John Bengel's Gnomon is a classic Greek New Testament Commentary, the fruit of twenty years labor. Bengel condenses more matter into a line than other writers say in pages. It is said that Bengel could convey in two sentences where other authors needed two pages to say.
Bengel modestly entitled his work a Gnomon or index, a symbol of his desire for the reader to ascertain the meaning, than to save him from the trouble of personal investigation.
Bengel's principles of interpretation were to import nothing into Scripture, but to draw out of it everything that it really contained, conforming to grammatico-historical rules—not to be hampered by dogmatical considerations; and not to be influenced by the symbolical books. Bengel's hope that the Gnomon would help to rekindle a fresh interest in the study of the New Testament was fully realized.
Through his authorship of the Gnomon, Bengel is regarded as the pioneer of the modern Bible commentary. His Gnomon exerted considerable influence on exegesis in Germany and beyond. John Wesley's Notes on the New Testament, which were widely-read and extrememly influential in the English-speaking world long before Bengel was translated, were largely a paraphrase of Bengel.
One of the definitions of Gnomon is the raised part of the sundial that casts the shadow. While the basic function of a sundial is simple, its function serves the greater purpose of telling time and guiding our day. In the same way the sundial serves a purpose in our lives, knowing the New Testament (as well as the entire Bible) is imperative for every Christian.
C. H. Spurgeon wrote that Bengel's NT commentary "is the Scholar's delight! Bengel condensed more matter into a line than can be extracted from pages of other writers."
John Wesley said of Bengel, "I know of no commentator on the Bible equal to Bengel" and referred to him as, "The great light of the Christian world."
Philip Schaff, who edited and wrote portions of the American edition of Lange's Commentary, said Gnomon is "a marvel of condensation and spiritual insight ... and will remain a classic."