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Commentary Revies: 1 and 2 Thessalonians

It has been quite some time since I've done a commentary review, and this one will be very short, but I do want to review three commentaries on 1 and 2 Thessalonians that I use heavily in 2016 and 2017. 1 and 2 Thessalonians have been covered extensively and don't take my choice of these three to use to mean they're necessarily the best on the market. I suspect that recent commentaries like Weima's and Boring's are as good or better (and of course Donfried's forthcoming volume). I just have not had the opportunity to look at them.

It was a close call, but my favorite commentary on 1 and 2 Thessalonians is the classic volume in the Anchor series by Abraham Mahlerbe. He provides a very detailed exegesis of the text as one would come to expect in any volume in the series. What makes this volume so helpful is the depth of engagement with Stoic philosophy, a topic on which Malherbe is better equipped than most New Testament scholars. While there were times where I did not find the parallels entirely convincing, there were times where it was very illuminating. His comments on 1 Thes. 2:1-16 stand out, where he comments on the philosophical language Paul uses and comments that a big part of Paul's goals and the goals of Stoic philosophers were similar, to get their "converts" to live morally. Overall it's a dense read, but there's a lot to be learned from the time spent. 4.5 stars out of 5.

Gordon Fee's last contribution to the NICNT series may not quite be the classic that his volumes on 1 Corinthians and Philippians are, but it is still an excellent commentary and classic Gordon Fee. No commentator is more enjoyable to read than Fee. You always know what he thinks and why he thinks it. The introduction is a bit too brief and at times glosses over important issues (I was not impressed with his discussion of authorship, even though I agree with his conclusion for Pauline authorship of both epistles). The commentary proper, however, is full of good, useful exegesis. I fully reccmmend it! 4.5 stars out of 5.

The last of the three commentaries I used was the brief treatment by Beverly Roberts-Gaventa in the Interpretation series. It certainly is not the place to turn if one wants detailed exegesis, though, of course, you do get some summary treatment of the text. As a commentary geared as an aid in preaching it is quite excellent. She consistently stuck to the main point of the text and drew out key insights that would strengthen a sermon or Bible study. For almost every passage she left me thinking over some point that she had made. So while this shouldn't be your only commentary, it fulfilled the goal of the series. 4.5 stars out of 5.

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