Category Archives: Greek

Noteworthy Book – Philippians: A Mentor Commentary

CoverAs some of you know, I have been working on a Philippians commentary for the past several years. What a privilege it has been to live inside this rich letter and see my joy in Christ and his gospel deepen as a result. Philippians has much to say to us as believers today, so I have written this commentary to help pastors, missionaries, Sunday school teachers, Bible study leaders, and all Christians understand and apply it to their lives.

I am excited to announce that it has finally been released in the United Kingdom (the publisher, Christian Focus, is located in Scotland) and will soon be available here in the United States and internationally. You can order it through Amazon or ChristianBook.com.

Here are the endorsements:

Matt Harmon explains Paul’s letter clause by clause, traces Paul’s argument, reads Paul’s argument in light of the rest of the Bible, and applies the letter to people today. He reminds me of two of his professors when he was working on his PhD at Wheaton: Doug Moo and Greg Beale.

Andy Naselli, Assistant Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology at Bethlehem College and Seminary in Minneapolis

 

Historically aware, exegetically astute, and theologically sensitive, Matt Harmon’s commentary on Philippians is full of insight and ideas for those who want to understand this beautiful epistle. He is not simply up to date on recent scholarship, but digs deeply and appropriately into evangelical commentaries of the past too, to enliven and enhance his own exposition. His suggestions for preaching and applying Philippians are crisp, clear, and eminently useable. A new go-to resource for pastors and students!

Dr Lee Gatiss, Director of Church Society and Editor of the NIV Proclamation Bible.

 

Our Lord calls his own to love God with all their heart, soul and mind (Mt. 22:37). This blend is seldom seen in commentaries, which tend to favor either the academic or the devotional. Authors write as believing pastors, or as detached scholars – which would seem to sunder what God has explicitly joined. Matt Harmon represents this happy marriage in his commentary on Philippians. Harmon has no less a keen eye for the particulars of the Greek text and academic illumination than he does for the splendorous and transforming truths that text communicates. It is clear that Matt has put the text under a microscope; it is just as clear that he is thrilled with the Savior and Gospel it reveals. This will now be my “go-to” book for teaching or preaching Philippians, joining Martin and Silva and Lightfoot and the others. I can’t commend Matt Harmon’s commentary on Philippians highly enough to pastors and students in all areas of church ministry and life. It is deep-rooted, solid, and broadly accessible. God grant that it receives the visibility and use it merits, to His glory and His church’s edification!

Dan Phillips, Pastor, Copperfield Bible Church

 

Matthew Harmon has given us a fresh and faithful reading of Philippians that will be a powerful help to all who preach and teach the word.

James M. Hamilton, Professor of Biblical Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

 

Matthew Harmon’s commentary on Philippians is a model of good commentary writing: clear prose, adequate interaction with the array of scholarly perspectives, and helpful application. I commend his work to students, teachers, and preachers who seek better to understand this important letter of Paul.

Douglas J. Moo, Wessner Chair of Biblical Studies, Wheaton College

 

Matthew Harmon is a gifted and trustworthy guide for helping us to understand and apply this Pauline epistle of joy. This commentary strikes me as just the right combination of what most of us need: clear prose, sufficient background and lexical information (without overwhelming the read in technicalities), insightful theological analysis, and practical pastoral application. Pastors and laypeople alike can benefit from this finely crafted work.

Justin Taylor, managing editor, The ESV Study Bible

 

This commentary is a study in clarity and balance. It is simple in expression, yet profound in insight. It is thorough in scope, yet selective enough not to overwhelm. It is informed by recent scholarship, yet avoids fruitless complexities. It draws on knowledge of ancient languages, yet makes its case in plain English. It is classic in its focus on God, Christ, and redemption, yet current in showing how a gospel from long ago is just as true and powerful today. In a word, this is a fine resource for serious students of Philippians in both church and college settings.

Robert W. Yarbrough, Professor of New Testament, Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis, MO

 

Matthew Harmon’s commentary on Philippians is an outstanding work. We find careful exegesis and a clear explanation of the the text. The commentary is theologically rich, in terms of both biblical and systematic theology, and so there is more than a running commentary. Harmon also applies the text to readers in practical ways. Scholars, students, pastors, and teachers will profit significantly from this work.

Tom Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation and Professor of Biblical Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

 

 

 

 

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Mondays with Marty

As seminary students everywhere begin their study of Greek and Hebrew, it seemed fitting that in this week’s installment from Off the Record with Martin Luther, we hear his thoughts on the original languages:

1040. The Greeks certainly have good and lovely words, but not sentences. Their language is very friendly and charming, but not rich in sayings. The Hebrew language on the other hand is very simple, but majestic and glorious; precise and sparse in words, but with deep meaning, which cannot be duplicated.

I learned more Hebrew when I compared one place and passage to another. than when I directed my attention solely to grammar. If I were younger, I would learn this language, for without this language one can never rightly understand Holy Scripture. Then the New Testament, although it may have been written in Greek, is nevertheless full of Hebraisms and in a Hebrew style. Therefore, it has been said: “The Hebrews drink from the stream, the Greeks from the water line that flows from the spring, and the Latins from the pool.”

I have mastered neither Greek or Hebrew, but nevertheless I will forage into Hebrew and Greek. But the language alone cannot make one a theologian, but is only an aid.   (p. 102)

DISCLAIMER: The views reflected in this quote do not necessarily reflect those of the author of this blog. This quote is shared in the interest of edification, education, and/or humor.
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Noteworthy Book – NA28 & ESV NT Diglot

Earlier this Fall the German Bible Society released the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graeca 28th edition, the latest version of the critical text of the New Testament. It includes  34 changes to the text, all of which are in James, 1-2 Peter, 1-3 John, and Jude. And they even revised the critical apparatus to include more witnesses and make it easier to read.

But I am most excited about this particular edition: The Greek-English New Testament: Nestle-Aland 28th Edition and English Standard Version published by Crossway. It has the complete text of the NA-28 (including introduction and appendices), but in a much larger format to make it easier to read. On each facing page is the ESV translation, usually with half a page of blank space at the bottom of each page (great for notes!). The cloth-over-board binding seems solid and lays open nicely as it rests upon my desk.

I only have two small quibbles that I think would have made this version even better. First, there are no cross-references included for the ESV. This is disappointing, as I thrive on being able to use these. True, the NA28 has its own set of cross-references, but they are not as extensive as those included in the ESV. Second, there are no bookmark ribbons. Its just nice to be able to open immediately to the exact place you want.

Even with these two quibbles, I warmly commend this tool as a way of combining your love for the Greek text of the New Testament with the best English translation available.

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Keeping Your Greek

This is the time of the year when Greek students are wrapping up the semester and looking forward to their summer break. For some it means the end of their formal Greek study, while for others merely a three month pause until they resume in the Fall. Other readers of this blog are actively involved in ministry and are years removed from their Greek studies. Regardless of which one of these situations describes you, Constantine Campbell has written a book for you. The title says it all: Keep Your Greek: Strategies for Busy People. Based on a series of blogposts, Campbell provides equal parts motivation and tips to equip you to fight the good fight of language retention, all in less than 100 pages.
After a brief introduction, Campbell offers the following ten tips, each with its own brief chapter:

  1. Read Every Day
  2. Burn Your Interlinear
  3. Use Software Tools Wisely
  4. Make Vocabulary Your Friend
  5. Practice Your Parsing
  6. Read Fast
  7. Read Slow
  8. Use Your Senses
  9. Get Your Greek Back
  10. Putting It All Together

The book then concludes with an Appendix for current Greek students entitled “Getting It Right the First Time.”
In my estimation this is now the go-to resource to help students think through practical ways they can keep their Greek fresh.

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