We wrote to John Harvey to ask him a few questions about his journey in exegeting Romans. Anyone who’s spent that much time in the Greek of such a world-changing epistle must have some knowledge to pass along.
We’ve all been waiting for an EGGNT guide on Romans (at least I have!). How daunting was it to tackle this long and important letter by Paul? Did the execution of the project align with your expectations?
It was primarily a matter of pacing over time. I set a pace of four chapters per year and, by God’s grace, was able to stay on pace. It was an enriching experience to interact in detail with some of the more significant commentaries on Romans.
Much of the EGGNT work is restricted to the clause level, purposefully. Do you try to interact much with the wider discourse when considering individual phrases, or do you take it phrase by phrase more so in isolation from the rest of the discourse structure?
Consideration of the wider discourse occurs in the Structure sections that introduce the more detailed discussion of each passage.
Having just finished this guide, what are some of the most helpful classic and recent works on Romans that would help students and pastors the most in exegesis?
As the Introduction notes, Longenecker’s commentary explores the history of scholarship at some length; Schreiner’s commentary does a good job of discussing the overall argument of the letter; Moo’s commentary is helpful on exegetical details; Jewett’s commentary is helpful on the structure of each passage and on scholarly bibliography as a whole.
Are there any significant exegetical issues that you changed your mind on while working through Romans, or anything new about the epistle that you really enjoyed learning?
There were few major issues on which I changed my position, but there were numerous details on which I sharpened my understanding. I particularly enjoyed working through 15:14-16:27, including thinking through the significance of the extended greetings in chapter 16.
What can we look for you to publish in the next 5-10 years?
I hope to have an expository commentary on Romans submitted to the publisher by the end of 2017. It builds on the exegetical work of the EGGNT volume with a focus on communicating the message of the text. I would then like to take a similar approach either to Matthew’s Gospel or to Paul’s prison letters.
Our thanks to Dr. Harvey for discussing his work on Romans with us briefly. Check out his guide to Romans on Amazon, paperback or the cheaper Kindle version. To read more about the book, check out our rundown.