George Guthrie: A new commentary on 2 Corinthians

George Guthrie, who recently published a massive new commentary on 2 Corinthians for the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series, talks about his book in this two part interview at the website Books at a Glance:

A summary of the book’s contents from the publisher page:

Cover Art

“In this addition to the award-winning BECNT series, a respected New Testament scholar offers a substantive evangelical commentary on 2 Corinthians. George Guthrie leads readers through the intricacies of literary structure, word meanings, cultural backdrop, and theological proclamation, offering insights applicable to modern ministry contexts. As with all BECNT volumes, this commentary features the author’s detailed interaction with the Greek text; extensive research; thoughtful, chapter-by-chapter exegesis; and an acclaimed, user-friendly design. It admirably achieves the dual aims of the series–academic sophistication with pastoral sensitivity and accessibility–making it a useful tool for pastors, church leaders, students, and teachers.”

And the opening to the interview from Books at a Glance:

“New commentaries on 2 Corinthians do not hit the press every day, and it is noteworthy when one of 736 pages arrives from a respected New Testament scholar such as George Guthrie of Union University. We were eager to see Dr. Guthrie’s treatment of this rather neglected book, the latest addition to Baker’s outstanding Exegetical Commentary series, and today he talks to us about his new work.

Books At a Glance (Fred Zaspel):
Why has 2 Corinthians generally been one of the more neglected of Paul’s letters?

Guthrie:
I think there are several reasons. Simply put, 2 Corinthians is a difficult book, described by Ralph Martin as “the despair of the commentator.” If 1 Corinthians comes off as Paul’s most “occasional” (and therefore “practical”) letter, 2 Corinthians seems confusing at points. Why the shift from travel narrative to treatise at 2:14 and then back to the travel narrative at 7:5? Why does the apostle seem to commend himself in one breath (e.g. 4:2) and deny that he is doing so in the next (5:12)? Why celebrate the Corinthians enthusiastically in chapter 7 only to get very, very cross as he moves into the final section of the book (10-13)? So the shifts and starts can feel disorienting if we do not grasp that there is a method to the madness. Further, there are a number of interpretive challenges that are neither easy to understand nor preach. What exactly was the event that caused Paul to despair for his life (1:8-11), or the conflict described in 2:5-11? How are we to understand the Triumphal Procession imagery of 2:14-16, or the “veil on Moses’ face” at 3:7-18, or Paul’s thorn in the flesh of chapter 12? We could go on and on. 2 Corinthians does not give up its riches easily!” ”

 

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Categories: Commentaries, Periods, Roman, Religion, 2 Corinthians

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