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Mark A. Seifrid

Mark A. Seifrid

Mark A. Seifrid is Ernest and Mildred Hogan Professor of New Testament at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky, and the author of The Second Letter to the Corinthians, the latest volume in The Pillar New Testament Commentary series. 

In this post, he introduces us to his new commentary by way of a whirlwind tour through the book of 2 Corinthians itself. 

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Paul’s message to the Corinthians in this letter is that salvation and the presence of Christ cannot be discerned properly by human judgments. It is not we who judge the Gospel, but the Gospel that judges us. This is so because our judgments are inevitably based on what is outward and visible, and therefore on what is transient rather than what is eternal. In one way or another, even in our attempts at piety, we seek after power, popularity, and success as they appear in the present world. We want a salvation without faith and hope. The Corinthians have succumbed to this idolatry. They have come to worship the gifts instead of the Giver.

This is the issue with which Paul deals in Second Corinthians. What are the proper marks of the Gospel within the world? What are the marks of an apostle who bears the Gospel? In other words, what is the Christian life supposed to look like?

Paul’s authority has been questioned for some time in Corinth. It has come to a critical phase when Paul writes Second Corinthians. Intruders have now appeared, who also claim to be apostles, each one vying for the allegiance of the Corinthian church, and each one offering an display of rhetoric, charisma, and power that places Paul in the shadows. There isno room in this church that lives for power for an apostle who lives in weakness.

The Second Letter to the Corinthians

The Second Letter to the Corinthians

In Corinth, as well as elsewhere, Paul has become the battleground between the Gospel and the world. The Corinthians cannot come to terms with the open contradiction between Paul’s powerful letters and his pitiful presence. Nevertheless, Paul writes a final letter to the Corinthians concerning “the word of the cross.” His message to them is that God grants us final, saving comfort only in suffering, righteousness only in sin, life only in death, power only in weakness. In Christ crucified and risen, human wisdom and strength have been brought to an end, so that the wisdom and power of God may have their place. Salvation is not a matter of being endowed with power, as the Corinthians imagine. It is being brought into a relationship of communication with God in the crucified and risen Christ, in whom suffering, sin, and death meet with the comfort, righteousness and life in which they are overcome. In this meeting of weakness and power, sin and righteousness, death and life, and only here, in Christ, is salvation to be found.

Although the Corinthians do not see it, Christ and his saving power are being displayed before their eyes in the weak apostle who has been sent to them. Paul bears in his body “the deadness of Jesus,” in order that, for the sake of the Corinthians, the resurrected life of Jesus might be manifest in him (4:10). Paul, who trusts in the power of the Gospel among the Corinthians, preaches this Gospel afresh to them. If the Corinthians are to grasp the Gospel, they must grasp it as it is given to them through Paul, and not merely through his words, but through his body and life that they so disdain. They must embrace Christ’s apostle in his weakness if they are to know Christ’s saving power.

That is Paul’s message in this unspeakably profound and wonderful letter. It speaks not merely to the Corinthians. It speaks to us as well.

Click to order Mark Seifrid’s PNTC volume on 2 Corinthians

It’s time for another edition of Ask Eerdmans, in which we attempt to answer some of the more common (and also some of the more uncommon) questions posed to us by readers.

Questions for this series come directly from Eerdmans readers; they may also be passed on to us from editorial assistants, customer service reps, and other members of the Eerdmans staff who regularly encounter and field reader questions.

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Has Joel Green been asked to do a replacement NICNT volume on Acts to go with his volume on Luke?
– Jared Hay

Believe it or not, we receive letters fairly regularly from commentary readers asking for inside information on forthcoming volumes in their favorite series.

And although we don’t generally publicize information about forthcoming books while they’re still years away from completion (too much can happen between a signed contract and a publication date), we do try our best to reply to reader inquiries on a case-by-case basis using the best information we have available at the time.

After submitting the above question via the EerdWord contact form, in fact, Jared Hay received a personal email from our managing editor Linda Bieze.

Dear Mr. Hay:

Thank you for your questions to EerdWord.

Joel Green is under contract to write a new edition of the NICNT on Acts, but his manuscript is still several years away. . . .

Thank you for using Eerdmans books and for sharing your questions with us.

Yours truly,
Linda Bieze
Managing Editor
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

Rest assured: as soon as we do have enough solid information on a forthcoming commentary volume (including an anticipated price and publication date) to make it worth sharing, you’ll be able to find it listed on our website.

Volumes scheduled for release later this year include the following:

The Book of Psalms
(The New International Commentary on the Old Testament)
Nancy deClaisse-Walford, Rolf A. Jacobsen, and Beth LaNeel Tanner

The Second Letter to the Corinthians
(The Pillar New Testament Commentary)
Mark A. Seifrid

Revelation: A Shorter Commentary
G. K. Beale
with David H. Campbell

Fans of the ILLUMINATIONS commentary series can find information about forthcoming volumes (though not, unfortunately, their projected publication dates) on the series website.

When I heard the NIGTC series was only going to be published in
paperback . . . 

– Calvin Would Be Proud

We love The New International Greek Testament Commentary, so switching the series over to paperback this year pained us every bit as much as it did our friends over at Calvin Would Be Proud.

Unfortunately, after crunching the numbers, it was the only way we could realistically afford to keep reprinting older NIGTC volumes, which are noted both for their hefty page counts and their somewhat niche market.

Neither of our other available options appealed to us at all:

  1. Raise the price on hardcover volumes to over $100 apiece.
  2. Let older volumes in the series go out of print.

We hope our faithful NIGTC readers can understand the difficult decision we faced — and why we ultimately chose the course of action we did.

For the time being, we do still have hardcover editions of several volumes in stock. Check out our website (scroll down) to browse the selection.

Do you have a question for Ask Eerdmans? Ask away! We’ll do our best to answer it in a future post. Leave us a comment below or use our contact form to send us a message. 

Welcome once again to Eerdmans All Over, a Friday roundup of all the Eerdmans-related news, reviews, interviews, and other interesting online content we can gather in a given week.

Recent Releases

 

The Legend of Saint Nicholas

The Legend of Saint Nicholas
Anselm Grün and Giuliano Ferri

Faith Seeking Understanding
Daniel L. Migliore

Touch of the Sacred: The Practice, Theology, and Tradition of Christian Worship
F. Gerrit Immink

Katharine Drexel: The Riches-to-Rags Story of an American Catholic Saint
Cheryl C. D. Hughes

Secular Government, Religious People
Ira C. Lupu and Robert W. Tuttle

 

News from Eerdmans . . .

  • Eerdmans and the Christian publishing industry was listed as one of “34 Things You Probably Didn’t Know about Grand Rapids” by Movoto.

. . . and elsewhere.

Have we missed any news, reviews, or other online miscellany dealing with Eerdmans or EBYR books or authors from the last week? Please let us know in the comments. You also can post items on our Facebook timeline, mention us on Twitter (@eerdmansbooks or @ebyrbooks), or write to us directly: webmaster@eerdmans.com.

Amplifying Our Witness

(Click to order.)

Welcome once again to Eerdmans All Over, a Friday roundup of all the Eerdmans-related news, reviews, interviews, and other interesting online content we can find in a given week.

New this week:

Amplifying Our Witness: Giving Voice to Adolescents with Developmental Disabilities
Benjamin T. Connor

Paul’s Letter to the Romans
(Pillar New Testament Commentary)

Colin G. Kruse

The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau
Michelle Markel
Illustrated by Amanda Hall

News from Eerdmans . . . 

  • We welcome to Eerdmans this week Ahna Terpstra, our new Internet marketing assistant. Ahna is a recent graduate of Calvin College, where she studied communication arts and sciences. Although she will be assisting us in a variety of ways, she is especially excited for the opportunity to use her love of videography and video editing to help us expand our YouTube library of book trailers and other video content. We’re excited, too!

. . . and elsewhere.

Have we missed any news, reviews, or other online miscellany dealing with Eerdmans or EBYR books or authors from the last week? Let us know in the comments.

You can also tip us off to relevant items at any time either by posting them on our Facebook timeline or by mentioning us (@eerdmansbooks or @ebyrbooks) on Twitter. 

Note: In the original version of this post, we incorrectly listed Paul Zahl as the author of the Christianity Today article “By Grace You Are Mature.” David Zahl is the actual author, and the post has been updated to correct our mistake.

Milton Essenburg

Milton Essenburg

Milton Essenburg has worked at Eerdmans for forty-five years. He specializes in editing and proofreading commentaries and theological works.  He also checks proofs before they are sent to the printer.

 ***

For some time I had dreamed of starting the best commentary series on the market. Then, in 1990, with the demise of The Reformed Journal and an empty nest at home, I had more time to make that dream come true.

First, I read the article “Which Is the Best Commentary?” by I. Howard Marshall in the November 1991 issue of The Expository Times. Of his three categories of commentary I liked the mid-sized one — not too technical but offering enough help for preaching and exposition. I also relished his comment, “The ideal is a combination of exegesis and exposition in a readable fashion.”

Second, I visited neighboring seminaries and found that they preferred commentaries featuring solid exegesis, profound theological reflection, a firm grasp of the totality picture of the biblical book, creative readings and interpretations, and, if not direct application, at least strong hints in that direction.

In looking for a model for such a series, I ended up with D. A. Carson’s The Gospel of John. Now Carson’s John was an overgrown Tyndale New Testament Commentary, and I had been impressed with a number of Tyndale’s authors, including Douglas Moo and N. T. Wright. But since it was first published by Inter-Varsity Press of the United Kingdom, we would also have to make arrangements with them.

Since Carson’s John had a pillar on its cover, I decided to call the series The Pillar New Testament Commentary. That may sound silly, but authors like R. K. Harrison (in the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia) point out that pillars represent reliability, solidity, substantiality, and permanence, that they held up temples, and that in pagan circles they were intended to bring glory to the gods (for us read soli Deo gloria!).

I wrote D. A. Carson about my ideas, and he was highly favorable toward them. But, as might be expected, he went far beyond, which is why we later named him General Editor of the series.

On November 27, 1992, Carson replied to my letter, “I think that there is an enormous market (and need!) for commentaries that are warm — that is, written from a perspective in which the author attempts no artificial ‘objectivity’ but writes as a Christian at a high level of competence but with devotion displayed in the way he or she shapes sentences and paragraphs. Within such a framework some overt application or useful historical parallel can be slipped in to strengthen the nurturing component in the book. The unique factor in the Pillar series, as I see it, is that the series as a whole is not too technical, and every volume has as a goal not merely the conveying of information but something of nurture and edification as well.” (Compare Marshall’s remarks above.)

He continues, “Ideally, the Pillar series should be first-class exegesis capturing the flow of the argument, with sufficient interaction with the secondary literature to ensure that the work is current, while at the same time reflecting unselfconscious warmth, a certain spiritual vitality that shows itself in the form of expression and in unobtrusive application.”

In developing the PNTC, we set out to create the very best sort of Bible commentary series, and I truly believe that we have succeeded. Thus, I agree wholeheartedly with Matthew Miller in his March 9, 2010, Christianbook.com blog post that Eerdmans’ Pillar New Testament Commentary is now “The Best Commentary on the Market” for three reasons — (1) its series editor, D. A. Carson; (2) the degree to which it has met its goals; and (3) the strength of its authors. To this he adds, “The foundation is in place for The Pillar New Testament Commentary to become the best New Testament commentary of all time.” It’s a dream come true.

For more information see “The Pillar New Testament Commentary” on Eerdmans.com and google The Pillar New Testament Commentary.

Click on the cover images below to order the latest in the Pillar New Testament Commentary series:

The Letter to the Hebrews Pillar Commentary series   The First Letter to the Corinthians Pillar New Testament Commentary

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