First Releases of the New “Teach the Text” Commentary Series

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?

3 thoughts on “First Releases of the New “Teach the Text” Commentary Series

  1. I’ve seen the volume by Pate. It is beautifully produced. But I would have thought that the series is better suited for students as a textbook than for pastors for preparing sermons.

    1. Hi John. I am with you in terms of it being good for students. The only reason I focused on pastors is because the title of the series implies such (“Teach the Text”) and the editor’s preface identifies pastors as the primary audience.

      “After carefully researching the needs of pastors who teach the text on a weekly basis, we concluded that…”; “giving easy access to information that a pastor needs to communicate the text effectively…”; “carefully selected preaching units…”; “Pastors and teachers…”

      Again, though, I agree that Baker is quite happy with students taking an interest in it! Indeed, I could see myself requiring a technical commentary for an exegesis course, and then a TTT commentary for the students to analyze in terms of how it works through hermeneutics, application, and preaching. It would have helped if they chose authors who were exegetes as well as noteworthy preachers, but that combo is definitely hard to find!

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