I suppose it was his name that first caught my attention. I was a young Christian who was just given a wealth of books from the library of a friend. One of the books that I was given was a commentary on the Gospel of John. While skimming through it I noticed the amount of detail and precision that filled the pages. Although at the time I knew not a lick of Greek, I nevertheless appreciated the amount of detail that the author went into. That author was the great New Testament exegete, Charles Kingsley Barrett.
I suppose it is safe to say that C. K. Barrett was one of the main reasons why I not only majored in Greek, but he is also a major influence in regards to academic discipline and rigor. His commentary on John was the gateway for me into the world of academic studies. As I started to branch out into the world of critical studies, Barrett was a helpful guide, pointing me in the direction of many standard academic tomes. As the world of critical scholarship began to open its illustrious doors, I soon began to see the name Barrett around every corner. Not only was Barrett a Johannine scholar, I soon realized that he was trained in classics, and had is hand in almost every scholastic cookie jar in New Testament studies.
So, as the years passed I began to acquire as many of his writings as I could. One work in particular comes to mind. While in college I ran across a reference to a festschrift written honor of Barrett entitled “Paul and Paulinism.” I immediately searched the web for a copy of is work. Not only did I discover it was out of print, but used copies at that time would cost me well over a hundred dollars. Being the starving college student that I was, I sadly had to pass it by. Now flash forward a few years, and a random search of Amazon reveals a copy for the staggering price of $20. Still the starving college student that I am, I could nevertheless pass it by this time.
You can imagine my sadness as I read earlier this morning that Charles Kingsley Barrett passed from this life to glory. He was 94 years old (1917-2011). He spent his career teaching in university of Durham as professor of divinity, retiring in 1982. Barrett was also heavily involved in the Methodist church in England. Some of his works included a two-volume commentary on Acts, commentaries on 1 Corinthians, Romans, articles on the eschatology in Hebrews, Acts, John, and a myriad of other works. So, today I encourage you to pick up a Barrett book or article and read with me the work of a brilliant New Testament exegete.