Theological Dictionary of the New Testament Gerhard Killel (editor). Translated by Geoffrey W. Bromiley from the German. Vol. I, xl + 793 pages. Published by Wm. B. Eerdman, Publish· ing Co., Grand Rapids, Mich., and London. Price $18.50.
The reviewer has purchased this important work from the time when the first German volume appeared. For accurate exegesis I consider it well-nigh indispensable.
The Eerdmans Publishing Company and the translator should be congratulated in having undertaken the gigantic task of making this work available to those who cannot read German. As far as I have been able to examine Vol. I, I have found the translation into English excellent. Let it be stressed that Kittel is the editor of this monumental set of books. It is a work of composite authorship: The names of the various authors appear at the end of their respective articles. Not every New Testament word is treated; only the more important ones are considered, but these receive very extensive treatment. No less than 18 pages are devoted to the group of words that center around the concept of baptism; no less than 50 (!) to apostle and its cognates. In each case the basic meaning of the word in the literature and common speech of the classical period is considered first of all. Its occurrence and meaning in extra–canonical Hellenistic writings is reviewed next. Special attention is usually devoted to the usage of the word in the LXX. Finally, and in relation to all the preceding, the connotation of the term as used in the New Testament is indicated. Controversial questions are not omitted.
All this does not mean that the treatment is always unbiased. On the contrary, far more often the assumptions of negative higher criticism are in evidence. Thus, to give but one example, in Vol. IV of the German original, pp. 354-359, the idea that in any biblical reference to redemption there is a reference to the payment of a ransom is flatly denied. This is a plain contradiction of what is clearly taught in Matt. 20:28; Mark 10:45; Romans 3:24, 25; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:12, 15. But in the process of setting forth their negative ideas these authors give us such a mass of linguistic and historical material that is of genuine value for exegesis that their articles are still a “must” for anyone who would delve deeply into Scripture. A really conservative biblical scholar will always allow the critics to bring their treasures into the kingdom. Yet, not for a moment will he accept their negative conclusions on matters of doctrine, conclusions that are generally nothing more than the presuppositions of unbelief.
Accordingly, if at all possible, purchase this work and make full use of it. Though it can be read with profit by anyone of average intelligence, it is especially suited to the needs of scholars. The format in which this first volume of the English translation appears is very attractive and easy to handle. In comparison with the price of the original (German) volumes, $18.50 for this first volume in English is not excessive. Actually the book is worth far more than that. I recommend it for all those who are able to read with discretion.
The Earliest Christian Confessions by Vernon H. Neufeld. Published by Wm. B. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan. 1963, 166 pp., price $4.00.
This is a volume in the series New Testament Tools and Studies, edited by Dr. Bruce M. Metzger. It represents the substance of Neufeld’s doctoral dissertation submitted to and accepted by Princeton Theological Seminary. The book shows how very important were the early creeds or confessions. It supplies evidence of their existence, in rudimentary form, even in the days when the New Testament books were written. Far from maintaining that anyone, merely by asking to be admitted into the church, was at once received, it defends the very opposite view. Inquirers were Instructed before they could be admitted. The author recognizes this when he states, “In the life of the church the declaration of one’s faith had a place at the admittance of new members, either in the instruction of catechumens preceding the ceremony of baptism or in connection with the rite itself.” He shows that the confession—“Jesus is Lord; he was raised from the dead,” etc.—served as a basis for the teaching of the church. It also “found expression in the worship of the early Christian congregation, being utilized in the liturgy and hymnody of the church.” It was also of great significance in the church’s contacts with the unbelieving world. It was used to defend Christian conviction over against those who slandered the church.
In days in which many make light of confessions and of the necessity of catechetical instruction before admission to communicant church membership, the careful study of this book is very rewarding.
Basic Introduction to the New Testament by JOHN R. W. STOTT. Wm. 8. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids. 1964. 179 pages. Price $1.45 (paper).
John R. W. Stott is the rector of All Souls Church, Langham Place, England. His book is directed to the man in the pew. He recognizes that to many a reader the New Testament writings remain a kind of mAze. This book seeks to alert the reader to the distinctive emphases of various New Testament writers. Its eight chapters discuss in turn the message of Jesus; of Luke; of Paul; of Hebrews; of James; of John; of Peter; and of The Revelation.
Stott recognizes the dangers and pitfalls of such an approach. The emphases that he has found and has selected to highlight run the danger of oversimplification or one-sidedness. Nevertheless, he has succeeded very well in bringing the reader to a more personal acquaintance with the various authors. One begins to see how certain themes of the total gospel message take on a dominant role in certain men and writings. For instance, Stott shows how Luke laid emphasis on the universality of the gospel: Paul on the gratuity of the gospel; Hebrews on its finality. Such insights can be most helpful in coming to undemanding the over-all message that various writers lire seeking to bring. One learns to see the woods, rather than just the individual trees. The larger blocks of the New Testament become distinct from each other, and they begin to form a pattern alongside each other.
This book is a helpful aid to personal or group Bible study. It makes a fine Bible teacher. It is a sound and reliable guide. Under the tutelage of this book the reading of the New Testament writings will certainly become a more rewarding experience.
WILLIS P. DE BOER
Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews by F. F. Bruce, a volume in The New International Commentary on the New Testament. Published by Wm. 8. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1964. Price $6.00.
It is always risky to generalize in describing the merits of a set of books of composite authorship, such as The New International Commentary on the New Testament. My honest opinion about the set is that one volume is excellent, another good, and still another, just average. However, Bruce’s contributions to this set of books are all high-grade. This man is a master of exegesis. His Commentaries in this series (Acts, Colossians, and now Hebrews) are all works of real scholarship. That does not mean that I, for one, always agree with him. But I admire his erudition, logical presentation, and lucidity of expression. And as far as 1 have had opportunity to examine the present volume on Hebrews, my opinion is, “Here is Bruce at his very best.” I shall not take the trouble to let the reader in on the secret how Bruce answers the question as to who wrote Hebrews or bow he solves the puzzle with respect to “those who were once enlightened and then fell away” (Heb. 6:4–6), Of that with respect to “Mclchizedek…without father, without mother” (7:1–3). Read this book, reread it, and enjoy it thoroughly. My hearty congratulations to you, Dr. Bruce, and to the Eerdmans Publishing Co.
The Authority of The New Testament Scriptures by Herman Ridderbos, translated from the Dutch by H. De Jongste. Published by Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., Philadelphia, PA, Price $2.50, 93 pages.
Dr. Herman Ridderbos, ProfessOf or New Testament at Kampen, The Netherlands, is the distinguished author of such valuable works as the volume on Galatians (in The New International Commentary on the New Testament), De Komst van het Koninkrijk, the volume on Romeinen and the Commentary on Kolossenzen (both in Commentaar op het Nieuwe Testament), etc. In the present brief treatise he strives to answer the question, “What is the basis of the New Testament Canon?” After refuting various untenable theories, he answers that Christ is himself the Canon, that is, the ultimate principle of authority. He, in turn, clothed the apostles with authority, the authority of his Word and of his deeds, of which they were witnesses. The New Testament is the inscripturated record of this apostolic testimony, which was the realization of the promise of the Holy Spirit, and to which the Holy Spirit dwelling in the hearts of believers bears witness. The 27 New Testament hooks embody this apostolic testimony, even though not all were written by apostles. It follows from this that the canon is closed.
The treatise is, indeed, thought-provoking and, as I see it, satisfying. Better care should have been bestowed, however, on its translation into English. For example, word order entirely proper in Dutch becomes awkward when retained in English. Punctuation is frequently at variance with established usage among us. The transliteration of Greek words leaves much to be desired. Grammatical “concord” is violated at times. We find such errors as “data is,” “each in their own way,” “redemption of history” (for “history of redemption”), “Paul’s epistle to the Roman’s,” the word “judgment” sometimes spell’ed with an “e” (“judgement”), sometimes without (both are permissible but the spelling should he conSistent) , to mention only a few. Summarizing, I would say that this is a very precious “child” in a shabby garment.
The Letters of Paul, An Expanded Paraphrase by F.F. Bruce. Published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1965. Price $4.95, 323 pages.
A Paraphrase is a kind of amplified translation, an abbreviated commentary. The work now under review is such a free rendering of Paul’s epistles. On the even numbered pages one finds the text of the English Revised Version of 1881. To the right of this—hence, on the odd-numbered pages—Bruce’s Paraphrase presents itself. The style of the latter is not only clear and fluent but also furnishes evidence of the author’s thorough knowledge of the original. Nevertheless, many will not agree with Bruce when he classifies Philippians with I and II Corinthians, as written in—Paul’s Middle years, nor with his reasoning on page 160 in support of the idea that Philippians was written “toward the end of Paul’s Ephesian ministry.” For my own defense of the view generally accepted by conservative commentators, namely, that Philippians belongs to the group Colossians-Philemon-Ephesians-Philippians, and was written toward the close of the apostle’s first Roman imprisonment, see my Commentary on Philippians, pages 21-30.
BOOKS TO BE REVIEWED
Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Vol. II, Gerhard Kittel, Editor, translated by Geoffrey W. Bromiley. Eerdmans, 1965. 955 pages. Price $20.50
Family, State, and Church God’s Institutions, by Paul Woolley. Baker Book House, 1965. 48 pages. Price (paper) $1.00
Christian Calling and Vocation, by Henlee H. Barnette. Baker Book House, 1965. 83 pages. Price (paper) $1.50
Wat Zegt de Bijbel over het Gebed? by Ds. J. Meijer. J.H. Kok N.V., Kampen the Netherlands, 1965. 126 pages. Price (paper) f. 5,75
The Westminster Confession of Faith (For Study Classes), by G.I. Williamson. Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., Philadelphia, PA, 1964. 309 pages. Price (paper) $5.00
Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure, by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Eerdmans, 1965. 300 pages. Price $3.95
God’s Word into English, by Dewey M. Beegle. Eerdmans, 1965. 230 pages. Price (paper) $2.25
Building Your Spiritual Strength, by Ralph Heynen. Baker Book House, 1965. 111 pages. Price 42.95
The Secret of Christian Family Living, by Ralph Heynen. Baker Book House, 1965. 162 pages. Price $2.95
Christ’s Church: Evangelical, Catholic and Reformed, by Bela Vassady. Eerdmans 1965. 173 pages. Price (paper) $1.95
The Reformation, by Owen Chadwick. Eerdmans, 1965. 463 pages. Price $5.95
A History of Christian Missions, by Stephen Neill. Eerdmans, 1965. 622 pages. Price $7.50
Mission in Metropolis, by Jesse Jai McNeil. Eerdmans, 1965. 148 pages. Price $3.50
The Second Vatican Council and the New Catholicism, by G.C. Berkouwer, translated by Lewis B. Smedes. Eerdmans, 1965. 264 pages. Price $5.95
Korte Dogmatiek, by Prof. Dr. K. Dijk. J.H. Kok N.V., Kampen, the Netherlands. 312 pages. Price (paper) fl3,25
The Nature of Religion (Christian Perspective Series, 1964), by Paul G. Schrotenboer. The Association for Reformed Scientific Studies, Hamilton, Ont. 22 pages. Price (paper) $0.50
The Meaning of Ethos (Christian Perspective Series, 1964), by F.H. Von Meyenfeldt. The Association for Reformed Scientific Studies, Hamilton, Ont. 58 pages. Price (paper) $1.00
The Synoptic Traditions in the Apocalypse, by Louis A. Vos. J.H. Kok N.V., Kampen, the Netherlands, 1965. 245 pages. Price (paper) fl12,75
De Brief aan de Philippenzen en de Brief aan Philemon, by H.M. Matter. J.H. Kok N.V., Kampen, the Netherlands, 1965. 126 pages. Price fl11,25
The Cross in the New Testament, by Leon Morris. Eerdmans, 1965. 454 pages. Price $6.95
Psalm 139 (A Study in the Omniscience of God), by Edward J. Young. The Banner of Truth Trust, London, England. 128 pages. Price $0.75
Inasmuch (Christian Social Responsibility in 20th Century America), by David O. Moberg. Eerdmans, 1965. 216 pages. Price $2.45
The Ten Commandments, by Ronald S. Wallace. Eerdmans, 1965. 216 pages. Price $3.95
Luther’s Grote Catechismus, vertaald en ingeleid door Prof. Dr. P. Boendermaker. J.H. Kok, N.V., Kampen, the Netherlands. 138 pages. Price (paper) fl1,75
Gids Voor Het Oude Testament, Vol. I, by Dr. K. Dronket. J.H. Kok N.V., Kampen, the Netherlands, 1964. 150 pages. Price (paper) fl1,75
The Person and Place of Jesus Christ, by P.T. Forsyth. Eerdmans, 1965. 357 pages. Price (paper) $2.25
A Still Small Voice, by E.F. Engelbert. Eerdmans, 1965. 216 pages. Price $3.50
Open Letter to Evangelicals (A Devotional and Homiletical Commentary on the First Epistle of John), by R.E.O. White. Eerdmans, 1965. 269 pages. Price $4.95
Descent of the Dove, by Charles Williams. Eerdmans, 1965. 245 pages. Price (paper) $1.95
War in Heaven, by Charles Williams. Eerdmans, 1965. 256 pages. Price (paper) $1.95
Descent into Hell, by Charles Williams. Eerdmans, 1965, 222 pages. Price (paper) $1.95
Many Dimensions, by Charles Williams. Eerdmans, 1965. 269 pages. Price (paper) $1.95
Shadows of Exstacy, by Charles Williams. Eerdmans, 1965. 224 pages. Price (paper) $1.95
The Place of the Lion, by Charles Williams. Eerdmans, 1965. 206 pages. Price (paper) $1.95