The Epistles to the Thessalonians (NIGTC) by Wanamaker

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Charles Wanamaker contributes this volume on the Thessalonian Epistles in the reputed New International Greek Commentary (NIGTC) series. My own perusal of the book backs up what I’ve heard. Wanamaker has provided dependable evangelical work on these epistles with a lot of rhetorical and social scientific analysis while providing less theological insights. You might say, that he hits a home run for the scholars, but provides a little less value for pastors. In any event, this volume is going to be in the discussion for quality work with the Greek.

After a thorough bibliography, Wanamaker gives us an Introduction that is broken down in what appears to be three chapters. He first discusses the historical background for Paul and Thessalonica. My impression was that he excelled in highlighting Thessalonica’s relations to Rome. In that section, he explains why he believes Paul addresses the Parousia to such a significant degree.

The next section of the Introduction discusses literary questions. There’s a thorough overview of what the scholarly world has thought on the subject, including questions of authenticity. I didn’t find his conclusions very plausible, particularly on this ordering of the letters. Rhetoric must be one of his specialties. The depth of thinking on the subject is obvious. The final section of the Introduction that is entitled “historical setting” deals less with the political environment and more with the Thessalonian church issues. It is well researched. All in all, the Introduction runs to 63 pages.

The commentary proper is where this commentary gets its high reviews. The exegesis is very thorough. The English rendering is always near enough to the Greek that I feel it can help a larger audience than most anticipate. If I had to summarize this commentary in a word, it would be: important. I recommend this volume to anyone trying to build a quality exegetical library.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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