Charts on the Book of Hebrews
Succinct yet thorough, engaging
Herbert W. Bateman IV has a great idea in wanting to offer "information about Hebrews succinctly in visual format for todayÃ¢ÂÂs student and congregant." He does this (effectively) with a book of charts, consisting in four major parts:
Part 1: Introductory Considerations In Hebrews
Part 2: Old Testament and Second Temple Influences In Hebrews
Part 3: Theology In Hebrews
Part 4: Exegetical Matters in Hebrews
Some charts are just one page (#87, "Positions on the Warning Passages in Hebrews") or a few pages (#34, "Old Testament People Named in Hebrews"), while others are longer--nearly 10 pages of "Major Textual Issues in Hebrews" (#97) and nearly 20 pages of the (Greek) words that are unique to Hebrews (#103 and #104, listed both alphabetically and by chapter, respectively).
There is not much that this book leaves uncovered. Bateman covers the authorship and dating and genre questions thoroughly and succinctly. There are also helpful summaries of how various Hebrews commentaries have understood different aspects of the book. He explains and diagrams the tabernacle in the Old Testament, comparing it with its description in Hebrews (charts #35-#38).
Five pages on the not-well-known Melchizedek examine that figure in both biblical and extra-biblical context (Josephus, Dead Sea Scrolls, etc.). The theology charts found in the third part of Bateman's book could easily be used in a congregational setting, especially the "Portraits of God" (#56) and Jesus (#57) in Hebrews. The final section looks in detail at Hebrews through interpretive, textual, rhetorical, and lexical lenses.
The "Chart Comments" at the back of the book add even more to the already substantive charts. A dozen-page bibliography concludes the work.
It's remarkable how much ground Bateman covers in this appealing, visually organized medium. Seminary classroom teachers or church Sunday school teachers could make great use of these charts.
The one downside to this book, however, is that there is no accompanying CD-ROM or digital content. For a teacher to use a chart, she or he would have to copy from the book or scan in a chart for use in a class Powerpoint. A clean .jpg or .pdf file from the publisher would have eased this process for the user of this book. Hopefully future editions will come so equipped.
Though these charts are produced with a group in mind, any individual (with whatever level of knowledge about Hebrews) could benefit from using the charts for private or small group study. Even though these are charts, this is also the kind of book one could just sit down and go through. Bateman has provided a top-notch resource for an important biblical book.
Kregel sent me a copy of the book for review.
July 25, 2013
Helpful Resource for the Study of Hebrews
One cannot help but be impressed with Herbert BatemanÃ¢ÂÂs Charts on the Book of Hebrews. There are 104 charts total, but this does not tell the whole story. I would guess that at least half of the charts are more than a page in length and a number of the charts are quite detailed. Indeed, there is such an impressive amount of information that sometimes it borders on overkill (e.g., five charts and eight pages on the issue of Hebrews and the Canon). However, one readerÃ¢ÂÂs informational gluttony might be another readerÃ¢ÂÂs feast. This chart book is also a bit different from some others in that there is a helpful written explanation of the charts in the back (Ã¢ÂÂChart Comments,Ã¢ÂÂ pp. 239Ã¢ÂÂ53). Another bonus is the four-part bibliography.
The charts themselves are grouped into four major sections. The first major section covers introductory considerations (e.g., authorship, dating, structure, etc.) (pp. 15Ã¢ÂÂ66). The second section addresses background issues, namely, Old Testament and Second Temple influences on Hebrews (pp. 67Ã¢ÂÂ105). The third section covers the theology of Hebrews (pp. 107Ã¢ÂÂ50). And the fourth section contains charts related to exegetical issues (i.e., interpretive issues, text-critical issues, figures of speech, and important words) (pp. 151Ã¢ÂÂ238). Most preachers and teachers will likely find the most useful information in sections three and four, but there is just about something for every student of Hebrews here.
By way of critique, there are a few typos here and there (e.g., the wrong sigma form on p. 119 and a blank page on p. 200). One might also quibble a bit with the treatment of Scot McKnightÃ¢ÂÂs view on the warning passages. It seems to me that McKnight nuances his view concerning those addressed by the passages in calling them Ã¢ÂÂphenomenological believers.Ã¢ÂÂ They might be Ã¢ÂÂreal ChristiansÃ¢ÂÂ but probably not Ã¢ÂÂrealÃ¢ÂÂ in the same way as others on this chart who hold that the author is addressing Ã¢ÂÂreal Christians.Ã¢ÂÂ Finally, the usefulness of this book could be enhanced in two ways. First, it would be very helpful to make these charts available in electronic form as a supplementary CD (or some other means). I for one would be willing to pay a bit more to be able to easily incorporate this material into handouts or presentations. Second, a Scripture index would be quite valuable and a Second Temple literature index could be a great timesaver.
These minor critiques aside, Bateman has provided a great resource for those interested in the serious study of the book of Hebrews. This work will not solve the interpretive challenges of understanding Hebrews, but it does provide a jump start on the data needed to move towards better comprehension.
Thanks to Kregel for providing the review copy for this unbiased evaluation.
April 29, 2013
I would recommend this book above a commentary!
Summary: Arranging a variety of theological, authorial, thematic and linguistic data into visual form, Charts on the Book of Hebrews by Herbert W. Bateman IV offers pastor, scholars and lay persons alike a plethora of easy to access information and data on the biblical book.
Review: I have to start this review by expressing my absolute delight in this book. Each page of it contains an enormous amount of data that Bateman has expertly presented in a simple, easy to understand format.
Charts is like a thorough exegetical commentary, without the commentary. There are often no definitive conclusions drawn here in the charts. Rather, Bateman gathers and presents the data. For example, six charts explore various aspects of the authorship of Hebrews, but Bateman offers only the data, not his opinion. I personally found this refreshing because it let me sit back and look at the information without feeling Ã¢ÂÂscholar pressureÃ¢ÂÂ in forming my opinions.
The book is divided into four parts:
1. Introductory Considerations (including authorship, recipients, canonicity, etc.)
2. Old Testament/2nd Temple Influences
3. Theology of Hebrews
4. Exegetical Matters
Each section is wonderfully helpful in understanding everything from structure, to the comparison of Jesus with the priestly line. Section four may be somewhat inaccessible to a layperson with little Greek background, but even if that were the case, the previous three sections are illuminating enough to justify a layperson adding this to his or her library.
Some charts are more helpful than others, but that is to be expected in a book of this nature. Among my favorite sections are the charts tracing the Old Testament quotations and allusions in Hebrews, the portraits of God shared with Jesus in Hebrews and the Ã¢ÂÂJesus as Wisdom ParalleledÃ¢ÂÂ charts.
For pastors, scholars and Christians going through the book of Hebrews this resource is a must-have. In fact, if you had to chose between a good commentary and this book, I would recommend this book above the commentary.
Rating: 5/5 Stars (I loved it).
Note: I received a physical copy of this book for free in exchange for an unbiased review.
April 5, 2013
Great resource for pastors
Every now and then someone develops a study resource that makes you stop and ask "why in the world hasn't this been done before?"
This is one of those times.
Bateman has put together an incredibly helpful and comprehensive set of charts covering almost every possible issue and area of study in the book of Hebrews.
The book is divided into four sections.
Section one deals with introductory issues such as authorship, dating and destination, genre and structure, and canonicity.
Section two covers Old Testament and Second Temple influences in Hebrews, emphasizing the use of the Old Testament and Second Temple literature.
Section three deals with the theology of Hebrews, dealing with the Godhead, theological themes, and the infamous "warning passages."
The final section covers exegetical matters such as interpretation, text critical matters, figures of speech, and significant words in Hebrews.
As a pastor, this is an invaluable resource for preaching or teaching through Hebrews. I am hoping that someone compiles this sort of resource for every New Testament book. While the subject matter can be found in good commentaries, the neat thing is the format. Everything is put in chart format, and comparisons can be made between different views and thoughts without getting out ten different books and leafing through them.
Overall, this is an awesome resource for any pastor or teacher.
I give it 5 out of 5 stars.
I received a free copy of this book from Kregel Academic in exchange for a fair and honest review.
April 3, 2013