Mark by the Book


By: Smuts, Peter

Categories: ,

ISBN: 9781596384408

9 in stock

Mark by the Book – A New Multidirectional Method for Understanding the Synoptic Gospels by P.W. Smuts.

Dr. Smuts uses the gospel of Mark as a springboard to compel readers to interpret the Synoptic Gospels againt the broader sweep of history by advocating a “multidirectional” hermeneutic – one that looks downwards into the immediate text, sideways into parallel traditions, backwards into the Old Testament background, and forward into the relevant New Testament passages.

“This approach exposes the meaning in each pericope with powerful and remarkable insight” – Michael Horton

Foreword by Dennis Johnson

P.W. Smuts (Ph.D.) teaches hermeneutics, homiletics, and biblical Greek at the Bible Institute of South Africa in Cape Town




1 review for Mark by the Book

  1. raynardsims

    Mark by the book was written by a New Testament professor from the Bible Institute of South Africa with two decades of teaching experience. While writing the book, he said that whether or not it was published, his goal was that it would still be used to help his students with their hermeneutics, synoptic gospels and homiletics studies. To summarize the entire book: he demonstrates his “multidirectional method” of hermeneutics using the example of Mark’s gospel.

    Smuts writes that, “the purpose of this book is to address this problem (misunderstanding and the application of the text) by describing and applying a straightforward approach to the interpretation of the Synoptic Gospels that can benefit any interpreter of these Scriptures” (pg xvi). Smuts seeks to achieve this by applying a multidirectional method of reading the Scriptures to correctly understand and apply the text.

    The multidirectional method is comprised four “directions” in which to read the Gospel:

    Sideways: Consider the other gospels in regards to their “agreements and differences in the wording and arrangement between parallel materials (that) will alert the reader to the distinctives of each gospel… the goal of a sideways reading is to view all the details of the text in the light shed by the other Gospel writers” (pg xvi-xvii).

    Downward: This is the immediate literary context of the Gospel, reflecting the motion of interpreting the text in light of what precedes and what follows it.

    Backward: This reading factors in the Old Testament background. Smuts adds that, “the fingerprints of the Old Testament are all over the pages of the Gospels” (pg xviii).

    Forward: “The Gospels reflect a time of transition in redemptive history that bridges the old and new covenants. The Gospels deal with the inauguration of God’s kingdom that leads into the church age… the point is that the Gospels and the rest of New Testament revelation represent two different periods in redemptive history,” and so to look at the progress of redemptive history may bring to light a better understanding of the text.

    Why read this book and Who is it for?

    Many may wonder, “Why another book interpreting the Gospels, aren’t there enough commentaries doing this?”

    Yes, there are numerous excellent commentaries on the Gospels, yet this book seeks to show you how to interpret the gospels in light of the rest of Scripture, therefore equipping you with the proper tools to exegete and understand the text more “correctly.”

    I would recommend this book (almost a manual with examples) for those who have not spent much time studying the Gospels; it provides a great foundation from which to start. It is not too technical for the lay person, but at the same time is still stimulating for those who have done some biblical studies, although may not be too helpful for those who are seeking a deep and technical study.

    In conclusion, this book aims to help the reader better understand the Gospels in their correct, whole Bible context, in order that the reader may grasp Christ and his ministry more, and in doing so, honor and praise him more deeply.

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