At the end of January, I am leading a church day-seminar on how to study the Bible in depth (at my brother-in-law’s church in Holland, Michigan). One of my responsibilities is to equip laypeople to use Bible study resources that are not esoteric or that require knowledge of Biblical languages. This is the first time I have had to use a reverse-interlinear and an ink-and-paper concordance (I have relied on Bibleworks for many years).
One resource I think that is invaluable is Walter Wilson’s new Pauline Parallels: A Comprehensive Guide (WJK, 2009). Wilson offers a listing a parallels to Pauline texts in a number of categories. First, for each passage (in canonical order), he lists intratextual parallels – within the same letter. Then he offers inter-Pauline parallels – similar passages from other letters of the Pauline corpus. Then, he gives canonical parallels – from the OT and NT apart from the letters of Paul. Finally, he gives “noncanonical” parallels. He only does this last one on occasion and usually it is from Jewish writings, but it is very useful and a handy quick-reference resource.
Computer programs can do word searches and find similar texts, but there is something special about one person thinking through the relationships and finding things that might not be picked up on in Bibleworks or Accordance.
For instance, in relation to Romans 5:6-11, Wilson offers in parallel Seneca’s comment: ‘Why, then, do I acquire a friend? In order to have someone for whom I may die, in order to have someone I may follow into exile, someone against whose death I may pledge and stake my life.” (Moral Epistles, 9.10). Wow! How interesting!
You may not agree with every choice in this book, but the volume, as a whole, is very handy and he makes lots of significant links that I had not thought of before, especially between Paul and other parts of the NT.
This is a resource that will never become outdated (except that More Old Testament Pseudepigrapha will be published!). It is very affordable for the value and I think every Paulinist (and New Testament researcher) should have it. Also, of course, I am recommending it to pastors and laypeople as a way of connecting concepts and themes in the Bible and understanding Paul better in the process!