Category Archives: Biblical Commentaries

Mark, A Commentary, by M. Eugene Boring

descargaThe Gospel of Mark presents many challenges for preachers and students who are immense in the study and exposition of this dynamic gospel. That is why it is always helpful having thorough commentaries. Mark, A Commentary, by M. Eugene Boring (Westminster John Knox Press, 2006), is one of those commentaries that will help expositors have a broader perspective on this gospel.

This volume is part of the well-known series The New Testament Library. The author provided us with a very complete volume. In his introduction, Boring addresses every pertinent issue regarding the Gospel of Mark; genre, authorship, date of composition, story, and other pertinent discussions.

The commentary section is both informative and constructive. The author divides the text in major blocks and then he follows a verse by verse pattern. Boring presents different points of view and interpretations when the text requires so, not necessarily forcing readers to adopt one interpretation or the other. The author also provides a variety of excursuses on topics that are worth of further discussion, and he does that with a great insight. Excursuses are to clarifying or to provide additional information, and Boring does so in a magnificent way.

The table of contents serves as the outline of this gospel, and it is written from an exegetical perspective. This commentary is an exegetical commentary from the beginning to the end. The textual notes provided by the author are illuminating and informative. Greek terms are included. However, Boring makes use of Greek terms when necessary and with the purpose of helping readers to better understand a given verse and without interrupting the reading of the text. The bibliography is so complete and will help readers to expand their study of the Gospel of Mark.

Summarizing, this is an outstanding commentary on the Gospel of Mark that will provide pastors, expositors, and students with a great amount of information in a well-organized approach. Perhaps you already have good commentaries on the Gospel of Mark, but Boring’s volume will be an excellent addition to your library as well as to your own life.

Buy this book from publisher or from Amazon

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

The Gospel of Matthew and Judaic Traditions: A Relevance-based Commentary, by Novel by Herbert Basser and Marsha B. Cohen

descargaChristians sometimes tend to assume our Bible, especially the New Testament, was written exclusively from a Christian background. We tend to forget all of the writers, with the exception of Luke, were Jewish people subject to their own culture and its idiosyncrasies. Because of that, it is important we study our Bible taking into account the authors’ times and customs.

The Gospel of Matthew has always been object of study as a part of the Synoptic Gospels. In recent decades, the authorship of this Gospel has been the focus of many studies and discussions. In this volume (published by Brill), Basser focuses the attention on oral tradition and storytellers after the resurrection of Jesus. He states, his thesis in this volume is, “that immediately after the death of Jesus, storytellers began to relate and circulate stories of the miracles of Jesus and his core teachings” (2015, p. 1). No discussion on date, audience, or authorship is included in this volume. The only statement the author makes regarding one of these aspects is in reference to the authorship of the book. Basser states that in is work, Matthew is “a proper noun [Basser uses] to collectively denote the various authors responsible for the Gospel bearing that name” (2015, p. 1). That clearly states Basser does not advocate for Matthew as the author, or at least the only author, of the Gospel.

This commentary is unique in the sense that the main sources the author uses are from Jewish writings and tradition, some of them classic of the Jewish collection of writings. The author does not limit his work to modern and recent studies, and it can even be said that these are the exception.

In this commentary, Readers will find a commentary verse by verse, but without the author deeply focusing on grammatical and lexical issues, though Basser addresses them when necessary. That is because, as it was stated before, the focus of this commentary is on Judaic traditions and writings. The author goes chapter by chapter highlighting major themes and aspect on every chapter, preceded by an introduction and an overview of the chapter. That does not compromise the thoroughness of the commentary. On the contrary, the result is 721 pages containing just Basser’s words without the Biblical text inserted in the text.

This volume can be described as “different” taking into account the focus and purpose of this commentary compare to exegetical or theological commentaries. Basser does not align with any trend of interpretation on the Gospel of Matthew. On the contrary, he sometimes seems to go against the stream. His arguments on conflictive passages are always well-supported and his arguments are accompanied with thoroughness. Readers may agree or disagree with the author and the interpretation he does on the Gospel of Matthew, but no one can question the quality of this volume and the scholarship the author shows form the beginning to the end of this masterpiece.

The main inconvenient potential buyers of this volume may find is its price: $301  from Brill (same price through Amazon). Why is this volume so expensive? Well, if you want a top 5 car, or a top 5 TV, then you need to pay the price. Despite its price, this book is worth of consideration for serious students of the Gospel of Matthew due to the perspective the author offers in this volume.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

 

A Commentary on The Psalms, Volume 3, (90-150)

9780825426667 (1)Every time we open our Bibles with the intention of studying the word of God in a methodical and responsible way, we are always challenged by the passage we have in front of us. Date, authorship, historical context, theology, and literary issues should always be considered by Bible students. The book of Psalms is one of those books that present extra challenges to readers. Why? Well, the writings this book contains were written by different authors, who lived in different epochs of the history of Israel, and under different circumstances and occasions. For that reason, students need to consider the author and the context for every Psalm individually, as if they were isolated from each other.

These challenges force students and pastors to obtain top level commentaries, as the one we are reviewing here. A Commentary on the Psalms, (Allen P. Ross, PhD), Volume 3, is the one that closes the superb work on the book of Psalms made by the aforementioned author. The three volumes are part of the very well know and valued Kregel Exegetical Library. This volume comprises chapters 90 through 150. In it, Ross continues his thorough work, preceded by volumes 1 and 2, where he disseminates every Psalms verse by verse. He divides his study into two main sections, which are Introduction and Commentary in Expository Form. He also includes a Message and Application section at the end of every chapter.

Introductions include Text and Textual Variants, Composition and Context, and Exegetical Analysis. The commentary sections are presented in an outlined method, which make this commentary an invaluable resource for pastor preaching or teaching on the book of Psalms. Dr. Ross’ commentary offers generous explanations and solid commentaries.

Message and Application sections are an invaluable tool that helps the reader to make personal applications of the book of Psalms for us today. These applicatory sections are similar in nature to the conclusion and application of an expository sermon. In fact, the whole commentary has the same structure as expository sermons have. Another reason I recommend this book to every pastor, minister, and Bible students in general.

Readers who are not familiar with Hebrew language may feel intimidated by Ross’ commentary, but this is only before you really start reading the book. The author does not exaggerate the usage of Hebrew terms, so readers who are not familiar with this biblical language can read the commentary without fearing not understanding it. Ross strategically includes Hebrew terminology when he thinks it is appropriate and necessary, and he does so brilliantly.

This master piece composed by three generous volumes (2736 pages in total) would be an incredible addition to any pastoral or church library. I anticipate this work will be a point of reference and an outstanding work for many decades. I cannot think of any other recent commentary on the book of Psalms that can even compete with Ross’ work in terms of quality and price-value. Highly recommendable.

Buy this volume here or the three-volume set here 

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

 

Malachi-Historical Commentary on the Old Testament

descargaIt is not difficult to find excellent commentaries on the book of Malachi. What is really difficult is to find a commentary that really fits with you and your needs. Scholars are more prone to read exegetical and technical books, while pastors prefer expository commentaries. But, can both disciplines be combined in a single volume? The answer is yes, but there are few commentaries that combine both exegesis and exposition in a magnificent way.

Malachi (Snyman, 2015) is a volume published by Peeters Publishers and part of the series Historical Commentary of the Old Testament. Though this book is written from a scholar perspective, I anticipate pastors will find this commentary to be very helpful for their teaching and preaching ministries.

The author begins the commentary by addressing the indispensable points a historical commentary should address. The introduction is devoted to discuss the name, date, historical background, authorship, text (Masoretic Text), content and structure, theology, and the inclusion of Malachi as part of the Twelve Prophets. Snyman covers these issues in an elegant and concise way. He provides sufficient information in a way readers will have the feeling of being informed concerning necessary details.  At the same time, he does not go too far with secondary details. Especially remarkable are the points addressing the historical situation, the economic situation, the family situations, and the religious situation. The points Snyman addresses are very informative and explanatory.

As most of the scholars interpret today, Snyman argues in favor of a nonprophetic authorship; the author of the book of Malachi was not the prophet.  He elaborates his argument based on Malachi 1:1, where the prophet is mentioned in third person.

Regarding dates of the events recorded in the book of Malachi, Snyman suggests the date 460-450 B.C.E as the most probable historical date. He defends that date based on the internal evidences contained in the book itself.

The commentary section is fractioned in pericopes. Every pericope is at the same time divided in four sections: Translation; Bibliography; Essentials and Perspectives; Scholarly Exposition. As natural, the commentary section comprises the main body of the commentary.  Snyman elaborates from a scholar perspective. However, despite of the minimum use the author makes of Hebrew terms, this volume is very accessible for initiated Bible students, pastors, as well as scholars.

What I admire about this book is the ability of Snyman in writing an exegetical and scholarly commentary that is accessible for different publics. I cannot think of any weakness in this book as it accomplishes its purpose in an excellent and brilliant way. The price (US $81.00 or 60 EUR) may be a handicap for some readers. However, I would like to encourage you to consider the quality-price factor this book offers. You will not regret it.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

A Commentary on 1 & 2 Chronicles, by Eugene H. Merrill

descargaMerrill, Eugene H. A Commentary on 1 & 2 Chronicles. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2015.

As a pastor, I always appreciate books that combine exegesis, theology and erudition all together. Technical commentaries are always useful, though most of them lack expositional issues. Narrowing the theme even more, exegetical commentaries on 1 & 2 Chronicles are not abundant, even less commentaries that combine exegesis and exposition in a balanced way.

1 & 2 Chronicles by Eugene H. Merrill, from Kregel Exegetical Library, is an excellent resource for pastors and Bible students as it provides the exegetical foundations, theological insights, and expositional tools that we need to combine during the preparation of our sermons or biblical study.

In his book, Merrill covers every indispensable point for the serious student. He combines erudition and conciseness, and the result is an exegetical commentary that will satisfy the needs of every pastor who wants to teach or preach on 1 & 2 Chronicles.  Introductory chapters serve the reader in many ways. The author begins by providing a short, though effective, study regarding the name of the book and how the book got the name. Then he moves to historical and cultural issues that surround 1 & 2 Chronicles. Merrill advocates for a post-exilic composition of the book, and sees Ezra as the best positioned figure for its composition and/or compilation. In addition to all the points mentioned before, the author also covers theological issues of the book of 1 & 2 Chronicles, which I found very interesting and thorough.

The commentary section of the book, which occupies the main body of the volume, is worth of reading. Translations from the Hebrew and Greek are Merrill’s own, and the English version used for the commentary is the NIV. Merrill provides text-critical notations, and exegesis and exposition sections in which he develops his commentary of the text. He writes in a prominent and professional way, but he also makes this commentary accessible to every reader. The author includes Hebrew and Greek terms, but he does it in a very meticulous and strategic manner, so those who do not read Hebrew or Greek do not get lost and feel disconnected from the book.

Something noteworthy on this book is the excurses, hymns and prayers, and theological discourses Merrill highlights on his commentary. He includes twelve excurses on themes that are worthy of deeper study and explanation. Merrill offers a bigger perspective on different issues such as the travels of the Ark of the Covenant or the Theology of the Genealogies. These sections are an extra tool that every serious bible student and pastors will appreciate and will find very useful in order to get a better understanding about difficult passages on the books of 1 & 2 Chronicles.

The bibliography Merrill provides at the end of the book is a very generous one. He arranges books by topics (commentaries, backgrounds/history, criticism, and so on).

Summarizing, this is a must have book for every pastor and Bible student. This book is destined to become a point of reference among exegetical commentaries on the books of 1 & 2 Chronicles, and an invaluable resource for preachers, expositors, and instructors.

You can buy this book here

More reviews about commentaries here

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

1−3 John: Reformed Expository Commentary

 

prpbooks-images-covers-md-9781596389878O’Donnell, Douglas S. 1−3 John. New Jersey: P&R Publishing, 2015.

Commentaries are the most used resources among pastors. We are always seeking for commentaries that are able to combine exegesis without being excessively technical. We love reading commentaries we can easily apply to our sermon preparation and commentaries that are almost written from a homiletical perspective. If you are planning to preach on the letters of John, then you need to consider buying 1−3 John, by Douglas Sean O’Donnell (2015).

O’Donnell begins his commentary assuming the Johannine authorship point of view of the three letters. He does not invest a single chapter to discuss authorship issues in exclusivity. However, the title of the first chapter of the books says it all: “Apostolic Fellowship.” In this chapter, O’Donnell deepens into the pronouns “which”, “we”, and “you” as pivotal words for an appropriate understanding of the rest of the letter. If you are looking for a book that will provide you with a bigger perspective on authorship, then this is not the book you are looking for. But if you have already adopted Johannine authorship, you will love this commentary.

The author does an excellent job regarding text dissemination. He goes pericope by pericope deepening into the most important terms without isolating them from the context. He also includes some convenient tables in order to go deeper into an idea or to show parallelisms between sentences. O’Donnell also uses some diagrams with the main purpose of underling antithetic clauses and ideas, repetitions, or synonyms used by John to express an idea. Thanks to these helpful tools, one can appreciate text peculiarities and details that would be difficult to explain through words, and O’Donnell does that strategically and in convenient texts.

The author writes in a very accessible and dynamic manner without abounding in Greek terms. That allows readers to focus on the text without losing the track O’Donnell traces. Illustrations from today and history are also a tool that the author uses to introduce new themes or to better explain a point.

Concluding, O’Donnell’s commentary on 1−3 John is a highly recommended book for pastors since this expository commentary is written from a homiletical-pastoral perspective. However, and due to its accessible language, I would recommend this book to any Bible student who would like to study Johannine epistles. You will not regret having obtained this book. You can buy this book here

More reviews about commentaries here

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

%d bloggers like this: