Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Grace Journal
Volume: GJ 02:2 (Spring 1961)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

The Epistle to the Romans. By John Murray. Wm. B. Eerdmons Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, 1959. xxv & 408 pp., $5.00.

Another volume in the significant series entitled “The New International Commentary on the New Testament,” this book, which is volume one of a projected two-volume work, is outstanding among recently published works on Romans.

The Epistle to the Romans is a verse-by-verse exposition of the first eight chapters. The author’s approach to the Scripture is reverent and devout, yet this is more than a “devotional” commentary. It is erudite and scholarly, but at the some time it is lucid and readable. Technical details, especially those involving use of the Bible’s original languages, have been relegated to footnotes, thus making the commentary usable for laymen who may be unfamiliar with Greek and Hebrew.

While it is neither an “exegetical” nor a “critical” commentary, this does not prevent the writer from including much helpful material of this nature wherever he finds it apropos. The Old Testament quotations in Romans are well handled and include discussions of the Hebrew and LXX renderings where necessary.

With regard to variations in Romans’ Greek text, the author, while not posing as an expert, calls attention to variant readings in some 35 instances. His restrained manner of handling the text at these points is appreciated. One could wish that in each instance every variation had been listed and that all the available evidence for each variant had been cited. In this way the person who is interested would be saved the trouble of having to go elsewhere. There is no point in citing partial evidence for readings. The reader who knows enough about textual criticism so that he is able to evaluate the sigla used, will not be content with less than the entire picture. Therefore, if all of the evidence is not given, it would be better for the commentator to list none at all. In its place, he might refer to the external evidence for his preference in general terms.

Murray is objective in his statement of interpretations with which he does not agree. Having delineated the various views of a passage, often including the chief arguments for their support, he then proceeds to a logical defense of his own preference which is usually based on an exegetical treatment of the passage in question. There is no doubt that the background and specialized career of the author (Professor of Systematic Theology at Westminister Theological Seminary since 1937) has eminently qualified him for the exposition of Romans. Murray is at his best where he is unfolding the grand theme of “justification by faith” and he unequivocally defends its forensic nature.

Though he do...

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