This publication deals with a biblical theology of prayer based on the New Testament. It forms the second of a two-volume publication on a biblical theology of prayer, dealing with the concept of prayer in the Old and New Testament, respectively. This New Testament volume begins with an introduction on prayer and worship in early Jewish tradition, followed by eleven chapters dealing with New Testament corpora. It concludes with a final chapter synthesising the findings of the respective investigations of the Old and New Testament corpora to provide a summative theological perspective of the development of the concept of prayer through scripture.
Prayer forms a major and continuous theme throughout the biblical text. Prayer was an integral part of the religious existence of God’s people in both the Old and New Testament. It underwent its greatest developments during, after and as a result of the Exile and was deepened and transformed in the New Testament. In both the Old and the New Testament, God is the sole ‘addressee’ of his people’s prayer. This conviction continued into the New Testament, but was broadened with Trinitarian elements of worship, adoration and intercession.
A biblical theological investigation is chosen as methodology. Since all the biblical books form part of one canonical text, the assumption is that the various theologies about prayer being displayed in these books can be synthesised into a developing meta-theology about prayer. As the Old and New Testament form part of the canonical text, the results about prayer in the Old Testament can be brought into play with the results about prayer in the New Testament. This eventually leads toward an overarching biblical theology of prayer.
Copyright (c) 2023 Francois P Viljoen, Albert J Coetsee (Volume editors)
This book focuses on and expands upon the Biblical Theology of prayer. Biblical Theology, as understood and applied by the authors of this volume, is a thematic approach that concentrates on the final text of the New Testament within the parameters of the Protestant biblical canon. A wealth of relevant material about prayer in the New Testament is brought together, almost overwhelmingly so. Any scholar wishing to study prayer in the New Testament at large or in one of its individual writings will unavoidably have to take cognisance of this study.
Whether prayer is worship, thanksgiving, petition, intercession, hymn, confession or simply the assorted Greek words underlying these prayers, this book is the one to take at hand. All the relevant places where prayer occurs in the New Testament are thoroughly exegeted, book-by-book. Especially prominent is the well-grounded way the Greek words and vocabulary dealing with prayer are semantically analysed, using, inter alia, Louw & Nida’s Greek-English lexicon of semantic domains.
The New Testament records are brought into play with how prayer is employed in the Old Testament to acquire a comprehensive theological perspective on prayer as portrayed in the Bible. A host of theologians, all experts in their respective fields, were brought together for this book and organised exegetical findings into well-structured categories which aid in understanding how prayer was an integral part of the lives of faith communities and individual believers in antiquity.
This book will be a true vade mecum concerning studying prayer in the New Testament. It will be a scholar’s first stop to obtain the necessary data and systematisations for further investigation.
Prof. Hermie van Zyl, Department of Old and New Testament Studies, Faculty of Theology
and Religion, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa