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).

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Book Review – 1-2 Thessalonians (Reformed Expository Commentary) (12/1)

I don’t know about you, but I’ve often heard preachers comment that the Thessalonians are a ‘model’ church but strangely I seldom hear preachers preach on Thessalonians. This is why I’m glad I was given the opportunity to review this book.

1 & 2 Thessalonians (Reformed Expository Commentary)Richard D. Phillips pens another great commentary in the Reformed Expository Commentary Series. As with every commentary in this series, it seeks to present expository sermons on the passages to the readers. Each of the sermons reads excellently and will help budding preacher see how preaching can be exegetical and applicational.

Do note that Phillips prefers to preach on smaller sets of verses. For example, Phillips preaches 5 sermons on the first chapter of 1 Thessalonians, which consists of 10 verses. There are also situations when Phillips preaches a larger set of sermon (e.g. 1 Thess 4:13-18), and then proceed to break the verses down into 3 sermons (4:13-14; 4:14-17; 4:16-18). Although I prefer exposition that takes a bigger chunk of verses, this commentary is still helpful as it allows me to slow down and examine the verses in smaller segments.

I especially like the chapter on the rapture, where Phillips goes against the popular teachings of the ‘secret rapture’. He shows the error in such teaching and then aims to give a correct and biblical understanding of the rapture. As with every commentary in this series. Each chapter seeks to be exegetical, expositional and applicational. Preachers who needs help or guidance in these areas ought to consult these and perhaps use these as their devotional/evening reading everyday as they prepare their preaching series.

Rating: 4.5 / 5

If you’re interested, you can get it here and here (free international shipping).
Or alternatively, you could also get 1 & 2 Thessalonians: The Hope of Salvation (Preaching the Word) both are excellent choice for expository preaching on 1 & 2 Thessalonians. 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. As announced in this blogpost by Richard D. Phillips, I’m looking forward to the upcoming commentaries on Song of Songs (Duguid), Ezra-Nehemiah (Thomas), Revelation (Phillips), Zephaniah-Haggai-Malachi (Duguid), and 2 Samuel (Phillips).

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 – The Message of the General Epistles in the History of Redemption (7/10)

The letters of Paul (and perhaps James) can often be found in the preaching of the church. But other letters are sadly mostly “forgotten”. I have found that Brandon D. Crowe has written a helpful book to fill a vital gap.

The Message of the General Epistles in the History of RedemptionWithin this book, Crowe covers the general epistles, the letters of Peter, John, James and Jude. Although these are mostly short letters. Crowe takes time and effort to explain the letters to the readers. I especially appreciated how Crowe allocated one chapter to each letter. This really allows Crowe the space to explain each letter in depth and also allows the readers to have a deeper understanding of each letter.

For each letter, Crowe gives a good introduction for it. Next Crowe brings the readers through guided tour of the letter. He points out the main points of the passages, gives explanation for them and also brings out the relevant application for the readers. I have found the book to be a bridge between introductions to the letters and commentaries. For someone who is interested to study the letters but not keen to explore the technical aspects within a commentary or for those who wishes to work through the passages first before given an exegetical explanation, this will be an excellent choice for you. As I read, I thought that Crow gives a good extended introduction, but as the same time, he does not gives “answers” to the readers. he allows readers to think and examine the text for themselves.

For some time, I have been wanting to study the letters of Peter. This book comes as an excellent help for me and I recommend you to get it too. For pastors, this may be a good you want to recommend to your congregation. It is not as daunting as a commentary, yet it is not a watered down book that does not challenge your members.

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 have not read this, but Letters to the Church: A Survey of Hebrews and the General Epistles by Karen Armstrong will be a good companion to this book, you can 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 – 1 Peter (Reformed Expository Commentary) (6/1)

Good preaching will sustain the vitality of the church. That has always been something I deeply believed in. Alas, good preaching is also hard to come by. The good news however is that in this age, it is not hard to find good sermons recorded or written. This is where this commentary/expository sermon comes in.

1 Peter (Reformed Expository Commentary)As christians continue to move on to live in a post-christian society, 1 Peter will slowly become even more relevant to us — to live holy and upright livfes in the midst of being marginalised or even persecuted. I found the sermons in this book to be very clear and wholesome. Daniel Doriani has not written a work that will reach a wide audience, it is not too watered down, or technical for anyone who’s studying the text for the first time or the twenty-first time.

Doriani does not skim on the exegesis and explanation part, taking time to show the readers/listeners how and why derives at points he makes in each sermon. Alongside with theses, Doriani also uses helpful illustrations to showcase his points in a way that all would understand.

This commentary by Doriani serves as an excellent guide for pastors in terms of teaching pastors good exegesis and good preaching. Thought it will not serve as a technical verse-by-verse commentary, I’ve found it helpful to read and meditate on these sermons. I recommend pastors and lay christians who really want to dive in to study 1 Peter to get this commentary.

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

Book Review – Invitation to James (22/11)

The book of James has often been considered the “proverbs” of new testament since it contains many short sayings. However, is there an overarching topic/theme within this book?Invitation to James

Yes, there is, and that is tightly connected to the context of the letter. Sunukjian aims to show that and does a brilliant job at it. In this book, Sunukjian really helps the reader to be in the context that James was written in, he is able to help readers see and feel the times when christians were persecuted, yet he is able to do it without boring the audience.

As with every book in this series, Sunukjian gives the readers a big overview of the whole book, and from it breaks it down into the different chapters. He repeatedly helps the readers see this overview several times within the different chapters so the readers do not miss either the trees or the forest. Next, he begins every sermons with an introduction, make not mistakes, Sunukjian does an excellent job for introductions and would be a good book for preachers to learn how to do excellent introductions to their sermons. Following which he moves on to the main teaching of the passage. This is does very carefully with one eye in the original context, and other eye with modern application.


Although this will not be a commentary that readers will want to reference for exegetical purpose, it is a good series to read as sermons on the various passages. The sermons handles the passage well and is a model for preachers to be clear in their preaching.

Recommended for preachers, or lay christians who want to read fine preaching on the book of James. You will not be disappointed.

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 – Invitation to Philippians (22/11)

Philippians have often been called the letter of rejoices, Paul in this letter uses the word rejoices several times. But do you know what circumstances Paul was in as he pen this letter? Well, he was in prison, and might have died at any moment after meeting the Caesar.Invitation to Philippians

Sunukjian in this book helps the readers to see and feel how Paul might have felt as he felt this letter to the Philippians. Sunukjian begins by giving the readers a general overview of the whole epistle of Philippians which he will always refer to as he preaches through Philippians. This is very helpful as he allows the reader to see how every single piece “fits” together in the big picture.

In every sermon, Sunukjian will always begin with an introduction. This is one of the strength of the book, he uses good and extended introductions, for preachers who are poor in this area, this is one of the books that might help your preaching. Next, he will move on to the main teaching of the passage. This is another strength of the book, Sunukjian explains the passages with much clarity, allowing young (whether in age or in christian age) readers to be able to grasp the meaning of the bible text.

However, Sunukjian does not explains the “whats” and “hows” of his sermons, and thus the reader has to do the (hard)work himself to find it out, though Sunukjian is so clear that it would easy for anyone to find them out through reading them.

This will be a good book for preachers, or for christians who wants to understand the book of Philippians in it’s context, yet in an easy to read and understand format.

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.