Commentary on 1 & 2 Chronicles (Kregel Exegetical Library) (19/4)

1 & 2 Chronicles is not a book that you will often hear preached expositionally. Part of the reason, I think, is how the book starts with 9 chapters of genealogies! Pastors will definitely not want to attempt to preach through these chapters expositionally.

Commentary on 1 & 2 Chronicles (Kregel Exegetical Library)Preachers can now reach out to a helpful commentary on the 1 & 2 Chronicles. Eugene Merrill has written a new commentary on 1 & 2 Chronicles, a book that has been neglected by commentators for quite some time.

As with every commentary, Merrill starts with the introductory matters and then moves on to the actual commentary of the text. As one who has not studied 1 & 2 Chronicles, I found this introduction helpful in understand the main themes. Through his introduction I am also kept abreast on what has been discussed in the academic circles. Preachers who are not familiar with 1 & 2 Chronicles will find the introduction helpful for their preparatory work.

Merrill uses the NIV text as reference for his commentary, but he always shows his exegesis based on the Hebrew text. Merrill keeps references to the original language to a minimum which will be helpful to preachers who are not that conversant in Hebrew. I personally do not know Hebrew, but I still find the commentary helpful to me

Given that the technical commentaries on 1 & 2 Chronicles has not been as forthcoming as some other old testament book. This commentary will be a helpful addition to the current array of commentaries on 1 & 2 Chronicles.

Rating: 4 / 5

If you’re interested, you can get it here and here (free international shipping).

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Book Review – From the Pen of Pastor Paul (17/2)

Making the Word of God understand and applicable is one of the key responsibility of a preacher. One way for preachers to improve in this area is to listen or read good preaching. Daniel R. Hyde has written a commentary on the book of Thessalonians that will help pastors in this aspect.

From the Pen of Pastor PaulThis is not a typical commentary, Hyde doesn’t start off the commentary with a detailed discussion on the authorship, providence and theology of the letter. Rather Hyde dives right into the text and starts his preaching immediately after the preface. Astute readers will be able to see how Hyde uses his resources in his sermon. This will help budding preachers understand the value and how much of the commentary he should quoting in their preaching.

Preachers who prefers preaching sermons on a few verses each time will like this commentary by Hyde. Hyde mostly preachings on 3-4 verses for each sermon, and each of his sermons is always peppered with applications thoroughly. Preachers will find this helpful for this own devotional reading and for their preparation.

Given that I have previously reviewed another similar commentary by Richard D. Phillips, it would be helpful to give readers a quickly comparison between the two. In my opinion, the one by Phillips is certainly more exegetical, whereas the one by Hyde is more homiletical. In terms of the breakdown of verses, both are comparable. If I have to choose only one, I would choose Philips over Hyde simply because the I like the whole series of commentaries thus far. Pastors can be assured that they will be well served by both commentaries no matter which they choose.

Rating: 4 / 5

If you’re interested you can get it here and here (free international shipping).

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

P.S. As an alternative, the commentary by Phillips is also one that you might to consult. Get it here and here (free international shipping).

Book Review – 1-3 John (Reformed Expository Commentary) (19/11)

Preaching the word of God is a tremendously important task. Make sure you have good mentors who can show you an example of what good preaching is, is essential to that end. What I’ve always tried to do when teaching on any particular books of the bible is to find expository commentaries that preaches on the book and learn from them.

1-3 John (Reformed Expository Commentary)For those look for help in preaching the Epistles of John, they can consult this commentary. Within this commentary, Douglas Sean O’Donnell shows readers how he preached the epistles of John. He allows readers to understand how he interprets the passages, and why he makes the point that he makes. I have to say that O’Donnell has certainly been very exegetical within this commentary. He examines the passages phrase by phrase, looking into the meaning of each of them. Explaining them in the context of the passage and giving helpful illustrations along the way.

Although I did not find this commentary to be as sermon-like as his previously commentary on Ecclesiastes was (which was excellent). I do see a clear strength in his exegesis. I think for preachers who struggles with understanding what is good exegesis, or the difference between eisegesis and exegesis, this will be a good commentary to consult. O’Donnell will bring you through step by step his exegesis for the passage.

One sad ‘regret’ is how short this commentary is. However given how the epistles of John consist mostly of 7 chapters. It is understandable why this commentary is much thinner that the others within the same series.

Are you preaching on the epistles of John any time soon? Or perhaps aiming to study the epistles of John? Then do get this book and read it both devotionally and also gain some  exegetical knowledge on how to understand the passages.

As with every commentary in the Reformed Expository Commentary, this commentary is excellent for any preachers and seminary students who intends to study or preach this passage.

Rating: 4.5 / 5

If you’re interested, you can get it here and here (free international shipping), kindle.

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

P.S. I recommend as an alternative you can also consult 1-3 John: Fellowship in God’s Family. Get it here and here (free international shipping), kindle.

Book Review – 2 Corinthians (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) (24/9)

One of the most difficult new testament text in greek has to be 2nd Corinthians. This is why I’m thankfully that I’m given an opportunity to review this commentary. I have to say, I really only have elementary knowledge of greek, but reading this commentary gives me the confidence that the author deals rigorously with the greek text directly.

2 Corinthians (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) George H. Guthrie starts the commentary by giving the readers a picture of the scene in the Corinthian world, explaining what the world then was like. Next, he moves naturally to the author of 2nd Corinthians. He gives a brief but comprehensive introduction of Paul. Next Guthrie highlights some issues within the Corinthian church that ought to be noted (such as their understanding of leadership). Having raised awareness about these issues, the readers will then easily realised by and how Paul answered to the Corinthians regarding his “style of leadership”.

Next, Guthrie introduces the readers to the history of the church in Corinth. He shows how Paul started the church in his missionary journeys and the link between first and second Corinthians. Next he talks about whether 2 Corinthians is one or two letters. Guthrie argues and shows the readers why he think that 2nd Corinthians is a united letter. After which Guthrie moves to talk about the use of the different “voices” within the letter of 2nd Corinthians. This section definitely requires some knowledge of greek, and will be of great interest to those who have a knowledge of greek.

In the main text of the commentary, Guthrie then show forth the exegesis of passage. He gives his own translation of the passage, then shows the readers what he thinks the passage is talking about. This commentary deals primarily with the greek text, and thus expects readers to have a functional understanding of greek. Those who do not have such knowledge, will still benefit from Guthrie, but they may not be fully utilising the commentary. Those familiar with greek will find this commentary extremely useful. I have found this commentary to be rigorous and deals with the small details within the text. Preachers may find this book slightly heavy, but if you have more time to do your exegetical work, do consider getting it ahead of your preaching series on 2 Corinthians.

Rating: 4 / 5

If you’re interested, you can get it here and here (free international shipping), kindle.

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

P.S. Another alternative commentary I would recommend would be the highly acclaimed commentary on the Second Epistle to the Corinthians (The New International Commentary on the New Testament), get it here and here (free international shipping), kindle.

Book Review – 1, 2, and 3 John (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) (5/7)

The letters of John are not difficult books, in fact when I was a young christian, I was told to study the Gospel of John followed by the letters of John. Needless to say, though I understood parts of it, I never really understood the whole letter of John.Yet as I grew in my faith, I can see how important the letters of John are to me, especially as a Reformed Calvinist.

1, 2, and 3 John (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament)Karen Jobes has written a helpful commentary that aims to help preachers exegete the letters of John. Jobes deals directly with the greek text and diagrams out the structure of the passages within the Letters of John. At the end, Jobes also adds in a small chapter that shows the readers the theology of John’s Letter. I have found this chapter very helpful as I do not usually see this in other commentaries. With this added resources at the end, it really helps readers to see the key points that John is trying to bring out in his letters.

The introductions on the other hand, was relatively short, consisting of roughly around 30 pages. To be honest, I was expecting more introductory materials given that this was a commentary on the letters of John. But what was valuable in the introduction was how Jobes showed the similarities between the gospel of John and the Letters of John. This helps the readers to see the continuity between the gospel of John and the letters of John.

If you are a pastor, or a seminary student with a working knowledge of Greek, you will be interested in this commentary. It goes directly into the greek text and explains every nook and cranny within the greek text. After exegeting and explaining a section of passage, Jobes also adds in an application section that helps pastors to not only teach the text to his sheep, but also to apply it into their lives also. So if you’re looking for a commentary that goes into the greek text, do consider getting this commentary.

Rating: 4 / 5

If you’re interested, you can get it here, and here (free international shipping), Kindle.

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Book Review – Jonah: God’s Scandalous Mercy (Hearing the Message of Scripture: A Commentary on the Old Testament) (24/4)

Jonah is a book in the bible that almost everyone can read in one sitting and certainty one of the most read minor prophets. Written in a narrative format, Jonah can be easily understood by the young and the old.

Jonah: God's Scandalous Mercy (Hearing the Message of Scripture: A Commentary on the Old Testament)Kevin J. Youngblood has written a commentary to help pastors tackle this minor prophet exegetically. The commentary is spilt into 3 portion, first Youngblood gives us his own translation for the book of Jonah. Next, he gives the customary introductory materials you often see in commentaries and finally, the commentary on the text of Jonah.

What I found helpful within this commentary is how it helps to crystallise the text into a main sentence. I have found that often when I try to exegete a passage, I want to know if I am getting the right picture, and this certainly helps me check to see if I’m a similar path with the author.

A 2nd feature that I found very helpful in this commentary is how they highlight the structure of the book of Jonah. I must say this is one area I often overlook when studying a passage, and I am thankful for Youngblood for pointing out these structure, and highlighting the important points the literary structure wants to bring out.

If you are looking out for a verse-by-verse commentary on the book of Jonah, I would certainly recommend you to take a look at this commentary, or even to buy and use it. Do note that you would need to have a working knowledge of hebrew to be able to fully utilise it. But, even as one who does not have any knowledge of hebrew, I found it helpful in my own study of Jonah.

Rating: 4.25 / 5

If you’re interested, you can get it here and here (free international shipping).

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Here is the author introducing his commentary:

Book Review – Acts (EP Study Commentaries) (5/4)

The Book of Acts is a book that many christians are familiar with. Yet, not many has preached on the whole book of Acts. While I do see many good commentaries out there on the book of Acts, some of them are far too technical for the layperson, others are far too brief to be helpful for the pastors preaching.

Acts (EP Study Commentaries)EP has now published something that lies in the middle, a commentary that discusses about technical things, but not too overly detailed about it. And it has some nuggets inside that the pastor will be able to use in his preaching.

I have found this commentary to be very readable. I think any layperson will be able to pick it up and use it without any issues at all. Although this might seem to be a very readable book, Waters shows the readers he has done his research by the sources he reference with, and the issues he discusses about.

I have found the application section especially useful within this commentary. Every so often, after exegeting and explaining the bible text, Waters brings up the application of the text. This is akin to what you will find in the NIV Application Commentary, though considerably shorter, yet it helps the pastors to think through how the teachings in Acts can be applied even to christians today.

As a comparison, this commentary is similar to what you can find in the Focus on the Bible Commentary series, or the Mentor Commentary series. I have found it useful and helpful in helping me understand Acts a lot more.

Rating: 4 / 5

If you’re interested, you can get it here and here (free international shipping).

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Book Review – Exodus (Kregel Exegetical Library) (8/2)

Currently, my church is doing a series on Exodus, so when I was given a chance to review this commentary, I took up the offer eagerly. And I must say, I am not disappointed with this commentary.

Exodus (Kregel Exegetical Commentary)Daune A. Garrett has written an excellent exegetical commentary on Exodus. In his introduction, Garrett not only goes through the usual issues of authorship and composition, he also highlights to the reader the importance of the geography of the land, and also a in-depth history of the Egyptians. While I found the introduction to be a bit too long, I must say that the introduction was comprehensive, and very accessible even to people who are new to the issues surrounding Exodus.

Two clear strengths can be found in this commentary. First Garrett always deals with the text honestly. Garrett always wrestle with the text iteslf, and at times, is even willing to take the step to disagree with conservative scholars.

An example can be found in Ex 4:24-26, a very difficult passage. Here Garrett sticks to the reading of the hebrew text and shows very clearly that Moses was not mentioned anyone within these verses, only a generic him is used. Having gone through the various views, Garrett comes out with what he thinks should be the most faithful understanding of this passage. I found his answers to be well-articulated and well-thought through.

Do note that as this is a technical commentary, knowledge of both greek and hebrew is required to be able to make full sure of this commentary. Overall, I found this commentary to be excellent and pastors or scholars should add to their collection. This commentaries offers many helpful observations to the readers and should be consulted often.

Rating: 4.5 / 5

If you’re interested, you can get it here, and here (free international shipping).

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Book Review – 1-2 Thessalonians (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) (6/2)

I’ve always like the BECNT commentary series, I find it similar to the Pillar commentary series but slightly more technical. I’ve not covered the whole book yet, but based on what I’ve read, this commentary seems to be able to deliver the goods.

1&2 Thessalonians (BECNT)starts off the commentary with an excellent introduction. First he talks about the context of Thessalonica, the history, the cultural and social context. This sets the context for the readers as they read through Thessalonians, Weima also very helpful points out important aspects of Thessalonica that will be important as one tries to understand Thessalonians in it’s context.

Following which Weima brings the readers to each section of the book. He starts by analysing the literary of the text, then moves on the the exegesis and exposition of the text. I found this order helpful as it helps me see the big-picture and flow of the text first, then moves in to the nitty-gritty details of the text itself. All greek words in the commentary has also been transliterated, which will help those who are rusty with their greek. Lastly, Weima also scatters excursuses around in his commentary appropriately, these deals with specific issues with more depth, but those who no interest in the discussion, they can be skipped without affect their understanding of the commentary. (If you have use commentaries by Colin Kruse, it’s similar to the style he uses for the excursuses).

In short, this is a technical commentary, with some knowledge of greek required. I hope this commentary receives wide readership among those who are studying Thessalonians. Pastors who intend to wrestle with the (greek) text rigorously, ought to consider getting this book for consultation. Those doing scholarly work on Thessalonians would see this as a helpful reference tool in their research.

Rating: 4.5 / 5

If you’re interested, you can get it here and here (free international shipping), Kindle.

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Book Review – Ecclesiastes (Reformed Expository Commentary) (4/2)

“Only one life, ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.” C. T. Studd

Everyone wants to live a meaningful life, even atheists, who believe that man is a product of chance. Yet, too many find their own lives meaningless. Many spend their lives pursing after fame, riches and pleasure. Yet they never seem to give meaning to our lives.

Ecclesiastes (REC)Donald Sean O’Donnell has written an extremely helpful and readable commentary on the book of Ecclesiastes. This certainty is not an easy feat as O’Donnell states in his introduction that Ecclesiastes is not an easy book to understand. Further O’Donnell has also aimed to help the readers read Ecclesiastes christocentrically showing how even in Ecclesiastes, Christ is present.

O’Donnell takes the traditional view that Solomon is the preacher in Ecclesiastes and does not bore the readers with the details about why he thinks it is so. He does however gives some justification on why he think Solomon is the preacher. Next, O’Donnell moves on to preach the text section by section.

In general, I do like O’Donnell’s preaching, he’s uses jokes and illustrations very appropriately, often being able to laugh at himself. But the real stuff that this commentary comes out with is the biblical teachings that comes out from the text. O’Donnell takes the text and explains it to the readers. After explaining, he then brings out the application of the verses. More importantly, O’Donnell consciously always points the text to Jesus, making it thoroughly Christ-centered sermons.

I do encourage pastor to purchase this if they intend to preach through Ecclesiastes. Two benefits can be derived from it, first, it helps you grow devotionally, to mediate on the scripture, next, it helps growing in your preaching, to be better at it, and to bring your congregation to Christ.  Those seeking technical help on Ecclesiastes ought to look at other commentaries to compliment it, but this is still a great standalone commentary on it’s own.

Rating: 5 / 5

If you’re interested, you can get it here, and here (free international shipping).

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review