This commentary series is established on the presupposition that the theological character of the New Testament documents calls for exegesis that is sensitive to theological themes as well as to the details of the historical, linguistic, and textual context. Such thorough exegetical work lies at the heart of these volumes, which contain detailed verse-by-verse commentary preceded by general comments on each section and subsection of the text.
An important aim of the NIGTC authors is to interact with the wealth of significant New Testament research published in recent articles and monographs. In this connection the authors make their own scholarly contributions to the ongoing study of the biblical text.
The text on which these commentaries are based is the UBS Greek New Testament, edited by Kurt Aland and others. While engaging the major questions of text and interpretation at a scholarly level, the authors keep in mind the needs of the beginning student of Greek as well as the pastor or layperson who may have studied the language at some time but does not now use it on a regular basis.
The reputation of the NIGTC series is so outstanding that the appearance of each new volume is noteworthy. This book on 2 Corinthians is no exception. Master New Testament exegete Murray J. Harris has produced a superb commentary that analyzes the Greek text verse by verse against the backdrop of Paul’s tumultuous relations with his converts at Corinth.
Believing that Scripture cannot be understood theologically unless it has first been understood grammatically, Harris provides a careful, thoroughgoing reading of the text of 2 Corinthians. He gives special attention to matters of translation, making regular references not only to the standard modern English translations but also to influential older versions such as The Twentieth Century New Testament and those by Weymouth, Moffatt, and Goodspeed. His close attention to matters of textual criticism and grammar leads to discussions of the theology of 2 Corinthians that show the relevance of Paul’s teaching to Christian living and church ministry.
Other notable features of the book include a comprehensive introduction in which all the relevant literary and historical issues are discussed, an expanded paraphrase of the letter that conveniently shows Harris’s decisions on exegetical issues and indicates the flow of Paul’s argument, a chronology of the relations of Paul, Timothy, and Titus with the Corinthian church, and an excursus on Paul’s “affliction in Asia” (1:8-11) and its influence on his outlook and theology.
“We conclude that in v. 21a Paul is not saying that at the crucifixion the sinless Christ became in some sense a sinner, yet he is affirming more than that Christ became a sin offering or even a sin bearer. In a sense beyond human comprehension, God treated Christ as ‘sin,’ aligning him so totally with sin and its dire consequences that from God’s viewpoint he became indistinguishable from sin itself.” (Page 454)
“Paul is affirming that with the advent of the era of salvation in Christ, and ever since his own conversion to Christ, he has ceased making superficial, mechanical judgments about other people on the basis of outward appearances—such as national origin, social status, intellectual capability, physical attributes, or even charismatic endowment and pneumatic displays (cf. 1 Cor. 1:5, 7). Perhaps he is hinting that the Corinthians too should not make superficial assessments of others—such as Paul, their spiritual father—on the basis of such inappropriate criteria.” (Page 427)
“4. Reconciliation is an accomplished fact on God’s side, yet it must be embraced on the human side.” (Page 438)
“The relation of v. 17 to what precedes is significant. Christian conversion, that is, coming to be in Christ (v. 17a), produces dramatic change (v. 17b): life is no longer lived κατὰ σάρκα, but κατὰ πνεῦμα. Paul implies that a change of attitude toward Christ (v. 16b) brings about a change of attitude toward other people (v. 16a) and a change of conduct from self-pleasing to Christ-pleasing (vv. 9, 15), from egocentricity to theocentricity.” (Page 434)