discussion of the structure and flow of that section. This is helpful to see what is in that section.
3) The diagrams showed the relationships of the clauses and phrases whether they are independent and dependent. I assume the diagrams included almost all of the Greek words. I looked at chapters 1-2, 5-6, 12-13 and 16 and only 5 words are missing in 5 and 8 words are missing in 6 and these missing words are almost the same and located in parallel format.
4) Each clause or phrase (not every word though) in Romans was analyzed just like the other guides in the epistles.
5) The exegetical outline is very helpful in seeing the overall as well as the sectional structure of the book of Romans.
6) The Homiletical Suggestions are helpful in providing a template to use in making your own (if deciding not to use these suggestions).
7) The “Further Studies” section is very helpful in providing additional resources to pursue / look at if needed. The references cited in the discussions themselves are also helpful in case of the need to look it up for the discussions.
8) Though the various options were not presented in numerical form with the preferred option with asterisks just like the rest of the guides (at least one did use numbering, 11:26), options were mentioned in the discussions and the choice was stated (though there are a few asterisks I noticed in the discussions).
Some content information for what are in the guide.
From Introduction to Exegetical Outline is about 407 pages (pp.3-409). There is about 5 ½ pages of Grammar Index that covers grammatical terms only (plus a few literary terms), no Greek words. There is a Further Study section and Homiletical Suggestions after every section though for the former, sometimes there is a just a referral statement which sections to look at that deal with subjects under the current section. The Homiletical Suggestions stick close to the Exegetical Outline, sometimes exactly the same (except for subpoints in the Homiletical Suggestions) and if not, very similar. There are a total of 49 preaching sections with about a third having 2 Homiletical Suggestions, one is always based on the exegetical outline, the other can be thematic or something from parts of the text.
There is a possible error in p.337. Point “1) Reason” should be indented more so it is under subpoint “c.” While “2)” should not have a closed parentheses, just “2.”
The Table of Contents outline of Romans is the same as the main points and major sub points of the Exegetical Outline but the latter has more details by having points under main points and major points. The outline in the introduction is exactly the same as the outline in the Table of Contents as expected. So, maybe, take out the outline in the introduction that took about 2 pages.
The author has thought (and studied) about Romans for 5 years. He takes Paul as the author who wrote in Corinth around 57 AD to a mixed Jewish and Gentile Christian audience. Paul has cluster of purposes for writing, missionary, theological and pastoral concerns.
I received this guide for free from B & H Academic to provide an honest and fair review.