We briefly corresponded with Dr. Murray J. Harris about the most recent volume in B&H Academic’s Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament series on John’s Gospel.
In closely analyzing the original text of John’s Gospel, what has been the most surprising or thrilling discovery?
In my analysis of the Greek text of John’s Gospel I was amazed to discover again how simple yet profound this Fourth Gospel is. Its exquisite simplicity of diction is matched by its stunning profundity of thought. As the Logos, Jesus Christ is the inward and expressed Thought of God, the unique and perfect expression of God the Father.
(2) What word of encouragement would you offer students or preachers working through the Fourth Gospel?
If students or preachers working through the Fourth Gospel follow my suggestion given below, they will become lovers of the text and, more importantly, lovers of Jesus Christ, the Word spoken of in the text.
(3) You were once been described as “the type of scholar who spends a Sunday afternoon reading classical Greek for pleasure.” What habits of study, reading, and writing have you found most helpful in your decades of research and work in the academy? Another way to put it: what disciplines have you sought to emulate for and inculcate in your students?
Whatever grain of truth there might be in that overstatement, I prefer now to spend my Sunday afternoons and all my days in caring for my wife of 52 years who has suffered from multiple sclerosis (MS) for over 25 years. As for the study habit that has proved most helpful in my academic career, it is this. There is no better way to become proficient in Greek, to gain a “feel” for the language, and to become enriched by the theology of the New Testament than the regular memorization of the Greek text. Paste a photocopy of verses or sections of the text on to cards and carefully reflect on it as you go about your daily exercise.
Murray J. Harris is professor emeritus of New Testament Exegesis and Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and former warden of Tyndale House in Cambridge, England.
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