Book Review: Interpreting the Pauline Letters

Book Review: Interpreting the Pauline Letters

Author: John D. Harvey

Publisher: Kregel Academic ISBN: 9780825427671

Interpreting the Pauline Letters: An Exegetical Handbook

Interpreting the Pauline Epistles by John Harvey is another world-class offering coming from the presses of Kregel Academics. I realize those are big words of praise, but I’m becoming increasingly impressed with the interpretive handbooks published by Kregel. The last example I had in my hands was Charts on the Life, Letters, and Theology of Paul, which I found incredibly helpful with understanding the writing of the Apostle Paul. This latest volume in the newly proposed series of exegetical handbooks, Interpreting the Pauline Letters, more than complements and completes anything that I might have found lacking in the charts book.

Harvey sets up the handbook with eight broad chapters: The Genre, The Historical Background, The Theology, Preparing to Interpret, Interpreting Passages, Communicating Passages, From Text to Sermon, and a Selected Resources section. Each of these respective chapters is then explored in surprising detail for a rather smallish handbook. I was/am duly impressed with the amount of depth, citation, and bibliographical resources provided.

The Exegetical Handbook series intends to offer four volumes in total. It is primarily directed toward seminary and graduate level students “who have completed at least a year of introductory Greek,” but I found the translation helps and the syntax of the writing such that I was able to understand and work through the handbook without any impediment. This little book is highly accessible and pertinent whether layperson or academic.

This is one of the better (concise) study resources I have found during the course of my twenty-five year experience. There are more comprehensive and exhaustive study helps available, but this is a two-hundred-page handbook referencing thirteen books/letters of the New Testament Scriptures. I do not think you will find a better introductory treatment of the Pauline Letters in a package this size anywhere in the market of Christian academic resources. If you’re studying the Pauline Epistles, the Pauline Letters: An Exegetical Handbook and Charts on the Life, Letters, and Theology of Paul are most definitely a great place to start (both available from Kregel Academic).


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Kregel Academic Publishers to read and post a review on my site. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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