Review: Luke (EGGNT)

A1SFz-cj2HL.jpgAlan J. Thompson is lecturer in New Testament at Sydney Missionary and Bible College in Croydon, New South Wales, Australia. Thompson received his PhD from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and is the author of The Acts of the Risen Lord Jesus: Luke’s Account of God’s Unfolding Plan (IVP Academic, 2011) and One Lord, One People: The Unity of the Church in Acts in its Literary Setting (T&T Clark, 2008). Most recently, Thompson has produced a new and notable volume in the growing Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament (EGGNT) series on the Gospel of Luke.

The EGGNT series was birthed out of a desire to function as a type of middle-ground resource that seeks to narrow the gap between the text of the Greek New Testament (UBS5) and the available lexical and grammatical tools being used by pastors and teachers today. In this present volume, Thompson has delivered a wealth of exegetical wisdom and theological insight into the Third Gospel. The book begins with a very brief introduction focused on authorship, date, audience, purpose, etc.. Thompson prefers a mid-50s and early-60s date of composition, but provides a brief survey of the various positions. The introduction concludes with a short discussion surrounding the pros and cons of five recommended commentaries and additional resources used throughout the volume.

The commentary section has skillfully utilized a similar format and layout as the other volumes in the EGGNT series. Like Harris’ EGGNT volume on John, some accommodations have been made given the nature of the gospels themselves, as opposed to that of epistles. For example, the reader is not going to find as much sentence diagraming in this volume as the others, and the layout centers primarily around the verse level as opposed to the clause level in the other volumes. I found this to be somewhat of a disappointment because of the helpfulness of the clause level interaction for the task of exegesis. Nevertheless, I think the reader will find that the verse-by-verse discussion is executed extremely well, and Thompson is successful in guiding the reader through Luke with a fine-tooth exegetical comb.

Where, in my opinion, Thompson could have offered more attention to detail is the department of textual evidence for some of the major textual problems in the Gospel of Luke. One obvious example is Luke 22:43-44. Thompson acknowledges the “strong” external evidence for its omission, but then accepts its inclusion because it is found in a few manuscripts and doesn’t have a Synoptic parallel. It would have been helpful for the reader if Thompson acknowledged or discussed the spurious nature of manuscripts that include it (e.g. Codex D), instead of dismissing the omission to move forward. Finally, after each section of the text has been examined, like the other volumes in the series, Thompson provides the reader with a “For Further Study” section, and a “Homiletical Suggestions” section to aid the pastor or teacher in constructing a communicational roadmap based on the previous sections.

As each new volume of the EGGNT series is released the bar of exegetical example is raised. Alan J. Thompson has done a tremendous job continuing this example and adding to a really amazing volume to an increasingly helpful series. If you are a pastor, teacher, or learned laymen (with at least some level of proficiency in New Testament Greek), then this resource will prove itself to be an invaluable addition to your library. If you are a professor and looking for a faithful guide to send home with your students, then Thompson will prove to be both trustworthy and dependable. Apart from the few minor shortcomings mentioned above, I couldn’t recommend this resource more!

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