Friday, October 10, 2008

The latest in the BECNT Series is in!

Robert Yarbrough's commentary on the Epistles of John is now in stock. The highly-acclaimed series (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) is now joined with another outstanding contribution. Yarbrough brings a unique blend of academic scholarship and pastoral warmth to these often neglected New Testament books. He is clearly in his element as he weaves the thought of the Epistles with John's Gospel. A regular feature of the series is to comment on textual variants. Yarbrough takes this one step further in that he addresses every textual variant in John's Epistles found in NA27. This is, in part, to show there is "no reasonable grounds for suspicion of the soundness of our knowledge of what the author. . . wrote" and demonstrates that the inferences drawn by scholars such as Bart Ehrman are "considerably overstated." Some Calvinists will anxiously turn to I John 2:2 to see what Yarbrough does with this controversial text. I found his treatment sound and fair and most Calvinists, I suspect, will be happy with his exegesis. Others will look at his treatment of the "sin unto death" (I John 5:16). Here Yarbrough must be read carefully. His own translation is a bit awkward: "There is sin that is unto death. Making request in prayer for those committing that sin is not something I am saying to do." But this translation is an attempt "to emphasize what John's diction may seek to stress in Greek." Yarbrough wisely interprets this passage "in a way that comports with a close reading of the entire epistle." Essentially he believes the sin unto death is "to have a heart unchanged by God's love in Christ and so to persist in convictions and acts and commitments. . ." Overall, so far I've found Yarbrough to be sensitive to the complexities of the text throughout the book of I John (I've not had a chance yet to get the 2 and 3 John) without bogging the reader down with too many details. This series has been one of my favorites and I am already impressed with this latest addition. See an interview with Robert Yarbrough by Colin Hansen here.

1 comment:

Andrew Rogers said...

Great review! How does it compare to the NICNT? Complimentary? Or are they "apples and oranges"?