Pulpit Review: New Commentaries for a New Year




Thompson, John L., Editor. General Editor Timothy George. Associate General Editor Scott M. Manetsch. Genesis 1-11 (Reformation Commentary on Scripture, Old Testament I). Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2012. 389 Pages. Cloth. $60.00. https://www.ivpress.com/genesis-1-11-rcs

Cooper, Derek and Martin J. Lohrmann, Editors. General Editor Timothy George. Associate General Editor Scott M. Manetsch. 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings, 1-2 Chronicles (Reformation Commentary on Scripture, Old Testament V). Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2016. 745 Pages. Cloth. $60.00. https://www.ivpress.com/1-2-samuel-1-2-kings-1-2-chronicles-rcs

Duguid, Iain M., James M. Hamilton, Jr., and Jay Sklar, Editors. Contributions by John L. Mackay, J. Gary Millar, John Olley. ESV Expository Commentary (Volume III, 1 Samuel-2 Chronicles). Wheaton: Crossway, 2019. 1343 Pages. Cloth. $60.00. https://www.crossway.org/books/esv-expository-commentary-hconly/


Selderhuis, Herman, Editor. General Editor Timothy George. Associate General Editor Scott M. Manetsch. Psalms 1-72 (Reformation Commentary on Scripture, Old Testament VII). Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2015. 561 Pages. Cloth. $60.00. https://www.ivpress.com/psalms-1-72-rcs

Duguid, Iain M., James M. Hamilton, Jr., and Jay Sklar, Editors. Contributions by Brian Vickers. ESV Expository Commentary (Volume IX, John-Acts). Wheaton: Crossway, 2019. 601 Pages. Cloth. $50.00. https://www.crossway.org/books/esv-expository-commentary-hconly-2/

Luther, Martin. Translated by Haroldo Camacho. Foreword by Michael Horton. Martin Luther's Commentary on Saint Paul's Epistle to the Galatians (1535): Lecture Notes Transcribed by Students and Presented in Today's English. Irvine: 1517 Publishing. 558 Pages. Paper. $22.95. https://1517.org

Kuske, David P. A Commentary on 1 and 2 Thessalonians. Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 2019. 326 Pages. (pdf review copy provided) Cloth. $41.99. https://online.nph.net/catalog/product/view/id/24956/


I appreciate commentaries. Over the years, LBR and Liturgy, Hymnody, and Pulpit Quarterly Book Review have covered many volumes of Concordia Commentary and Ancient Christian Commentary of Scripture. Today, we cover volumes from four series by four publishers in the canonical order of the books they cover.

First up, Genesis 1-11:




The first chapters of Genesis are the bedrock of the Jewish and Christian traditions. In these inaugural pages of the canon, the creation of the world, the fall of the human creature, the promise of redemption and the beginning of salvation history are found. Interwoven in the text are memorable stories of the ancient biblical patriarchs and matriarchs.

Throughout the history of commentary, interpreters have lavished attention on the rich passages recounting the six days of creation, the tragic fall of God's creature--from the expulsion of the first parents to Cain's fratricide and the catastrophe of the Flood--as well as the allegorical sign of hope in the ark of Noah. Commentators in the Reformation continued this venerable tradition of detailed focus on these primordial stories, finding themselves and their era deeply connected to the tragedies and promises, the genealogies and marvels of God's providential election and governance. Above all, Reformation-era interpreters found anchor for their teaching, preaching and hope in the promise of Christ running through these first chapters, from creation to the calling of Abraham.

While following the precedent of patristic and medieval commentators on Scripture, as well as Rabbinic midrash, the Reformers provide insightful and startling fresh readings of familiar passages, inviting readers to see the ancient text with new eyes. This volume collects the comments of not only the monumental thinkers like Luther, Calvin and Melancthon, but also many important figures of the time who are lesser-known today. Here we find rich fare from Johannes Brenz, Wolfgang Capito, Hans Denck, Wolfgang Musculus, Johannes Oecolampadius and Peter Martyr Vermigli.
Readers will encounter comments from a wide array of perspectives, from the magisterial Reformers to radical Protestants like Balthasar Hubmaier, Menno Simons, Pilgram Marpeck and Dirk Philips, as well as some Catholic thinkers, such as Desiderius Erasmus and Cardinal Cajetan. Important contributions from female voices, like Katharina Sch├╝tz Zell and Anna Maria van Schurman are included also. The wealth of Reformation interpretation is brought together here for study and reflection, much appearing in English for the first time.




John L. Thompson is professor of historical theology and Galen and Susan Byker Professor of Reformed Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California. He is a contributor to the Global Dictionary of Theology (InterVarsity Press), the author of John Calvin & the Daughters of Sarah (Droz) and Writing the Wrongs (Oxford), and the coeditor of Biblical Interpretation in the Era of the Reformation (Eerdmans). He is married to another InterVarsity Press author, Marianne Meye Thompson.

(Publisher's Website)


Published in 2012, this volume by John L. Thompson was one of the first three released in Reformation Commentary on Scripture by IVP Academic. As noted in our other reviews of volumes in this set, the format is similar to the ACCS, though the ESV replaces the RSV. We will take a look at this volume and two other OT volumes from the set in this long commentary review.

What was most notable?

LCMS readers will note an endorsement by Robert Kolb.
The Editor provides a three-page essay in his Introduction on why we should read old commentaries (xliii-xlv).
Luther's comment on Genesis 1:2 (17) ought to be heeded by all preachers, Christians, theologians, and editors. In summary: God Cannot Be Know Outside His Word.
I like the pithy way Luther's comment on Genesis 3:15 (154) is introduced: The Curse of the Serpent Is Our Consolation. 
Many commentators can answer the question posed by the infamous Scopes Trial: "Whom did Cain marry?" See 207ff.
Luther rightly brings Peter 3:21-22 to bear on Genesis 8:1-12, allowing Scripture to Interpret Scripture (276ff).
The Biographical Sketches (355ff) introduce readers to figures unknown to most laypeople and honestly most pastors. Cajetan is included, as is Juan de Valdes, Peter Martyr Vermigli, Johann Wigand, and others of the Reformation era, Lutheran, Reformed, Roman, et al.

What was most problematic?

The Introduction (xlviii) speaks of Luther's influence on universal education and the universal priesthood as positives, but criticizes him on being "inconsistent" with regard to the service of women in the church. I'd rather assess him as being faithful to Scripture!
Cajetan calls it absurd that Eve was created from a rib from Adam (99ff). 

I'll close my recommendation for you to invest in this volume with this quote from Luther on Genesis 11:10-26:
This latter part of the eleventh chapter seems to be of little importance, because it contains nothing but the generations of the fathers...This list of the fathers teaches us the basic doctrine that God has never altogether abandoned His church...

Another RCS volume follows:




"Then David said to the Philistine, 'You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts.'" (1 Samuel 17:45)

Reflecting upon David's victory over Goliath, Reformation translator, theologian and commentator William Tyndale compared it to Christ's victory over sin and death: "When David had killed Goliath the giant, glad tidings came to the Israelites that their fearful and cruel enemy was dead and that they were delivered out of all danger. For this gladness, they sang, danced and were joyful. In like manner, the good news or 'gospel' of God is joyful tidings."

The books of 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings and 1-2 Chronicles, which record the history of Israel from the prophetic ministry of Samuel to the fall of Jerusalem, provided the reformers with some of the best-known narratives of the Old Testament upon which to comment, including Hannah's prayer, the anointing of Saul as Israel's first king, David's triumph over Goliath and his later adultery with Bathsheba, Solomon's building of the Temple, Elijah's challenge to the prophets of Baal, and the healing of Naaman.

For the reformers, these stories were not merely ancient Israelite history, but they also foreshadowed the coming of Jesus Christ, and they had immediate relevance for their lives and the church of their day. Thus, Anglican exegete John Mayer perceived within King Josiah's reform of Israelite worship after the discovery of the Book of the Law a prefiguration of "what should be done in the latter days of the gospel, in which a greater reformation of the religion is now being made."

In this Reformation Commentary on Scripture volume, Derek Cooper and Martin Lohrmann guide readers through a diversity of Reformation commentary on these historical books. Here, readers will find reflections from both well-known voices and lesser-known figures from a variety of confessional traditions—Lutherans, Reformed, Radicals, Anglicans and Roman Catholics—many of which appear in English for the first time. By drawing upon a variety of resources—including commentaries, sermons, treatises and confessions—this volume will enable scholars and students to understand better the depth and breadth of Reformation-era insights on Scripture. It will also provide resources for contemporary preachers, and encourage all those who continually seek to share the "joyful tidings" of Jesus Christ.

Derek Cooper (PhD, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia) is associate professor of world Christian history at Biblical Theological Seminary. He is the author of several books, including Exploring Church History and Christianity and World Religions: An Introduction to the World's Major Faiths, and he is the coeditor of the Reformation Commentary on Scripture volume on 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings, 1-2 Chronicles.

Martin J. Lohrmann (PhD, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia) is assistant professor of Lutheran confessions and heritage at Wartburg Theological Seminary. He is the author of Bugenhagen's Jonah: Biblical Interpretation as Public Theology.
(Publisher's Website)
Both editors studied under Timothy J. Wengert. Wengert, co-editor of the Fortress translation of the Lutheran Book of Concord with Robert Kolb of the LCMS, is one of ten scholars listed as members of the RCS Board of Advisers. Amy Nelson Burnett of the University of Nebraska (my alma mater) and Arthur A. Just, Jr. of Concordia Theological Seminary (LCMS) are included in this notable company.

What can a reader learn from this volume? 
Polygamy is addressed in commentary on 1 Samuel 1 (5). It is "Trouble" and was "Tolerated but Not Approved." For comparison, read Alonso Tostado on David (2 Samuel 5; 161)
Saul's Reign Serves as a Warning according to Heinrich Bullinger (57).
Andrew Willet addresses how the Lord is said to "repent," an English translation elsewhere translated "relent" (63ff).
There is honest disagreement about whether Samuel actually appears when Saul visits the Witch of En-dor (126ff).  
Christians disagree about worship practices. Some follow John Calvin's advice to allow no musical instruments in church. Like Luther, I do not believe Calvin makes a good case (2 Samuel 6; 167). Read this one for yourself. Contrast this with Johannes Piscator (2 Chronicles 13-16; 550).
Nathan's Prophecy of David's Descendant is covered well (2 Samuel 7; 176ff).
A great follow-up to this is Melanchthon's explanation of the Evangelical Promise in Nathan's Literal Words (2 Samuel 12; 206).
Andrew Willet plainly says that A Human Cannot Be the Rock of the Church: "It is blasphemy to make Peter (or any other apostle) the rock of the church" (2 Samuel 19:8b-22:51; 249).
Thomas Jackson is no Erasmus, nor is he a match for Luther, especially in an odd attempt to illustrate Free Will using Naaman (2 Kings 4-6; 420).
Biographical Sketches introduce us to yet more people, including those who changed sides (Viktorin Striegel; Lutheran to Reformed; 720)

Your library, like mine, may be rather light on these books. Consider RCS OT volume V, all 745 pages of it!

 
1-2 Samuel, like 1-2 Kings and 1-2 Chronicles were originally three books, not six. Our next commentary focuses on the same books of the Holy Scriptures:




Designed to strengthen the global church with a widely accessible, theologically sound, and pastorally wise resource for understanding and applying the overarching storyline of the Bible, this commentary series features the full text of the ESV Bible passage by passage, with crisp and theologically rich exposition and application. Editors Iain M. Duguid, James M. Hamilton, and Jay Sklar have gathered a team of experienced pastor-theologians to provide a new generation of pastors and other teachers of the Bible around the world with a globally minded commentary series rich in biblical theology and broadly Reformed doctrine, making the message of redemption found in all of Scripture clear and available to all.

Contributors to this volume include:

John L. Mackay
Gary Millar
John Olley
(Publisher's website)

Coming in at 1343 pages, this volume of Crossway's ESV Expository Commentary is twice as thick as the previous volume from IVP Academic's RCS. Designed for preachers, this commentary series is helpful to get up to speed on a specific text in the context of the book, its testament, the whole of Scripture, and broad Christian theology.

What does this volume contribute to the pastor who preaches every Sunday?
Each author brings his own gifts to commenting on the Bible books assigned to him.
I found particularly helpful the tables that provided timelines and compared Chronicles to Kings or Samuel.
Introductions give the preacher what he needs to know, yet allow him to skip to the pericope in a pretty seamless way. 
For each section, the ESV text is followed by a section overview, an outline, verse-by-verse commentary, and a final Response section that is almost always Christological.
Readers will find some Bibliography.

Did Samuel function as a priest? Opinions are divided, but we have some evidence (1 Samuel 2; 53ff).
"When standards of truth and upright conduct are abandoned on every side, the Spirit-inspired Word must have a central place in our lives if we are not to lose our spiritual moorings. Only then will the darkness be dispelled and we will appreciate the work of the One who is truly the Light, and in his light we see light (Ps. 36.9)" (73)
Saul and others "fail to remember the divine resources they should rely on" (1 Samuel 17; 193).
Regarding Saul's visit to the Witch of En-dor, the commentary notes that whether Samuel actually appears or not, the message from "Samuel" does not give Saul any new information (268).
On suicide, see 2 Samuel 1; 285.
David and his "house" is a major focus of what we read here. Much could be worked into Bible study, too. Consider Nathan's confrontation (2 Samuel 12:7; 372). 
Preaching a series on 1 and 2 Kings together is recommended (511).
Here are five basic reasons to get out of bed: 1) Christ will build his church. 2) God will finish his work in us. 3) God will judge the world through Christ. 4) God will recreate the universe, reconciling all things to himself through Christ. 5) We will see God as he is and enjoy him forever (564).
First Kings 8 is Solomon's finest hour (581).
1 Kings 15:11 For the first time a king of Judah (or Israel) is commended for following the example of his forefather David (640).
In the Response to 1 Kings 17, we hear an answer to the question of why the people were angry at Jesus in Luke 4:25-30: "Because they knew what Jesus was saying. They knew that he was implying that God would bypass them in the same way he bypassed Ahab and his friends..." (659).
For the she-bears, read page 725.
I am stunned that the commentary on Naaman does not even allude to Holy Baptism (751).
2 Kings 8:16-29 This section of the book is one of the reasons why most people find 2 Kings so confusing (780).
The reign of Joash can be summed up in a word: disappointment. Joash is basically a godly kingn who has a successful reign and is committed to biblical reform. Doe just does not quite pull it off (803).
Chronicles itself is an example of preaching that tells a story whose broad features are well known, doing so in a fresh way that includes quotes, allusions, and comments focusing on aspects that address the hearers' situation (919).
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), the influential European composer and musical director at the prestigious St. Thomas Church, Leipzig, for twenty-seven years, said of this chapter [1 Chronicles 25] that it was the foundation of all God-pleasing church music (1061).
Josiah is another example of faithfulness expressed in temple worship cleansed of idolatry and performed in accordance with the laws of Moses and the prescriptions of David (1273).

I have been encouraged by the Gospel as shared by this volume's authors. Sharing their research in sermons as texts have come up in the lectionary, I have been further encouraged by feedback from parishioners who appreciated better understanding the text, having it clearly applied, and hearing the Gospel of Christ. 


I am a fan of the ESV/EC, but like with the RCS or even my own church body's Concordia Commentary from Concordia Publishing House, $60 gives a parish pastor sticker shock. Yes, it is standard in publishing today for a quality hardcover volume, but it does mean that the investment publishing houses have in their texts can take some time to recoup itself. If a publisher can be patient, great. Subscription discounts do make a big difference. Offering a competitive price for those who buy directly from the publisher (with seasonal free shipping) could be a nice incentive. Going to a paperback format may be particularly unwise (especially the size of this volume) and given that commentaries can be a legacy gift from one pastor to another. Digital commentaries can be unwieldy unless part of a study library engine (like Logos/Faithlife). My best advice to pastors no matter the size of their book budget is to buy the best after asking nearby experienced brothers what has been most useful and faithful, saving up, and reading a variety of reviews from brothers of the same confession.


We now return to the RCS for a volume covering the first half of the Psalter: 




"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night." (Psalm 1:1-2, ESV)

The book of Psalms has been the subject of daily and nightly meditation throughout the history of the church, and has been a significant resource for Christian belief and practice, often serving as the church's prayer book and hymnal. Like generations of Christians before them, the Protestant Reformers turned often to the book of Psalms, but they did so during a time of significant spiritual renewal, theological debate and ecclesiological reform. 

In the Psalms the Reformers found comfort, guidance and wisdom from God that applied to their context as much as it did to David's. As John Calvin explained, the Psalms demonstrate every emotion that people have experienced: "The Holy Spirit has presented in a living image all the griefs, sorrows, fears, doubts, hopes, cares, perplexities, in short, all the emotions with which human minds are often disturbed." Moreover, as Martin Luther proclaimed, the Reformers also heard in the Psalms a resounding affirmation of the good news of Jesus Christ: "The Psalter ought to be a precious and beloved book because it promises Christ?s death and resurrection so clearly." 

In this volume, Herman Selderhuis guides readers through the diversity of Reformation commentary on the first half of the Psalter. Here are both familiar voices and lesser-known figures from a variety of theological traditions, including Lutherans, Reformed, Radicals, Anglicans and Roman Catholics, many of whose comments appear here for the first time in English. By drawing on a variety of resources—including commentaries, sermons, treatises and confessions—this volume will enable scholars to better understand the depth and breadth of Reformation commentary, provide resources for contemporary preachers, and aid all those who seek to meditate upon God's Word day and night.



Herman J. Selderhuis is professor of church history and church polity at the Theological University Apeldoorn (Netherlands) and director of Refo500, the international platform for knowledge, expertise, and ideas related to the sixteenth-century Reformation. He is a leading Reformation historian and author or editor of several books, including John Calvin: A Pilgrim's Life, Calvin's Theology of the Psalms, and Psalms 1-72 in the Reformation Commentary on Scripture. He also serves as the academic curator of the John a Lasco Library (Emden, Germany) and as president of the International Calvin Congress.
(Publisher's website)
Herman Selderhuis is one of ten members of the RCS Board of Advisers.

Consider:
Luther: The Psalter ought to be a precious and beloved book because it promises Christ's death and resurrection so clearly--and depicts his kingdom and the condition and nature of all Christendom--that it might well be called a little Bible (2).
Similarly, "All Scripture Is Literally About Jesus" (5).
Psalm 18:1-3 has as commentators: Calvin, Sebastian Munster, Cardinal Cajetan, and Giovani Diodati (135).
Ten pages on Psalm 23 (186ff) are probably worth the cost of admission alone!
This Psalm [24] Teaches Us to Claim the Ascended Christ as Our Own (summary of Alexander Alesisus; 196).
See The Overview of Psalm 33 (258ff) for more on Calvin and instrumental music (and Psalm 71; 484).
Have you ever read Luther's Four Comforting Psalms for the Queen of Hungary? See LWAE 14 or read 298 (Psalm 37).
The Book of Common Prayer makes an appearance (Psalm 43; 334).
Psalm 46 is introduced as A MIGHTY FORTRESS IS OUR GOD (350)!
You have to see the { } difference between divine and human understanding as he comments on Psalm 54 (398-99). So too, look for { in Luther's explanation of the fourfold sense of God's work (Psalm 64; 444).
A map of Reformation Europe is featured (491).

I love the Psalms. I love to sing and pray them in a variety of ways. Apart from the Gospels, Genesis, and probably Isaiah, I would imagine that volumes VII and VIII of the RCS will be best sellers for IVP Academic. We would love to see the volume on Psalms 73-150.


We now turn to the New Testament for our remaining three books, and return to the ESV Expository Commentary volume on John and Acts:




Designed to strengthen the global church with a widely accessible, theologically sound, and pastorally wise resource for understanding and applying the overarching storyline of the Bible, this commentary series features the full text of the ESV Bible passage by passage, with crisp and theologically rich exposition and application. Editors Iain M. Duguid, James M. Hamilton, and Jay Sklar have gathered a team of experienced pastor-theologians to provide a new generation of pastors and other teachers of the Bible around the world with a globally minded commentary series rich in biblical theology and broadly Reformed doctrine, making the message of redemption found in all of Scripture clear and available to all.

Contributors to this volume include:
James M. Hamilton Jr.
Brian Vickers 

(Publisher's Website)



You may note a nearly-identical publisher intro to this volume compared to the previous tome above. Yes, this Lutheran reviewer does bristle at the "broadly Reformed doctrine" assessment, but it is true:
Denial of baptismal regeneration (71).
Calvinistic eternal security (135).
Reformed eucharistic theology (141ff).
Obedience/favor dynamic (235).
Denial of Mark 16:9-20 in a commentary on Acts (339).
Sovereignty emphasis (359).
Infant baptisms or not? (493, 496)

That said, Hamilton and Vickers are insightful. I value this volume for these two contributions alone:


Note again the way the crowd responded when Jesus offered them freedom. They were offended at the suggestion that they were enslaved. As we share the gospel, we can expect to meet the same response. Like the crowd to which Jesus spoke, our contemporaries are enslaved to sin but do not realize it. those who are enslaved to sin are unable to hear God's word. They need the Spirit to give them life, to enable them to see and enter the kingdom by the new birth. They need to be born of God. As we preach the gospel, God's Spirit must give life to those who hear. We must teach and pray, plant and water, but God gives the growth (John 8:30-59; references removed for clarity; 173).
I just re-lived this today. A visitor promised to never visit again. I still will pray for him.

Consider also:
The Isaiah text read by the eunuch [in Acts 8:26-40] is particularly interesting in the light of its context. Isaiah 53 focuses on the suffering servant, while Isaiah 54 promises a future time of unmatched blessing when the children of the barren one (Israel) " will possess the nations and will people the desolate cities." the chapter points to a new covenant, in which "my covenant of peace shall not be removed" and "children shall be taught by the Lord." In the end, God declares, "In righteousness you shall be established." In the NT context, as seen in Acts already, these promises are not limited to ethnic Israel but will be fulfilled along with the promise to the nations (411).
Yes, I still recommend the volume. I appreciate these two paragraphs while dreading the narrow Reformed assertions elsewhere. For a Lutheran, the latter are easy to strain out.




1517 Publishing brings us our next volume, a fresh translation of Martin Luther's 1535 Commentary on Galatians:


Martin Luther’s most comprehensive work on justification by faith, his Commentary on St. Paul's Epistle to the Galatians is translated and edited from the Latin into a lively style, paralleling his spoken lectures. Combined with the passion and faith expressed in these lectures, the Biblical foundation for this crucial doctrine of justification is underscored and expressed to a new audience.
The commentary is also an historical document, a recording of a professor in a classroom in 1531 from July to December of that year, which sets out the Reformer's commitment, challenging the reader/hearer to compare St. Paul's theology with what he/she hears in the church today.
 
The translator’s experience as a court reporter and his training as a theologian combine to enable him to give readers a sense of the liveliness of Martin Luther’s lecture style by turning to student notes from the lecture hall. This translation therefore enhances all other English translations, which have delivered these lectures in English up to this point since these other translations have rendered the similar but not identical text of the edited version of the reformer’s great lectures of 1531 that appeared in print four years later. Here we encounter what Luther said, not what he and his editors wished he had said or thought that he had meant to say. Camacho takes us into the lecture hall to catch the personal inflection that the reformer brought to the exposition of Paul’s letter in the midst of increased papal and imperial pressure on the Wittenberg theologians and their worldview in the wake of the diet of Augsburg in 1530. The urgency of the reformers exposition of the gospel of the restoration of human righteousness through Christ’s death and resurrection rings from the pages of this fresh, lively re-hearing of the lectures as presented in the notes of the Wittenberg professor’s students.
Robert Kolb, professor of systematic theology emeritus, Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis USA

(Publisher's website)

What makes this volume different than the American Edition of Luther's Works volumes on your shelf? 

This volume sounds much more like a transcript of the actual lectures.

For more detail on the textual differences, read 531-539 before starting your read of the volume. 

You may even wish to do what I did, and have this open in your hands while you have LW 26 and 27 open on a table, book stand, or Logos software windows before you.

This portion of the post was delayed for multiple reasons. One was the dedication: 

From the translator
To Solarians and Non Solarians

What does this mean? 

It is not a reference to beings in the works of Isaac Asimov.  

I asked the publisher. 

The translator wants to reach those who hold to the Reformation Solas (Grace, faith, Scripture, and Christ ALONE) as well as those who do not. 

This book would make an awesome podcast. The mic picture in a boxing ring on the cover resonates "Let's get ready to RUMBLE!" in my mind. 

Camacho, Luther, St. Paul: These are the ideal translator, commentator/lecturer, and inspired author.  

Yes, I commend this volume to you!


Our final volume comes in the familiar blue color of a commentary from Northwestern Publishing House of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod:





A Commentary on 1 & 2 Thessalonians takes a close look at the Greek text of two of Paul's letters. Author David P. Kuske introduces and analyzes the grammar and construction of the original Greek text of both books. Further, Kuske provides accurate summaries and practical applications of these books for readers. With this verse-by-verse focus, this exegetical commentary will serve as a comprehensive resource for pastors as they conduct personal study, write their sermons, or prepare Bible studies surrounding the books of 1 & 2 Thessalonians. (Publisher's website)

This is the first commentary that I am aware of that makes use of the Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version, the work of the Wartburg Project and available through Northwestern Publishing House.

I greatly appreciate the format of this commentary. Similar, yet different from other blue NPH volumes, it has much to commend it.

What is the aorist tense? See the footnote on 12.

How do we evaluate textual variants? Read 13-15. Brief. To the point. Scholarly, yet practical.

Each chapter begins with a "schema" chart for the Greek, the Greek text, an English translation, and bullet-point notes. Sections conclude with Summary and Application paragraphs rich in insight and the Gospel.


Consider:
The pastor has important obligations to his wife and children and needs to preserve his own health. But the hardworking pastor will seek to find a way that balances these items with the untiring service he wants to provide to the souls committed to his care (1 Thessalonians 2:9; 62).
On brotherly love, read 1 Thessalonians 4:9 and 136-138. 

On Antichrist, read 216ff. See also 280-282.

In my second read-through, I honestly began seeing and hearing this commentary as a devotional book of encouragement for me as a pastor.  It's not 1 and 2 Timothy, but has similar qualities. 
This writer [Kuske] can think of no better way to close this book than to pray these prayers for you, the reader.
  • May the peace that only God can give be yours continually and in every circumstance.
  • May God be with you wherever you are.
  • May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be yours always.
Amen.



This is a lot to absorb. I've been at it with these volumes for many months, slightly longer than is ideal after receiving copies of books to review. I thank the publishers for their patience.
 

I urge our readers to be intentional in budgeting for their libraries, especially when it comes to prioritizing funds for commentaries to the end that Christ may be preached.




Rev. Paul J Cain is Senior Pastor of Immanuel, Sheridan, Wyoming, Headmaster of Martin Luther Grammar School and Immanuel Academy, a member of the Board of Directors of the Consortium for Classical Lutheran Education, Secretary of the Wyoming District of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and a member of its Board of Directors, Wyoming District Education Chairman/NLSA Commissioner, and Editor of Lutheran Book Review. He has served as an LCMS Circuit Visitor, District Worship Chairman and District Evangelism Chairman. A graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Rev. Cain is a contributor to Lutheran Service Book, Lutheranism 101, the forthcoming LSB Hymnal Companion volumes, and is the author of 5 Things You Can Do to Make Our Congregation a Caring Church. He is an occasional guest on KFUO radio. He has previously served Emmanuel, Green River, WY and Trinity, Morrill, NE. Rev. Cain is married to Ann and loves reading and listening to, composing, and making music. 

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