V. George Shillington.
Believers Church Bible Commentary
Elmer A. Martens and Willard M. Swartley, eds.
Waterloo, Ont.: Herald Press, 1998.
Paperback, 309 pp.
This commentary shares the strengths of the series – it is thoughtfully structured, contains good outlines of specific passages and moves towards an application consistent with Anabaptist thought.
Shillington’s particular strength is scholarly awareness of the rhetorical and theological threads which make up the tapestry of 2 Corinthians. He paints a vivid picture of the tensions and issues within this church and their effect on Paul’s writings.
The book combines sociological analysis with theological references to Anabaptist founders and church fathers. It addresses a significant number of comments to critical issues in current debate. The book would be of interest to those teaching Pauline studies or those looking for up-to-date insights for messages or articles.
Paul writes this letter to persuade the Corinthians toward a view of ministry consistent with the sacrificial grace of Christ. Shillington’s interpretation is guided by the structure of Paul’s use of the art of persuasion common in his day. The difficult structure of the book is seen as originating in two parts, chapters 1-9 and 10-13.
Shillington is familiar with Anabaptist history and authors, tying together themes of peacemaking and reconciliation. His applications reflect the relationship between modern culture and biblical thought as viewed from an Anabaptist vantage. He has a current and extensive bibliography.
The book is difficult to read quickly, and the reader needs time to navigate the style and digest the thoughts presented. An awareness of other works in the sociological study of Paul’s writings would help the reader with understanding.
—Rick Schellenberg teaches New Testament and pastoral care at Bethany Bible Institute in Hepburn, Sask.