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Interpreting the Prophetic Books by Gary V. Smith

August 27, 2015 Leave a comment


Description:

Preaching from a prophetic text can be daunting because it can be difficult to place these prophecies in their proper historical setting. The prophets used different literary genres and they often wrote using metaphorical poetry that is unfamiliar to the modern reader. This handbook offers an organized method of approaching a prophecy and preparing a persuasive, biblically based sermon that will draw modern application from the theological principle embedded in the prophetic text. -From the Publisher’s website

Why should you read this book?

The prophetic books of scripture are rich with imagery about how God deals with the nations and His people. If we study these books, we will gain a fuller picture of our great God. Unfortunately, the prophetic books can be difficult for the modern reader to understand. We need to learn how to interpret the difficult prophetic passages.

So we turn to a seasoned interpreter, Gary Smith. Dr. Smith helps us with many of the hurdles that we encounter as we read the prophetic texts. This book addresses such issues as: the genres of prophecies, poetic expression in prophecy, parallelism in prophetic literature, and imagery in prophecy. The author also helps us by pointing out the major themes in the prophetic books.

Dr. Smith  equips the reader by giving us a tool box of interpretation with the goal of proclaiming the text. We are taught how to benefit from learning about the historical setting of each book. The reader is taught how to identify variant readings and choose the best reading. Dr. Smith also includes a listing of useful commentaries on each of the prophetic books. We are also guided through interpretive issues such as: literal or metaphorical, contextual, conditional or unconditional, and terms of fulfillment. The reader is then taught how to bridge the gap between interpreting and proclaiming the text. Dr. Smith illustrates this process by giving us two example texts with their interpretations and applications.

Who will benefit from this book?

Pastors, teachers, and students will all benefit greatly from this handbook. Some handbooks are cumbersome and unwieldy. This book, coming in at around 200 pages, is immediately useful and accessible. I learned much in my first reading and intend to return to this volume as I read and study through the prophetic books. My reading of these passages has gone from apprehension to delight as I have learned how to navigate and interpret these precious writings. I am grateful to Dr. Smith and Kregel for this excellent volume in the Handbooks for Old Testament Exegesis series.

Book Details:

  • Author: Gary V. Smith
  • Publisher: Kregel Academic
  • Format: Paperback
  • Page Count: 224
  • ISBN#: 9780825443633
  • List Price: $22.99

About the Author:

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Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

Categories: Commentary, Kregel

A Commentary On Exodus by Duane A. Garrett

January 12, 2015 Leave a comment

51oScv1ttJLDescription:

The true fountainhead of Old Testament theology, Exodus illuminates the significance of the name Yahweh and introduces the title I AM. It tells of Israel’s formative historical event, the exodus, as well as the making of the covenant at Sinai. It includes the first code of the Law in the Decalogue and Book of the Covenant. It details Israel’s besetting sin in the idolatry of the golden calf episode, but it also describes Moses’s intercession and the great revelation of God’s mercy. In its display of the Tent of Meeting, it presents the theology of the priesthood, the sacrifices, and the central sanctuary. A Commentary on Exodus explores all of these events with a view toward their significance both for the meaning of the Old Testament and for the message of the Christian church. Exegetically deep enough to satisfy the scholar and logically organized to meet the needs of the pastor, Garrett’s commentary promises to become standard reference material in Exodus studies. (From the Publisher’s Website)

Review:

The book of Exodus is both intriguing and mysterious. It contains some of the most beloved stories we remember hearing as a child. Now that we are adults they seem incredible. Hollywood has taken an interest in the Exodus more than once. The book of Exodus is at once an extraordinary piece of literature and a heavily scrutinized document. To whom should we turn to explore this magnificent book?

Dr. Garrett has written a superb commentary on Exodus. This is the latest in the Kregel Exegetical Library series. I consider them to be jewels in my commentary collection. Modern scholarship combined with submission to the Word of God makes this series a blessing to the body of Christ. But let us turn to this volume. Here are some features I find to be worthwhile:

1. A historical background for the book.

Dr. Garrett has done us all a favor by studying the background of the Exodus and presenting his findings to us. Some commentaries present the text with very little mentioned about the time and place. But Dr. Garrett understands that the reader will grasp the meaning of the text much more fully with an understanding of the culture surrounding the text. I found myself engrossed as I read about the ancient Egyptians. I wish Dr. Garrett would write a book on the ancient cultures. I would certainly add it to my library.

2. A fresh translation by the author.

There are nuances in the text that a scholar can bring out in the commentaries that are not available in the popular translations. One thing I found with Dr. Garrett’s translation is that He gives us a very literal reading of the text. The translation is also broken down by clauses which helps the reader grasp the flow of thought more organically. The translation is crisp and refreshing.

3. Useful commenting on the text.

This is not your tired commentary full of the author’s guesswork. The comments are well researched and documented with an eye toward textual clarity. Relevant variants are discussed as well as possible translation issues. The author entertains divergent views but unlike some commentators you do not have to guess what view he takes.

4. Theological summaries.

After the comments on the text, the author points out the theological highlights in the section covered. I found this very useful as a teacher. The author does not exhaustively list every theological point to be gleaned from the text but he does give some important points. A good teacher does not give all of the answers. He makes the student hungry to learn more and this is certainly what Dr. Garrett has done with his commentary.

5. A focus on the poetic parts of the text.

Dr. Garrett presents the poetry of the book in a studious manner but also helps the reader enjoy the form and expression of these sections.

I have enjoyed this commentary as much as any I have read. This will certainly be a go-to for me. I recommend it be partnered with a commentary heavy on application. There is much to be learned from this foundational text and Dr. Garrett has given us a valuable tool to help us explore the Exodus. Thank you Kregel and Dr. Garrett. May this commentary help readers to further know the God of the Exodus.

Book Details:

  • Author: Duane A. Garrett
  • Publisher: Kregel Academic
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Page Count: 752
  • ISBN#: 9780825425516
  • List Price: $39.99

 

About the Author:

Duane A. Garret (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is professor of Old Testament at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has previously taught at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Bethel Sminary and served as pastor and missionary in a variety of contexts. Garret has also written A Modern Grammar for Biblical Hebrew, Authority and Interpretation , and Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs for the Zondervan Illustrated Biblical Backgrounds Commentary (vol. 5). (From the Publisher’s Website)

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Disclaimer: I received this book from Kregel in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

Categories: Commentary, Kregel, Reviews

A Commentary on the Psalms Volume 2 by Allen P. Ross

December 11, 2014 Leave a comment


Description:

The second installment of Dr. Allen Ross’s acclaimed three-volume commentary

For thousands of years, Psalms has been one of the richest resources for worship and development of the spiritual life. At the same time it is one of the more complex and challenging sections of the Bible for expositors and students. Pastors, teachers, and all serious students of the Bible will find this commentary invaluable for developing an understanding of Psalms and for improving the ability to expound it with precision and depth This is volume two of a three-volume commentary on Psalms.

For each psalm, Dr. Allen Ross provides a translation of the text and an overview of the context. He then guides the reader through a detailed exegetical outline and offers an expository idea for the message of the whole psalm.

The commentary includes discussion throughout of three primary challenges to understanding Psalms:

Textual issues: Every major textual difficulty is addressed in order to help the expositor understand the interpretive issues and make decisions when there are multiple available readings.

Poetic language: The psalms are full of poetic imagery, devices, and structures Ross discusses Hebrew poetry in its context with each psalm, specifying the precise devices being used and how they work in the psalm.

Hebrew grammar and syntax: The Hebrew of Psalms poses a challenge to many expositors. This commentary illuminates Hebrew constructions and word meanings in a way that is helpful both to readers who are comfortable with Hebrew and those who are not. (From the Publisher’s Website)

 

 

Review:

Perhaps no book of the Bible captures raw human emotion as much as the Psalms. This is why we turn to it at the height of bliss and the depths of despair. We identify with the psalmist to the point that we believe them to be written on our behalf. Yet there is so much more contained in this beloved collection than emotional experience. There is deep theological truth. There is a sense that something great is happening and we are a small part of it. There is a feeling of community. There is hope and comfort.

For these reasons, I was excited when I saw that Kregel was publishing this set of commentaries on the Psalms. I was even more excited when I saw the author’s name. Allen P. Ross is a respected Hebrew scholar and a perfect choice for the task. He combines a scholar’s approach with a pastor’s heart. The result is not only a brilliant commentary, but also a tool to teach others how to dig into the Psalms themselves and mine the precious ore found therein.

The introduction of each Psalm begins with the author’s own English rendering of the Hebrew text followed by a section about the composition and context of the Psalm concluding in an exegetical analysis of the Psalm. We are then treated to a commentary in expository form. The author concludes with the message and application of the Psalm.

I believe this to be the best work I have seen on the Psalms and would highly recommend it for students, teachers, and pastors. Some of the language is a bit technical as this is published under the Kregel Academic and Professional label. Some assumptions are made as to the reader’s familiarity with technical terms. But do not be put off by this. There is much here to learn. I hope that many will profit from the insights found between the covers of this book.

Book Details:

 

  • Author: Allen P. Ross
  • Publisher: Kregel
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Page Count: 848
  • ISBN#: 9780825425639
  • List Price: $44.99

 

 

About the Author:

Allen P. Ross (PhD, University of Cambridge) is professor of divinity at Beeson Divinity School. Prior to this, he taught at Trinity Episcopal School of Ministry and Dallas Theological Seminary. His publications include Creation and Blessing: A Guide to the Study and Exposition of Genesis, Holiness to the Lord: A Guide to the Exposition of the Book of Leviticus, and Introducing Biblical Hebrew. (From the Publisher’s Website)

 

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Disclaimer: I received this book from Kregel in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

 

 

Categories: Commentary, Kregel, Reviews

A Commentary on Judges and Ruth by Robert B. Chisholm Jr.

Description:

This masterly commentary sheds exegetical and theological light on the books of Judges and Ruth for contemporary preachers and students of Scripture. Listening closely to the text while interacting with the best of scholarship, Chisholm shows what the text meant for ancient Israel and what it means for us today. In addition to its perceptive comments on the biblical text, it examines a host of themes such as covenants and the sovereignty of God in Judges, and providence, redemption, lovingkindness, and Christological typology in Ruth.

In his introduction to Judges, Chisholm asks and answers some difficult questions: What is the point of Judges? What role did individual judges play? What part did female characters play? Did Judges have a political agenda?

Chisholm offers astute guidance to preachers and teachers wanting to do a series on Judges or Ruth by providing insightful exegetical and theological commentary. He offers homiletical trajectories for each passage to show how historical narrative can be presented in the pulpit and classroom. (From the Publisher’s Website)

Excerpt:

“ Preaching is important to me and I have designed this commentary with pastors and teachers in mind. Accurate, relevant exposition of the Bible needs to answer three important questions: (1) What did the text mean in its ancient Israelite context? (2) What theological principles emerge from or are illustrated by a thematic analysis of the text? (3) How is the message of the text relevant to the church?” (From the Preface pages 13-14)

Review:

For anyone who has ever read through the book of Judges and Ruth, you cannot help but notice the contrast between the depravity displayed in Judges and the beauty in the book of Ruth. Having never read through a commentary on these books, I dove into this one with much gusto.

Robert Chisholm is a first-rate Hebrew scholar and ably shows us this in his commentary. He provides us with his own translation of these ancient books and where he varies from popular modern translations, he provides explanation. Generously footnoted, this commentary is at once exegetical and theological. Chisholm draws from other scholars and addresses agreement and disagreement with their work.

I appreciate the work Mr. Chisholm does in transporting the reader back to the ancient context. Once in context, the author masterfully draws out the theological framework of these rich books. Also discussed is the genre and style of these books.

After reading this commentary, I have a better understanding of both the text and the purpose of its inclusion in the scriptures. I am now indebted to Dr. Chisholm for the light he has brought to bear in understanding these wonderful but often puzzling books. I heartily recommend this commentary to any serious student of the bible. Thank you Kregel and Dr. Chisholm for this gift to the body of Christ.

 

Book Details:

 

  • Author: Robert B. Chisholm Jr.
  • Publisher: Kregel
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Page Count: 688
  • ISBN#: 9780825425561
  • List Price: $39.99

 

 

About the Author:

Robert B. Chisholm Jr. (ThD, Dallas Theological Seminary) is Department Chair and Professor of Old Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. He is a translator and the Senior Old Testament Editor of the NET Bible. Chisholm’s other publications include Interpreting the Minor Prophets, Handbook on the Prophets, and A Workbook for Intermediate Hebrew.

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Disclaimer: I received this book from Kregel in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

 

Categories: Commentary, Kregel, Reviews