Book Notice: 2 Corinthians (Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament)

Colin G. Kruse. 2 Corinthians. Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament. Nashville: B&H Academic, 2020. 328 pages. $29.99 (paperback).

In his recent contribution to the Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament series (EGGNT), Colin Kruse (Emeritus Scholar at Melbourne School of Theology) employs the EGGNT structure to provide readers a succinct resource for studying 2 Corinthians. Throughout his analysis of the Greek text, Kruse provides diagrams which portray the grammatical relationships of the Greek text of UBS5, while in the commentary sections the CSB is printed beneath the text of UBS5 for reference. Like other EGGNT volumes, each major section ends with a list of resources for further study and homiletical outlines for preaching the passage being examined.

The format of the EGGNT series does not require authors to provide extended theological analysis, but in places Kruse does so and serves his readers well. His analysis of Paul’s contrast between the old and new covenants in 2 Cor 3:12–18 displays the mind of a seasoned commentator concerned not only for syntactical classification but theology. Concerning Paul’s use of the Old Testament, Kruse briefly addresses intertextual issues between the LXX, MT, and Paul’s presentation of the OT, and he notes that God is the speaker in each of the OT texts Paul coordinates in 2 Cor 6:16–18. Kruse occasionally writes with a hortatory tone, using first person pronouns as he applies the text to the contemporary audience. He often interacts with the work of Murray Harris, specifically his commentary on 2 Corinthians in the NIGTC series (2005) as well as his Prepositions and Theology in the Greek New Testament (2012). However, because Kruse frequently quotes Harris, Harris’s comments at times overshadow Kruse’s exegetical analysis.

One deficiency of Kruse’s volume is that, when discussing lexical and text-critical issues, he does not consistently specify primary sources or textual witnesses. This lack of specific citations may prove frustrating for those hoping to use Kruse’s work as a foray into primary resources. For instance, Kruse notes that ἐπιτιμία (punishment) in 2 Cor 2:6 occurs only here in the Greek New Testament but states that “in the extrabiblical writings it is used of the imposition of either legal penalties or commercial sanctions” (44). Citing a primary extrabiblical passage or two would help pastors and students gain access to the world of those extrabiblical writings. However, Kruse displays great grammatical and syntactical skill, as can be seen in his treatment of prepositions and conjunctions in 2 Cor 6:4–10, where Paul employs these for rhetorical purposes to commend his new covenant ministry. Kruse’s reflections on Paul’s weakness in 2 Cor 10:1–6 also help the reader to synthesize the letter as Paul’s self-defense against the charges being leveled against him. In sum, while the paucity of specific primary references limits what readers might gain from Kruse’s volume, pastors and students will benefit from his ability to judiciously discuss grammatical, syntactical, and theological issues.

CBS book notices provide brief descriptive summaries and assessments of new publications in biblical studies and biblical theology. The present book notice was written by Dr. Todd R. Chipman, Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies and Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.


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