Joshua: No Falling Words
Publisher Christian Focus Publications
This book appears in the following featured collections.
- Essential Commentaries for a Preacher's Library - OT by Derek Thomas
I have become a collector of commentaries ever since my seminary days in the 1990s. As such, I am only going to recommend the best overall commentary for each book of the Bible on this site. For Joshua, for the preacher/teacher, it is not really even close - get Davis! The commentary is not going to take you verse by verse, and it definitely is not concerned with "higher criticism, etc." But it explains Joshua remarkably well, while also illustrating and applying the text. It also doesn't hurt that it reads like good literature. (I would recommend David Howard in the NAC series as a good supplemental work to Davis).
The author has a pleasant style and a knack for relating the world of the Old Testament with the world of the modern church. While he can delve into the meaning of Greek words and talk about when the book might have been written, this commentary seemed more devotional than I expected. This isn't a bad thing and he offers good insights into how this book can be taught in a relevant way. The only negative is the simple fact that the second half of Joshua where the land is divided amongst the tribes is, along with the genealogies and parts of the law code, the least interesting part of Scripture to the modern reader. Faced with a list of city names that often no longer even exist and a case where a single map is worth thousands of words, Davis struggles valiantly. He often succeeds in drawing out lessons from these passages, but there are times where he struggles and the ideas he presents are strained pietism. Still it is impressive that he succeeds as often as he does in the latter part of the book and the first half is an excellent pastoral or devotional commentary. I can't wait to see what he does with the far more interesting world of the Judges.
I am always glad when there is a clear consensus on the best commentary on any given book. While Tremper Longman laments that the field for Joshua is not particularly strong, the top recommendation of most experts is Dale Ralph Davis’ contribution to the Focus on the Bible series. Derek Thomas says it “sets the standard for how to expound and apply historical narrative.” The series is meant to appeal to a general audience, so this is an ideal choice for layperson and preacher alike. [Full Review]
Not so much a commentary as an exposition of the book of Joshua. Never boring, this is a great model of how to preach through OT books. [Full Review]
Sets the standard for how to expound and apply historical narrative.
I will go ahead and say now that all of Dale Ralph Davis' commentaries on the Old Testament historical books are outstanding. They are non-technical, beginner-intermediate level works, but they offer more insight into these biblical books than many commentaries two or three times their size. If you can only have one commentary on each biblical book, get Davis on the historical books. [Full Review]