Skip to main content

Book: A Commentary on the Manuscripts and Text of the New Testament

Yep, it’s a long title. And a short book. Actually, not that short. It comes in at 416 pages but the paper is quite thin, creating a very trim size hardcover.

The book itself, A Commentary on the Manuscripts and Text of the New Testament (hereafter something like “The Commentary”) presents not only the differing manuscript readings throughout the New Testament (in canonical order) but also discusses which readings seem most likely. There are also notes on where some manuscripts have used devices such as nomen sacrum (a marker for sacred names) and potential explanations for various manuscript development.

In short, Comfort attempts to explain many of the variants that are often footnoted in newer translations and also to highlight important facts lost in the realities of translations. It is a highly academic work. The first two chapters will orient the reader to the issues involved in textual criticism, but one definitely needs to be read-up in Greek to truly benefit from what’s going on here.

Now, there are some good reviews (like Dr. Varner’s here)that walk through the ups and downs of the academic work. I am, unfortunately, not as versed in all the academics as I would like to be. If you are doing deeper academic work, check for reviews and recommendations in the academic world.

I am not an academic, but just an ordinary pastor. That means I grapple with different texts every week and rarely have time to fully research all the textual issues related to any of them. Further, I’m leaning on Greek I learned a while back, and am trying to keep up with in these days. My view of Comfort’s Commentary is related to its usefulness for an every week preacher and teacher of the Bible.

First, it’s not a necessary book. As much as I like it, it’s not critical to your weekly preaching. The information is helpful on background but not absolutely necessary. In fact, if you don’t know how to work this into your teaching ministry, you can do more harm with it than good.

Second, though, is that this is a helpful book. If you’re putting together an in-depth study, this illuminates some of the background. Further, Comfort has provided a deeper look at something we often lean on a book-specific commentary for. Here, we have a look at the text as a whole and how the variants developed. It’s handy. Especially in those times when I have a little bit of extra study opportunities.

Form factor is great. Fits right alongside my Greek New Testament, my Apostolic Fathers, and the smaller hardcovers. Put it on your “should get at some point” list.

I was provided a copy by Kregel Academic in exchange for the review.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Curiosity and the Faithlife Study Bible

Good morning! Today I want to take a look at the NIV Faithlife Study Bible. Rather than spend the whole post on this particular Study Bible, I’m going to hit a couple of highlights and then draw you through a few questions that I think this format helps with.



First, the basics of the NIV Faithlife Study Bible (NIVFSB, please): the translation is the 2011 New International Version from Biblica. I’m not the biggest fan of that translation, but that’s for another day. It is a translation rather than a paraphrase, which is important for studying the Bible. Next, the NIVFSB is printed in color. Why does that matter? This version developed with Logos Bible Software’s technology and much of the “study” matter is transitioning from screen to typeface. The graphics, maps, timelines, and more work best with color. Finally, you’ve got the typical “below-the-line” running notes on the text. Most of these are explanations of context or highlights of parallels, drawing out the facts that we miss by …

Foolishness: 1 Corinthians 1

In Summary: 1 Corinthians opens with the standard greeting of a letter from the Apostle Paul. He tells who he is with (Sosthenes) and who he is writing to. In this case, that is the “church of God that is in Corinth.” He further specifies that this church is made up of those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be saints. 
He then expresses the blessing/greeting of “grace and peace” from God. From there, Paul reflects on his initial involvement with the Corinthian people and the beginning of the church. After that, though, there are problems to deal with and Paul is not hesitant to address them. He begins by addressing the division within the church. Apparently, the church had split into factions, some of which were drawn to various personalities who had led the church in times past. There is no firm evidence, or even a suggestion, that Paul, Cephas, Apollos, or anyone else had asked for a faction in their name. Further, the “I follow Christ” faction may not have been any le…