Devotions on the Greek New Testament: 52 Reflections to Inspire and Instruct

Devotions on the Greek New Testament: 52 Reflections to Inspire and Instruct

by J. Scott Duvall, Verlyn Verbrugge


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Devotions on the Greek New Testament: 52 Reflections to Inspire and Instruct by J. Scott Duvall, Verlyn Verbrugge

Zondervan is known for its excellent resources in biblical languages, and many of our resources encourage professors, students, and pastors to continue to use their Hebrew and Greek Bibles beyond their seminary years.

Devotions on the Greek New Testamentcontinues on this path of excellence by introducing these devotions—based on a careful reading and study of the Greek New Testament—written by some of the top Greek scholars of today. Contributors include Scot McKnight, Daniel B. Wallace, Craig L. Blomberg, Mark Strauss, and William D. Mounce, among others.

Devotions on the Greek New Testament can be used as weekly devotional or as a supplemental resource throughout a semester or sequence of courses. The main point each devotion offers comes from a careful reading of the passage in the Greek New Testament, not from the English Bible. These authors use a variety of exegetical approaches in their devotions: grammatical, lexical, rhetorical, sociohistorical, linguistic, etc. Each devotion closes with a practical application.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310492542
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication date: 10/23/2012
Pages: 154
Sales rank: 591,534
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

J. Scott Duvall doctor en filosofia de Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, es profesor de Nuevo Testamento en la Ouachita Baptist University. Es coautor de Biblical Greek Exegesis, Grasping God's Word, Preaching God's Word y del Dictionary of Biblical Prophecy. Scott es copastor de una iglesia local en Arkadelphia, Arkansas.

Verlyn D. Verbrugge (Ph D, University of Notre Dame) is Senior Editor at Large for Biblical and Theological Resources at Zondervan. He has published a number of articles as well as the acclaimed New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology: Abridged Edition (Zondervan, 2000), Paul's Style of Church Leadership as Illustrated by His Instructions to the Corinthians on the Collection (Mellen, 1992), and A Not-So-Silent Night: The Unheard Story of Christmas and Why It Matters (Kregel, 2009).

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Devotions on the Greek New Testament


Copyright © 2012 J. Scott Duvall
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-310-49254-2

Chapter One

Learning from Joseph's Righteousness



What does biblical righteousness looks like in practice? When confronted with what appeared to be a clear case of unfaithfulness on the part of his betrothed, Joseph decides to divorce her quietly. Matthew 1:19 indicates two key factors (besides the presumption of Mary's guilt) that help us understand his plan for dealing with the issue. These two factors are indicated in two participles that appear between the opening reference to Joseph as Mary's husband and the final clause, which contains the main verb and tells us his decision.

The relevant participles could be translated "being righteous [[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]] and not wanting [[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]] to make an example of her." But these participles can be understood in more than one way, and the English translation just given does not offer the same variety of interpretations as the Greek. Most interpreters take both participles to be causal—Joseph acted as he did because he was righteous and did not want to make a public example of Mary by denouncing her as an immoral woman. Some, however, argue that since both Roman law and Jewish tradition were clear that righteousness required the public denouncement of unfaithfulness, lest the innocent party be guilty of condoning or covering up sin in the community, the first participle should be taken as concessive (i.e., "despite being righteous and because he was unwilling to make an example of her, he decided ...").

One's perception of the logical relationship between the nature of righteousness and Joseph's plan depends to a great extent on one's understanding of the nature of righteousness. While it is true that Roman and Jewish legal traditions required the exposure of sexual unfaithfulness, the text clearly presents Joseph both as righteous and unwilling to subject Mary to public denouncement. The present participle indicates not that he had been righteous but thought of acting unrighteously in this instance, but rather that he was righteous even as he decided on his plan of action. The only question is whether his decision was unexpected in the light of his righteousness (if the participle is taken to be concessive) or was a direct result of his righteousness (if it is taken to be causal). I suggest that while the parallel participles would tend to suggest that both should be taken as causal, the question is one that will be clarified as readers make their way through the rest of the gospel.

The gospel of Matthew seeks to transform our understanding of the true nature of righteousness in light of its redefinition by Jesus and by Matthew's telling of his story. In this gospel it becomes clear that for Jesus (and Matthew), mercy and compassion are not at odds with righteousness, but are crucial marks of righteousness, just as they are in the Old Testament. Jesus demands not the same righteousness as the scribes and Pharisees but a greater righteousness (5:20), one that will lead his disciples to show mercy to the least of his brothers (25:34–40). Jesus emphasized the theme of Hosea 6:6: God prefers mercy over sacrifice (Matt. 9:13; 12:7), and he demonstrated what that preference looks like by befriending tax collectors and sinners. His sacrifice on the cross is about extending mercy to us sinners rather than leaving us to our own destruction.

By the time we finish Matthew's gospel, it is clear that even if Joseph's plan seemed unexpected according to traditional perceptions of righteousness, it was what one would expect in the light of the transformed understanding of righteousness taught and modeled by Jesus himself. It was that kind of righteousness that led Joseph to think and act as he did.

Roy E. Ciampa

Extending Jesus

MATTHEW 4:23; 9:35; 10:1, 7


Matthew did not divide up his gospel into verses or chapters, nor did any of his contemporaries divide up their writings. Sometimes ancient authors indicated "sections" by using repetition. Our texts repeat three different verbs ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], and [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) and several distinctive nouns that together reveal how we should read Matthew 4:23–11:1. We must pay attention to these verbs and nouns.

In 4:23 notice how Matthew describes the mission of Jesus with three present participles designed to make vivid before our eyes what Jesus is doing: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]

Notice, then, how 9:35 closes with an almost exact repetition of that description of his mission: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII].

Finally, notice the astounding move made next in 10:1, 7: the twelve missioners of Jesus are sent out to do the very same things minus one: teaching.

[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Observation of these Greek texts leads us to several important strategies for reading Matthew 4:23–11:1. First, Jesus' mission in 4:23 is threefold: he teaches in synagogues, he preaches the good news of the kingdom, and he heals people.

Second, since 9:35 again describes Jesus' threefold mission, we can argue that chapters 5–7 describe Jesus' mission of teaching (imparting information) and preaching (announcing good news) and chapters 8–9 his mission of healing (Jesus heals ten times in those two chapters). Even if we were to argue that the healing chapters are also about preaching, the point remains the same: Jesus' mission is threefold.

Third, Matthew's language and repetition of verbs and nouns in 10:1, 7 reveal that Matthew wants his readers to see that what Jesus did in chapters 5–9 is what he wants his followers to do (9:36–11:1 comprising the mission discourse). They are to heal people of "every disease and sickness," as did Jesus, and they are to "preach" the good news (10:7, their message being the same as John's and Jesus'; cf. 3:2; 4:17). The fundamental download for us today is to see that "our" ministries are not ours. They are none other than Jesus' ministry, and our calling is to extend Jesus and Jesus' ministry into the world.

But why is "teaching" missing from chapter 10? Surely Matthew, as careful a writer as he was, did not forget that Jesus also taught (4:23; 9:35). Most likely the omission is a result of Jesus' knowing that the disciples were not yet sufficiently informed to be teachers. So they must be prepared. Though Jesus does indicate that someday his disciples will teach (cf. 13:51–52), it is not until his full teaching has been explained, his Passion has been endured, his resurrection has been experienced, and his ascension is about to occur that he finally tells his disciples they are to be teachers—teaching what Jesus commanded (28:16–20).

Scot McKnight

Jesus and the Law and Prophets

MATTHEW 5:17–20


In clear, terse, and potent language, Jesus clarifies his posture toward the Torah and reveals how we are to live in the age of fulfillment. Our discipleship is rooted in a singular claim: Jesus is the messianic completion of the entire history of God's ways with Israel (the Law and the Prophets). Discipleship is about living under the teachings of the Messiah.

Jesus makes an astounding claim here. His use of aorist tenses ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] [2x], [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) in verse 17 captures the major actions in four simple photos: "think," "came to destroy" (twice), "fulfill." These verbal forms are summary aorists (aorists that capture action as a whole), which together make one profound point: Jesus brings to completion everything the Torah said (and tried to say) and everything the Prophets said and predicted. (The verb [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is important to Matthew's understanding of how to connect Israel's story to Jesus [see 1:22; 2:15, 17, 23; 3:15; 4:14].)

Jesus' claim is rooted in Scripture. What verse 18 teaches is not that the Torah is permanent and unchangeable as originally given, but the Torah (and the Prophets) are permanent as fulfilled in Jesus Christ. That is, those who truly follow Jesus do all that the Torah and the Prophets want for God's people. This posture of Jesus does not undermine Torah observance but expands obedience to its fullest proportions. The [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] clause of verse 18 logically follows the [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] clause so we can reconfigure the logic in this way: not a dot or a dash will pass from the Torah (no Prophets this time) as long as heaven and earth exist. The second [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] clause encapsulates the first one: heaven and earth's passing away is the same as "until everything is accomplished."

Jesus' claim shapes discipleship. Our passage moves logically from a powerful gospel claim (Jesus fulfills the whole lot!) to potent implications for how to follow Jesus as gospel-ized people. The simple inferential [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] clarifies how we are to live out Jesus' moral vision. Jesus outlines two categories of people. (1) Some loosen and teach (aorist subjunctives here emphasize contingency and simple action conceived as a whole) anything other than the fullness of God's way; they will be called "least." If we examine the term "least" in Matthew's gospel, we will conclude that "least" is a nice way of saying "condemned" (e.g., 13:47–50; 22:1–14). (2) Others do and teach (also aorist subjunctives to emphasize conditionality); they will be called "great" (eternally approved by God).

Discipleship means separation. Since final judgment is connected to one's observance of the Torah as fulfilled in Jesus, one's "righteousness" (i.e., observance of God's will as taught by Jesus) must transcend ("greatly [[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]] exceed") that of the Pharisees and scribes, whose "righteousness" is Moses-alone, not the Jesus form of the Torah. Jesus is calling his followers to follow his teachings, not those of the scribes and Pharisees.

It's all about Jesus. He fulfills the whole story, and that means his followers walk on a path walked by the Messiah.

Scot McKnight

The Great Commission

MATTHEW 28:19–20A


Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you" (Matt. 28:19-20a, NIV). Virtually every major and not a few minor English translations render the first two verbs in this sentence as commands: "go" and "make." Of all the more recent English translations, only the God's Word translation reads, "So wherever you go, make disciples of all nations."

Countless preachers and other speakers at missionary meetings and conferences, however, make the point that in the Greek, only "make disciples" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) is in the imperative mood. "Go" translates an aorist deponent passive participle (, literally "when you go"). Its verbal impact is not as heavily marked as that of the aorist imperative. Why, then, do most modern English translations render both verbs as commands?

Some commentators have referred to as an imperatival participle, but that label should be reserved for the rare appearances of a participle unconnected to any finite verb. The participle here is best understood as one of attendant circumstances—a participle loosely attached to the main verb of the sentence. While grammatically subordinate to the main verb, such participles remain conceptually coordinate. In other words, they can be translated as equivalent in mood to the verbs they modify. Since the main verb of this sentence is an imperative, a participle of attendant circumstances modifying it also takes on some imperatival sense and may be translated accordingly. This case particularly applies when the participle precedes the verb it modifies, as it does here.

Thus both "camps" are correct. "Make disciples" remains the most central command of the sentence, but "go" can be translated equally well via an imperative as via a participle. Where are we called to go? Anywhere there are people in need of hearing the gospel, being baptized, or being taught to observe all of Christ's teachings. Some will indeed travel cross-culturally, even to "the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8), but others will have to witness to friends, neighbors, and family members close by.

The present participles "baptizing" and "teaching," by contrast, are not as likely to reflect the imperatival nuance, though again their modifying the imperative means that they will be tinged with this sense. More likely they are modal or instrumental participles, helping to describe the manner or means, respectively, by which the twelve apostles and those who follow them will evangelize the people groups of the entire world. If, as a few grammarians suggest, there is such a thing as a consecutive participle (i.e., of result), "baptizing" and "teaching" could also carry that nuance. But the dubiousness of this participial category makes that nuance of meaning less certain than the other two options.

In some ages and in some parts of the world today, Christians have believed that this "Great Commission" was not intended for all believers, but only for the Twelve. They then try not to press all Christians to be winsome witnesses to their faith. But this interpretation runs afoul of a simple observation: Christ commanded his disciples to teach the nations everything he had taught them. "Everything" clearly includes the Great Commission, so by definition, to be faithful in obeying Matthew 28:19–20a each person will witness to whomever will listen in order to ensure that Christianity remains throughout the generations still to come.

Craig L. Blomberg


Excerpted from Devotions on the Greek New Testament Copyright © 2012 by J. Scott Duvall. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents


MATTHEW 1:19 Learning from Joseph's Righteousness Roy E. Ciampa....................15
MATTHEW 4:23; 9:35; 10:1, 7 Extending Jesus Scot McKnight....................18
MATTHEW 5:17–20 Jesus and the Law and Prophets Scot McKnight....................21
MATTHEW 28:19–20A The Great Commission Craig L. Blomberg....................24
MARK 1:24 Holy One of God Gary Manning Jr....................27
MARK 2:3–5A Jesus Heals the Paralytic David Wallace....................29
MARK 5:25–27 Discovering the Main Verb Dean Deppe....................31
LUKE 2:4–5 Mary and Joseph Travel to Bethlehem Verlyn D. Verbrugge....................33
LUKE 18:9–14 Whose Righteousness? J. Scott Duvall....................35
LUKE 23:34 A Close-Up View of Forgiveness Max J. Lee....................38
JOHN 1:3, 17 [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in John 1:1–18 Edward W. Klink III....................41
JOHN 1:50–51 You and You Dean Deppe....................43
JOHN 11:38 Jesus Gets Angry at Death J. Scott Duvall....................46
JOHN 13:4 Taking Up the Cross Matt Williams....................48
JOHN 15:2–3 Play on Words William D. Mounce....................50
ACTS 5:38–39 Conditional Clauses Matter Darrell L. Bock....................52
ACTS 20:22 Paul: Bound in the Spirit for Jerusalem Mark W. Wilson....................54
ACTS 26:14 Kicking against the Goads Ben Witherington III....................56
ROMANS 1:17 Paul's (Often-Missed) Pointer to an Old Testament Text Roy E. Ciampa....................58
ROMANS 5:1 Peace with God Gary M. Burge....................61
ROMANS 8:28 God and Human Tragedy Craig L. Blomberg....................64
1 CORINTHIANS 3:17A God Will Destroy Temple Destroyers? Keith Krell....................67
1 CORINTHIANS 6:11 The Way Some of Us Were Paul Jackson....................70
1 CORINTHIANS 12:7 Why Is the Body of Christ Important? Michelle Lee-Barnewall....................72
2 CORINTHIANS 5:16–17 All Things New Linda Belleville....................75
GALATIANS 1:3–5 The Gospel in Galatians J. R. Dodson....................77
GALATIANS 3:8 God's Promise to Bless All Nations Mark Strauss....................80
EPHESIANS 2:19–22 The [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]-Mirror of Christian Salvation and Christian Unity Constantine R. Campbell....................83
EPHESIANS 5:18–22 Being Filled With the Spirit David L. Mathewson....................85
PHILIPPIANS 1:12 Knowing Christ More David Wallace....................88
PHILIPPIANS 2:5 The Complete Work of Christ Lynn H. Cohick....................91
PHILIPPIANS 3:7–8 One-Upmanship J. R. Dodson....................94
PHILIPPIANS 3:20–21 Conformed to Christ Lynn H. Cohick....................96
COLOSSIANS 1:24–26 Redemptive Suffering and the Mystery Revealed David M. Morgan....................99
COLOSSIANS 3:4 Christ, Your Life Gary Manning Jr....................102
1 THESSALONIANS 5:19–20 Quench or Extinguish: What Are We Not Supposed to Do to the Spirit? Mark W. Wilson....................104
2 THESSALONIANS 2:11–14 Behind the Scenes David M. Morgan....................107
1 TIMOTHY 6:17–19 Investments for Abundant Life Linda Belleville....................109
2 TIMOTHY 1:12B Guarding the Deposit Verlyn D. Verbrugge....................112
2 TIMOTHY 3:16 All Scripture C. Marvin Pate....................114
TITUS 2:11–14 What Makes You Tick? Joel Willitts and Jameson Ross....................117
PHILEMON 10–11, 20 Persuasive Puns Kenneth Berding....................119
HEBREWS 1:1–2A The Miracle of God's Speaking to Us George Guthrie....................122
HEBREWS 10:24–25 Consider Whom? Keith Krell....................125
JAMES 1:5–8 How to Ask for Wisdom Alan S. Bandy....................128
1 PETER 1:7 The Testing of Faith Constantine R. Campbell....................131
2 PETER 1:5–8 Hint: He's Hiding in the Subject Joel Willitts and Jameson Ross....................133
1 JOHN 3:6, 9; 5:18 Can a Christian Be Free from Sin? Gary M. Burge....................135
JUDE 3 Fight for the Faith William D. Mounce....................138
REVELATION 1:4 The One Who Is, the One Who Was, and the One Who Is Coming Alan S. Bandy....................140
REVELATION 2:20 When Forgiveness Is a Sin Max J. Lee....................143
REVELATION 5:7 Focusing Attention on Christ David L. Mathewson....................145
The Authors....................149

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Devotions on the Greek New Testament: 52 Reflections to Inspire and Instruct 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Mphilliber More than 1 year ago
While in Seminary, the value of learning Koine Greek and Hebrew can quickly get lost in all the vocabulary memorization, learning of declensions, and parsing of passages. And then once one leaves seminary, it is a rarity for one to keep up with their biblical language skills. There are some tools floating around that try to help, by making original language readings devotional; but those are far and few between. Not long ago J. Scott Duvall and Verlyn D. Verbrugge, have compiled a small, manageable devotional guide from the Greek New Testament. This 154 page paperback has 52 entries written by 31 reputable New Testament scholars, such as Craig Blomberg, Darrell Bock, Scot McKnight, William Mounce, Ben Witherington III, to name just a few. The 52 readings start with Matthew and work their way, in order, through to Revelation. Each entry begins with a short piece from the Greek New Testament. Then the author of that particular devotion unpacks the text (and context) pointing out the salient grammatical items, drawing from other passages and wrapping up to a conclusion. Each section covers around two pages, but the brevity is its brilliance! Though a reader may have forgotten most of their Greek grammar, each author patiently and quickly explains a grammatical point but doesn't belabor the issue. And because an individual devotion is short, but substantive, the reader is able to "keep their study of Greek a deeply Spiritual experience" (11). "Devotions on the Greek New Testament" is a real jewel! It's perfect for the seminarian, or seminary-trained person. I have found myself regularly ending a devotion praying and rejoicing in the goodness of God! I recommend that you hustle out and get this book for yourself or for that person in your life who had to take Greek in seminary.