donderdag 11 februari 2016

A Commentary on Luke

Already a couple of years ago Zondervan Publishing Co. launched the series Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. The strength of this series is that both the academic scholar and the pastor who has no or limited knowledge of Greek can use it with profit. And what true is for the pastor who no knowledge of Greek is also true for the layman. First you find the literary context of a passage. Then the main idea of the passage is given. This is followed by a translation and graphical layout.
Immediately following we find the structure and exegetical outline. Then the explanation of the text comes. First we have the trans-lation of the text and then the original Greek. In the explanation original Greek words are always between parentheses. That is the reason that this commentary is so useful both for the scholar and the person who does not know Greek. 
After the explanation we have what is called ‘theology in appli-cation’. This is in accordance with the classic Christian idea of Bible commentary that explanation of the Scripture can never be without application because the Scriptures are the Word of God for all ages.
The commentary on the gospel of Luke in the Zondervan Exege-tical Commentary on the New Testament has been done by David E. Garland, dean and professor of Christian Scriptures at George W. Truett Seminary, Baylor University. The explanation of the text of the gospel is preceded by an introduction and followed by a brief sketch of the theology of Luke.
Garland maintains the traditional view that the gospel and Acts were written by Luke who was the companion of Paul during a part of his travels. Following Martin Hengel he points that to the very early attestation of the titles of the gospels. Usually Luke is seen as a proselyte. Garland makes clear that there is not compelling evidence for this view. He could also have been a Hellenistic Jewish Christian; a view that Garland prefers.
Although Luke himself was not an eyewitness, all what he wrote was based on what Luke heard out of the mouth of eyewitnesses. It seem that a circle of women disciples were a source important of information for Luke. This explains the prominent place women figure have in his gospel.
Garland rightly takes the position that Luke and Acts must be taken together when discussing their genre. He thinks that Aune might be right when he asserted that Luke wrote a singular literary work in two books; book meaning also papyrus roll. This explains the striking proportionality of Luke and Acts. I agree with Garland that Luke-Acts belongs to the broad spectrum of Hellenistic histo-riography.
I would add that Luke was also consciously influenced by the histo-riography of the Old Testament. With the writers of Old Testament history he knows that the one living God fulfills his plan in history. Garland prefers to date Luke-Acts somewhere between 75-90, although he knows that arguments are slight. I think that a good case can be made for an earlier date.
Luke presents the scriptural story and its themes as culminating in the Lord Jesus Christ. The gentiles addressed by Luke-Acts are assured that their acceptance of Jesus and inclusion in the people of God was a part of God’s plan revealed in the Old Testament.
I would even more strongly that Garland does, formulate that the formation of the church in the New Testament dispensation that consist both of Jews and gentiles , is the fulfillment of the promises of the restoration of Israel. 
At the same time I would point to the fact that this does not mean for Luke that Jews has no longer a special place in God’s purposes. Acts end with the preaching of the gospel; a preaching that goes out not only to gentile but also to Jews.
Following Witherington Garland notes that both Luke and Acts bear some striking resemblance to the Greek kata genos style of arranging one’s history, whereby the work proceeds along geo-graphical as well as chronological lines.
Garland emphasizes that Luke wrote both as a theologian, historian and pastor. He wrote both his gospel and Acts to confront men with the ever present person of Jesus and his word. Jesus is presented as the only Savior. Necessary for salvation are repentance and faith.

David E. Garland, Luke, Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 2011; ISBN 978-0-310-24359-5; hardcover 10339 pp., price $59,99