K:JNWTS 29/2 (September 2014):42
Murray J. Harris, Prepositions and Theology in the Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2012. Cloth. 293 pp. ISBN 978-0-310-4932-1. $42.99.
Prepositions and Theology in the Greek New Testament is a greatly expanded treatment of Murray Harris’s earlier study of Greek prepositions in the New Testament. The Reformers knew that real exegesis is more than philology, but never less than it. Good exegesis starts with good philological knowledge. The book of Harris is correctly subtitled: An Essential Reference Resource for Exegesis. His treatment covers seventeen proper and forty-two improper prepositions. Examples of the latter are χωρὶς and ἄνευ.
Very useful and profound is for example the treatment of ὑπὲρ. Harris shows that ὑπὲρ usually means ‘on behalf of’ or ‘concerning’, but that already in classical Greek there are contexts when it has the meaning ‘in the place of’. This is very important for a proper understanding of New Testament texts such as John 11:50, 2 Cor. 5:14, 20 and Gal. 3:10. Here we see that the death of Christ has a vicarious and substitutionary meaning.
In two separate chapters Harris discusses the prepositions used with βαπτίζω and πιστεύω/πίστις.
Comprehensive indices to hundreds of verses and subjects greatly contribute to the usefulness of Harris’s study. Prepositions and Theology in the Greek New Testament is a very valuable tool for exegesis for pastors and students with a workable knowledge of Greek.
—Pieter de Vries