Monday, May 20, 2013

Toward Understanding Thessalonians by Boyce W. Blackwelder

book cover
Toward Understanding Thessalonians
by Boyce W. Blackwelder

ISBN-13: 978-1604160178
Hardcover: 164 pages
Reformation Publishing
Released: 1965;
September 5, 2000

Source: Borrowed from my church library.

Book Description, my take:
An introduction, translation, and commentary of 1 and 2 Thessalonians. The introduction "is an attempt to reconstruct the general features of the background of Paul's communications to the church at Thessalonica, to ascertain the character of the first readers, and to see clearly the purpose which the Apostle and his co-workers had in mind when they wrote."

The "exegetical translation of First and Second Thessalonians...[follows] the Greek text edited by Professor Eberhard Nestle, fourth edition, 1904...In the translation, I have used brackets to enclose words inserted in an effort to convey deeper meanings implied by the Greek vocabulary and sentence structure."

And the commentary part is "a terse commentary based on the Greek attempt was made to be exhaustive, but rather to discuss terms or passages which I felt might be of special interest to a wide range of readers."

My Review:
Toward Understanding Thessalonians is a Bible commentary on 1 Thessalonians and 2 Thessalonians. The tone is scholarly and formal, especially in the commentary.

The introduction covered where Thessalonica was located, what the city was like, and details about Paul's journey and visit to Thessalonica--including details like the distances between the cities. He then covered what we know about the church established in Thessalonica and what problems Paul appears to have been writing in response to. He also discussed the authenticity, occasion, place, date, analysis, and outlined both books.

He included a translation of each letter. The commentary mainly focused on the meaning of Greek words based on their tense and placement in the sentence so we can better understand what is being said. I found it interesting and could follow his points even though I don't know anything about Greek. However, someone who has at least a basic knowledge of biblical Greek would be able to follow his arguments better. I just took it on faith that he was accurately interpreting the significance of the words, tense, and placement.

I picked up this book because I was interested in the information in the introduction--mainly details about Paul's journey and the dating of 1 Thessalonians and 2 Thessalonians. I liked getting a sense of what his travels were like. The rest was also interesting, but it may have a limited audience due to the scholarly focus.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

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