Skip to main content

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.


Popular posts from this blog

Paul's Argument in Galatians 3:15-29

15 Brothers and sisters, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ. 17 What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. 18 For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise. 19 Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator. 20 A mediator, however, implies more than one party; but God is one. 21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! Fo…

Commentary Series Overview

When I write commentary reviews, one of my main goals is to assess how well the commentator hit the intended audience of the commentary and utilized the format of the commentary. This often necessitates cluttering up the post discussing issues of format. To eliminate that, I thought that I would make some general remarks about the format and audience of each of the series that appear in my reviews. Terms like liberal, conservative, etc. are not used pejoratively but simply as descriptors. Many of you are familiar with Jeremy Pierce's commentary series overview. If you don't see a particular series covered here, check out his post to see if it's reviewed there. I am making no attempt at covering every series, just the series that I use. Additionally, new series (such as the NCCS) have been started in the five years since he wrote his very helpful guide, so I thought that it might not be completely out of order to have another person tackle commentary series overviews. This…

Commentary Review: Daniel

In my opinion, Daniel is not the best covered Old Testament book as far as commentaries go. This isn't an uncommon phenomenon among Old Testament books. Though I've looked at them, I'm not going to review some of the older Evangelical Daniel commentaries (like e.g., Baldwin). They don't provide much that you can't get in either Longman or Lucas. If you're unfamiliar with the series that one or more of these commentaries are in check out my commentary series overview.

It was a very close call but my favorite commentary on Daniel is Goldingay's. While there were a few places where I disagreed with his interpretation, I found the commentary to be exemplary. If you're going to teach Daniel, especially the apocalyptic portions, you need a commentary that provides you with a lot of background material. Goldingay, while not as broad as Collins, certainly provides you with quite a bit. His exploration of the background to the apocalyptic symbolism is very helpfu…