Sunday, March 24, 2013

Charts on the Book of Hebrews: Book Review

I love charts, especially when dealing with topics that are complex or difficult to understand. Though they run the risk of oversimplification and generalization, the advantage gained by clarity makes the tool well worthwhile. They are ideal for classroom instruction, but for individual use as well, providing content in helpful visual forms. This is even more true with the new series of Charts being put out by Kregel Academic. The latest, put together by Herbert Bateman on Hebrews is the topic of this review.

Having purchased many Chart books put out by other publishers, I expected the same general, basic information on the book of Hebrews. I was indeed surprised by the level of depth and expertise involved in Bateman’s charts! Sometimes simple tools are crafted to convey complex information, and this is one of those times.

There are four parts or sections to the book:

  1. Introductory Considerations in Hebrews
  2. Old Testament and Second Temple Influences in Hebrews
  3. Theology in Hebrews
  4. Exegetical Matters in Hebrews

I have always been drawn to the rich and varied theology found in Hebrews, so I am admittedly most drawn to section 3. I will be returning here often, especially in my ongoing studies and reflections on what the book has to say about the New Covenant in Christ.

Two things unique to this volume (and this may be indicative of the entire series, but this is my first and only exposure to it, so I can’t say for sure) is the survey of positions included in various commentaries on Hebrews. For example, the chart on p. 149 identifies the ways that seven different commentators find and categorize the warning passages in Hebrews. This is immensely helpful to anyone studying the issue. Second, the profuse instances of Greek analysis in these charts provides unusual insight into the Greek text of Hebrews. For example, there is a large chart at the end showing all the Greek words unique to Hebrews.

Thanks to Kregel Academic for providing a review copy in exchange for an unbiased review.

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