Biblical Commentaries, about half a century ago, came in two basic types: either the stale, crusty, “criticism”-this-and-“criticism”-that type (with no theological interest or nearly none), or the popular “non-academic” devotional commentary to warm the heart and teach Christian-y platitudes.
Well…times have changed. There are now well over 100 commentary series – and each series has numerous volumes. Some have balked at the production of each new commentary series. Sometimes I have wondered myself. However, the best kinds that are being produced, I think, are those that do a good job bridging the two older kinds – attempting to maintain both high academic standards as well as reflect theologically on the text in a way that invigorates the life, worship, and wisdom of the Church.
So, I was interested in the latest commentary series from Baker called the “Teach the Text” series (eds. John Walton and Mark Strauss). I knew the series was coming soon, but I just discovered today it is already here! Apparently two volumes were released earlier this year: Romans (Marvin Pate) and 1 & 2 Samuel (R. Chisholm).
I am most excited by the soon-coming volume from the late R.T. France on the Gospel of Luke (Nov 2013) and a volume on Acts by David Garland some time down the road.
So – what’s the big deal with this series? Overall, the benefit of this series is that it is aimed at the busy pastor who wants a coach while working through a sermon series, a bible study group, sunday school, or for overall comprehension. From my quick glance of the Romans volume on GoogleBook, I could see lots of pictures (in full color!), charts, and headings that were easy on the eyes.
We must be careful that our pastors and leaders do not use such commentaries as crutches. But I can see this series offering an aid that helps pastors to make sure they are “on the right track” in their personal study, to think through preaching and teaching points, and to immerse themselves in a variety of interpretations of the text in art, culture, and the history of interpretation.
For more information, see the well-developed series website. Have any of you dipped into the released volumes? What do you think?