The reality of studying the Bible is that the deeper you dive into your study, the wider the arguments and possible ways there are to interpret a pericope. When knowing a particular way to understand a verse or word, drawing definite lines is not always easy. With the series that Kregel has launched, drawing the lines (literally) has become their main objective.
Bateman has done his homework and you can tell he has spent years pouring over the subject at hand. An easy way to explain the book is to first say that it is divided into four sections:
I. INTRODUCTORY CONSIDERATIONS IN HEBREWS (Authorship, destination, recipients, dating, genre & structure)
II. OLD TESTAMENT AND SECOND TEMPLE INFLUENCES IN HEBREWS (OT quotes and allusions, Jewish cultic system, Second Temple high priesthood, Second Temple messianic figures)
III. THEOLOGY IN HEBREWS (The Godhead, theological themes, words of exhortation
IV. EXEGETICAL MATTERS IN HEBREWS (Interpretive issues, text critical issues, figures of speech, important words).
If you want to know what people have believed throughout the years, all of the way up until the present age, than this book lays information such as that out in a clean and understandable way. Bateman has sorted through the commentators himself, leaving you with the raw data. The same goes for dates or recipients and the like. Bateman supplies a lengthy, well-respected bibliography at the close of his text for further study. Where a text like this is most helpful is in displaying the wide-range of perspectives that the book of Hebrews has stirred. That is not to diminish any one opinion on the book (such as who we are to view is the audience, which in turns has a result on how we interpret the manuscript), rather, a text like this shows the magnitude of God. God has provided a beautifully complex book that begs His children to worship the King, of which all of Scripture speaks of.
This book is great for both scholars and clergymen, professors or pastors. What makes this particularly appealing to professors is the size of the book. It’s 8 1/2 by 11!! That’s perfection if you’re looking to make copies for your students (or, pastors, you can make copies for your audience as well! Churches are allowed to get all studious, too!).
I’d encourage anyone who wishes to tread through the book of Hebrews to pick up a copy, as it gives the learner much broader of a context when seeking to understand the book of Hebrews. Yes, charts can be a little dry sometimes, but it sure does help to organize all of the information that commentaries seem to throw at you.
Herbert W. Bateman, IV. Charts on the Book of Hebrews.
Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel, 2012. 266 pages, pb. $26.99.
“Herbert Bateman’s latest contribution on the book of Hebrews is truly excellent. I appreciate the effort he put into it. Anyone willing to dig into the treasures of this book of charts will not be disappointed.”
– David Alan Black, Professor of New Testament and Greek, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
“Professor Bateman has managed to distill and organize an astonishing variety of perspectives, problems, and data into charts that provide almost immediate visual access to a wide range of issues and problems that must be faced by all interpreters of Hebrews. His survey of contemporary views provides a judicious cross section of English scholarship on contested areas of Hebrews. The perennial questions of authorship, manuscript support, canon, background, structure, Old Testament citations, and much more are well represented. The range, reliability, and clarity of the charts will make this a gold mine for both beginning and advanced students of this challenging but vital New Testament discourse.”
– Jon Laansma, Associate Professor of Ancient Languages and New Testament, Wheaton College
” Contemporary commentaries and monographs offer rich help for navigating the book, but most students find digging for their treasures overwhelming. Bateman has pulled together a phenomenal amount of useful information in a way that is clear and easily accessible. What a helpful, substantive resource! This will be a standard tool in my classes on Hebrews from this point on.”
– George Guthrie, Benjamin W. Perry Professor of Bible, Union University
“This will be a godsend to students and pastors working their way through this sometimes enigmatic book.”
– Samuel Lamerson, Professor of New Testament, Knox Seminary
“Herb Bateman is eminently qualified to write on Hebrews.”
– David L. Allen, Dean, School of Theology, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
* This book was provided free by Kregel Academic with my promise to post an unbiased review.