Murray J Harris; Lexham Press, 2020 (p226) ISBN 9781683593959

“Kiwi Murray Harris is one of the gifts of God to the global church.”

That’s how I started my last review of one of Harris’s books. After reading Navigating Tough Texts: A Guide to Problem Passages in the New Testament, that is even more so my assessment.

Navigating Tough Texts is Harris taking 57 texts from the Gospels and Acts, and a further 66 from the Epistles and Revelation, and using his vast experience as a New Testament Greek scholar (Harris was part of the NIV translation committee) to summarise why that text can cause problems, and to suggest how the original Greek can help in our present confusion.

In each case, Harris uses just a few paragraphs to make passages that are hard to understand and hard to apply appear far less intimidating. My common response to each short chapter was to go “Oh, I see now, that makes sense. Why didn’t I see that before?”

This is applying the fruits of Harris’s lifelong Greek language study crisply, succinctly and helpfully. It shows that Harris wants all his readers to understand that the New Testament is God’s Word, that it holds innate authority in everything for us, and that we have work to do to wrestle and understand just what it is that God said to those in the past and is saying to us in the present.

As a slight disappointment, not all the passages that I myself have found tough to understand have received the Harris clarity treatment. However, I assume Harris and the publisher had to limit the size of the volume—it is a remarkably concise book given the ground it covers.

This is the sort of book to have on the shelf for all who lead Bible studies or preach, as a companion to aid our own studies of New Testament passages.

I commend this book to you.

There is an interesting background interview with Harris here.

Reviewer: Tim Hodge


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