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Entries in New Testament (1)


Commentaries don't have to be dry

Some commentaries are as dry as toast. I have looked at a lot of commentaries over the last six months, and some, while technically good, are a chore to get through (like anything in the Word Commentaries series). But good commentaries don't have to be boring. What I have found is that even commentaries that are more technical, if well-written, have little nuggets that summarize things beautifully. For example, D.A. Carson's commentary on John in the Pillar series is more technical that something in the Reformed Expository Commentary series, but it's worth pushing through the technical parts to get to the really good stuff. Carson has an excellent way of distilling truth.

The same goes for the Commentary on the Use of the Old Testament in the New Testament, which Carson co-edits with Greg Beale. I have also read a fair bit of Beale lately, and he, too, is an excellent writer. They have assembled some good writers for this commentary. Craig Blomberg (another writer I am thankful to have read) writes the commentary on the Old Testament use in Matthew. I love the way he concluded his comments on the way Matthew uses Psalm 22 in Matthew 27:45-66:

Throughout church history, Jesus' cry of dereliction has been identified as the moment of divine abandonment. Jesus, who died to atone vicariously for the sins of humanity, recognized at this point in his sufering that he no longer was experiencing the communion with his heavenly Father that had characterized his life . . . Jesus, as the sin-bearing sacrifice, must endure the temporary abandonment of the Father. Separation from God is horrible enough for any creature; "when it concerns one who is uniquely the Son of God . . . , it is impossible to assess what this may have meant to Jesus. This is one of the most impenetrable mysteries of the entire Gospel narrative" (Hagner 1995: 844-45). At the same time, Jesus still cries out to the one he no longer senses. In our worst moments of feeling abandoned by God we can do no less.

Crying out to a God we cannot sense. We have all had those moments when we may not feel God, but we have to rely on what we know to be true.

Commentaries are great for finding these little nuggets.