5 Stars Out Of 5
August 6, 2015
Few contemporary scholars today are more qualified and equipped for the exegetical task of leading students through Pauls letter to the Philippians than Joseph H. Hellerman. Hellerman is Professor of New Testament Language and Literature at Talbot School of Theology. He received a Th.M. from Talbot School of Theology and a Ph.D. from University of California Los Angeles. He has published a number of academic monographs dealing with the social history of early Christianity, including Reconstructing Honor in Roman Philippi (Cambridge University Press, 2005). He has also published several journal articles dealing with various socio-historical and interpretive issues related to Philippians. So, in many ways, the outpouring of the present commentary is a culmination of years of exegetical consideration and study by an expert in the Roman culture of the first century, and the letter of Philippians as a whole.
Following in the footsteps of the previous volumes, Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament: Philippians, looks to eliminate the gap between the Greek text and the available lexical and grammatical tools, synthesizing all the necessary exegetical information into one convenient place. Essentially, aside from bringing his own expertise to the conversation, Hellerman has combed through all the necessary works published in the last few decadeslexical, grammatical, exegetical, etc.collected the similarities and differences, and brought to the table everything the student would need to make an informed exegetical decision. As a personal exercise I translated the text as I read through the commentary, and there were several times that it felt as if Hellerman was personally walking me through the text providing the various interpretive options and exegetical insights needed to make a well informed decision on the text. This was the first time that I sought to translate and entire book while reading a commentary that dealt with textual and exegetical issues. It was a great exercise and ultimately a testimony to the helpfulness of the present volume for the student, pastor, or teacher.
The commentary begins with a brief introduction to Philippians which includes a concise conversation around typical introductory matters (authorship, date and provenance, occasion, etc.), as well as a Recommended Commentaries section that highlights the primary works cited throughout the book. Each section of the commentary deals with a paragraph of text, and begins with a prepositional outline of the Greek text (UBS5). Followed by the prepositional outline, Hellerman guides the reader exegetically through each preposition, commenting on various lexical, grammatical, textual, and socio-historical issues. Ultimately, while discussing the conclusions of various commentators and other popular translations, Hellerman is effectively exhibiting the exegetical landscape of the letter to the student and directing attention where the need arises. I found this to be particularly helpful in the discussion surrounding Philippians 2:5-11. Each section of the book concludes with a For Further Study section that has a number of recommended journal articles and monographs on various topics related to the section being discussed. Additionally, each section includes Homiletical Suggestions section in which Hellerman has provided the reader with some suggested preaching divisions. Lastly, the back of the commentary includes both a grammar and scripture index, both of which will prove helpful for future reference.
In conclusion, if you are looking to preach or teach through Philippians in the near future, or simply want to obtain a better understanding of the letter in general, I would highly recommend Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament: Philippians. I could not think of a better starting place for the student, pastor, or teacher. The bar for the EGGNT series has just been raised!