In this addition to the acclaimed BECNT series, David Garland introduces a major new commentary on Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians. His detailed study of one of the most important epistles in the New Testament is sure to become a standard resource for pastors, students, and scholars. After an introductory chapter that considers the context of the epistle and what is known about the social setting and cultural world of Corinth, Garland turns to his exegetical study. In order to maintain the overall flow of Paul's thought and show the larger themes more clearly, the verse-by-verse comments are organized in larger exegetical units. For each unit, the author provides a summary that locates it within the broader context of the surrounding material, and he provides his own translation of the Greek text.
The author's wealth of knowledge and exhaustive research is evident in his exposition. To clarify the meaning of the text, he incorporates references from parallel material in the Pauline corpus and from extrabiblical sources that highlight relevant aspects of the religious, cultural, and social context. Throughout his study, Garland interacts with notable previous commentators and provides extensive notes for the reader's consideration and further research. Relevant text-critical issues are discussed in a section labeled "Additional Notes." There biblical scholars will find comments on the more technical aspects of the text, including variant readings and grammatical issues.
“The gospel transforms the cross as a symbol of Roman terror and political domination into a symbol of God’s love and power. It shows that the power of God’s love is greater than human love of power.” (Pages 61–62)
“Paul is not trying to instruct the Corinthians on the meaning of the Lord’s Supper. Instead, he is trying to correct a practice that does not accord with what the Lord’s Supper is intended to remember: Christ’s sacrifice for others.” (Pages 533–534)
“Another view explains the term ‘dead’ (οἱ νεκροί, hoi nekroi) as a metaphor for the condition of believers who receive baptism.” (Page 717)
“Apparently, they have no religious scruples about being well integrated into a pagan society that is inherently hostile to the wisdom of the cross. In Corinth, no countercultural impact, so central to the preaching of the cross (1:18–25), is evident. Their faith appears not to have created any significant social and moral realignment of their lives. They face little or no social ostracism, and the lack of external pressure contributes to their internal dissension.” (Page 8)
“This letter also should be read against the background of a mercantile society, as ‘the core community and core tradition of the city culture were those of trade, business, entrepreneurial pragmatism in the pursuit of success’ (Thiselton 2000: 4). These values fed the zeal to attain public status, to promote one’s own honor, and to secure power.” (Page 4)
This thoroughly researched, clearly written volume is a fine addition to an already respected series. It will offer seasoned guidance to its grateful readers.
—Charles H. Talbert, distinguished professor of religion, Baylor University
A substantial piece of work. . . . Garland's commentary will make its most significant contribution in the context of exegesis courses, where it will serve as a fine model and a stimulating conversation partner.
—Garwood P. Anderson, Review of Biblical Literature