Interview with Gary Shogren on 1 and 2 Thessalonians in the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament Series

 

Gary Shogren (Ph.D., Kings College, Aberdeen University) was raised in small-town New England, in a family that had roots back to the founding of Rhode Island in the 1600s and to the Puritan movement in England. He grew up in the Baptist church and came to believe in Christ at the age of 6. When he was a teenager, a series of experiences led him to a deeper walk with God and a sense that God was calling him into ministry. He served as a pastor and then for 25 years as a professor of New Testament.

In 1998 he and his family moved to Costa Rica to learn Spanish, so that he could teach at ESEPA Bible College and Seminary in San José, Costa Rica (http://esepa.org). He has written a number of articles and several books, including articles in the Anchor Bible Dictionary, Novum Testamentum, and Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels; a Greek grammar textbook by Stylus Publishing; Running in Circles, a guide for people who suffer from addiction (available from his blog); a commentary on 1-2 Thessalonians (Zondervan); a commentary on 1 Corinthians that will be published in Spanish (CLIE) and English (Logos Software, also available on his English blog). He is married to Karen and has four grown children.

1. What previous research and/or personal interests led you to this project and helped prepare you to write this commentary on 1 and 2 Thessalonians?

I wrote my doctoral thesis on the kingdom of God in Pauline theology, and this was very relevant for a study of 1-2 Thessalonians. I also have a long-standing interest in eschatology, in particular what I see as Paul’s teaching of a post-tribulational rapture.

2. Who is the intended audience for this commentary? Would it benefit pastors? professors? students? lay Christians in the local church?

Zondervan asked me to write this for pastors, and for that reason this volume and all the books in the series are strongly oriented toward how to move from text to sermon.

3. What is unique about this commentary? What contribution does it make to studies of 1 and 2 Thessalonians?

It is written from my perspective as a Christian worker in Latin America and so I deal with missionary issues. Very few commentaries are written by career missionaries.

4. Besides your commentary, what are your top recommended books (commentaries or otherwise) on 1 and 2 Thessalonians?

Malherbe in the Anchor Bible; Wanamaker in the NIGNT series; Béda Rigaux in French is still a standard after many years. Gene Green’s commentary in the PNTC series has excellent insights, especially in the Introduction. Also Malherbe, Paul and the Thessalonians: The Philosophic Tradition of Pastoral Care; Eckhard J. Schnabel, Paul the Missionary: Realities, Strategies and Methods.

5. What is next for you? What project are you currently working on? How can people follow your work and ministry?

I am working on a devotional study called Collisions, on what happens when God’s workers face disappointments in their ministries.

Readers can keep up with me on openoureyeslord.com, or in Spanish on razondelaesperanza.com.


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